Since I started practicing Ayurveda, I have observed that I can tell everything I need to know about someone's dosha imbalances by the way they drive. Here are some clues
that will help you to do the same. Buckle up!
How to tell someone's dosha (or dosha imbalance) by the way they drive a car:
Vata: spacey drivers, erratic, often distracted trying to do multiple things while driving, drive at inconsistent speeds
Pitta: impatient drivers, usually have road rage (although some control it better than others), often yell and swear, most likely to drive above the speed limit, want to get to their destination as quickly as possible
Kapha: patient drivers, very courteous to others on the road, will slow down to let people into traffic, most likely to consistently drive the speed limit
So, if you really want to get to know someone, ask them to drive you somewhere! And if you really want your dosha analyzed in-depth, make an appointment with me by scheduling online at: http://mdexter.appointy.com/
Have fun learning!
Cinnamon is a powerful healing spice! In Ayurvedic Medicine, we use cinnamon to balance the doshas of Vata (air/space elements) and Kapha (water/earth elements). These doshas dominate the environment in Autumn and Winter. If at this point you find yourself saying, "What the #%$$ is a dosha?!", you can find out here.
We can see that people following their intuitive needs recognize the seasonality of cinnamon, even without paying attention to an "Ayurvedic" lifestyle. We tend to crave foods and drinks containing cinnamon during the cold months.
For many of us, the onset of fall brings cravings for apple cider, which contains cinnamon and balances the natural increase in cold and dryness that occurs in the body during this time. Cinnamon is a part of many winter holiday celebrations in the form of candles, wreaths, cinnamon brooms and pine cones, and recipes infused with this delicious spice.
For colds, I often recommend taking three teaspoons per day of cinnamon powder mixed with equal parts of raw honey. Taking it with a meal will help it to absorb into your body.
Medicinally, cinnamon supports the heart, blood, plasma, bone marrow, and nerves. It is useful in the treatment of colds and flu because it clears congestion from the lungs and sinuses.
I would recommend checking in with a healthcare practitioner before using cinnamon or any herb to treat any other medical conditions. Cinnamon should not be taken in medicinal doses during pregnancy or if you have bleeding ulcers.
If you would like more individualized recommendations, book your appointment with Michelle online: http://mdexter.appointy.com/
When the sinuses become dry, the body creates mucous in attempt to heal the dryness. Mucous provides a lovely home for viruses and bacteria to flourish. The practice of Nasya (oiling the nasal passages) keeps the sinuses moist, and is a superb preventative for all types of sinus problems!
Benefits of Nasya
Instructions for Practicing Nasya
1. Take a small amount of nasya oil, coconut oil, organic ghee or sesame oil (organic, cold-pressed, not toasted) onto the pinky finger.
2. Apply one drop of oil to each side of the septum. As you breathe, you will draw the molecules of oil into the sinuses, bringing moisture to the mucous membranes. For a more intensive therapy, you can tilt your head back and apply a few drops of oil into each nostril.
3. Perform morning and evening alone or after Neti.
You've probably heard about using the "Neti pot". Did you know that the practice of Neti (AKA saline sinus rinsing) originated in Ayurvedic Medicine, thousands of years ago?
Here is the lowdown on how to make Neti easy by saving money and making your own saline!
Simple Saline Recipe
Add 8 teaspoons of sea salt to 1 gallon distilled water. Shake until salt dissolves.
Note: Do not use iodized salt. It will burn.
Because I care about all of you, I'm going to share some information from the Neti handout that I give to my patients about doing Neti the right way:
Instructions for Practicing Neti
1. Fill your neti pot with your Simple Saline.
2. Stand over a sink, tuck your chin, and tilt your head to the right. Place the spout of the neti pot in your right nostril and slowly pour the water. Adjust your head position if needed to allow water to flow out of the left nostril.
4. Repeat on the other side.
5. IMPORTANT: Remove excess water from the sinuses after irrigation by bending forward and twisting to either side. When in the twist, shake the head a little to encourage and excess water to flow out. You may also do a forward bend for 60 seconds, leaning over so that you feel slight pressure in the sinuses of the forehead. This will allow any excess saline to drain.
6. Gently blow your nose.
7. Follow with Nasya to prevent over-drying.
8. Neti can be done up to three times every day and can be useful in healing sinus infections.
A “cold” (rhinovirus) is an imbalance of the air, space, water, and earth elements in the body. These elements are considered to be “cold” elements in Ayurveda, so the popular name of the virus makes good sense. The virus enters the sinuses and will thrive if they are dry.
The sinuses are a space in the body and excess air in the sinuses will dry them out. The mucous that builds up in the sinuses during a cold is a mixture of earth and water.
Healing a cold requires boosting immune response, bringing heat (fire element) into the body, preventing bacterial growth that leads to a sinus infection, and bringing moisture into the environment.
Colds often cause post-nasal drip, which leads to bronchitis. Mucous in the sinuses that is present during a cold is a wonderful place for bacteria to grow. It is important when treating a cold to prevent it from becoming a sinus infection or bronchitis.
This is the regimen I use to kick my colds, which I can typically get over in 2 days (or less). Although, full disclosure: I hardly ever get sick since I began my Ayurvedic life!
1. Stay home and rest!
2. Echinacea and Elderberry tea: Echinacea improves immune response. Elderberry has been clinically proven to have antiviral properties (it kills viruses). Always cover tea when steeping to prevent the loss of effective components in the steam. Drink 3 cups per day. Helpful hint: If an Echinacea tea doesn’t make your tongue tingle, it’s not effective. I recommend Traditional Medicinals or Pukka brands.
3. Ginger tea: Ginger works in the body through the same mechanisms as aspirin to provide pain relief and bring down inflammation. I drink 3 cups per day to ease pain in the sinuses during a cold. I recommend the Yogi brand Ginger tea because it is a medicinal blend that also contains herbs to benefit the lungs.
Note: Ginger thins the blood, so it should not be taken with other blood-thinning medications. Take Ginger at least 2 hours away from aspirin.
4. Heat and Humidify: Take warm showers to breathe the humid air. Place a humidifier in whatever room you are in most of the day, and add eucalyptus oil to the water. Eucalyptus has antibacterial properties and is healing to the sinuses and lungs.
5. Neti: If you're not too congested, use a neti pot to rinse the sinuses with saline 3 times per day. See my quick and easy recipe for saline here. Saltwater kills bacteria and heals the irritated mucous membranes in the sinuses.
6. Spicy food: I eat very spicy foods when I feel a cold coming on – red curry, green chilies, and soup with hot sauce. Spicy foods act as diaphoretics (sweat-inducers), which help to eliminate the virus from the body.
7. No dairy or sugar: Dairy increases congestion by boosting your body’s ability to make mucous. Sugar enhances bacterial growth.
8. Supplements: Eat 1-2 raw cloves of garlic per day while you are sick (cut them up and swallow the pieces like pills, preferably with some food), and take Goldenseal tincture to kill bacteria. I take Goldenseal 3 times per day at the dose recommended on the package. Although my symptoms are typically gone by the end of 2 days, I take my supplements for 7 days. I then take a probiotic supplement for another 7 days to replenish beneficial bacteria.
If you would like to make an appointment for more individualized assistance, contact me:
email@example.com or 443-253-6221
Ayurveda FAQ: Regarding Probiotics
Q: Why do you often recommend that people stop their use of probiotic supplements? What is the Ayurvedic perspective on probiotics?
A: When I see a patient in my office who has been taking probiotics for more than a month, that is usually a sign of an underlying problem. Unless that patient is on long-term antibiotic therapy under physician supervision, their physician is recommending that they take probiotics daily, or some other such health condition exists, I will often recommend that the patient discontinue probiotic use. The reason for this recommendation is that we need to see if the digestive system can function properly without the external probiotic input.
Your body should be able to maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the digestive tract without the input of probiotic supplements. Dietary sources of probiotics should be sufficient, and these should be eaten in moderation. I have noticed that Americans tend to hear that something is good for them and then proceed to eat it in excessive amounts. If your body is not able to maintain a healthy bacterial balance without the continual input of probiotic supplements, that is a sign that there is a serious underlying issue in the digestive system that needs to be addressed. If your body cannot digest normally without you taking probiotics, it is important to address the underlying cause of poor digestion, rather than putting a band-aid on it with supplements. Long-term use of probiotics supplements does not fix the problem, it masks the symptoms of underlying digestive illnesses.
Some signs of poor digestion include: depression; anxiety; acne; heartburn; constipation; loose stools; stools that are yellowish, orange-colored, or greenish; belching; passing gas; bloating; recurrent yeast infections; and allergies.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, the human body in its natural healthy state is capable of performing all necessary functions without the long-term use of supplements. This is why Ayurvedic Practitioners use herbal medicines as a temporary input while we address underlying causes of illness by guiding our patients to implement dosha-appropriate diet and lifestyle practices. In the case of probiotics, an Ayurvedic Practitioner may recommend them as one aspect of a complete process to reset digestive function.
The Ayurvedic digestive reset protocol involves evaluation of you as an individual to determine what specific issues exist in the digestive system. We will often recommend that you undergo the Ayurvedic Detoxificaton process is called "panchakarma", which means "five actions". Read more about panchakarma here.
These five actions have been clinically proven to eliminate toxins from the body. The panchakarma process eliminates all excess doshas from the body, restoring healthy digestion. Without addressing underlying causes of the need for probiotic use, treatment is incomplete.
I hope this helps!