I hope you’re all enjoying the gorgeous autumnal colours, crisp air and ambient winds that nature has gifted to is this season. As we are well and truly on our way to the depths of autumn, we notice that we are feeling different. Depending on many factors and our constitution, it affects us all in unique ways. The hot ass pittas like me are feeling super refreshed, kaphas are vibing high but could be starting to really notice that mucus overload and the vatas could be super dry, feeling ungrounded, flighty and even getting some insomnia. Whatever your dosha, if you’re in tune with your body, mind and spirit, you may notice that you are feeling different to summer time, be it energetically, emotionally or physically. Of course, our bodies are constantly changing but ayurveda offers us tools into deeper body awareness, so that we can address imbalances and ultimately come into greater health and wellbeing.
To keep ourselves well this Vata Autumn season we can look to our lifestyle and nutrition to really help us harness the best of this season. Spices and herbs are amazing for bringing our body, mind and spirit into alignment with more favourable states which counteract the environment in a gentle and natural way. What’s worth mentioning is that if you don’t implement proper sleep, exercise, practices or proper nutrition but throw in a few spices, you may not notice a difference. Think of these as accessories to an all ready well thought out lifestyle.
If you’re unsure where you sit with Autumn, and still haven’t nailed the basics of self care then read my post on 10 tips for staying well this autumn.
For me, turmeric is TOO intense and heats me up too much. That said, you should intuitively notice the effects of turmeric and use accordingly.
Uses: aiding digestion, aiding detoxification, immune support, anti-inflammation, energy boost, blood purification, loves your liver, nourishes your heart, helps the joints move comfortably
Shilajit has a bitter taste which never fails to remind me of the smell of farmer’s burning things, bonfires and witches. Well, it is mineral pitch from himalayan rocks so basically tastes of pure earth. It is one of my absolute favourite grounding substances. It is so rich in fulvic acid, which when I ingest it, I can literally feel a blast of awakening energy down my bladder meridian. Although shilajit is better for bladder and kidneys, the winter organs, it can be helpful for feelings of ungroundedness and especially for a toxic body or excess of pitta. Probably why I freakin’ love it.
Uses: rejuvenating, detoxifying, supports kidneys and bladder, purifies blood, nurtures reproductive organs, boost sexual function, helps boost immune system, benefits cellular vitality, super grounding
Ok, so I know it goes without saying but cinnamon is super good for Autumn and Winter. As well as being a gentle warming spice, cinnamon is demulcent so helps to lubricate the respiratory pathways to aid any dry coughs, dry noses or bunged up stuff.
Be careful though, a little cinnamon goes a long way. Of course, I’m a pitta so I’m going hard as hell on the cinnamon because I LOVE the taste, but it does me no good, and that’s counter productive, so use as a pinch in smoothies, homemade chai or even with your lemon water in the morning if you’re a vata or kapha.
Energetically, I have used cinnamon to help me work through heavy, sore and cold emotions such as grief, abandonment and pain.
Uses: aids respiratory circulation, helps regulate blood sugar levels, freshens breath, helps reproduction, powerful aphrodisiac, helps digestion, boost prana, helps alleviate deep coldness in the core.
Dashamula meaning ‘ten roots’ is a heavy, dry and astringent herb which is really lovely to use in Autumn. It has a warming effect on the body and really helps to soothe nervous system, digestion and ease respiratory distress.
I’ll be honest, it doesn’t taste good to me, but not many herb blends do.
Pittas be careful, it isn’t ideal for us with excess heat imbalances, so I only use on the cold days because if it is humid outside and I use this, the headache commences shortly after.
Uses: Calms nervous system, tones colon, calms mind, supports the bones, supports detoxification, great for soothing excess vata, great for lungs.
When I was younger, I just hated cardamom, but after years of living in Egypt, I am in LOVE with the gorgeousness of cardamom, especially in coffee. I use it rarely, but when I do it’s a divine treat.
What is cardamom good for? Aside from cracking your teeth in an unsuspecting pilau rice, cardamom is really great for supporting digestion without aggrevating pitta (finally!) by supporting a downwards energy flow through the GI tract, great for vatas. Cardamom is great also for the kapha as it moves the mucus.
Beep beep, get on the cardamom train!
Uses: digestive aid, respiratory health, helps balance stomach acid, eliminates mucus, freshens breath, it is said that cardamom brings clarity and joy and stimulates the heart and mind.
The word ‘cumin’ in sanskrit literally translates as ‘promoting digestion’. Without aggravating pittas, cumin is a perfect accompaniment to any meal. I personally toast cumin seeds, fennel seeds and coriander seeds and have a spoon before meals. That mix is super lush to cleanse your breath too.
Uses: helps pacify vata (dryness, coldness, lightness) in lower GI tract, helps digest and eliminate toxins, boosts agni (digestive fire).
Of course, it was only a matter of time before ginger came up. Now, for me, ginger is only good in the depths of winter, I am all ready too hot. But for kaphas or vatas, ginger is just amazing.
Fresh or dried, the properties of ginger are different. Any processing does alter the properties of the substance. That said, ginger is just amazing for congestion and heaviness.
I love to use it fresh for my gorgeous vata boyfriend who definitely alternates between vata madness and then kapha bed-loving slowness. I feel like when he has it first thing in the morning with warm lemon water and a pinch of salt it gives him that little bit of zing that he needs to get himself up and at em. It’s not so healing for a pitta, if I have it, I smell SO bad all day, and feel heavy and vile.
So there you go, one man’s zing is another man’s sluggish stink.
Uses: Soothes sore throats, soothes congestion, aids digestion, restores warmth, purifying and cleansing, anti-inflammatory (only fresh ginger), anti spasmodic so great for nausea or upset tummies, fab for travelling to have before meals just chew on it fresh.
What kind of woman would I be if I didn’t talk about cacao. This is a personal fave of mine. Though not many ayurvedic gurus mention it, personally, cacao gives me the comfort, nurture and support I crave in winter. Organic 100% cacao mixed with some plant milk and gentle spices makes me feel lush and comforted. It has a miriad of antioxidant benefits and if you get ceremonial grade it can open the heart and third eye. Work with the vibration of cacao to heal or simply enjoy its luxurious flavours.
Uses: antioxidant boost, rich in essential fatty acids, aphrodisiac, magnesium for brain, high AF in iron, mega rich in calcium, mood elevator and anti depressant*
*if you are on antidepressants, be REALLY careful with cacao and check with your GP first.
Let me know your favourite herbs and spices to have in the cooler seasons! As always, follow, like, comment and share!