Balancing Kapha

Balancing Kapha

Simple Guidelines For Decreasing Kapha

Signs and Symptoms of Kapha Imbalance

Is your kapha out of balance? If so, you are probably experiencing some of the following signs or symptoms:

  • excess mucous
  • thick, white tongue coat
  • slow, sticky, sluggish bowel movements
  • high body weight
  • difficulty rising in the morning
  • feeling slow, foggy, dull, lethargic, or heavy
  • easily attached or possessive
  • overly sentimental
  • complacent or stubborn
  • tendency for “emotional overeating”

To reduce or pacify kapha, Ayurveda has given us dietary, lifestyle, and herbal treatment strategies. Here are a few underlying concepts that these strategies are based on:

  • Stimulation
  • Exercise
  • Lightening
  • Warming
  • Drying

General Guidelines for a Kapha-Pacifying Diet


  • Foods that are pungent, bitter, or astringent in taste.
  • Warm foods, both energetically and in temperature.
  • Heating spices—like chili, black or cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin.
  • Whole, freshly cooked foods.
  • Light, dry, and warm foods.
  • Honey.
  • Only room temperature or warm drinks.
  • Most beans. Mung dahl, well-cooked tofu or tempeh, or warm soy milk are all okay.
  • Lots of veggies.
  • A minimal amount of high-quality corn, canola, sesame, sunflower oil, or ghee in your daily diet.
  • Routine times for your meals.
  • Taking a deep breath after swallowing your last bite and heading off for your next activity.
  • Eating your meal in a peaceful environment.


  • Foods that are sweet, sour, and/or salty.
  • Cooling foods, both energetically and in temperature.
  • Heavy and oily foods (e.g. cheese, pudding, nuts, cake).
  • Highly processed foods (e.g. canned or frozen foods, “TV” dinners or pastries).
  • Cold or carbonated drinks.
  • Overeating or eating heavy meals.
  • Eating fresh fruit or drinking fruit juice within 1/2 hour of any other food.
  • Red meat.
  • Foods or drinks that contain refined sugar or corn syrup.
  • Deep fried foods.
  • Alcohol, except for an occasional glass of dry red or white wine.

Kapha-Pacifying Herbal Remedies

Ayurvedic herbs are useful allies when it comes to balancing the doshas. Ayurveda has a long history detailing the use of herbs and herbal combinations. Some Ayurvedic practitioners will customize herbal formulas to suit the unique constitutions of their clients. General formulas based on traditional combinations of herbs are also used. Below are some herbs and formulations that are especially useful for balancing kapha.

General Guidelines for a Kapha-Pacifying Lifestyle


  • An energetic routine. Avoid stagnation.
  • Stimulating your body and mind on a daily basis.
  • A 10–20 minute self-massage daily with 1/2 cup warm sesame oil before bathing. Click here for more information on abhyanga.
  • A vigorous exercise routine that includes jogging, hiking, biking, vigorous forms of yoga or martial arts, or other challenging forms of exercise, a minimum of five times per week.
  • Keeping warm and dry, no matter what the weather.
  • Lively and invigorating music, smells, experiences, and company.

Our lives, environments, and health change regularly. We recommend that you take our dosha quiz periodically to check your state of balance. Then you can see how things have changed and decide which remedies would be the most beneficial to regain balance. It may be helpful to learn more about kapha so that you can understand why following these simple guidelines really can help. For more information about kapha, click here.