Ayurvedic Spice Blends

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Ayurveda – the ancient ‘science of life’, is a traditional Indian system of medicine, which has been used to treat and cure people for thousands of years. Ayurveda is based on the idea of balancing the body and mind by using herbal treatment, dietary considerations and yogic breathing techniques. Ayurveda presumes our natural state is one of complete health, and that by finding out how to balance ourselves, we will get back to that healthy state we all have the right to be in. Using completely natural techniques, Ayurveda is not only fascinating, but – unlike a lot of western medicine – works to cure the cause, not just the symptoms.

 

The three ‘doshas’ – Kapha, Pitta and Vata determine a person’s body and mind type. Knowing your dosha can be very useful in discovering which different foods will benefit you the most, which type of exercise is likely to be the most helpful to your body, and you’ll also be able to more easily recognise when and why you may feel a little ‘unbalanced’ at times.

 

There are lots of tests available to take in order to find out your dosha, follow this link to determine yours if you aren’t sure yet: http://www.naturesformulary.com/contents/dosha-test

 

When you know your dosha, try making up one of these Ayurvedic spice blends to try out and see how it works for you:

 

Kapha:

As a Kapha-type personality tends to be a little lethargic, tends towards the lazy side, and can be prone to problems with digestion – this spice blend includes stimulating, warming herbs, as well as herbs which aid digestion and have antioxidising properties.

 

Ground Ginger – ginger is warming, and increases Pitta, bringing more heat and evergy to the body.

Coriander – A cooling herb, which aids digestion and helps to purify the blood.

Black Pepper – pepper also helps with digestion and has, cleansing, antioxidant properties. It helps the flow of blood to the brain, and circulation of blood around the body too.

Cinnamon – A warming spice, cinnamon is also very good at balancing blood sugar levels

Turmeric – A very healing spice, which is used copiously in Aurveda. Turmeric helps to detoxify the liver, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, stimulate digestion, support immunity, and is an especially good anti inflammatory. Turmeric actually helps to replicate healthy cells.

Oregano – Containing some of the highest antioxidant levels of all herbs, oregano actually has four times the amount of antioxidants than blueberries!

Thyme – also full of antioxidants, thyme is also great for helping to remove any build up of mucus in the respiratory tract, which is especially useful for Kapha types.

 

Pitta:

Pitta types are generally firey in nature, goal orientated and occasionally short tempered. They’re likely to have a strong metabolism and could use more cooling, calming herbs to balance them out.

 

Chamomile – it is widely known that chamomile is calming for the nervous system, but it also helps to cure muscle cramps, can clear up skin irritations (which could be useful for Pitta-types), and also helps with stomach complaints – even helping to calm symptoms of IBS.

Fennel – full of antioxidants and also containing high amounts of vitamin C, handy in maintaining a strong immune system

Turmeric – A very healing spice, which is used copiously in Aurveda. Turmeric helps to detoxify the liver, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, stimulate digestion, support immunity, and is an especially good anti inflammatory. Turmeric also actually helps to replicate healthy cells.

Cumin – Helpful for digestion – often calming stomach pain, and is also an antiseptic, which helps to boost the immune system. 

Coriander – Coriander has a slight sedative effect, which is known to be helpful with treating anxiety and promoting good memory, perfect for fast thinking, fast moving and often anxious and feisty pitta types

Cinnamon – A warming spice, cinnamon is also very good at balancing blood sugar levels

Basil – Derived from the Greek word ‘basileus’ meaning ‘king’; Basil is also referred to as ‘l’herbe royale’ (royal herb) by the French. Many regions of the world believe it has strong beneficial properties. What I know, is that it helps to reduce inflammation and has anti-aging properties too. Basil is also known to be calming, and contains a good amount of antioxidants.

 

Vata

Often suffering from anxiety and a low immune system if unbalanced, vata types are usually creative and often a bit ‘up in the air’ – they’ll benefit from warming, grounding herbs and spices.

 

Cardamom – cardamom is a warming spice, used a lot in Indian cooking, it also helps to open up respiratory passages

Ginger- improves circulation, very good for digestion, and is warming for the body

Cinnamon – helps to balance blood sugar levels (could help with that dizzy and lightheaded feeling a lot of Vata types are prone to.) Cinnamon also helps boost blood circulation.

Nutmeg – Also great for digestion, nutmeg is warming and very comforting, especially for Vata types in colder months.

Asefoetida – Helps to combat bloating and flatulence! (consider adding this to your next big blow-out meal) This spice is also anti-viral, and a great anti-inflammatory.

Black pepper Warming and full of antioxidants –  a good addition to the spice blend for Vata types as they are likely to suffer from a lower immune system and catch colds easier than most in Winter months. 

 

Depending upon your dosha, blend a selection (or all!) of these spices together from either the Pitta, Vata or Kapha list to sprinkle over roast vegetables, in soups, tea, cook in to curries, or anything else you can think of!

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