Herbal Hydration: Rituals for a Vibrant Vata Season
Late summer in Northern California doesn't know what to do with itself. One day its 95 degrees and the next its cool and breezy. Just last week there was a random thunderstorm! During this time of transition, its important to make sure we're focusing on staying hydrated and nourished, even if the weather isn't sure what its doing. In Ayurveda, each season corresponds with a dosha, or constitution. This simply means that the Earth around us reflects the environment within us. Even though we all live in different places, the seasons offer us a reminder in how to care for our internal landscapes, when our environment is cold, dry, hot, wet or a combination of the elements. As we say goodbye to summer (Pitta season) and move into autumn (Vata season), hydration is just as important for combating the fluctuating weather and wind that can be drying to our systems.
In order to keep our lymph or immune system moving, our cells plump and our nervous system relaxed, we need to be hydrated from the inside out. Here are a few tips to keep cool and stay hydrated as we move into autumn.
OIL UP |Choose cooling oils in the warmer months, like coconut or bringaraj for oilinating your skin. Warmer oils like sesame and mahanaryan are great for the fall and winter months. Try infusing your herbs into oils depending on what your constitution is calling for. More on how to use botanical oils in this post. We love the relaxing ritual of applying oil to our whole body, starting at the feet and working up towards the heart, then hopping in the shower. The warm water helps the oil sink deep into the skin, leaving you feeling silky while nourishing your nervous system at the same time.
USE YOUR HERBS | One of our favorite cooling + soothing plant friends is aloe. This humble herb is a power house when it comes to healing sunburned + irritated skin along with reducing inflammation in the digestive tract. We use the inner fillet (not the whole leaf, which can be too bitter) in drinks to add a medicinal and hydrating kick. If you know your digestive system runs cold, try adding fresh ginger or cardamom with the aloe to help create a slightly warmer beverage, but still hydrating!
PESTOS ALL DAY | Fresh pesto isn't just a delicious dip. Its a wonderful vehicle for getting a daily dose of digestive stimulating herbs and essential fatty acids. EFA's play a key component in keeping our cells hydrated so they can actually absorb water. We need them for balanced hormones, hydrated skin and a healthy nervous system. If you tend to run hot, try adding in cooling, bitter oils like hemp seed or olive oil to your pesto. If you tend to have cold hands and feet, go for warmer oils, like sesame.
DRINK ELECTROLYTE SALTS | Salt is the only edible crystal in the world. Sea salt is created when the molecular charge of the ocean meets the earth. Our bodies rely on these salts that become charged molecules when dissolved in liquids, also known as electrolytes. We've all heard of maintaining our electrolyte balance after intense exercise or hiking. But why do it? Electrolytes help our cells send electrical signals to one another. They support our kidneys ability to absorb water in the body and when electrolyte salt is sprinkled on food, it supports the pancreas to secrete enzymes and hormones to digest and assimilate our food.
Try starting your day with 1/2 tsp of Atlantic grey salt in a glass of warm water to support your kidneys. Electrolytes are all about taste. If its too salty, add less. Not enough saltiness? Then add a little more. Sea salt + river salts are sustainable sources of this precious substance. Though Himalayan Pink Salt has become extremely popular for its brilliant color and flavor, it is being overused and over-mined and this precious resource will run out within our lifetime. We prefer using the renewable sources of natural salt such as magnesium rich Atlantic Grey Salt.
Aloe + Mint Cooler
METHOD In a glass, gently muddle the fresh mint leaves. Pour in the mint tea, aloe juice squeeze of fresh lime juice and maple. Stir and adjust any of the flavors to your liking. You can also add everything to a cocktail shaker with ice, if you're in the mood to get fancy.
We've made this with other medicinals like tulsi or lemon balm tea. Get creative and feel free to use what you have on hand to compliment the lime + aloe.