According to Ayurveda, late winter to early spring is known as kapha season. Kapha is a combination of the water and earth elements and its qualities are heavy, dense, static, slow, cold, moist, and hard. These elements are also dominant within us since we are all a direct reflection of nature.
Kapha naturally builds up in the body over the winter months and in the early spring the accumulated earth and water qualities begin to liquefy and melt into the circulatory system and digestive tract, making it easier for them to be eliminated from the body. Our body innately senses the slow rise in temperature and is prepared to embark on a natural detoxification. We begin to crave drier, lighter foods, our energy levels increase, and we crave more movement. We are inherently ready to release stagnant energy and toxins, and cultivate a greater sense of renewal, replenishment, and rebirth after a long, cold winter.
Since our body and mind are a direct reflection of the qualities in nature, it is very common to experience imbalances and decreased immunity during seasonal shifts. You may notice that during this time of year you experience clogging of mind-body channels, which is manifested in sinus and bronchial problems, congestion, lethargy, mucus build up, seasonal allergies, sleep disturbances, aching joints, and increased ama (metabolic toxins).
Fortunately, according to Ayurvedic wisdom there are many ways in which we can support the body in the detoxification process and ease the transition into spring. One of those ways is with seasonal nutrition. During the transition from winter to spring we should favour pungent, bitter, and astringent foods, herbs, and spices because they help clear congestion, detox the liver, and increase immunity.
Clove, called Lavang in Ayurveda, comes from the dried flower bud of the evergreen tree. It has been traditionally used for thousands of years in treating coughs, congestion, asthma, sinusitis, colds, laryngitis, nausea, fever, infection, general toxicity, and more. Clove is classified as a stimulant and is great for boosting agni (digestive fire), enhancing circulation, speeding up metabolism, increasing circulation, and even awakening the mind.
Cloves are pungent and astringent. They pacify Vata and Kapha Doshas.
Pippali (long pepper)
Pippali is a member of the pepper family and a relative of black pepper. It is a rejuvenating herb that nourishes the tissues of the blood, nerves, and reproductive system. It supports the lungs and respiratory system, promotes clear breathing and kick-starts sluggish digestion.
Pippali is pungent. It pacifies Vata and Kapha Doshas.
Brown Mustard Seed
Brown mustard seed is a warming spice that has a sharp flavour. Pippali stimulates agni (digestive fire) so that food can be more easily assimilated and digested. It cleanses the blood, detoxifies the body, rejuvenates the lungs, treats respiratory infections and disorders, and more.
Brown mustard seeds are pungent. They pacify Vata and Kapha doshas.
Turmeric is one of the revered spices of Ayurveda because its benefits are numerous. It works wonders during springtime for its digestive support, liver detoxification, inflammatory properties and immune boosting qualities. Enjoy turmeric powder in soups and stews, cooked vegetables, in tea, oats, or smoothies.
Turmeric is bitter, pungent, and astringent. It pacifies Vata and Kapha doshas.
Ginger is a warming, pungent and flavorful spice. It is perhaps the most well-known spice for improving digestion. It stimulates agni to help break down and assimilate nutrients with more ease and reduces bloating, gas, and indigestion. Ginger is an expectorant and its aromatics help open and clear the lungs, release mucous, and increase circulation.
Ginger is pungent. Fresh ginger pacifies all three doshas. Ginger powder pacifies Vata and Kapha.