In ayurveda, summer is described as the pitta season. Pitta dosha is the force in the body that is responsible for digestion and metabolism. It is made up predominantly of fire along with a small amount of water. Its principal quality is heat (hence why summer and pitta are alike). However, it is also light, slightly oily, unstable, and sharp. The nature of the pitta indvidual reflects these qualities. The chief locations of pitta are in the small intestine, lower stomach, blood, sweat glands, eyes, skin, liver and spleen. When there is excess pitta in the body you may experience some of the following reactions: Red and /or inflamed rash, acne, cold sores, acute inflammation in body or joints, acid reflux, gastric or peptic ulcers, heartburn, nausea or discomfort upon missing meals, loose stools, uncomfortable feeling of heat in the body, frustration, anger, irritability, judgment, impatience, criticism, and intolerance.
The reason why we don’t want to try and cool off with a nice icy drink is because it will literally put out our digestive fire, agni, causing even more imbalances to occur. Instead,It’s best to reach for energetic cooling foods and herbs. The best foods to keep you cool during summer are dandelion, bitter greens such as cooked spinach, beet greens, Swiss chard, and collard greens. Other great options are watermelon, cucumber, mint, coconut, summer squash, fennel, cilantro, and aloe vera. It’s best to avoid spicy, acidic and greasy foods during summer as they will increase the heat in your body and make you feel hotter.
Today I could really feel that my pitta was in excess. I woke up with inflamed red skin and a slight breakout. When this happens I know my body is telling me to cool off. Surprisingly enough my brother had the same issues this morning. I decided to make a pot of chamomile and lavender tea for the both of us to enjoy together in our backyard. The combination of the cooling activity and energetically cooling drink (not to mention the great company) made us both feel much more balanced!