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Spring Tips: Spice it UP!

Posted on 27 March 2018 by Douglas Merrow

by Susan Bass

In Ayurveda, our spice cabinet is our medicine cabinet. In spring, it is often the elements of earth and water (kapha) that are increased. If they are not balanced with diet and lifestyle choices, then our tissues can become heavy, dull, dense and gooey. The increasing kapha (earth and water) in spring often creates mucus, hay fever, spring allergies and malaise. Our approach in Ayurveda is to Spice It UP! Think pungent, peppery, piercing and heating spices.
What would spring be without Cardamom?
Cardamom is our No. 1 anti-mucus spice in Ayurveda. It helps to break up mucus, clear the head and is a carminative (helps to reduce gas). Pop a green cardamom pod in your mouth, bite off the pod and discard it, then chew up the seeds. Cardamom is a breath mint, the perfect remedy to take the edge off coffee and a great addition to any spring beverage or dish.
Cardamom is a member of the ginger plant family, just like turmeric and galangal. Everything in the ginger family offers wonderful remedies for the heaviness of spring.
Homage to Ginger!
In my book, ginger is the king daddy of spices. Ginger’s benefits are celebrated worldwide and include improving digestion, circulation and immunity while reducing inflammation and nausea. Ginger breaks up congestion and burns toxins. Add fresh ginger to teas, juices and pretty much any vegetable or meat dish.
The Power of Turmeric
Turmeric is said to invigorate and move the blood, especially in the brain. When we ingest turmeric, we bring the solar quality into our blood. A small dose is said to support liver and blood cleansing. Turmeric is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Use it in broths, teas, curry dishes and any dish that contains dairy. Turmeric is very helpful in the digestion of dairy. It is important to note that turmeric is not absorbed well unless is it cooked into a healthy oil (preferably, cultured ghee).
Some other fabulous spring spices are:
Cinnamon (increases circulation everywhere, especially the lungs)
Cumin (warming digestive support)
Rosemary (uplifting and warming)
Nutmeg (warming bitter with a sedative effect)
Saffron (very special astringent spice with a bright orange color indicating that it has loads of carotenoids and antioxidants)

Please join the Portland/Vancouver Ayurvedic Community at the Ayurvedic Health Fair on June 23, 2018 at Tabor Space to learn more about Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy. Oregon Yoga & Ayurveda Association, OYAA.yoga.

Susan Bass is a NAMA Ayurvedic Practitioner & Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist as well as the founder of the Sarasvati Institute of Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy. TheArtofDigestion.com.    

Ginger-Turmeric Tea
• 1 qt purified water
• 15 ¼ inches sliced fresh ginger root
• 1 ½ tsp dried turmeric powder
• A pinch of fresh ground black pepper
Place the turmeric, ginger, pepper and water together in a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

Roasted Dandelion Root Tea with Fresh Ground Cardamom
For a power punch to breaking up spring mucus pour boiling water over roasted dandelion root and fresh cardamom seeds (discard the green pod). Let it steep for at least five minutes.

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