Uses of Ayurvedic Juice Recipes in Summer
In Ayurveda, part of restoring or maintaining balance is in knowing how to care for the body energies in each season. Everywhere, summer means heat which increases the pitta dosha or life force. To keep this energy in balance, Ayurveda uses cooling substances and properties (Ayurvedic juices).
A great way to apply this knowledge is to take some basic food ingredients and add them to your drinks for a cool and hydrating effect. Read about the different food sources, their effects on heat and other issues, and enjoy some of the recipes and tips.
And if you really feel inspired, share some of your own great recipes or tell me your favorite here.
Aloe Vera Ayurvedic Juice or Gel
Commercial aloe vera juice is the gel diluted down. The gel is the liquid form of the aloe plant. In herbal use, Ayurveda uses aloe to help carry herbs into the body specifically to the plasma, blood, and reproductive tissues. Used as a drink additive, it helps demulsify and moisten the body’s tissues as well as absorbs more of the hydrating liquids like water your drinking.
- For general effects, add 2 tablespoons into your water bottle two or three times daily. For best results, consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for more personalized advice.
Cilantro is generally balancing for all doshas but due to its cooling nature has a specific effect for remedying the heat of pitta. In addition, so cooling pitta overall, cilantro is great for skin issues, hyperacidity, and helps cleanse the blood and bile, both of which pitta controls.
- To make this ayurvedic juice: place a handful of washed and chopped cilantro into a blender with about ⅓ cup water and blend. Strain, and drink the liquid (1). The remaining pulp can be applied externally for skin inflammations (2).
Cucumber Ayurvedic Juice
Cucumbers with their sweet, astringent, and cool properties make them a lovely summer food that relieves thirst as well as cools the body and mind. They are also great for countering the heavy, sticky qualities of yogurt which is why you see them used in the Indian dish raita. You can obviously eat more of these in your foods to get their benefits, which is how most people think of using cucumbers. But additionally, try a couple of slices in water alone or with lime, mint or cilantro; or try the recipe below.
Limes have similar qualities to lemons in that they are sour and cooling. Both help cool the body and relieve thirst. However, due to the sour taste, in excess, they can be aggravating to your pitta energies. Lime has the added benefit of not being as aggravating to pitta energies as lemon.
As such, I like to use more lime in the summer by simply squeezing it along with the piece into my water alone or with mint and adding it to other herbal teas like hibiscus. Another interesting fact to note is that it can help counter the effect of alcohol.
Alcohol strongly aggravates pitta in general as well as dehydrates the body overall so should be consumed in moderation. But isn’t it interesting that lime juice is added to many cocktails or even used as a wedge-like with Corona beer?
Melon Juice Drinks
Melons by nature are sweet and cool and act to counter summer heat and even sunstroke in the case of watermelon. Melons are best eaten alone or mixed with other fruits but these drinks shouldn’t be taken with or right after meals or where there is diarrhea or loose stools.
Peppermint Ayurvedic Juice
This fast-growing rather invasive herb can be found in many gardens including my own. It is great to have on hand as it balances all three doshas overall while providing a refreshing and cool ingredient for summer drinks. It even helps to open the mind and senses and promotes harmony of the emotions which can tend to get hot and frustrated in the summer heat! Typically I just add this as a stalk to my water or other iced teas though I also like to chew on it after meals and it helps with digestion, too. (2)
The Pomegranate energetically is sweet, astringent and sour in taste with cooling energy. In general, this ayurvedic juice balances all the doshas but is particularly good for pitta as it helps cleanse and build the blood. It is best to take as a juice as getting the individual seeds is a slow and laborious process!
Rose flowers are balancing to all doshas but the cooling and sweet properties make it especially lovely for balancing pitta not only in the blood and body but also in the heart and nerves. On an emotional level, excess pitta shows up as anger, frustration, being critical and judgmental – basically not a lot of fun to have at your summer picnic?
Though rosewater is commonly seen in cooking, the quantity isn’t usually enough to create a therapeutic effect. In a drink such as the rosewater lemonade, it offers more of a cooling tool.
- Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Print. 114-115, 119, 246-247, 250-251.
- Frawley, David. American Institute of Vedic Studies Ayurvedic Healing Course Part III. Santa Fe: Amercian Institute of Vedic Studies, 1988-2006. 50.
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