Cleansing Excess Pitta from the Body

Cleansing Excess Pitta from the Body

According to Ayurveda, health is our natural, balanced state. Ayurveda defines the many substances and influences, both internal and external, that are beneficial and detrimental to our bodies.

While avoiding every substance or situation that is unhealthy is nearly impossible in today's world, the wisdom of Ayurveda can boost your understanding of health and support choices that lead to a balanced state of being. Ayurveda offers knowledge to increase awareness of the factors that may cause imbalance and ways to create balance by regulating the systems of the body through diet, lifestyle, herbs, yoga, and meditation.

The Ayurvedic scope of health is holistic, encompassing a balanced body, mind, and spirit. The experiences we have in our relationships, including thoughts, feelings, and emotions, can be equally as influential on our state of health as are foods and other ingested substances. It can be as difficult for a pitta individual to digest a hurtful criticism from a spouse, for example, as it is to digest a plate of greasy french fries. When pitta dosha flares, the body may express this imbalance as an itchy, red rash, excess heat, impatience, or even an emotional explosion of anger.

What Is Pitta Dosha?

Of the three doshas in Ayurveda, pitta is the hottest, oiliest, and sharpest. If you're feeling overheated in any way, there could be an excess of the pitta dosha occuring within your body. If you're wondering whether your pitta is out of balance, please take a moment to visit the Ayurvedic Profile™ quiz on our website, which can help you determine which dosha is acting up and what steps you can take for optimal health.

Ayurveda teaches that routine detoxification can be invaluable for maintaining good health during seasonal changes. Summer is the season where pitta dosha accumulates in the body. Particularly if an individual's constitution is pitta-predominant, the increase in excess heat can become reactive, settle in the tissues, and manifest as an imbalance if it is not properly eliminated.

Ayurveda offers solutions to help the body dispose of toxins as nature intended before they have a chance to take hold and cause disorder. When there is an excess of pitta dosha and a health problem arises, toxins usually accompany it. Common toxins are bacteria, viruses, drugs, heavy metals, pesticides, chemicals, and other environmental pollutants. Toxins are also formed when we eat foods that are difficult to digest or of poor quality.

Ayurveda defines this type of toxic material as ama, a heavy, sticky, undigested residue that can weaken digestion and disturb proper tissue formation.

Excess pitta can manifest in the body as:

  • Uncomfortable feeling of heat in the body
  • Acid reflux, gastric or peptic ulcers, heartburn
  • Acute inflammation in body or joints
  • Indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Discomfort or nausea upon missing meals
  • Anger, irritability, frustration
  • Bad breath and body odor
  • Excessive sweating
  • Impatience, criticism, judgment, intolerance
  • Excessive perfectionist tendencies

A person's complexion may also be an indication of whether or not there is a toxic overload in the body. Excess pitta in the blood can result in breakouts on the skin such as hives, acne, and red rashes. Cleansing the body, particularly the liver and blood, through diet and herbs can result in clear, radiant skin and more balanced pitta dosha.

There are many causes that contribute to an excessive amount of pitta in the body including:

  • Eating a pitta-provoking diet
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Too much sun exposure, sunburn
  • Emotional stress

As with any imbalance, Ayurvedic treatment involves first removing the cause and then applying the therapeutic remedies necessary to bring the body back into balance. Ayurveda offers simple and gentle dietary, herbal, and lifestyle guidelines to assist the body in removing excess pitta dosha and cleansing the body of natural toxins. The therapies to balance pitta are both cooling and reducing.

Diet to Reduce Pitta

The stomach and small intestine are two common sites for pitta dosha to accumulate. Ayurveda uses a pitta-soothing diet as the first line of action when addressing excess pitta. When it comes to reducing pitta, choose foods that will be cooling and cleansing to the body.

 

holding watermelon slice to the sky

 

Simple dietary guidelines to help your body detox:

  • Choose sweet, juicy fruits like melons, plums, and peaches.
  • Include vegetables that are bitter and astringent such as collards, kale, and asparagus.
  • Add digestive spices to your food such as cumin, coriander, fennel, and turmeric.
  • Limit hot, spicy, fermented, salty, oily, fried foods.
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine. These substances are both sharp and hot, provoking to pitta dosha.
  • Drink plenty of cool, fresh water. Staying well hydrated helps the body to flush away toxins.

Herbs to Reduce Pitta

A good place to start might be looking at the Pitta Balancing Bundle, which contains a few herbal products that help cool and soothe pitta. Healthy Pitta is a good overall pitta-soother, Pitta Digest assists with removing excess pitta from the digestive tract, Triphala promotes healthy elimination and the natural removal of toxins, and Pitta Massage Oil is an excellent external application for calming pitta in the skin, muscles, and tissues.

Beyond the bundle, neem is one of the most powerful herbs for reducing pitta and eliminating natural toxins in the blood. Traditionally neem is used to maintain healthy skin and detoxify the liver and blood. It is an extremely bitter herb and is indicated in cases of excess pitta and whenever a cooling, reducing therapy is needed. Because neem is such a strong herb, it is rarely taken by itself. Neem can be found as a primary ingredient in Healthy Skin and Blood Cleanse, which both support healthy skin. Neem Oil, Neem Soap, and Soothing Skin Balm can be used as topical treatments to help support conditions of the skin.

Liver Formula contains bhumyamalaki and guduchi along with many other beneficial herbs to support proper functioning of the liver. This specially blended formula helps to reduce excess pitta and support detoxification.

Amalaki, one of the three ingredients of triphala, is recommended to cleanse excess pitta from the GI tract, supporting a healthy stomach lining and proper function of digestive acids. This gentle detoxifying herb supports regular bowel function and removes natural toxins from the body. Amalaki is also rich in antioxidants and deeply nourishing to the body tissues.

Lifestyle Tips to Reduce Pitta

Ayurveda offers several tips to help balance pitta, allowing you to stay calm and cool throughout the summer months. Establishing a pitta balancing routine, including going to bed before 10 p.m. (pitta dosha kicks into high gear from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.), eating meals at regular times, and Pitta Massage Oil, Sunflower, or Coconut Oil can help balance the body.

 

woman peaking out of water

 

Here are some additional tips for keeping pitta dosha under control:

  • Take a dip in cool water. If a natural spring, lake or ocean is not accessible, have a cool soak in a pool or your own bathtub.
  • Take breaks, meditate, chant, or sing to quell the reactive emotions of high stress situations or stressful job environments.
  • Seek out pleasantly sweet company.
  • Wear cooling colored clothing, such as blue or purple. White can also be beneficial for pitta.
  • Try not to exercise during the heat of the day. Plan to exercise in the cool morning or evening hours.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals or fumes.
  • Limit sunbathing and try moon-bathing. The moon's cooling light helps to balance pitta.

Yoga Poses to Reduce Pitta

Check your competitive nature and bring qualities of softness and compassion to your yoga practice. Hot yoga can aggravate this dosha, as can overexerting yourself during poses. Try practicing some pitta pacifying yoga in a cool, airy environment, using 80% of your usual energy, going easy on yourself, and leaving any self-critical or judgmental feelings at the door. For beginners, adding forward bends, such as Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) to your practice will bring more cooling energy into your body. For seasoned yogis, Moon Salutations are the ideal series of postures for balancing pitta dosha. A spinal twist helps to massage the liver and spleen, both organs of pitta dosha that work to purify and protect healthy blood.

Meditation Practices to Reduce Pitta

Meditating is a wonderful way to channel pitta's naturally sharp focus. The practice of sitting quietly and bringing your attention inward is profoundly beneficial in relieving stress and relinquishing control. When pitta runs high, an individual is prone to excessive criticism, judgment, anger, and envy. Meditation can increase your awareness and ability to monitor these negative emotions. Regular practice can aid in the transformation and release of unwanted emotions, bringing clarity and offering insight into your mental processes. Meditation can also help to relieve mental and emotional toxicity brought about through harmful relationships and/or stressful jobs. Practicing meditation can be useful in cultivating patience and compassion. As you bring these quiet qualities to your own mind, peace will echo all over the world.

“Until mankind can extend the circle of his compassion to include all living things, he will never, himself, know peace.”— Albert Schweitzer (Theologian and Nobel Prize recipient, 1950)

DISCLAIMER
The information provided in this newsletter is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, but only to apprise the reader of basic Ayurvedic lifestyle information. The advice of a qualified health professional is recommended before making changes in diet or exercise routines.