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Hot and fiery Pitta dosha often needs to be cooled down. Pitta herbs work to pacifying any conditions that are generally classified as a Pitta imbalance. Some of the symptoms include: excess bodily heat, inflammation, fever, infections and an overproduction of stomach acid. Pitta herbs are often bitter in nature. The bitterness helps cool and dispel heat from the body. These herbs work to calm and detoxify the liver. For a better understanding of how to select herbs for Pitta dosha, let’s look at the elemental make up as well as the qualities of Pitta.
Elements of Pitta– Fire + Water
Prevailing Qualities– Hot, Moist, Light and Mobile
Qualities of Pitta Balancing Herbs- Cooling or dispel heat, nutritive, drying and calming. Always administer cooling treatment first when treating pitta
Tastes that Pacify Pitta– Sweet, bitter and astringent (all cooling). Bitter is the most cooling and dryest of the three tastes and therefore would be the most successful in treating a Pitta condition.
Virya (Energy)- Cooling
Vipaka (Post Digestive Effect)- Sweet vipaka offers relief for Pitta conditions. A sour vipaka will result in acid formation, thus an increase in Pitta. Pungent vipaka will also increase Pitta in the end.
Pitta 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-
- 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.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel might not be ideal for container gardening (but possible) due to its size. However, this highly aromatic, easy-growing perennial brings beauty to any garden or border. It has towering flowers and will provide a quantity of delicious fennel seeds every fall.
It’s not a coincidence that fennel seeds are offered all over the Indian subcontinent as mukhwas, an after-meal digestive and breath freshener.
- Fennel seeds are considered one of the best herbs for:
- Dispelling flatulence
- Strengthening Agni without disturbing Pitta
- Encourages menstruation
- Promotes milk flow in nursing mothers
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme is another herb that often gets overlooked. Both Hippocrates and Dioscorides discussed the medicinal use of thyme in their ancient writings.
In Ayurveda, Thyme is recognized for its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, antispasmodic and expectorant effects. Thyme is also a powerful detoxifying agent, making it one of many liver detox foods.
What’s more, the herb is a great immune system booster that encourages white blood cell formation while increasing resistance to foreign organisms. Thyme is a perennial herb with very small leaves and tiny flowers. The colors range from white through pink to deep rose-magenta.
Brahmi/Bacopa (Bacopa monniera)
Brahmi/Bacopa (Bacopa monniera) is a rejuvenative herb for the mind and nervous system.
It is one of two herbs said to be the legendary “Brahmi” of the ancient Ayurvedic texts (the other being Brahmi/Gotu Kola).
In Vedic philosophy, Brahman is the name for the universal consciousness. The word Brahmi is a form of Brahman that literally means “energy of universal consciousness.”
It is a potent name for a potent herb that has been used for centuries to promote memory, intellect and focus.
Bacopa supports proper function of the brain and nervous system, bringing balance to the nervous system while promoting clarity and awareness.
It is also commonly used externally in a base of sesame oil as a special massage oil that calms and soothes the mind and nerves.
Overview of Bacopa
- Supports proper function of the nervous system
- Promotes memory and focus
- Calms and clarifies the mind
- Rasa (taste): bitter, sweet
- Virya (action): cooling
- Vipaka (post-digestive effect): sweet
- Doshas (constitutions): Balances all doshas, but may increase vata in excess