As we enter into the summer months, we find ourselves outside more, working off the extra pounds from the winter, and soaking in the sun. Even if you are not a sun worshipper, the rising temperatures can cause fiery pitta dosha to begin accumulating in the body. Excess pitta dosha, or heat in the body, can react with ama, or toxins in the blood, and express through the skin as inflammation.
Many of summer's common skin conditions like sunburn, fever blisters, rashes, and hives, are signs of pitta imbalance, and following a pitta-pacifying diet in conjunction with simple herbal remedies can help to bring balance back to the body. The most effective way to calm pitta dosha is through a cooling, fresh foods diet. These recommendations can help keep you as cool as a cucumber during the long, hot summer months ahead.
- Minimize or avoid hot chili peppers, spicy salsas, pickles, fermented foods, coffee, and alcohol particularly if you are pitta predominant. Not sure which dosha is predominant for you? Take our quiz here.
- Including fresh cilantro in your meals is especially cooling and balancing for all doshas. Try a couple teaspoons of fresh cilantro juice internally, once or twice a day, to reduce heat and keep pitta in balance. Cilantro is featured in this recipe which makes the perfect pitta condiment: Fresh Cilantro Chutney.
- Enjoy the naturally sweet water of a fresh coconut. Fresh coconut water contains essential electrolytes and has a cooling effect on the body, as does the white flesh of the coconut.
- Refresh with light bites of melon or cucumber with a spritz of lime and fresh mint. The white rind of the melon can then be rubbed over the skin to cool minor rashes, eczema, and allergic conditions.
- A lovely beverage to help enliven a tired, hot body is hibiscus cooler. Try making your own by mixing one to two tablespoons of hibiscus flower powder with a quart of water, and the juice of one lime. Sweeten to taste and enjoy!
While eating in harmony with the summer season can provide instant relief from the hot temperatures and keep pitta in check, herbs are another way to help ease the body into balance. Through their cooling and cleansing action, herbs are a good support during the summer months, helping to remove excess pitta while supporting natural detoxification of the blood. Natural toxins in the blood, triggered by excess heat, can be the cause of many uncomfortable skin conditions. For internal cleansing of excess pitta, we suggest Blood Cleanse formula. Blood Cleanse is a unique formula that contains herbs to both purify and encourage elimination of excess heat in the blood. Healthy Skin formula soothes excess pitta in the body and helps calm irritable skin.
Regular elimination is also a factor in achieving healthy skin. Triphala, the mother of all gentle eliminative formulas, assists in internal cleansing and keeps the colon functioning optimally.
The herb powders of turmeric and brahmi/gotu kola are useful to have on hand, particularly if you are prone to pitta-related skin conditions. For a cooling paste which can be applied to the skin, mix one part turmeric and two parts brahmi/gotu kola and enough milk (cow or goat) to form a paste. You can you can substitute the milk with either cool water or aloe gel for a cooling, soothing effect. (Please note turmeric may cause a temporary yellow discoloration of the skin). Apply these pastes to affected areas once or twice daily, or as needed. They can be left on until semi-dry (about 15-20 minutes). Then, wash off with cool water and Neem & Aloe soap.
These simple Ayurvedic remedies can do wonders to balance pitta-related skin irritations. Using foods and herbs to counter this season's heat can bring more awareness to the cycles of nature. As you experiment with these cooling suggestions, notice how the qualities from our external environment directly affect our health. Avoiding pitta-aggravating foods and using cooling herbs is a perfect way to stay cool and have healthy skin this summer.