6 Herbs for a Bright and Healthy Spring
Springtime is just around the corner—hallelujah! After the cold, dark winter months, the return of spring carries with it the promise of longer days, more light, and the fresh blossoming of new life.
But for some, the spring season can also bring unwelcomed experiences, such as seasonal irritants, lethargy, and a feeling of residual heaviness from the long winter. From an Ayurvedic perspective, this can be explained by spring’s association with kapha dosha.
As the snow melts, the clouds gather, and the wet rains come, nature exhibits similar qualities to kapha—cool, moist, heavy, cloudy, soft, slow.
We, in turn, become susceptible to these same qualities within our bodies. Or, we may just be carrying around an accumulated sluggishness from wintertime that prevents us from feeling the light, bright exuberance of spring.
Luckily, Ayurveda’s herbal pharmacopeia is abundant with botanical allies to help us address kapha’s influence and support the body’s natural balance at this time of year.
Our Favorite Herbs and Formulas for Balancing Kapha in the Spring
Whether or not you experience seasonal irritants or other occasional springtime discomforts, it’s always a good idea to tend to your body’s natural resilience, especially during the transition between seasons.
Here are some of our favorite herbs and formulas to prepare for a healthy, happy, and vibrant spring season.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
- Other Names: vishwabhesaj or “the universal medicine” in Sanskrit
- Taste Profile: pungent, sweet
- Dosha Effects: balancing for for vata and kapha, aggravates pitta in excess
Ginger is a warming and invigorating herb with a spicy-sweet taste that makes it a favorite in the kitchen spice cabinet. But this beloved root’s benefits go way beyond the culinary realm, helping to kindle strong digestion, support healthy circulation, and promote detoxification of accumulated toxins.
Incorporating this herb in the early spring will help to energetically warm and awaken the body and support a sense of internal invigoration.
Enjoy a regular abhyanga, or self-massage, with Mahanarayan Oil. This luxurious oil is based on a traditional Ayurvedic formula that blends ginger with several other powerful herbs to warm and revitalize the body.
Cook with it! Ginger root is incredibly versatile and its zesty flavor makes it ideal for all kinds of sweet and savory recipes. Experiment with adding fresh ginger root or ground ginger powder to your smoothies, baked goods, stir-fries, and spring greens.
Cardamom (Elletaria cardamomum)
- Other Names: capalaga, elaichi
- Taste Profiles: pungent, sweet
- Dosha Effects: balancing for all doshas, may increase pitta if used in excess
Another common household spice, cardamom has a complex citrusy flavor and rich aroma that pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes. It also has a warming action that makes it a powerful ally for the spring season.
Cardamom is traditionally used to awaken the appetite, support healthy digestion, and even freshen the breath. This aromatic spice also helps to clear excess kapha from the lungs and support clear, comfortable breathing.
Treat yourself to these tasty spiced gingersnaps. Originally designed for the fall season, this tasty recipe can also be enjoyed in the spring when your sweet tooth is acting up. While sweet treats like cookies aren’t usually recommended for kapha dosha, this recipe combines the warmth of cardamom, ginger, cinnamon,and pippali to activate strong digestion.
Enjoy your coffee, tea, or other warm beverages with a dollop of Chai Spiced Ghee. Made with cinnamon, cardamom, and our signature grass-fed ghee, this is a super simple and satisfying way to support your springtime balance.
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)
- Other Names: holy basil, “the incomparable one”
- Taste Profile: pungent
- Dosha Effects: best for vata and kapha, may increase pitta
Tulsi is the herb for you if you are wanting to call in the light, uplifting, and clarifying energies of the spring. Revered for its many benefits for the body and mind, this herb is considered sacred in India and known to impart the quality of sattva, or pure awareness.
In the body, tulsi is traditionally used to support the health of the lungs and respiratory system and promote clear, comfortable breathing. It also helps to impart a sense of peace, calm, and overall well-being.
Drink to your health! Every season is tea season, and sipping on warm herbal beverages throughout the day is an excellent way to incorporate the beneficial power of plants into your daily life. Try Joyful Heart for a bright and uplifting blend with floral notes.
Energize your body and elevate your well-being with Elevated Adaptogens. This powerful blend combines tulsi with several other herbal adaptogens and Ayurvedic superfoods to rejuvenate the body, support a healthy response to stress, and build a foundation of flourishing health to last throughout the spring season and beyond.
- Featured Herbs: turmeric (Curcuma longa), kalmegh (Andrographis), chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica)
- Taste Profile: bitter, pungent
- Dosha Effects: balancing for all doshas
Formulated with ten key herbal ingredients targeted at supporting respiratory function and soothing the discomfort of common seasonal irritants, Pollen Protect is a powerhouse herbal formula that promotes optimal spring health.
Clinically shown to support a healthy inflammatory response, soothe respiratory function, and support normal breathing, this formula may become your new springtime go-to.
How to Take It:
- Prepare for the season with 1–2 tablets once or twice daily or as directed by your health practitioner.
- If you are already experiencing seasonal irritants, take up to 3 tablets three times a day.
Kapha Digest (Trikatu)
- Featured Herbs: ginger (Zingiber officinale), black pepper (Piper nigrum), pippali (Piper longum)
- Taste Profile: pungent, slightly sweet
- Dosha Effects: balancing for kapha, increases pitta, aggravates vata in excess
Also known as trikatu, Kapha Digest is a traditional Ayurvedic formula made up of three pungent spices—ginger, pippali, and black pepper. This potent trio is traditionally used to support robust digestion, promote healthy metabolism, and support weight management through the proper digestion of fats.
This heating blend also supports healthy lungs and clear breathing by balancing kapha in the respiratory system. In short, it’s a winning combination for anyone still experiencing the residual sluggishness of winter.
How to Take It:
- The tasty powdered blend can be used in cooking to spice up your soups, roasted veggies, or stir-frys. Or enjoy it as a savory tea. If you need a little sweetener, add a dollop of Turmeric Honey.
- If you prefer the ease of tablets, try taking them after your meals to support healthy digestion.
- Featured Herbs: pippali (Piper longum), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
- Taste Profile: sweet, pungent
- Dosha Effects: balancing for all doshas, may increase pitta
A unique and traditional Ayurvedic formula, sitopaladi is a blend of warming and activating herbs mixed with organic cane sugar to carry the benefits of the herbs deeper into the tissues of the body.
With an affinity for the respiratory system, it is traditionally used to help break up excess kapha, promotes expectoration, and supports the function of the lungs and sinuses. For those seeking the relief of calm, clear breathing in the midst of spring’s blossoming, sitopaladi is a powerful and delicious Ayurvedic blend.
How to Take It:
- Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon with warm water to make a sweet and slightly spicy tea.
- Sprinkle it over ghee on toast for an Ayurveda-style cinnamon-sugar toast.
- Mix the powder with honey and make a paste, then eat it right off the spoon. Yum!