Spring - An Ayurvedic Perspective



Spring fever is here! Birds sing, flowers begin to open, small critters come out from hibernation, buds swell and leaves unfold from the barren trees. What you may not know is that spring fever is also a physical and mental condition that comes with the mounting heat - that itch to get outside is an important sign that changes are happening in your body.

As heat begins to build, the liver can become overheated. This can lead to an increase of heat in the blood and heated emotional reactions. In Ayurveda this is known as an increase in the Pitta dosha (relating to the fire element). You may feel more prone to anger and even start to have skin rashes.

While April showers bring May flowers, they also increase the humidity in the air and make you prone to symptoms of Kapha (the dosha related to the earth and water elements) aggravation like mucus congestion. Favor pungent and diuretic foods and herbs to keep Kapha's accumulated moisture flowing out of the body.

Allergies are in full swing as everything begins to bloom and the air thickens with pollen. A stressed liver can make Pitta individuals more prone to allergic reactions. Common April symptoms include a runny nose, itchy eyes (due to liver heat), rashes and sore throats. Pitta types in particular benefit from liver cleansing with bitter foods and herbs. Try fennel bulb, watercress, chard, radicchio, kohlrabi, lettuce, dandelion greens, beet greens, endive and microgreens. Their lightness brings welcome relief from liver congestion and sluggish circulation. You'll start to crave the refreshed feeling they offer. Sour foods also support gentle cleansing of the liver. Serve up ferments, grapefruit, and beets to show your liver some love. Soothe red, itchy eyes with a cooling rose water eye rinse in the mornings.

Other self-care tips in spring include avoiding naps during the day, getting up with the sun, and dry brushing to encourage lymph flow. Begin your day by rinsing your sinuses with a neti pot followed by an invigorating breathing practice to clear out the lungs, which can be as simple as several full deep inhalations and exhalations.

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Nikki Estes CAP, E-RYT, YACEP

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