Kapha Herbs - Ayurveda | Everyday Ayurveda

Kapha Herbs

kapha doshaWatery Kapha tends to be heavy and can use some lightening. Kapha herbs work to pacifying any conditions that are generally classified as a Kapha imbalance. Some of the symptoms include: excess body weight, water retention, edema, asthma, bronchitis, or lymphatic stagnation.  Kapha herbs are often necessary to help with digestion and boosting agni, or the digestive fire. The herbs tend to be stimulating and carminative.  Hot, pungent herbs work best to help liquify Kapha and send excess water out of the body.  Bitter herbs are recommended for melting fat, while astringent herbs are quite drying. For a better understanding of how to select herbs for Kapha dosha, let’s look at the elemental make up as well as the qualities of Kapha. 

Elements of Kapha– Water + Earth

Prevailing Qualities– Cold, Moist, Heavy and Slow

Qualities of  Kapha Balancing Herbs- Warming, Drying, Lightening and Stimulating

Tastes that Pacify Kapha– Pungent, Bitter and Astringent are best because all three are drying, lightening and catabolic (increases metabolism) in their actions.

Virya (Energy)- Warming

Vipaka (Post Digestive Effect)- Pungent vipaka alleviate Kapha because they promote dryness in the body.

Kapha Herbs and Spices

Common Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Content by Suleyka Montpetit

While we may think of Sage as an old-fashion flavoring in European cuisine. However, due to its expectorant and diaphoretic actions, sage can be a powerful ally against-

  • Colds
  • Flus
  • Sore throats
  • Lung ailments

Taken hot, it is duaphoretic and expectorant and is good for Kapha and Vata

Taken cold, it is astringent and diuretic and is better for Pitta. (1) 

In this way, sage is an important tridoshic herb that should not be overlooked.  Sage prefers a warm, sunny location, and is very happy growing in containers.


We know that fenugreek is not only a spice that is used in many masala, sambar and panch phoron spice mixes, it is also a vegetable as the fresh leaves, sprouts and microgreen are used in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, Ethiopia and Yeman, amongst others.

The health benefits of these distinctive cuboid-shaped, yellow-to-amber colored seeds have been purported by Ayurveda for millenia, but now scientific studies show that fenugreek maybe be a useful herb for diabetics and those wanting to control their cholesterol.

A human clinical study on patients with newly diagnosed type-2 diabetes showed positive results using fenugreek. The patients were randomly grouped into two, one group received an extract of fenugreek (1 gram per day) and the other group received a placebo. Both the groups were given the regular diabetes care – diet and exercise.

After two months, the fenugreek supplemented group showed better blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity compared to the other. Researchers also observed a significant reduction in the serum triglyceride levels and increase in the good cholesterol levels.

So fenugreek benefits include glucose-lowering effect, largely due to the presence of soluble fiber. According to a 220px-Illustration_Trigonella_foenum-graecum0_clean2007 study, the soluble fiber fraction delayed carbohydrate digestion and absorption, while increasing the action of insulin. These studies indicate that regular fenugreek consumption can be beneficial during diabetes therapy.

Another study has underscored fenugreek’s cholesterol-lowering effect – as it is a great source of soluble (21.7%) and insoluble fiber ( 26.8%). Researchers say that the high fiber content actually blocks cholesterol absorption. The presence of soluble fiber, in particular, increases the viscosity of the digested food and inhibits the uptake of cholesterol and bile acids.

Another strong reason behind fenugreek’s cholesterol-lowering effect is the fact the fiber acts as a food for the beneficial gut bacteria (pre-biotic). The volatile fatty acids released by these gut bacteria enter the bloodstream and suppress the cholesterol production by the liver.

A point of trivia about fenugreek: if consumed in quantity, its aroma will come through the body odor.  This is because of sotolon (also known as sotolone), a lactone and an extremely powerful aroma compound which is responsible for the smell of maple syrup, caramel, or burnt sugar.  So consumption of foods high in sotolon, such as fenugreek, can impart a maple syrup aroma to one’s sweat and urine.  So fenugreek will litteraly make you smell more sweet.


Ginger is known as “the universal medicine” for its broad range of health promoting benefits.

One of the three pungent herbs in the traditional formula Trikatu (Kapha Digest), ginger warms the body and reduces kapha and vata.

It supports healthy circulation, vasodilation and promotes sweating.

A heating spice, ginger enkindles the digestive fire, burns ama (natural toxins) and supports post meal abdominal comfort.

Ginger promotes healthy expectoration and removes excess kapha from the lungs.

It supports comfortable movement of the joints and is found in many traditional Ayurvedic joint health formulas including Kaishore Guggulu and Yogaraj Guggulu.

Ginger also promotes comfort during menstruation and stomach comfort during motion intensive travel.

Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Rasa (taste): pungent, sweet
  • Virya (action): heating
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): sweet
  • Doshas (constitutions): Balancing for vata and kapha, may increase pitta.

How to Use Ginger Extract:

Put 30 drops in water or juice, 1 to 3 times daily, or as directed by your health practitioner.


A bright yellow Indian cooking spice that promotes digestion and overall well-being…

  • Cleanses the blood and promotes healthy skin
  • Strengthens digestion and promotes healthy intestinal flora
  • Supports healthy blood glucose levels that are already within the normal range
  • Supports comfortable movement of the joints

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a common Indian kitchen spice, has a broad range of beneficial properties.

It bolsters the immune system, purifies the blood and promotes clear, healthy skin.

Turmeric strengthens digestion and eliminates toxins from the GI tract.

It supports proper function of the pancreas, reduces kapha and promotes healthy blood glucose levels that are already within the normal range.

Turmeric soothes and nourishes the joint tissue and promotes comfortable movement.

An excellent herb for those with kapha constitutions or imbalances, turmeric supports proper function of the heart and helps clear the channels of the physical and subtle bodies.

Ayurvedic Energetics:

  • Rasa (taste): pungent, bitter, astringent
  • Virya (action): heating
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect): pungent
  • Doshas (constitutions): Balancing for all doshas, may increase vata and pitta in excess.
Receive Everything Ayurveda In Your Inbox. Free!
Subscription and Privacy: Our free weekly newsletter is sent every Wednesday, and it's filled with our newest Ayurveda articles and resources.Your information will never be shared or sold to a 3rd party.
Green Smoothie pop-up