As summer heat transitions to crisp, cool, windy autumn days, we naturally adjust our wardrobes and activities. Our bodies respond too—many people experience dry skin, lips, hair, and nails, or dry, cracking joints. Some may notice more gas and bloating, and some have trouble sleeping. According to Ayurveda, these autumn health challenges are preventable.
Nature is the Key to Balance
Foods that support us in one season do not do the same for the next. If it’s cold outside, and we eat cold foods, then the cold quality will increase in the body and cause illness and suffering. Ayurveda teaches that opposites balance. In the cold, dry autumn, Ayurveda encourages us to favor cooked autumn veggies and grains to keep the body warm and juicy. Pumpkins, sweet potatoes, squash, and wheat are abundant in the garden and should be cooked and enjoyed in warm soups, stews, casseroles, and pies. This change in the harvest is part of nature’s transition from pitta to vata season.
Daily Oil Massage (Abhyanga)
Prevent dry, cracking, rough skin with a daily warm oil massage. Right after you shower, apply an ounce of warm organic oil to your skin. Rub in well like a moisturizer, making circles over joints and long strokes over long bones. Daily massage not only leaves skin radiant and supple but helps enhance circulation, settles the nerves, calms the mind, and supports good sleep.
Choosing oil: Head to your local health food store for organic, cold-pressed oil. Try naturally warming sesame seed oil or a neutral-temperature oil, such as almond or sunflower seed.
Precaution: Avoid oil massage if you have a fever, cold, flu, or are pregnant.
Ayurvedic Herbal Tea
Cumin-Coriander-Fennel (CCF) tea is an Ayurvedic classic for healthy digestion. When dry-roasted and steeped in hot water, these three aromatic seeds produce a nutty-flavored tea that’s excellent any time of day. Touted for reducing gas and bloating, CCF is often taken to boost digestive strength without irritating the stomach or increasing acidity. CCF’s diuretic properties are said to support urinary tract health, and it’s commonly used during Ayurvedic cleanses to aid the detoxification process. And, it’s good for everyone: it’s used for all three Ayurvedic doshas—vata, pitta and kapha.
Tip: Purchase organic seeds at your local health food store or order prepared organic tea online.
When not to drink it: Avoid during pregnancy.
Recipe: CCF Tea
1 tbsp whole cumin seeds
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 tbsp whole fennel seeds
Over medium heat, dry-roast seeds in a small pan for five minutes, until their aroma is released and the seeds have a slightly golden hue. Fill half a tea ball with the mix (about 1 tablespoon). Steep for five minutes in a mug of hot water. Store the extra roasted seeds in a glass jar for tomorrow’s cup of hot CCF tea.
Give these a try this fall, and notice how wonderful you feel!