Cinnamon & Ginger
As the days of spring grow longer and the heat of the sun sets in, Kapha and Pitta collide. Spring may be the season of Kapha, with its cool damp tones bringing the earth back to life, but when the heat of the season starts to show it’s clear that pitta season is right around the corner. Many of us are encountering a sea of pollen while spending more time outdoors with the inviting weather, the thought of getting ready for summer is on your minds and for those of pitta constitution now is a time for noticing early signs of imbalance and preparing for our doshic season! With spring Allergies exemplifying the interface of the doshas and often creating sinus congestion, there are two simple medicines that can be found in the kitchen that can help us to adjust through this season and get ready for the next.
Cinnamon and ginger are two common yet powerful substances that can be used on their own or combined to help with spring allergies.
A few of the biggest symptoms we try to combat this season are sinus and chest congestion. It makes sense, the cool, damp, and cloudy qualities of kapha are hanging in the air. Combine this with the clouds of pollen blowing and makes it a hard job for our nasal passages to take in the spring air without irritation.
If you are suffering from sinus congestion you can use powdered ginger ( or even stronger powdered cinnamon) to open the sinus cavities and clear out excess mucus. Create a paste by adding a small amount of water to ginger powder, then generously apply it to your face around your sinuses mimicking glasses, but keep it clear from the delicate tissues right around the eyes. You can leave this on for ten minutes or until it dries and carefully wash it off. Be wary of the slight burning sensation but it is well worth it to breathe again. This is also helpful from those allergy related sinus headaches!
Chest congestion can be cleared by drinking a cinnamon / ginger / licorice tea (click for recipe). The cinnamon helps to clear mucous and encourages the circulation of Vata throughout the respiratory system. If you’re congestion is present because of a spring cold, try adding fresh ginger root to the mix for an extra boost of mucous clearing from the respiratory system.
The change of season from winter to spring can have a dampening effect on digestion, leaving many of us with sluggish digestion or manda agni. Cinnamon and ginger are wonderful additives to stoke the digestive fire! Licorice helps to lubricate the stomach and intestine and counter the heating effects of the previous two spices.
Adding cinnamon to a cup of warm ginger tea and drinking before meals will help heat things up! The licorice balances the combination by its sweet and cooling anti inflammatory nature.This combination will increase agni and the secretion of digestive enzymes. Cinnamon also helps to relieve gas and expel excess water that we may be holding onto this time of year. The licorice controls excess inflammation and is a boon for allergic reactions.
You may notice that even though the temperature are rising you are still experience cold extremities. Cinnamon helps to stimulate vyana vayu and opens up circulation to the joints. This helps the body to move heat to the extremities away from the digestive organs. Adding cinnamon to your tea or oatmeal can help to warm things up as your body adjusts.
Taking the time to adjust to the current environment will help your body transition to the next season. Clearing out excess kapha before it becomes stagnant will help you to feel lighter making the rising heats more bearable. Enjoy your Spring, breathe easier as you prepare for the excitement and joy of long summer days and outdoor activities with family and friends!