Ayurveda is more than a mere healing system. It is a science and art of appropriate living which helps one to achieve longevity throughout the seasons of the year and cycles of life. As summer is fast approaching, here is some information about pitta dosha, which is the governing, fire and water dominant energy of the summer season. We should all strive to pacify pitta during its dominant season, no matter what your constitution is. The following will help you to live a happy, healthy life this summer!
THE BASICS FOR MANAGING PITTA TYPES
The very first thing which should come to mind when thinking of pitta is the brilliant blaze of fire. Pitta types are hot, fiery, oily, sharp, penetrating and intense. Therefore, management for pitta types is centered around:
TASTES TO PACIFY PITTA
Ayurveda describes an interesting relationship of taste and its influence upon the body. According to this philosophy, pitta types often are most balanced by sweet, bitter and astringent tastes as these are considered to be cooling and pacifying.
PITTA IN A TEXTBOOK
Hot, oily, intense, acidity, irritability, inflammation, loose stools, fever, sharpness, nausea
PITTA WARNING SIGNS
- Burning Sensation
- Sharp or penetrating pain
Several considerations for helping to balance pitta types and everyone in the summer season:
- Eat foods which are cool and refreshing (such as cucumber, mint, leafy greens, watermelon, grains, non fermented dairy products)
- Avoid foods which are sour, salty, pungent and spicy (chile peppers, garlic, citrus fruits, fermented foods/beverages)
- Dairy milk, butter, and ghee are often beneficial for pacifying pitta
- Drink more room temperature water and consider aloe vera to help cool down pitta
- Dont burn the midnight oil too often (i.e Do not stay up too late! Early to bed, early to rise)
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DOSE OF LOVING COMPASSION
Since pitta types also have an inflammatory component, which is inherent to the element of fire, make sure to address everyone but especially pitta types (and yourself, of course!) with an extra dose of loving compassion.
PITTA QUALITIES AND THEIR MANIFESTATIONS
Hot, Sharp, Light, Liquid, Oily
The predominant elements for pitta types are fire and water and because of this, pitta individuals can develop excessive heat and dampness within the GI tract, which spreads throughout the mind and body. This hot aspect of pitta can manifest as heated emotions, fever, acne, hives, heartburn, diarrhea, rashes and even urticaria.
Therefore the goal for managing this excess hot quality is this:
- Avoid excessive hot qualities (i.e. direct or prolonged sunlight, spicy and salty food, heated emotions)
- Consider cooling elements (i.e. moonbathing, coconut oil, neem, sandalwood, rose, aloe vera)
The sharp quality dominant in pitta types is a bit of a double-edged sword. This sharp quality provides the ability to penetrate into great depths of understanding often making pitta types critical, direct and outspoken. One the other hand, this sharp quality can also create irritability, ulceration and even worse, perforation. Therefore, the goal for managing the excessively sharp quality of pitta is to:
- Avoid sharp and aggravating qualities (i.e. alcohol, tobacco, criticism, judgement)
- Consider introducing the opposing dull quality (i.e. milk, grains, herbs such as āmalaki, sandalwood)
One simply cannot capture fire within their hands due to its hot, subtle and light quality. If this quality is increased it can cause one to feel nauseas, dizzy and lightheaded. Therefore, individuals who experience this excessive light quality may want to avoid prolonged periods of fasting, and consider the opposing heavy quality (i.e. herbs such as jatamāmsi, dashamula, shankha pushpī). Another consideration is to rub warm castor or sesame oil on the soles of one’s feet at bedtime. This will help to counteract the light quality of pitta with the heavy and dull quality of the castor or sesame oil.
Excess liquid quality of pitta can impair the digestive capacity (i.e. Agni) and can lead to acid indigestion and even diarrhea. If there is an excessive liquid quality of pitta then one may want to consider avoiding hydrophilic foods such as yogurt, salty foods, and even avoid fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, apricots and grapefruit.
Often pitta types have a shiny or oily complexion and this is due to the oily quality of pitta. This oily quality can make pitta types sensitive to oily foods which can aggravate conditions of the gallbladder. It’s interesting that bile, which is stored within the gallbladder, is considered a common element of pitta. Even further, if the oily quality of pitta is increased, it is thought to be a contributing factor for inflammatory gallbladder conditions (i.e. cholecystitis). This excessive oily quality can also make pitta types vulnerable to persistent skin conditions (i.e. acne, psoriasis, eczema). Individuals who have this excessive oily quality may want to consider the opposing dry quality. For example, individuals with persistent acne may want to consider topically applying chickpea flour, neem, brahmī, sandalwood, turmeric and/or camphor in a base of purified, rose water, aloe vera gel or fresh yogurt.
*For educational purposes only, this is not medical advice.