Pitta Balancing Diet Part 2: pitta channelizing Dravyas & Spices

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

A pitta imbalance is responsible for many skin and hair conditions we see today like premature greying, hair thinning, heat rashes, acne, etc. Pitta imbalance is also the cause behind gastritis, GERD, IBS and high Blood Pressure.

Pitta imbalance leads to agner management issues and other hair, skin & health issues

Whenever we see signs of dosha imbalance reflected in skin and hair, it makes sense to correct the diet so we do not further overload the body. When these diet modifications are adopted ALONG with good quality ayurvedic oils and choornas, and external products and Dinacharya practices are followed, we can see a good improvement in the skin and hair condition. It can also positively impact internal issues as well.

Dravyas and Spices which are pitta channelizing:

In the first part of this series on Balancing Pitta through food,  we saw how introducing certain Rasas (tastes) into the food, helped balance aggravated Pitta dosha. Apart from this, aggravated Pitta always means that Agni is not channelized properly in the body. Aggravated Pitta dosha can travel and irritate other organ systems like skin, hair etc, as the Fire in the body is TOO high.

Aggravated pitta flows through the body aggravating other organ systems

Therefore, an important part of keeping Pitta in check is to channelise the flow of Fire (Agni) in the body. This makes the difference between an out of control forest fire which how aggravated Pitta dosha can be visualised vs a steadily burning , lamp , which represents Pitta in balance.

Dravyas and spices that are pitta channelizing help rein in and control Agni, improving the ability of Pitta dosha to work in the body and enhance metabolism and nutrient extraction while eating.

When pitta is balanced, it regulates all organ systems and keeps teh body in health & harmony

 

This is why reining in Pitta is very tricky – we cannot abruptly cool, freeze or totally bring down Pitta in the body as it is vital for digestion, metabolism , warmth and life in the body. So controlling excess Pitta does not mean dousing our Fire. It means subtly altering the fire and controlling it by using fire subduing rasas (tastes) AND by channelizing the fire by using certain spices and cooking methods.

Pitta should not be doused or frozen.

We saw some of these dravyas when we read about how the use of Opposite rasas can pull down aggravated Pitta, like Ghee. But these Dravyas are so critical to a Pitta Shramana diet, that we have discussed them separately again here.

Dairy based Dravyas for pitta channelizing:

Milk, Ghee and Buttermilk prepared to be pitta channelizing (Well churned, non-sour, watered down) are 3 important agni balancing dravyas that should be a part of a Pitta shramana diet.

All 3 of these should be preferably made from non pasteurised, organic A2 cow’s milk at home and not bought outside. We will put up a separate post on how these 3 dravyas can be taken by different Prakriti based individuals for best effect.

Carefully sourced and processed dairy help channelize pitta well

Milk (Ksheera) for pitta channelizing:

Warm, freshly boiled milk sourced ethically from an Indian desi cow is considered an elixir. It is prana positive, ojas building and is “brhmana” or nutritive and nourishing to the body and is also pitta channelizing. Depending upon your capacity to digest milk, you can have one or 2 small glasses of Milk a day as a meal in itself.

Desi cow milk is an elixer

Milk should ideally be had on an empty stomach and considered a full meal in itself. Most of us are unused to drinking plain Milk. So we recommend starting with a small glass (50 ml) of Milk , first thing in the morning to start with.

If you have any pre-existing health conditions like Diabetes, please check with your health practitioner before starting on this.

Given below are milk processing techniques for different prakritis.

Milk for Kapha leaning prakriti:

If you are overweight or have a strong leaning towards Kapha prakriti (catches colds and coughs often, tendency to put on weight) or have been diagnosed with Kapha disorders like hypothyroidism, PCOD, etc, please try this Milk combination. for effective pitta channelizing.

Boil Milk with 25% water added until the water evaporates. This is the basic ayurvedic milk boiling technique. 

Flavour this milk with a pinch of turmeric and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper. Drink warm and unsweetened. Drink this first thing in the morning after bowel movement, around 6 am – a small glass (50 – 75 ml) would do.

Turmeric and black pepper are ideal for milk for kapha prakriti

Give a gap of atleast 2 hours before eating breakfast and do your daily exercise in this time.

Milk for Vata leaning Prakriti:

If you are underweight, restless, prone to insomnia and are easily stressed, have panic attacks, etc, please try this Milk combination to channelize aggravated pitta.

Boil Milk in the ayurvedic way as given above.

To this Milk, please add a pinch of pepper, 1 – 2 roasted and powdered cardamom pods and organic mishri (sulpharless sugar). Start with 50 ml, and gradually build it up as you find your absorption level improving. You can drink upto 150 ml of Milk / day for this prakriti. however, Vata leaning individuals have varying digestive capacity – so the body must be gradually accustomed to this drink.

Cardamom and sugar should be used to spice milk for vata prakriti

Drink this milk after bowel movements, first thing in the morning. Gentle yogic exercises should follow, 30 minutes after this drink.

Milk for Pitta leaning Prakriti:

If you have stable body weight, are neither under / over weight and are generally Pitta prakriti prone, please try this Milk combination for pitta channelizing.

Boil Milk the ayurvedic way, as given above.

To this Milk, please add a small amount of sugar (sugar level in between Kapha and Vata Milk), and a powdered spice mix of 1 elaichi pod, a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of pepper and 2 pinches of dhania (coriander seeds) powder, roasted and ground. Pitta leaning individuals can start with 75 ml and go upto 125 ml of Milk.

Dhania and pepper should be used to process milk for Pitta prakriti

Do light household chores after this Milk (if unused to Milk) like light sweeping, folding of clothes, clearing up, watering plants, etc. and then go onto yoga.

Ghee (Go Ghrita) to balance Pitta:

A2 organic ghee is an elixir to the body. Small amounts of melted ghee help rein in aggravated pitta, channelizes pitta better, help the body absorb nutrients better and improve metabolism. This view of Ghee is not shared by Allopaths and Western Medicine. If you have a pre-existing Medical condition that frowns upon the use of Ghee, please check with your health practitioner before starting on this.

For those in good health, Ayurveda advises adding ghee to every meal. 1 – 1.5 teaspoons of melted cow ghee can be added to every meal. This helps each meal to be absorbed and assimilated better by the body. This is especially useful when Pitta is aggravated.

We have a longer, more detailed post explaining how Ghee should be sourced, why it is important to source Desi, A2 cow ghee. Please go through this post.

Takra (well churned buttermilk) to channelize pitta:

Ayurveda lists many ways of preparing Takra (buttermilk). This varies depends upon the prakriti of the individual. However, to be on the safe side, and to ensure Takra can be had by all, we suggest making well churned, fat free Takra (buttermilk).

Curd is considered Pitta-kapha aggravating and abhisyandi (producing excessive mucous secretion) as per Ayurveda. Hence it is prohibited for everyone , except in certain health conditions. When eaten, it must be eaten only in certain seasons and only with the addition of certain dravyas in it to reduce some of its harmful effects. We will delve into this in a separate post.

Curd is pitta kapha aggravating as per ayurveda

But when we churn curd with water and extract butter from it, we get Takra or buttermilk. The ayurvedic qualities of Takra are very different from Curd. Takra is astringent to the body although it is also slightly “ushna” or hot in nature.

Hence, it is allowed only in measured quantities for Pitta aggravation, provided the curd it is made from is freshly made and not sour. This Takra can be had 2 – 3 times a week or even everyday if Pitta aggravation is not too high. It helps reduce inflammations, and is very useful in conditions like Hemorrhoids, which is a common Pitta complaint.

Buttermilk or takra is slightly hot, digetsive and astringent as per Ayurveda

How to make Takra:

Watered down Takra is made by adding 4 – 6 parts Water to freshly set, home made, full-fat, desi A2 curd and churning at slow speed in a mixer or using a hand blender. The butter that separates should be carefully strained and removed and can be stored aside to make ghee.

The churning is an important part of the ayurvedic process to transform Curd into Takra.

Churn curd until butter separates to make buttermilk

The strained Takra is seasoned with rock salt, roasted jeera powder, pepper, black salt, etc, depending upon the need, and then consumed. Do not drink chilled or ice cold Takra – it is better to allow curd to come to room temperature before making Takra.

Properly prepared and spiced Takra is extremely Pitta channelizing. It is digestive and carminative in nature without overloading Pitta dosha and sharply aggravating Pitta’s qualities.

Agni balancing spices:

In our earlier post on Pitta aggravating foods, we had discussed how certain spices like cayenne pepper, red and green chillies, etc severely aggravate Pitta as they are ”teekshna” (intense), “katu” (spicy) and “ushna” (hot) in nature.

However, spices are essential in cooking as per Ayurveda. They help enhance taste, cut down some of the undesirable qualities of food , and help kindle Agni and also help metabolise food better.

For pitta aggravation, Ayurveda recommends using the following spices: Rock salt, Pepper, Jeera, Curry Leaf, Dhania (leaf and seed). Additionally spices like Fennel ,Elaichi and Cardamom can also be used.

Certain spices like Jeera help channelise Pitta dosha very well

Rock Salt:

Rock salt (saindhav lavana) is considered to have a cooling effect on the body , which is unusual given its taste. Hence it is recommended by Acharya Charaka to be used everyday in meals. Rock Salt is much better for health than using refined, chemical salts which are commonly available in a super market. This is also available as Himalayan salt, Himalayan Pink salt, or plain Rock Salt.

Saindhava lavana is a pitta balancing salt

Ayurveda tells us that using the right salt , in quantities that are appropriate for our prakriti, aids digestion. Saindhava lavana improves digestion, aids metabolism, clears blocked channels, and aids nutrient absorption. Hence when Saindhav lavana is properly used it is pitta channelizing.

If we use too much of even Saindhava lavana we aggravate Pitta dosha. If we use iodized table salt, even in small amounts, we SEVERELY aggravate Pitta dosha. If we eat hotel food, which is often laced with high amounts of MSG, we are even MORE SEVERELY aggravating Pitta. If we eat food preserved in Vinegar and commercial salt like pickles, pickled vegetables and even so-called healthy foods like Kimchi, we are adding Petrol to the Forest Fire.

MSG laced foods aggravate Pitta severely

Mildly Ushna Spices:

Maricha (pepper) and Jeera (Cumin) are ushna  (hot), and digestive spices. However, they are considered essential for aiding digestion, taste and metabolism. When used in small amounts they help channelise Pitta and do not set it on edge. But spices like chillies, cayaenne pepper, commercial salt and vinegar all aggravate Pitta. Hence, “teekshna” or intense Pitta aggravating spices should be replaced with these Ushna, Pitta channelizing spices instead.

Digestive, Pitta balancing spices:

Certain spices like Dhania seeds, Fennel seeds, Elaichi are only mildly ushna and Pitta balancing in nature. These should be an essential part of a Pitta balancing diet and should be used to spice and season food as often as possible.

Spices like fennel should be used to make pitta balancing spice blends

For Pitta aggravation, it is worth replacing traditional masalas with specially made masalas that use the above spices. For example, Sambhar powder can be made using Mung dal(roasted) instead of Tuvar dal and pepper instead of red chilies to suit and balance Pitta aggravation.

To sum up – channelizing pitta through certain foods & spices:

In the second part of our Pitta balancing through food series, we explored the properties of Dairy based dravyas like Milk, Takra and Ghee and also looked at how they should be processed to suit various prakritis. We also looked at the benefits of a few Pitta balancing spices and seasoning substances like Rock Salt and understood their role in pitta channelizing restoring the body to a state of harmony.

Ahara niyama (food rules) are essential to maintain health and well being according to Ayurveda. The Samhitas tell us that these niyama should be subtly altered as per our individual prakriti to ensure that we what we eat support and heals our body, restoring it to a state f balance.

Pitta aggravation is a common aggravation we come across at Krya – this leads to certain skin and hair issues like premature greying, oily scalp, hair thinning, skin allergies, rashes, acne, etc. When this aggravation is tackled through food, lifestyle and external products, there is a much more holistic sense of balance achieved by the body. Therefore we are able to tackle skin and hair problems much faster.

In the 3rd part of this series, we will explore how controlling meal timings can greatly help control aggravated Pitta. We will also look at sample menu plans we could adopt if we would like to balance aggravated Pitta dosha.

For help choosing the right hair and skin products to control aggravated Pitta dosha, please call us (0-75500-89090) or write to us.

 

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Pitta balancing diet Part 1: Using specific Rasas (tastes) to balance Pitta

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

If you are suffering from a visible Pitta imbalance like premature greying, acne outbreaks, then a Pitta balancing diet can help holistically heal your condition. Ayurveda believes in following a holistic approach to understanding skin and hair issues. Hair and skin reflects the body’s state of balance. Diet, emotional well being, quality of sleep, quality of daily Vyayama (exercise) all affect the body. These factors create changes in the subtle alignment of doshas in our body. This reflects in the quality of our skin or hair.

Pitta dosha: qualities and life stage

Pitta is “snigdha” (oily), “teekshna” (sharp), “ushna” (hot), “laghu” (light) “vishra” (mal-odourous), “sara“ ( flowing / laxative), and “drava” (liquid).

Hence when we have Pitta aggravation in our body, we could experience sharp discomfort in the abdomen, diarrhoea, gastritis, temper flares, strong body odour, high sweating, oiliness on hair and skin, etc. We could also develop acne flare ups, experience premature greying & also hair thinning.

Pitta aggravation can cause strong body odour

Ayurveda tells us that every lifestage is dominant in a certain dosha. Middle age, i.e. 30 – 60 years is considered Pitta dominant lifestage. In this age period, we naturally tend to harness and utilise Pitta’s qualities to help us focus on our career, manage our responsibilities, etc. Hence at this stage, we become even more sensitive to Pitta aggravation.

Pitta aggravating foods:

We had written earlier in detail about foods that trigger or aggravate Pitta in the body. This includes fermented foods, salty foods, spicy foods, and sour foods. We have a pretty detailed list of don’ts in the earlier blog post. This list includes commercial packaged RTE foods which are high in hidden salts and imported delicacies like Greek yoghurt, tahini sauce and hummus.

Consumption of these foods is tolerable when our doshas in balance. At this time, Pitta drayvyas help stimulate appetite, aid digestion and allow for appropriately timed digestion in the body. The problem occurs when we have already aggravated Pitta dosha.

In a Pitta aggravated person, a single helping of curd or 2 meals with idlis and dosas in them can act like a lit match on a petrol doused bundle. Pitta sharply flares up and you will notice an increase in rage issues, skin oiliness, breakouts and inability to switch off and sleep on time.

A single helping of curd can tip teh balance if you are already pitta aggravated

Basics of a Pitta balancing diet:

The Pitta balancing diet is based on 3 principles to help balance aggravated Pitta:

  • Introduce Tastes (Rasas) that are opposite to Pitta to bring Pitta down
  • Introduce Agni balancing dravyas and Spices
  • Ensure Pitta is not spiked by controlling meal timings

Each of these work in a slightly different way to harmonise aggravated Agni. In this post , we will explore the use of Rasa (tastes) to help balance aggravated Pitta dosha.

 

Using Opposing Tastes (Rasas) to balance Pitta:

A Pitta balancing diet uses “bitter”, “sweet” and “astringent” tastes that act like a countermeasure to Pitta which is “amla” (sour), “lavana” (salty) and “katu” (spicy) in taste. The tastes are added in this order: Bitter, Sweet and Astringent for best effect on aggravated Pitta.

 

Using Bitter taste “Tikta Rasa” to balance excess Pitta:

Bitter taste (Tikta rasa) is very pitta balancing. Bitter taste has the quality of “dryness”, coolness” and “lightness”. Hence it helps balance the oiliness and heat caused by aggravated Pitta dosha. Therefore, including foods, herbs and seasonings which are rich in Tikta rasa, is an essential part of a Pitta balancing diet.

Many local vegetables and greens are inherently “Tikta” in rasa. For example, parwal, lauki, ridge gourd, ash gourd are native gourds. All of these gourds have an inherent “tikta” or bitter rasa. These vegetables can be added to vegetable / dal dishes to impart a bitter taste to food.

Local gourds are naturally rich in Tikta rasa

 

“Shukto” and Vempampoo-rasam (Neem flower rasam) are also examples of bitter rasa found in traditional cuisine. Neem flower rasam is introduced in Indian cuisine at the beginning of the onset of Summer, when Pitta is high.

Traditional cooking also has included many tikta rasa rich dishes seasonally

Certain spices and seasonings also have a “tikta rasa”. An example is fenugreek seed which is recommended to be eaten by diabetics and pre-diabetics in Ayurveda. Bitter rasa in moderate amounts is useful to control Pitta aggravation and Kapha aggravation. Similarly, rosemary, oregano and parsley seasoning also has a mild Tikta rasa.

Tikta dravyas can aggravate Vata dosha when eaten in excess and cause dryness in the body. Hence, as always, please follow moderation when planning your meals.

Some examples of Tikta Rasa dravyas:

  • Vegetables
    • Bitter gourd
    • Methi greens
    • Parwal
    • Lauki (Bottle gourd)
    • Ash gourd (white pumpkin)
    • Ridge gourd
    • Non sour locally available greens
  • Spices & seasonings
    • Turmeric
    • Fenugreek seed
    • Rosemary
    • Oregano
    • Thyme

Turmeric is rich in Tikta rasa and is highly nutritious

  • Ayurvedic Tikta Herbs used in Krya products
    • Neem
    • Neem flower
    • Kalmegh
    • Vetiver
    • Sandalwood

Sandal is cleansing and good for skin and high in tikta rasa

Meal plan suggestions:

From this list, we can look at including the following naturally Tikta (bitter) foods  to craft a Pitta balancing diet :

  • Local gourds added to liquid / gravy dishes in a rotational basis like Lauki, Parwal, etc
  • Use of Tikta herbs in cooking to season food like turmeric, Fenugreek, etc
  • Occasional use of Tikta dried herbs to flavour food like Rosemary, Thyme, etc wherever appropriate

Include seasonal local gourds into your cuisine

Using Sweet taste “Madhura Rasa” to balance excess Pitta:

Madhura Rasa is “guru” (heavy), “sheetya” (cold), “snigdha” (oily) and is nourishing and grounding due to the predominance of Prithvi Panchamahabootha. Hence it helps calm down and ground aggravated Pitta. This does not mean that we should gorge on desserts and sweets. These are artificially sweet due to the presence of sugar in them. In Ayurveda, when we say “Sweet” or “Madhura rasa”, we mean that the tongue recognises the substance as “sweet” (Rasa) and that its taste post digestion in the body (Vipaka) is also sweet.

An example of this is Milk. A2 cows milk when freshly boiled has Madhura Rasa (tongue taste) and Madhura vipaka (taste post digestion). Hence it is used to balance Pitta aggravation in the diet.

As Madhura Rasa is also “snigdha”, eating too much of this can trigger excess oiliness and heaviness in the body. Hence do not eat artificially sweet substances, or eat too much of Madhura rasa.

Some other examples of Madhura dravya / Substances are the following:

  • Cereals
    • Aged rice
    • Aged Wheat
  • Sweeteners
    • Mishri (unprocessed sugar candy)
    • Guda (jaggery)
  • Vegetables
    • Fresh coconut pulp, milk and water
    • Naturally sweet Vegetables like sweet potato, beetroot, Kaddu (yellow pumpkin), carrot

Beets and naturally sweet vegetables are rich in Madhura rasa

  • Fruits
    • Dried Black Raisins (draksha) – Munakka variety
    • Seasonal Sweet, juicy fruits
  • Dairy
    • Freshly boiled , unpasteurised A2 cow milk
    • A2 ghee
  • Ayurvedic Madhura Herbs used in Krya products
    • Liquorice
    • Guda (Jaggery)
    • Guduchi (Madhura vipaka only)

Meal plan suggestions:

From this list, we can look at including the following naturally Madhura (sweet) foods in our diet to help balance aggravated Pitta.

  • Melted A2 cow ghee – across all meals in small amounts
  • A2 cows milk – unpasteurised and freshly boiled – one small glass everyday

 

A2 Cows milk is nourishing and madhura in nature

  • Seasonal sweet, juicy fruits
  • Rotation of Natural sweet vegetables
  • Carefully sourced Aged organic Rice and wheat
  • 2 – 3 soaked Munakka (large black grape) raisins 3 – 4 times a week

Dried raisin is an excellent pitta balancing dry fruit

 

Using Astringent taste “Kashaya Rasa” to balance excess Pitta:

Kashaya rasa is a taste that is most often missing in modern-day foods. This is an important rasa which is vital to our health. Foods rich in Kashaya rasa usually have a lekhaniya (scraping effect) and are very useful in healing the body of excess fat, fluid collection, inflammation, etc. Kashaya rasa has “rooksha” (drying), “sheetya” (cold) and “laghu” (light) qualities- hence it helps balance Pitta dosha.

Kashaya rasa is wound healing, absorbs excess secretions and clears mucous. It helps clarify the tongue and skin and is calming and healing to the body. It is also a good blood clarifier.

In excess, Kashaya rasa can be excessively drying and vata aggravating on the body. Please do not overindulge in this taste.

 

Some examples of Kashaya Rasa dravyas:

  • Vegetables
    • Broccoli
    • Lettuce
    • Fennel
    • Banana flower

Banana flower is naturally kashaya in nature

  • Fruits
    • Amla (Indian gooseberry)
    • Pomegranates (choose well ripened, sweet fruits and not sour)

Pomegranate is a medicinal fruit which has strong Kashaya rasa

  • Sweeteners
    • Honey
    • Indian Date – Kharik

Indian date is Kashaya in nature

  • Herbs & seasonings
    • Parsley
    • Coriander
    • Basil
  • Ayurvedic Kashaya herbs used in Krya products
    • Amla
    • Haritaki
    • Vibhitaki
    • Triphala(combination of above 3 herbs)
    • Khadira
    • Arjuna Twak (bark)
    • Lodhra Twak (bark)
    • Sappanwood

 

Meal plan suggestions:

From this list, we can look at including the following naturally Astringent (sweet) foods in our diet to create a Pitta balancing diet .

  • Amla made in different methods 2 – 3 times a week: Can be made as a raita (using buttermilk or thin curd), Chutney, Preserve, or as a souring agent into Dal / Sambhar

Include Amla in your diet frequently

  • Pomegranates – 2 times a week – choose sweet fruits only
  • Chutneys / Dips / Pesto made from Basil / Coriander – twice a week
  • Overnight soaked Khajoora eaten once / twice a week

 

To sum up:

In part 1 of our post describing the Pitta balancing diet, we explored how using specific Rasas (tastes) in your meals can help bring down aggravated Pitta.  Using rasas which have opposing qualities as that of Pitta help balance spiked Pitta levels and also bring in better nourishment and satiety to the body, improving health.

In the next part of our blog post, we will explore how using specific dravyas and spices like milk, ghee, coriander seeds, etc help counter excess Agni in the body. In the case of certain dravyas, we will also explore how different prakritis (body types) should have these dravyas for optimal health. Part 3 of our post will have detailed daily meal plan suggestions that can help you plan a Pitta balancing diet.

 

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Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods

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Reading Time: 11 minutes

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Our skin and hair’s health depends on what we eat. Some foods can nourish and heal us. Other foods can throw us off balance and aggravate our doshas. This post will explore foods that aggravate and increase Pitta dosha. This will help you reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which aggravate Pitta dosha.

These food rules may seem slightly tough to follow in the beginning. But if followed, they can help balance imbalanced doshas, reduce pitta aggravation and improve health. Read on.

Premature greying is caused by Pitta aggravation

Premature greying is considered a condition of unchecked pitta aggravation in Ayurveda. When Pitta dosha in the body is sharply imbalanced, it increases heat and oiliness throughout the body.

In skin, unchecked Pitta dosha leads to skin oiliness, blackheads, whiteheads and skin clogging and breakouts.

Aggravated pitta dosha affects hair in a different way. It burns the hair and thins it down. This makes the scalp more visible and gives the impression of a receeding hair line. It also prematurely greys hair, stripping it of its natural colour.

So to reduce these hair and skin effects, we must control Pitta aggravation at source and influence it through a carefully chosen diet.

Ayurveda tells us that sour, spicy and salty foods increase Pitta dosha which in turn aggravates premature greying.  So we can reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods with these tastes.

Sweet, bitter and astringent foods reduce and balance Pitta dosha . Eating more of these foods can help us balance and reduce aggravated Pitta Dosha, thus slowing down premature greying.

Traditional Indian cuisine and cooking methods

Indian cuisine liberally uses souring agents in food. Traditionally this was done to preserve food in the absence of refrigeration. Sour foods were eaten carefully, at the right time. For example, sour foods were eaten on a long journey, when there was no access to fresh cooked food. In South India, Puliyodharai (tamarind rice) is a good example of this.

Tamarind rice traditionally used as a travel foodTamarind rice: traditional travel food

Traditionally, Puliyodharai was made before a long journey, where the food needed to last for atleast 3 – 4 days without refrigeration.

Similarly, India has a long tradition of pickling. Pickling was done from ancient times to preserve seasonal fruits and vegetables. Pickles were also used judiciously to improve appetite and digestion in cold months, and give the body access to vegetables that were out of season. Being salty , sour and spicy, Pickles stimulate Pitta Dosha which is useful in rainy or cold season where appetite can be dull.

Pickles: traditionally used to preserve seasonal fruits
& vegetables & stimulate appetite in WinterReduce premature greying by avoiding these foods: traditionally pickles were eaten in small quantities only and were home made

Traditional cooking always understood the idea of balance. We never overindulged in sour or salty tastes. Care was taken to provide a wide variety of tastes in each meal. Pickles and condiments were eaten in small quantities , in the right season, and were used as medicine. By staying in balance, our diet helped slow down aging and reduce premature greying and early wrinkles.

Food was always made at home. There was no concept of pre-packaged or outside food. so home picklers and papad makers used local, high quality spices to make these condiments. Potassium sorbate and synthetic preservatives were not used to flavour these condiments. Instead home makers used different kinds of salt and high quality cold pressed oils and clean hands to ensure long shelf life.

Modern changes to foods and cooking methods that upset dosha balance

The wise and holistic traditional methods of preservation and cooking have been completely overturned in today’s world. Pickling and condiment making is no longer a home made affair. Instead we buy mass manufactured, pre-packaged pickles, papad, from a  super market . These mass manufactured condiments come loaded with preservatives, E-numbers and excessive salt, severely aggravating Pitta dosha. We no longer use pickles, chutneys and condiments as medicines. Instead we over-indulge in them purely for taste.

Our perceived lack of time has us looking for quick foods. Breakfast for many today is a pre-packaged instant cereal, instant oats, instant upma etc. The shelf life of these “foods” is sometimes 3 years. This food is not just nutrient dead. It is also immensely upsetting to the delicate dosha balance in your body.

Eating dead food loaded with chemicals puts a huge strain on the body and increases our toxin load.

Is your breakfast live with prana? Or dead with synthetic
chemicals, additives and preservatives?Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods: instant breakfast cereal is low in Prana and high in salt

With globalisation, we suddenly have access to foods that were never a part of our cuisine. So we have enthusiastically added vinegar, tempeh, olives and aged cheeses to our cuisine. The introduction of these alien foods severely upsets the dosha balance in our body. Most pre-packaged, shelf ready foods are very high in sodium preservatives, aggravating Pitta dosha. This aggravates premature greying.

Reduce Premature greying by avoiding these 5 foods :

We have seen that “amla” (sour), “lavana” (salty) and “teekshna” (spicy) tastes aggravate Pitta dosha.  This in turn thins hair, rapidly changes its colour to a dull grey or white. So we can reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which stimulate Pitta dosha excessively.

  1. Sour foods – tomato and tamarind based food, fermented foods, curd, etc
  2. Salty Foods – pickles, papad
  3. Spicy Foods – red and green chillies
  4. Sour Foreign foods – sauces, soy sauces, vinegar, cheese, olives, greek yoghurt, hummus, pesto
  5. Salty Commercial packaged foods – instant cereal / oats / upma

Why do we include foods that are considered healthy like idlis and foreign foods like hummus and vinegar? We will see the reasons why below.

1. Avoid Sour foods

Indian cooking, especially south Indian cooking loves sourness. Tamarind is almost universally used in preparations like Sambhar and Rasam. Additionally sour curds and buttermilk is often eaten with rice everyday or in other dishes like Morkuzhambu.

The unchecked use of Tamarind is not a healthy practice. This also goes against traditional food rules.

An excess amount of sour taste in food aggravates Pitta dosha, leading to premature greying and hair thinning. So , sour taste needs to be balanced in your cuisine. Depending upon level of pitta imbalance, we advise severe restriction of sour agents or limiting its consumption to 2 – 3 days a week.

Fermented foods are very healthy for us. But as they age, they become very high in sourness. Traditionally foods like idli and dosa were consumed only few times a week / fortnight. But today, due to easy availability of ready made batter, many of us eat these foods nearly every day.

8.fermented foods high in pitta

Chaats are notoriously high in sour especially golgappas and dahi-based chaats.  Originally chaat was invented in North India as a medicinal item to cure constipation. This makes sense if your diet is very high in meat and protein leading to severe constipation. This is also okay in small, occasional doses in the right season.

However, today all of us eat hotel made chaat. The puris are made with pre commercial maida which is clogging to the system. Oil is re-used many times making it unhealthy. Plus we eat it in high frequency and un seasonally.  This much be kept in balance, again.

9. chaat

Krya recommendation for Sour foods :

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in sour tastes by following these restrictions:

  • Restrict amchur, kokum and tamarind based dishes to twice a week. On the other days, have non-sour dishes like Dal, Kootu, etc.
  • Restrict the consumption of cooked curd based dishes. If making raita, do not eat more than once a week. Use diluted , churned, non sour curd for Raita.
  • Restrict Fermented foods to twice a week. Ensure the batter is home made, and fresh (do not eat if batter is more than 2 days old)
  • Avoid curd completely. You can have thin buttermilk (3 portions water: 1 curd) thrice a week, tempered with salt, roasted jeera and pepper ONLY if the curd is not sour. Avoid all sour buttermilk
  • Avoid tomatoes as much as possible. You many use fresh lime twice a week instead.

2. Salty food:

Pitta dosha increases with salty food which in turn increases premature greying. Pickles, papads, and other condiments are naturally high in salty taste. If these products are bought from shops, the salt content is even higher.

Restrict pickle consumption to small amounts. Eat only
home made, preservative free pickle.Reduce premature greying: Pickles, sauces and other condiments increase premature greying and hair thinning

Krya recommendation for salty foods :

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in salty taste by following these restrictions:

  • Avoid iodised , synthetic salt. Eat only rock salt or “Indhuppu”. Kala namak is to be had very very rarely as it aggravates Pitta dosha.
  • Completely avoid all store bought pickles, sauces, and other condiments
  • Fresh, non aged, home made pickles can be eaten occasionally in autumn, spring and more regularly in Winter. Avoid completely if possible in Summer.
  • Preserved home made, aged pickles can be eaten infrequently if the rest of the meal is low in sour and spicy. For eg: a traditional combination of mung dal kitchdi with a small amount of pickle is okay, infrequently.
  • Do not eat pickles with sour foods like idli, dosa, curd, buttermilk, sambhar, rasam, etc.
  • Restrict papads to occasional consumption.  Balance the rest of the meal to ensure overall low salt. Choose a well made, non commercial papad (organic, small scale), if possible.

3. Avoid Spicy food

Ayurveda says that the nature of pitta dosha is “Teekshana” or intense and sharp. Teekshana foods therefore aggravate pitta dosha because they are similar in nature to Pitta dosha. Many spices we eat are not only Teekshana but also foreign to India. Chillies for example, were introduced into India a scant 400 – 500 years ago.  However, they have been studied and described in Ayurveda with a detailed study of their effects on our body.

Red and green chillies are considered much more Teekshana in Ayurveda compared to indigenous varieties of pepper. So when we use chilli powder in our cuisine, pitta dosha aggravates, increasing premature greying.

11.chillies

To bring aggravated pitta dosha to balance, we advise cutting down red and green chillies and all varieties of capsicum and bell peppers.

Krya recommendation for spicy food:

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in spicy taste by following these restrictions:

  • Avoid red and green chillies, capsicum as much as possible. As they are nightshades, they also interfere with many of the body’s natural functions.
  • Learn to spice food instead with pepper, ginger, dhania and jeera.
  • Pitta aggravated people can liberally use coriander seeds, and roasted jeera in their cooking. Coriander seeds balance pitta. Jeera warms without aggravating Pitta dosha. A small amount of roasted fenugreek seeds can also be used to supplement cooking. Fenugreek also stimulates Pitta dosha , but it can be used as long as other Pitta aggravating spices are avoided, in small quantities.
  • Reduce mustard and mustard oil in your cooking. Yellow mustard is milder than black mustard and can be used infrequently.
  • This is not the time to eat jalapenos and bhut jalokia.

4. Avoid Sour Foreign foods – sauces, soy sauces, vinegar, cheese, olives, greek yoghurt, hummus, pesto

With rapid globalisation, we have been introduced to many new cuisines and tastes. While this is great to understand different cultures, it can play havoc with the balance of doshas in our body.

When we import foods, we do not import the other things that surround food. Food comes with local traditions, historical changes and unique geographical conditions that contribute to the development of this cuisine. All of this help the natives of a particular geography adapt and live well in that environment with the help of that food.

Food culture also comes with ingredient availability. In India, Rajasthani cuisine is famous for the use of many local shoots, roots, due to the non availability of other vegetables and fruits. So yak cheese evolved in a region where the climate was cold, and no other dairy animal was present. These region specific foods often make most sense in their area of origin and travel poorly. When those of us living in hot, tropical conditions consume this kind of food, we upset our dosha balance.

Indo chinese food notoriously aggravates premature greyingIndo-chinese food notoriously aggravates Pitta dosha

Krya recommendation for sour foreign foods :

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are foreign to our bodies and have a sharp, sour taste by following these restrictions:

  • Sharp aged cheeses aggravate pitta dosha. Avoid strongly.
  • Reduce consumption of pickled vegetables like olives, jalapenos as much as possible. Synthetic, commercial vinegar is used for this pickling which is harmful for health. If using, use very infrequently and ensure the vegetable is soaked and rinsed many times before eating.
  • Avoid indo-chinese food as much as possible. Among all cuisines , this upsets and aggravates Pitta dosha the most.
  • Avoid eating packaged tahini and hummus which are high in salt and sour taste. Make your own dips instead.
  • Avoid greek yoghurt: it is very high in fat, sourness and can also imbalance kapha dosha leading to breakouts and dandruff.
  • Experiment with other cuisines in a very restrictive and balanced manner. Follow up experimentation with atleast 1 / 2 weeks of regular home made food to ensure the toxins accumulated do not build up
  • If you have a choice, choose cuisines with tastes as close to Indian food as possible.

5. Avoid Salty commercial pre-packaged foods :

10. salty foods

All packaged , ready to eat food is high in salt. This comes in the form of synthetic sodium preservatives and emulsifiers. Packaged sweetened foods like breakfast cereal, instant oats, are also similarly high in salty taste.

When we habitually eat these foods, our taste buds get adapted to a much higher degree of salt. So we unconsciously start using much higher amounts of salt in our food as well.

Krya recommendation for salty, commercial, pre-packaged foods:

Reduce premature greying by avoiding these foods which are very high in hidden salts by following these restrictions:

  • Avoid / Restrict the following completely: Instant noodles, oats, upma, ready to eat foods
  • Completely avoid powdered or ready to eat soups. They are NOT healthy and are NOT nutritious and are filled with toxic chemicals.
  • Slowly phase out dependence on breakfast cereals and plain oats.
  • Paneer is preferable over cheese . Home made Paneer is infinitely preferable over store bought Paneer. Eat within two days and do not eat sour, fermented Paneer.  You can flavour it at home if needed without aggravating Sodium or premature greying.

To Conclude:

“Ahaara” (food) has a very important role to play in health, and our external appearance. Hair and skin systems react very quickly to a badly planned diet and show up symptoms of dosha imbalance. In this post, we saw the connection between salt, spice and sour tastes and Pitta dosha. we also looked at 5 common types of foods that we all consume everyday, which are high in these tastes.

If you have the typical signs of aggravated pitta dosha like rapid premature greying, hair thinning, early stage female / male pattern baldness, your diet could be at fault. Making these simple changes to your diet can help bring your doshas back to balance, restore health and help you reduce premature greying.

If you have any questions on the above, please write to us.

Krya hair and scalp products to reduce premature greying and hair thinning:

Krya classic hair mask: an authentic ayurvedic hair treatment mask to reduce premature greying and hair thinning

Krya classic hair nourishing system: Ayurevdic hair rpoducts to reduce premature greying and hair thinning

Krya’s safe , all natural hair colours to colour prematurely grey hair:

Krya All natural hair colour is made with nourishing ayurvedic herbs that colour hair safely and help strengthen and nourish it deeply.

 

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Treating open pores with ayurveda

Oily food aggravates pitta dosha clogging pores from within
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Reading Time: 11 minutes

Email 1:

“Dear Team Krya

I have large visible open pores, oily looking skin and craters and blemishes which are remnants of my acne filled youth.

Can you help with this?”

 

Email 2:

“Dear Team Krya,

I am 35. My skin tends to be normal – oily and has a tendency to break out around my periods. My pores are generally large and oily looking. And this is made extra obvious to me when I visit my parlour, and I am told to try chemical peels or microdermabrasion to minimise this.

Is there any natural, non invasive way to get better skin?”

What are open pores?

Have you been “expertly diagnosed” by your parlour facialist as having open pores? Or has a quick perusal of a beauty magazine suggested this term to you? Does your make-up look cake-y on application ? Has a makeup expert suggested that this is because of your open pores?

blog 1 - magazine

Open pores are our chief complaint at Krya as well, and the reason why so many women write to us asking for a better solution to their skincare woes.

Open pores are a mysterious animal though. While commonly experienced and often self diagnosed by many of us, there is no strict definition from a Dermatology point of view, as to what might constitute an open pore. Neither is there a precise definition of when the pilosebaceous ostia (sweat and sebum expelling openings) are enlarged enough to call them an open / magnified pore.

Clinical dermatological Research on open pores:

A study published in the Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology journal in 2015 gives us some clues about these open pores. This study analysed responses from a multi ethnic group of women (Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Brazilian, French etc) of 2400+ women from the age group of 18 – 80.

Some of the conclusions this study drew were as follows:

  • There is no one definition of what is a common open pore. Pore sizes varied across ethnicity, age and region
  • The lowest variation in pore size was seen in Chinese and Japanese women
  • There is a slight increase in pore size from the age of 18 to the age of 40 across all ethnicities and regions. This increase was the most marked among Indians and Brazilians (this increase was not statistically significant nor was it rigorously tested having a reasonable sample size of the full age spectrum in each ethnicity).

Despite not reaching too many statistically significant conclusions, the study concluded that aging affected pore size in some way, and there were differences in pore size across ethnicities. Cultural conditioning and expectations of beauty largely determined each ethnic groups focus on open pores.

Unsurprisingly, the Brazilians and Indians were extremely concerned by their open pores.

blog 2 open pores

Current aesthetic beliefs and practices around open pores:

Pore shrinking is a very common beauty service offered at beauty parlours and dermatologists’ practice. This service exists despite the fact that open pores are not a serious part of any dermatology text. There is also no clear cut acceptable research to show what causes their enlargement to take place.

Opinions among dermatologists vary about the origin of these open pores. Some believe that we are simply referring to old acne scars and pits as open pores. This is explained by the fact that every open pore contains the openings to several pilosebaceous ostia (pores). So what we call an open pore is simply the unevenness of skin.

blog 3 pitting
Dermatologists attached to beauty companies have a different take on this. Many beauty companies say that open pores are a natural result of skin cells being clogged with dead cells, sebum and cosmetic products. As the ostia are clogged by these toxins, the opening of the ostia widens to help the skin perform its excretory function properly. This explains the slowly expanding nature of the open pore.
blog 4 activated charcoal

Depending upon whose explanation you choose to believe, different kinds of beauty products and services are now available to tackle open pores.

For those who believe in the “clogged pore” theory, products and services designed to “unclog” skin exist. Hence you have exfoliating scrubs, toners, and foaming / non foaming face washes being sold with claim ingredients as varied as tea tree ,rosemary to activated charcoal.

For dermatologists who are still on the fence about the cause behind open pores, services to peel or sandpaper away the top layer of skin are the treatments of choice. Hence chemical peels and micro dermabrasion are suggested to literally sand paper the skin and remove its outer layer and encourage a new and smoother layer of skin to grow back.

blog 5 peel

The Ayurvedic point of view on open pores:

Let’s start with the most obvious point: Ayurveda does NOT have any point of view on open pores. What Ayurveda does have, is a very strong, well researched point of view on skin health, and several rational explanations to make us understand why our skin texture and nature changes with age. Ayurveda also focusses heavily on health of Srotas. Through various practices and products, Srotas are supposed to be kept pliable and clean in order to function well.

The Rise of Pitta dosha in middle age:

First, Ayurveda says that “pitta” strikes us at 2 phases in our life. The first is at puberty, when it is triggered by hormonal changes in the body. The second time Pitta strikes is in middle age (defined in Ayurveda and Siddha as the age between 30 – 60). The increase in Pitta in middle age is due to the increase in responsibilities that we face in this period, necessitating the gifts that enhanced Pitta dosha gives us.

blog post 6 teenage pitta
Pitta dosha is the dosha responsible for decisiveness, an ability to complete things, the ability to lead. In short the ability to lead your family, shoulder responsibilities, make financial decisions , plan your career, etc. When we enter Ayurvedic middle age, we throw away the carefree nature of childhood and become responsible . We get married, perhaps start a family, shoulder responsibilities for our parents, take charge of our careers, etc. It is therefore no wonder that we draw upon the qualities of Pitta dosha to see us through this time.

blog post 7 middle age

However, high use or over use of a dosha, leaves the body vulnerable to the effects of that particular dosha being aggravated. Also, as per Ayurveda, like attracts like. So when we are overusing a particular Dosha, we tend to aggravate it further by eating Pitta stimulating foods or doing Pitta increasing activities.

So in our Pitta phase of life, we may see ourselves gravitating towards sharp, spicy, tangy foods (Chinese hot and sour anyone?). We may also became more impatient, get stressed out more, and become less tolerant to things not proceeding as per our plan.

blog post 8 eating pitta
When this mixture of life phase, foods and behaviour all overload Pitta dosha, we see its effects on the way our body functions and the way our skin and hair looks.

Pitta aggravated skin and hair symptoms:

We have seen the basic nature of Pitta dosha before: Ayurveda terms Pitta dosha as “sara” or liquid, “teekshna” or intense, dravya (oily and spreading nature), foul smelling, hot and quick to spread.

If we interpret this in skin terms: we see that Pitta afflicted skin is oily, sweats easily, reacts quickly to disturbances in pitta (quick skin rash), is usually warm to touch or flushed looking, and can have a foul odour .

blog post 9 pitta skin
On hair and scalp we see something similar: pitta afflicted hair has an oily scalp, can sweat easily, and hair is usually prematurely grey, and has reddish tints in it naturally (like Agni / fire). Pitta aggravated hair thins easily especially in the parting and the hair is usually fine and not very thick.

blog post 10 pitta hair

How pitta aggravation enlarges and worsens open pores:

High pitta in the body dilates the blood vessels, and heats up skin. In this scenario, you will have a greater amount of sebum being secreted. This excessive sebum attracts the invasion of micro organisms. As they multiply, they fill the skin surface with debris and dead cells.

When pitta is aggravated, we are repetitively drawn to eating Pitta aggravating food. If you respond to this call and eat junk food, and sharp and spicy food, you are also reducing the body’s ability to metabolise food properly . As metabolism is impaired, there is an internal build up of Ama / toxins.

Oily food aggravates pitta dosha clogging pores from within

This internal toxin build up and external clogging affects Srotas at both ends. Without enough free space to perform their normal functions, they are forced to expand further resulting in larger and more visible open pores. The excess material in the srotas is ejected improperly onto skin in the form of whiteheads and black heads and acne.

This can make your scars and pits look larger, and generate a lot of excess material which should be removed gently from skin.

How is Pitta aggravated skin treated in Ayurveda?

All Ayurvedic skin and hair care starts with the right diet and regimen. So, there is no point in treating pitta aggravated skin without correcting the underlying diet or behaviors.

Once we have tackled the diet, and adopted the right lifestyle practices to control excess Pitta, we look at specific herbs and products that Ayurveda recommends for Pitta aggravated skin.

Pitta aggravated skin is treated extremely gently in Ayurveda. This is because pitta reactions start very fast and spread in an uncontrolled manner through the skin (imagine a forest fire raging out of control, and you will get this analogy). So Ayurvedic skin care for pitta problems (open pores, oiliness and acne) has a very gentle approach.

blog post 11 treat gently

Ayurvedic Srota cleansing

The original Ayurvedic equivalent of ostia is the Srota. We have seen how Srota are present all over skin and help in heat exchange, excretion of sweat and toxins and also produce minute amounts of sebum to help skin stay at the right pH and well moisturised. Ayurveda says it is critical to cleanse these Srotas properly to ensure they are debris and clog free and open to doing their job well. This cleansing has to be done WITHOUT drying out the srotas. When Srotas are dry, they do not expand and contract properly, so the skin’s job of toxin removal and heat regulation is not done properly.

Srotas have to be cleansed with the adsorption and pressure method as per Ayurveda. As Ayurveda says each Srota is like a tube, we have to scoop out debris and dirt from inside the tube (think of cleaning a slim plastic straw). Soaps and face washes use surfactants that only clean the opening of the srotas.  But, because of their drying nature, they also suck out moisture from skin. So the dirt and debris lodged in the srotas still remain and the srotas lose their elasticity.

So a mixture of grains and lentils and herbs that are ground and sifted to a very small particle size are used. By the gentle pressure they exert on the skin surface, the Srotas are encouraged to open up and dislodge dirt trapped inside. The cleansing base adheres to this dirt and excess sebum and sponges off the dirt and debris by skin.

As there is no surfactant use, there is no stripping of sebum from skin.

blog post 12 srota cleansing

Use of pitta balancing, cooling herbs

To counter excessive pitta, Ayurveda suggests using specific, pitta balancing herbs. These herbs counterbalance Pitta in the skin surface by using sweet and bitter qualities to pacify aggravated Pitta. Therefore herbs famously used for Pitta aggravated skin are Usheera (Vetiver), Chandana (Sandal), Sariva (Indian Sarsaparilla), Avartaki (Cassia auriculata), Bilwa, etc.

blog post 13 pitta balancing

These herbs counter the warm and hot nature of Pitta aggravated skin and bring a soothing, cooling effect on skin, besides balancing Pitta and improving the complexion.

Use of bitter, anti bacterial and anti fungal herbs

Because of the nature of Pitta to generate so much liquid (sweat and sebum), it tends to create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.  Hence all Ayurvedic formulations for pitta prone skin use bitter, anti bacterial herbs to help keep invasive micro organisms out of skin. Obviously, these herbs do not work like standard synthetic anti bacterial ingredients like Triclosan do.

Instead, Ayurvedic herbs work along with the body’s microbiome layer and helps keep invading organisms out by boosting conditions for friendly organisms, and working on keeping out only harmful micro organisms. Most importantly, we do not develop resistance to anti bacterial herbs – like we often do to ingredients like Triclosan.

Some of these herbs include Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Bhui nimba (Kalmegh), Triphala (blend of 3 Ayurvedic fruits), Bakuchi (Psoralea cordifolia), etc.
blog post 14 bitters

Use of complexion improving and blemish correcting herbs

Ayurveda classifies many herbs as “Kantivardhaka” herbs, which means complexion improving. When we use the word Kanthi vardhaka, we mean something that is very different from “fairness”.

Ayurveda does not especially value “fair skin”. Skin is only measured for its health aspects and ability to function well. So smoothness, quality and evenness of complexion, etc are all ways of understanding the underlying balance of skin.

Kantivardhaka herbs work to improve micro circulation of the skin and boost cellular repair. They therefore promote an even skin tone, good texture and good elasticity in skin. Some of these herbs include Kushta , Punarnava , Durva, Ashwagandha, etc.

blog post 15 even out

Judicious use of skin balancing facial oils to maintain elasticity of Srotas :

Ayurveda suggests a 2 pronged approach to skin care. The first is cleansing with live, whole grains and herbs. This ensures the srotas are thorough cleaned and that skin is not stripped of its natural protective oils. The second is to augment the skin’s natural facial oils by a carefully prepared botanical oil.

An ayurvedic botanical oil judiciously adds nourishment to skin and srotas leaving teh skin system healthy, supple, elastic and well nourished.

When we apply herb, flower and fruit infused botanical oils on skin, we help improve the elasticity of the srotas. We also selectively encourage the growth of a healthy microbiome.  Balance and health are restored to skin.

To sum up:

We have discussed open pores, and seen the differences between how they are treated by Western Cosmetic ‘Science’ and Ayurveda.

Ayurveda focuses on holistic living and looks at the sum of everything an individual is doing to treat problems that may arise. Therefore, this post discussed how the right diet, right lifestyle practices combined with the right herbs and skin care routine can help look after pitta prone skin.

One of the biggest differences in how Ayurveda treats skin lies in the ayurvedic concept of Srotas. This post saw how Srota health = Skin health . We also discussed why Ayurveda recommends the use of special facial cleansers made of grains , lentils and herbs to cleanse and care for skin.

This is why chemical peels or microdermabrasion are not a long lasting holistic solution to open pores, breakouts and oily skin. Unless we tackle oily skin both internally and externally, we cannot reverse the appearance of oily pores or blemishes.

We hope this post gave you good insights into your skin and explained how to care for skin. Please do try the methods we have recommended to cleanse and care for oily, pitta-prone skin.

If you have any queries on the above, please write to us. 

Krya Products suggested for Pitta prakriti Skin :

Visibly reduce open pores, heal oily skin and improve skin functioning, appearance and texture:

 

 

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9 things to do to help you stay cool this summer with Ayurveda– Krya shares insights and suggestions

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Reading Time: 10 minutes

We speak often on the Krya blog about traditional wisdom and cultural practices which flow from Ayurveda and our understanding of how the body functions and how we must take care of ourselves. We saw yet another interesting deity yesterday at the Parthasarathy temple of Triplicane yesterday. The temple contains a shrine to Yoga Narasimhar, one of the 9 forms of Lord Narasimha, who is himself one of the dasavataras (10 avatars) of Maha Vishnu.

 

Lord Narasimha and Yoga Narasimha:

Many of us would be familiar with the story behind Lord Narasimha. Prahalad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu continued to worship him, much to the dismay of his father, the Asura King Hiranyakashipu. One day, when answering Hiranyakashipu’s taunt of where Maha Vishnu would be found, little Prahalad answered that he would be found in both the “thoon and the thurumbu” (both in pillars and specks of dust. Incensed, Hiranyakashipu pointed to one of the pillars in his palace and mockingly taunted his son asking if Maha Vishnu would be found here. Answering the prayers f his devotee, Lord Mahavishnu burst out of the pillar in the form of Narasimha, half man, half Lion.

1. Lord Narasimha

 

The anger and heat of Lord Narasimha:

Lord Narasimha as an avatar is always considered an “Ugra” avatar or a fierce and angry avatar.  Everytime he manifests, his anger and therefore heat is so high, that it stimulates Lord Agni to manifests as forest fires everywhere. As a result, water evaporates and steam and heat rise from the surface of the earth, heating it up. The heat of Lord Narasimha is so powerful and intense that it spreads not just in our world, but throughout all the galaxies, .

2. Ugra Narasimha

 

To pacify the anger of Lord Narasimha, our scriptures tell us that all human beings, trees, flowers, all animals and all the celestial beings requested Prahlada, Lord Narasimha’s staunch devotee to pacify him.  When Prahlada started to sing devotional hymns in praise of Lord Narasimha,  the Lord’s anger cooled slightly. Then the Lord’s consort, Goddess Mahalakshmi took the form of “Goddess Narasingavalli” and manifested either on his chest or in his lap.

As soon as the Goddess appeared, the Lord’s anger cooled and he assumed the form of Yoga Narasimha where he sits in Padmasana and is seen doing Pranayama to cool his anger.

3. Yoga Narasimha

 

In the Kal Azhagar temple just of Madurai, there is another famous depiction of Sri Yoga Narasimha.  Here too the Lord sits in his yogic pose, and the ceiling of the sanctum above his idol has a circular hole just above eth crown of his head.

Interestingly, in this temple, the Lord is given frequent thirumanjanam (holy baths) using sesame oil as abhyanga oil before the bath with a specially prepared herbal powder. It is believed that the ushna (heat) emanating after this bath is released through the crown of the head of Lord Yoga Narasimha, which then is released through the special opening in the ceiling in the sanctum.

4. thirumanjanam

 

Excess Pitta dosha and Ushna (heat) and its effects on the body:

Pitta dosha is the dosha in our body that controls “Agni” or heat and is responsible for digestion of food, metabolizing nutrients form food, for the quality of blood in our body, for our intellect, focus, vision and complexion.

In our body, the main seat of Pitta dosha is the stomach. The second seat of Pitta dosha is the eyes, where Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha together are responsible for vision and clarity. Every process in our body generates Agni / heat, and to keep our body in a state of balance, we should have heat that is “just right” – not too much or too little.

5. Agni

 

The activity of the brain and eyes together generates tremendous heat, and Ayurveda says that this heat is continuously released through the crown of the head as vapour.

When the excess Pitta generated in our body continues to stay trapped in the body without being released, Ayurveda tell us that there are many health issues that can form and accumulate in the body. These include excessive hair greying, hair thinning, development of acne, rashes that can develop on skin on sun exposure, and even diseases like high blood pressure, poor vision, improper digestion, diarrhoea, etc.

6. rashes

In seasons like summer when Agni in the atmosphere is already very high, the excess Pitta in our body can build up much more. So in today’s post, we are going to look at 9 cooling practices to adopt this summer. These practices will help regular Pitta dosha in our body, check excess heat, and keep our hair, skin and body in good shape during the summer.

 

9 Pitta balancing and heat releasing practices for the summer:

1.Head to toe Abhyanga within the first hour of sunrise (before heat sets in) with sesame based abhyanga oil like the Krya abhyanga oil for the body, and a cooling; Amla based hair oil for the hair. This Abhyanga should be done twice a week.

  • Sesame Oil for the body balances vata and also helps open up the pores, allows the oil to penetrate deeply and helps the dissipation of heat through the skin
  • Amla based hair oil cools the scalp and brain roughly, helps release excess pitta accumulated in the eyes and head through the crown, improves hair growth and reduces hair greying and thinning
  • The abhyanga, if done properly and regularly, intensively removes excess heat through sweat , urine and bowel movements in the body, corrects impaired vata dosha, and leaves you feeling fresh, full of energy and sharp through the day

7. abhyanga

2.Hair Oiling the scalp with a pure, traditional Amla based hair oil every evening atleast 45 minutes before dinner or 2 hours after dinner, atleast 30 minutes before sleeping.

  • This hair oiling helps release excess heat accumulated during the day
  • This hair oiling also nourishes the scalp and promotes healthy hair growth
  • If done before dinner, it helps settle pitta in the body ensure the digestive fire is not too high or too low. If done after dinner, just before sleeping, it ensures restful sleep.
  • Only a small quantity of hair oil needs to be used – ½ teaspoon of hair oil is sufficient

8. hair oiling

3.Preferentially eat split Mung dal over other Dals this summer

  • Most lentils are considered high in pitta dosha, some are considered high in kapha dosha. All lentils are considered high in vata dosha
  • Lentils like Tuvar dal are generally considered high in Pitta, so are traditionally boiled or pressure-cooked with cooling fats like castor oil or ghee to ensure both pitta and vata is balanced.
  • Lentils like Rajma and Channa are considered very difficult to digest – they are best avoided in Summer where the high heat in the atmosphere unbalances the normal digestive process leaving us less able to eat tough-to-digest foods.
  • Mung Dal is considered, light, tridoshic and the least vata aggravating lentil. It is considered very soothing and cooling to the stomach and is normally fed to those with impaired Pitta dosha or digestive disorders.
  • It is an ideal lentil base in summer to ensure Pitta is not aggravated, and your digestive system is not taxed by difficult to digest lentils.

9.split mung dal

 

4.Add melted cow ghee to your diet; avoid other dairy products like curd, cheese, yoghurt, and milk based sweets

  • Most dairy products are unsuitable for this season as they may be difficult to digest: curd is an absolute no, as is cheese because they are both high in pitta and kapha. consumption of these 2 dairy products will build up heaviness and sluggishness sin the system in this season
  • Milk based sweets and consumption of high quantities f milk based drinks like tea and coffee (except advised to for a specific medical condition) also create ama and sluggishness in the system.
  • If you must drink some form of fermented dairy, then thin, Ayurvedic buttermilk is ok on occasion.
  • The safest dairy product to consume, which will actually help you this summer is melted cow ghee. Add to all meals to improve digestive ability.

10.no sweets

 

5.Use a grain based body wash powder or ubtan with cooling herbs for your bath everyday

  • In summer, as the sweat secretion from the body increases, there is also a proliferation of debris, dead cells and micro organisms which may grow on the skin, blocking the minor srotas.
  • These small micro organisms tend to feed on the small sebum secretions that come along with sweat.
  • These increases body odour in summer and also tends to block off the minor srotas of the skin, impairing proper functioning of the sweat glands, blocks healthy perspiration and also causes small bumps, rashes and minor inflammation o skin
  • Using a well formulated grain and lentil based ubtan with the right cooling herbs micro polishes the skin, opens up the minor srotas and cleans them well, and facilitates healthy perspiration and removal of ama from the body. This practice keeps skin free of pitta clogged reactions like rashes, acne, etc.

11.summer cleanser

 

6.Eat your meals on time and eat dinner as close to sunset as possible

  • In summer, as Pitta dosha is naturally aggravated, digestion becomes slightly impaired.
  • So eating late and at odd times strains the entire body and interferes with proper nutrient absorption.
  • Eating your meals on time, helps keep the appetite steady, helps nutrient absorption and keeps the body light and active

12.eat on time

 

7.Drink naturally cooled water and not fridge-cooled water whenever thirsty. Supplement with natural tender coconut water. AVOID all other fruit juices, colas, iced teas, granitas and synthetic drinks.

  • Fridge cooled water tends to be vata promoting and leaves the mouth and body dry
  • Naturally cooled water (water stored in earthen ware) is refreshing for the body, promotes natural heat exchange and allows for excess pitta to leave the body through urine and sweat.
  • Coconut water is an excellent electrolyte restoring , nutrient rich, cooling summer drink
  • Eating seasonal fruit is preferable over drinking the juice (even if it is made at home without added sugar) as chewing stimulates the digestive system, ensures you eat there right quantity of fruit (and not too much) and that your system is not overloaded.
  • Colas, iced tea and iced coffee are very vata aggravating, water and nutrient depleting and acidic and bone weakening. Avoid in all seasons, especially summer.

13.clay pots

 

8.Avoid the peak sun. Stay indoors between 10 am – 3 pm if possible.

  • Go out only if you must and cover your head and arms with protective clothing.
  • After coming back from high sun exposure, give yourself atleast 10 minutes of rest before drinking water. Do not drink cold water immediately after sun exposure.
  • Do not have a bath / cold shower immediately after sun exposure as it sends your system into shock.

14.sun protection

 

9. Eat bitter foods and avoid extremely sour or spicy foods to control pitta aggravation

  • Eat a small quantity of bitters regularly through the season like bitter gourd, local greens. These bitters help balance pitta
  • Control the amount of sour and spicy food you eat as both aggravate pitta dosha. Very mildly spiced food is best for this season.

15.sour and spicy food

To conclude:

A part of Ayurveda gives us detailed information, diets and practices for each season, called “Ritucharya”. By following the appropriate Ritucharya for Summer, we can avoid many of the health issues that plague us, and continue to lead a life of good health, balance and harmony.

We hope you enjoyed this post on 9 cooling practices and diet changes for the Summer. If you would like us to cover any specific topics on health which are appropriate for the Krya blog, do write to us.


Krya products recommended for this season:

  • The KryaAbhyanga system for Men and Women (consists of the Krya Abhyanga oil and either a Women’s ubtan or a Men’s ubtan. ) The system is designed to balance aggravated vata and pitta dosha. Most urban dwellers additionally have aggravated vata dosha due to their long commutes, nature of work, uncertain eating timings, etc. This together pushes vata dosha along with pitta dosha out of balance
  • The Krya Abhyanga skin oil with Vacha and Ashwagandhanoticeably brings down aggravated vata and pitta. Users report seeing a reduction in vata related aches and pains and balancing of excess pitta through the body with regular use.
  • The Krya Abhyanga bath powder for Women with Lotus Leaf and Lodhra – formulated to cleanse skin after an abhyanga. Helps remove excess oil, dead cells, debris for the skin without stripping it of moisture. Prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors as a natural soap substitute.
  • The Krya Abhyanga bath powder for Men with Vetiver & Van Tulsi– formulated to cleanse skin after an abhyanga. Helps remove excess oil, dead cells, debris for the skin without stripping it of moisture.

 

Bodywashes for adults: meant to replace soap; can be used even if you have not oiled your skin

 

Hair Oils for different hair types:

 

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Is grey hair bothering you? Krya shares 7 ways you can slow down premature greying today by changing your food and lifestyle habits

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We wrote about premature greying last week and how Ayurveda classifies premature greying. As we saw last week, Ayurveda is quite definitive, precise and holistic about exactly why premature greying occurs.

Premature greying is seen as a consequence of unchecked, aggravated Pitta dosha. In addition, repressing or not dealing with extreme anger and extreme grief (krodha and shokha) is also said to cause premature greying.

 

The connection between the Mind and body according to Ayurveda

All traditional medicine is able to see the connections between our emotions and the state of our health. In Ayurveda, every dosha is responsible for a certain kind of emotional trait. When this dosha goes out of balance (either too high or too low), Ayurveda is able to predict the corresponding emotional state. Similarly emotional states can also affect the doshas causing an imbalance.

 

Vata dosha and depression

Excess vata can cause fear and depression. Fear is very correctly connected to Vata dosha which is the dosha of mobility. All of us are programmed to react to adverse situations by either expressing “fright” or “flight” – both these responses are governed by Vata dosha which gives us the capacity to move swiftly and also helps us “get afraid”. In the same way, when we are afraid or depressed, our vata dosha can aggravate as this is the physical manifestation of our emotional state.

1. vata and fear

Aggravated vata dosha gives us dryness all over the body as dryness is the key quality of vata dosha. So your may find that your skin and hair are perpetually dry and flaky no matter how much moisturiser you may use. Vata also governs the organs of mobility and creativity so aggravated vata may manifest as a difficulty in falling asleep or aches and pains in your joints.

 

Pitta dosha and anger

Grief and anger are states governed by Pitta dosha. So when we constantly react with anger or grief to our external circumstances, we are overusing Pitta dosha. Similarly, if we physically aggravate Pitta dosha by overeating spicy, sour or salty food, we tend to respond much faster in anger than in patience.

2.pitta and fine lines

 

Aggravated pitta dosha increases fire all over our body. So you may find your skin and hair feeling dry as though you have been standing in hot midday sun for a long time. The hair turns grey, goes find and starts to thin and bald. The skin develops red, inflammatory conditions like prickly heat, sensitivity, rashes and acne.

 

Kapha dosha – weight gain and ennui

Kapha dosha in its normal, un-aggravated state is an important and strength giving dosha. It gives our mind and body “sthiram” or steadiness, and helps us cultivate the qualities of patience, gentleness, forbearance and generosity. When kapha dosha is in excess, in the physical level it can contribute to a feeling of sloth, lack of energy and ennui. When we over indulge in kapha aggravating foods like sweet and oily foods, and sweet and cold foods, we put on excess weight. In this situation we find ourselves in a vicious cycle where we are unwilling or lack the energy to do something about this excess weight. This excess weight is bought on by unchecked kapha based eating which in turn aggravates kapha dosha in the body which contributes to the mental state of sloth and ennui.

3. Kapha and ennui

 

In other times we may be in a mental state of sloth. We may have ennui in general and let ourselves or our surroundings go and not care to make a change. In this state, we are harnessing unchecked kapha dosha. In the mental state we may find ourselves quickly adding on physical weight or developing conditions like hypo thyroidism, PCOD, etc. We may also find that we are drawn to kapha aggravating foods when we are in this mental state!

 

Aggravated kapha dosha increases thickness, paleness and coldness all over the body. It also promotes unnecessary growth. You may find that the skin is cold to touch, lacks healthy complexion. You may also develop excess growth based skin and hair conditions like psoriasis and oily dandruff. The body may feel heavy, cold, thick and tired all the time.

 

Tackling aggravated dosha conditions

We have spoken a little about what happens to our moods, mind and body whenever one or more of our doshas are imbalanced. In Ayurveda, opposites bring moderation and balance to the body. So when pitta is aggravated, or vata is aggravated, we attempt to pull the body back to a state of balance by eating the opposite of the dosha that is imbalanced.

4.opposites bring balance

 

We also practice external applications, use products and follow therapies that aim to reduce the dosha that is in excess. By using this principle of opposites, we bring the body back to balance.

 

What does Pitta dosha control in the body?

Normal (prakrta) Pitta dosha helps nourish the body by performing the function of digestion and helping separate nutrients and nourishing parts of the food from waste products. Pitta dosha also produces heat and warmth through the body. It stimulates desire, produces hunger and thirst. The pitta dosha also determines the colour and complexion of our skin, and is responsible for our intellect, understanding, courage and our decisiveness and ability to get things done.

 

What aggravates Pitta dosha?

We discussed 6 reasons why Pitta dosha aggravates in detail last week. These reasons are as follows:

  1. Having a pitta prakriti and aggravating our dosha by choosing pitta aggravating foods and practices
  2. Over exposure to the Sun
  3. Undergoing agni increasing treatments
  4. Eating Pitta aggravating food
  5. Not oiling the hair and scalp regularly
  6. High stress that is not addressed or dealt with properly

Any or all of these reasons can give you classic signs of Pitta dosha going out of balance like premature greying, acidity, GERD, Ulcers, frequent stomach upsets, adult acne and high skin sensitivity, cracked heels and palms and fine, thinning hair.

 

We will now see what we can do to bring this aggravated Pitta to balance.

 

Will bringing my aggravated Pitta dosha turn my grey hair black?

Ayurveda tells us that we cannot reverse the colour of hair that is already grey or white. However, hair, skin and all the cells of our body are constantly renewing themselves. By bringing Pitta dosha back to balance, we can slow down the process of greying and delay this process of aging.

This means that instead of growing more and more grey / white hair, there is a good chance you can grow new black hair when you bring Pitta dosha back to balance.

 

7 Pitta reducing foods, habits and practices to follow:

Any dosha balancing regimen has to start by reducing or eliminating the foods, habits and practices that caused the aggravation in the first place. So as we explained in our earlier posts on pitta dosha and what aggravates it, we start by reducing or eliminating salty, spicy and sour food, over exposure to heat, situations that put us in grief or anger, and we learn to control our stress.

In addition:

  1. Eat bitters

Bitter foods and bitter herbs help cool down Pitta dosha. Bitters are also used as medicines that involve pacifying or balancing pitta based diseases like jaundice which is seen in Ayurveda as a disease of aggravated Pitta.

6.bitter controls pitta

 

Bitter vegetables like bitter gourd, bitter greens like methi and palak and all native greens, and bitter spices like methi seeds, coriander seeds all help cool down excess Pitta. Preparations like Neem leaf chutney are also culturally eaten around the beginning of summer to herald the beginning of the traditional New Year. This is again an excellent practice to help cleanse the body and to tackle the build up of excess pitta in the start of the season.

7.bitter leaves in summer

 

Similarly, bitter herbs are excellent for topical use on skin, scalp and hair in aggravated Pitta like conditions. Krya extensively uses bitter herbs like Nimba (Neem), Vacha (Sweet flag), Kalmegh (Maha Nimba), Kushta, etc in skin and hair formulations.

 

  1. Eat and apply Amla

There are several pitta pacifying herbs and fruits in Ayurvedic lore. However, in our set of recommendations, we have made it a point to separately mention the Amla (Indian gooseberry). This is because it is an extremely powerful rasayana (youth giving) herb, is very powerful in its pitta pacifying nature and is also an excellent culinary and external application herb.

Amla is also called the “Dhatri phala” or the fruit which acts as a nurse, because it is so medicinally valuable and powerful. It is one of the hoariest herbs in Ayurveda and finds use in formulations spanning diseases and medical conditions.

8.amla the dhatri

 

In cooking, the Amla is a very valuable herb. Although it has a sour taste at first in the mouth, it is the only fruit which has all the 6 tastes (rasas) inside it, according to Ayurveda (sweet, sour, salty, astringent, bitter, spicy). It is very sweet and soothing on digestion and therefore helps build the dhatus and is regenerative in its action.

 

We have mentioned how sour taste aggravates Pitta dosha. Using Amla as the souring agent in your food vastly improves the nutritional quality of your food and also reduces the Pitta component of your food. You can use it in its fresh form , as a juice or a paste and even as a dried power to add sour taste to your food instead of conventional and pitta aggravating souring agents like tamarind, mango, lemon juice, tomatoes, etc.

 

Fresh amla is nutritionally more powerful than dried amla. If using dried amla, make sure you use it within 6 – 9 months of drying. Choose a trusted source for this. Do not buy dried Amla powder – if possible buy dried amla pieces and powder just before use as this helps retain its nutritional qualities.

9.dried amla

 

Amla is the only heat stable source of Vitamin C. This means that you can boil it and use it in strongly boiled dishes like typical Indian cuisine without any worry of losing its nutritional properties. Amla is better eaten as a food than drunk as a tea or eaten as a supplement. When eaten as a food, it helps us assimilate the nutrients of the rest of our food as well.

 

Amla is also an excellent anti aging herb. We use it extensively in Krya’s Moisture plus range of face washes, face masks and face oils meant for dry or aging skin. We also use Amla extensively in our Hair products, both oils and washes and powders.

 

  1. Eat desi Cow ghee regularly

One of the very best ways to bring aggravated Pitta and vata dosha under control is to eat high quality, grass fed and hormone free, desi (native) cow ghee.

Cow ghee occupies a very special place in Ayurveda and there are literally hundreds of ways it is used in Ayurveda. Cow ghee is considered tridoshic in Ayurveda and there is extensive literature on how this cow ghee should be sourced, how the cow and her calf must be treated, right down to different ways of making this ghee.

10.Kamadhenu

 

Most people across various medical conditions can benefit eating Cow ghee. As can all of us with small dosha imbalances and no major health issues.

 

There was a time in the western world when Cow ghee was universally panned as being bad for the heart and for the arteries. The western world has now reversed its stand. Grass fed cow ghee is one of the very high, in demand fats. Western medicine and nutritionists are now saying what Ayurveda has been saying all along – that limited small quantities of good quality cow ghee is very good for the body, and the arteries and the heart. And consumption of cow ghee does not clog the arteries – using oils like palm oil, dalda and vanaspati does.

 

Unfortunately this is yet to hit India. So in India, we routinely have consumers asking us how we can recommend ghee when it may lead to weight gain.

 

Nothing can be further from the truth. We will do a separate post on the properties of cow ghee. But for now, if you are experiencing pitta aggravation, eating 2 – 3 teaspoons of ghee per day along with your food can rapidly bring down your pitta aggravation. You will find that your skin texture improves within 2 months of regular ghee consumption and a reduction in your pitta aggravation.

11.melted cow ghee

Cow ghee is important at almost every stage as per Ayurveda. Children need regular cow ghee as this is the stage of brain development and the fat in cow ghee helps proper brain and dhatu development. Old people need cow ghee to help lubricate their joints and bring down inflammatory conditions.

Young adults need cow ghee to help cope with mental stress and prepare their body for fertility. People in their 30s- 50s need cow ghee as this is naturally the time of increased pitta. Cow ghee consumption helps balance this aggravated pitta.

12.ghee for all ages

Remember: Eat only freshly melted liquid cow ghee and not solid. This helps control kapha and mucous production which could increase if you eat un-melted cow ghee. Go for high quality cow ghee: by this we mean ghee that is churned using the proper Ayurvedic technique, sourced from free range, grass fed indigenous cows that are treated well.

 

Also remember: We are talking about Desi Cow ghee here and not Desi Buffalo Ghee. Buffalo Ghee has entirely different properties and is not recommended for universal consumption.

 

Ayurveda is very conscious of the karmic effect of foods. If you source dairy or produce from poorly treated, inhumane conditions or pesticide sprayed areas, the pranic quality of that food is also poor. Ensure your dairy is sourced from humane, well treated, well reared and well raised cows where the calves are treated well too.

 

  1. Treat Agni well and eat on time. Eat only when you are hungry.

In Hindu mythology, Agni is given the status of a God. Lord Agni is always given offerings of food, ghee and herbs, as he is always hungry and looking for food.

You may remember your Mahabharata with reference to Lord Agni. Arjuna and Krishna burned the Khandava forest to build the capital city of Indraprastha. They offered the entire Khandava forest to Lord Agni and he consumed every single tree and living being in the forest to satiate his hunger. Pleased after his meal, he blessed both Arjuna and Lord Krishna.

13.khandava forest

 

Just like in Mythology, the Agni in your body is always hungry. When Agni increases, as when Pitta dosha is aggravated, the hunger in your body increases even more. This is why excess hunger is also a sign of dosha imbalance in Ayurveda. Appetite, like everything else, has to be balanced and normal.

We have talked about what the right meal times are in previous posts. Meal times should follow the course of the Sun to maximise digestive ability and nutrient absorption.

 

It is important to feed the Agni in your body on time and in correct quantity so that he is properly satiated. Skipping meals, eating at varying timings and not eating the right quantity can all aggravate Agni and therefore Pitta dosha.

Similarly, eating when Agni is not ready is also a sure fire (pun intended) path to disease. It is far better to skip a meal when you are not hungry than to eat on schedule even though you have no hunger. This builds toxins, ama and diseases and blockages in the body.

14.agni angered

Remember: Starving the Agni in your body, means that it will eat your body / tissues inside instead. This is the cause for diseases like Ulcers. Ensure you eat steadily on time. Similarly eating when you are not hungry will increase toxins and slow down nutrient absorption. So respect your body’s Agni.

 

  1. Take proper pitta balancing precautions whenever you are exposed to heat , light or the Sun is increased

We spoke about how overexposure to sun and heat and light treatments can increase the Agni in your body. Ensure that when this exposure is inevitable you take sensible Agni reducing precautions.

When exposed to the Sun, do not strain your Agni by over exercising, eating heavy food, working late or doing an abhyanga. Do not eat immediately after sun exposure or a heat based treatment. Take a cooling down period of 30 – 45 minutes where you sit indoors and drink normal temperature or warm water.

15.cool down

 

Once your body has been accustomed to the indoors and has a chance to naturally cool down, you can then take a shower and use Agni reducing herbs and pastes to further cool down your body. Do not bathe, eat cold foods or drink cold drinks immediately after sun exposure.

If the nature of your work requires constant sun exposure, ensure your diet is low in pitta aggravating foods and that you eat cow ghee and add the pitta reducing foods and regimens we have mentioned in this post and earlier.

 

  1. Use Agni reducing external applications like hair oil, skin oil and herbal Kajal (Anjana)

We spoke yesterday about how the eyes are an important seat of Pitta dosha and how the heat generated in the eyes and brain has to be reduced on the spot. The use of herbal Kajal (anjana) and herbal hair oil is well documented in Ayurveda for the same.

Herbal Kajal generally used eye soothing herbs like daru haridra, ghee, castor oil, Bhringaraj, etc to remove excess pitta and to remove the dirt encrusted in the eyes through tears. This helps keep the eyes in good working order. Apart from use of Anjana, Ayurveda advises balanced use of the eyes.

Cleaning the eyes with clean cold water, first thing on waking up and  – 3 times during the day also helps flush our impurities and keeps down excess pitta.

16.eyes

 

Remember: do not use your smart phone, e-reader, laptop within the first 2 hours after you wake up and in the last 2 hours before sleep. This prevents shock to the eyes, allows rest and allows the eye muscles to slowly unwind and repair themselves.

Using a good herbal hair oil frequently, helps calm the brain and dissipate excess heat from the head. This also incidentally keeps the hair strands in good health, repairs cuticular damage and maintains the hair strands in good elasticity, strength, and gloss. It also helps promote hair growth.

For cooling the head, we recommend late evening oiling of the scalp using small quantities of hair oil. About ¼ – ½ teaspoon of hair oil should be warmed in the palm and used to gently massage the scalp alone. This amount of hair oil is usually well absorbed by the scalp. With regular use you should notice good, peaceful sleep and freshness in the morning as a sign that this practice is working well for you.

17.frequent oiling

 

Besides night oiling, Ayurveda also recommends copious hair and scalp oiling just before a hairwash. This also helps dissipate heat and helps coat the hair strands and protect them well and keep then in good health. Depending upon your level of familiarity with this, you can leave your hair oil for upto an hour or two before hairwash.

Remember: Please do not strain yourself by leaving hair oil on overnight or for several hours if you are not used to it. This will do you more harm than help you. Always accustom your body gradually to any practice. We advise leaving hair oil on for no more than 15 minutes to start with. This duration can be increased every 3 weeks after (6- 7 usage occasions) by 10 minutes. This duration should be gradually increased until you can leave hair oil for 45 minutes – 1 hour on your head before washing off.

 

  1. Develop practices and strategies to deal with stress, grief and anger

We have many bizarre and new strategies in place in the modern world to help us cope with our emotions. Sometime back, I read with concern about a chain of outlets in Japan that were designed to help Japanese executives cope with anger.

Japan is a society where anger and many private emotions were not easily expressed in workplaces, out of respect for hierarchy and seniority. This has been documented as leading to a lot of frustration, stress and rage in modern Japan. The Japanese chain I mentioned, offered a service where you could rent the outlet for an hour, and then express your anger by breaking all the china and bric a brac especially left for you to give you the satisfaction of expressing your rage!

Ayurveda tells us not to express anger but to cool it down or prevent its build up. Grief on the other hand has to be let out, expressed and shared.

18.pranayama

 

There are many practices in Yoga and Pranayama and Bhakti Yoga that help us deal with our emotions. For Anger and grief, Ayurveda explains that we should adopt breath control and practice Pranayama. We are also encouraged to express and write down our grief. If we are spiritual, we are asked to practice Bhakti yoga and surrender to the divine presence.

 

We are also asked to regulate our daily schedule so we are able to rein in dosha excesses that may be cropping up because of improper hours or diets.

 

Whatever be your strategy, if you have unexpressed grief and unresolved rage, this is a sure path to dis-ease (and grey hair). Work on it.

 

To sum up: 7 ways of balancing Pitta aggravation in your body:

Ayurveda believes that opposites bring about balance. In this post we looked at 7 ways to rein in excess Pitta and bring balance to the body. These are:

  1. Eat bitters
  2. Eat Amla
  3. Eat cow ghee
  4. Treat Agni well and eat on time. Eat only when hungry.
  5. Take proper pitta balancing precautions whenever your exposure to heat , light or the Sun is increased
  6. Regularly use Agni reducing external applications like hair oil, skin oil and herbal Kajal (Anjana)
  7. Develop practices and strategies to deal with stress, grief and anger

We have successfully used these techniques in our lives, for our employees and with many of our consumers to help them with aggravated Pitta dosha, especially in the skin and hair. Remember if your hair is greying much earlier than it should, or you are constantly breaking out, you have much greater control on your body than you think you do. When we address the cause behind these symptoms, we pull the body back to a state of balance and work on the core issue.

We hope this post resonated with you and you were able to get a sense of how deep, holistic and interconnected the science of Ayurveda is. Do write to us with your questions, reflections ad if you would like us to write about a particular subject you are seeking answers or insights to.


Here are some Krya hair and skin products that are suitable to a Pitta based prakriti or to help bring down excess Pitta:

Hair products : Suit straight, slightly oily hair that has a tendency to grey prematurely, is fine or is experiencing Pitta symptoms like thinning:

  1. Krya Classic Hair Oil with Yellow Eclipta & Indian Gooseberry
  2. Krya Classic hair mask with Rose Hip & Liquorice
  3. Krya Classic hair wash with Rose & White Bhringaraj
  4. Krya Classic hair nourishing system (all 3 above products at a special price)
  5. Krya festive abhyanga hair wash with Vana Tulsi & Rose
  6. Krya harmony hair oil (especially suited for high stress, grief and vata aggravation)

 

Skin products: suit Pitta prone skin that is normal – oily, sweats well, has a tendency towards body odour, and is sensitive to heat and gets red or inflamed easily when pitta is out of balance . This skin may also experience occasional acne:

  1. Krya Classic face wash with Green Tea & Chamomile
  2. Krya Classic face mask with Rose petals & Guava
  3. Krya Classic Skin Oil with Carrot & Wintercherry
  4. Krya Classic Body wash with Rosemary & Cassia flower

 

For acne prone skin, we have the following Krya products:

  1. Krya anti acne face wash with Guava & Lodhra
  2. Krya anti acne face mask with Daruharidra & Lodhra

 

For skin that is frequently exposed to the sun, we have the following Krya products:

  1. Krya after sun face wash with Vetiver & Indian Madder
  2. Krya calming after sun face mask with Indian Madder & Liquorice
  3. Krya after sun body wash with Arjuna & Ashwagandha
  4. Krya Zingy After Sun Bodywash for Men with Lemon Eucalyptus & Green Tea

 

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How aggravated pitta dosha damages your hair and acclerates greying. Krya shares insights from Ayurveda to help you control aggravated pitta dosha for great hair health

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Reading Time: 10 minutes

We have been deluged with consultation requests this past month at Krya. Our consultations usually take us a while as we ask for extensive information on diet, lifestyle, current hair and skin regimen, etc. Our recommendations are sent on the basis of the information received and each one is tailor-made and unique. In the last month, I have sent out recommendations as varied as waking up at 5:30 am every day, to walking in the moonlight in the terrace on full moon day, and in one case, doing evening worship of their favourite deity (Ishta devata) every evening with a sesame oil based lamp.

1.moonlight walk

All of our recommendations and insights come from the first principles followed in Ayurveda. While different Acharyas of the Brihat and Laghu trayi series of textbooks have varying nuances in their use of herbs to treat dosha aggravation, they concur on the symptoms of how dosha aggravation can affect skin and hair.

Sometimes the symptoms we see today are not described in the Ayurvedic texts. For example, excessive shampooing with alternative excessive sebaceous secretion and scalp dryness and flaking is a problem unique to the last 10 years in India. This can be further aggravated by over use of the air conditioner, poor diet, poor sleep and excessive travel in some cases to lead to a vata like dryness of hair and scalp.

2.urban stress

Alternatively in a pitta dominated prakriti, excessive shampooing can set up an aggressive increase in sebum secretion – this usually necessitates further washing, may be accompanied with skin disorders like acne and in severe cases fungal dandruff.

To understand the effect on the body with these new age problems, we first understand the effects of the chemicals used in synthetic shampoos and their current, documented consequences. We then apply this into the Ayurvedic framework and understand how the doshas are pulled out of balance with our new habits and come back with a series of recommendations.

Our series on hair loss starts today with the first kind of hair loss we see at Krya, related to aggravated pitta dosha and how Ayurveda diagnoses the cause and treats it.

 

Pitta aggravated hair loss and damage – hair thinning, premature greying and male pattern baldness

The Ayurvedic texts state that Pitta dosha is what provides intelligence, focus, leadership traits and the ability to get things done. This dosha is dominated by Fire / Agni, and without adequate amounts of this dosha, you will have no appetite and digestion, the key to absorbing nutrients will not take place. Pitta dosha is also responsible for imparting colour, complexion to the body and is the key dosha behind blood production.

However, when in excess, unchecked Pitta dosha can burn vision, increase anger and sharpness, can push the focus from safe to dangerous levels, and most pertinently for this blog post, turn hair grey , cause hair thinning, and aggravate premature balding and androgenic pattern baldness.

3.pitta greys and thins hair

Pitta can be aggravated due to 2 reasons: our nature and basic constitution is tending towards Pitta dosha, or we are constantly putting ourselves in situations or eating foods that are jacking up our natural pitta levels in the body.

 

Pitta nature: some clues

In cases of aggravated Pitta dosha, we look for a tendency towards decisiveness, a love for control, a need for getting things done completely, discomfort around ambiguity and many other signs that point to classic A type personalities. Pitta prakritis typically have reddish hues in their skin and hair. They are extremely uncomfortable in high heat, often sweating profusely, skin flushing quickly in the sun, and are prone to diarrhea, and other pitta related disorders.

6-pitta-prakriti

These people will typically have noticeably warm skin – we often see instances where they leave a heat imprint on the chair they are sitting (t will feel hot or warm to touch if they have left the chair), are quick to anger and stress, and describe themselves as being “full of heat”.

Pitta prakritis also gravitate towards pitta aggravating food – they love sour, salty and spicy foods like curd, tamarind, mangoes, pickles, etc. Their tolerance of these foods is much higher than others – but as the dosha builds unchecked, they can also develop an abnormal sensitivity to these foods, while continuing to crave them.

5.pitta craves pitta

Pitta prakritis tend to have fine hair with abundant oil production in their scalp and skin. The hair tends towards brown red tones and the strands are usually finer and not that thick. The skin has a noticeable amount of reddish tones – these are people who will have visible blushes and will burn easily in the sun.

Pitta aggravation usually results in premature greying, thinning of hair and male pattern baldness. As pitta prakriti hair is already fine and thinning, when the dosha is aggravated, the scalp becomes easily visible as the fineness of hair no longer covers the hair completely.

 

Situations / diets when Pitta dosha can get aggravated even if your basic nature does not have dominant Pitta prakriti

Eating a  high dose of pitta aggravating foods, especially if this is your go-to comfort food can push pitta very quickly out of control. For example, over-eating certain South Indian preparations like vathakuzhambu, tamarind based rasams, curd rice, pickles, over dependence on fermented foods like idli, dosa, can all push pitta dosha out of balance.

6.fermented foods high in pitta

In one instance we found that one of our consumers who was displaying pitta aggravated hairfall and greying had been eating a single item of breakfast every single day for a year out of convenience – either idli or dosa everyday – this would have definitely pushed her pitta dosha out of balance.

An increase in stress levels can also trigger your Pitta dosha – this is the dosha that helps you in the classic flight or fight situation – this is the dosha that will help you analyse the situation and decide your response. So if your stress levels are out of control, your pitta dosha will usually get aggravated.

An elevation at work, even if at a creative / satisfying job can mean greater levels of responsibility both for P&L and people – this usually demands that Pitta dosha comes to the party and give you necessary characteristics to cope with the situation. At stressful times, this can aggravate this dosha. This does not mean that you should expect to grey or go bald the minute you receive a promotion. It means that you should recognise the greater demands on your body with a  promotion and take adequate care to provide your body with the right foundation to handle this increased stress.

7.promotion pitta

 

 

Krya recommendations for Pitta aggravation:

Ayurveda teaches us that Pitta has 2 primary seats: the stomach and the head, so all Krya recommendations to bring aggravated Pitta under control concentrates on these 2 areas.

In order to harness the digestive Agni and ensure it is kept in balance, we advice the reduction of Pitta aggravating foods that can cause Agni to rage beyond control. We also add pitta reducing foods which are opposite in nature to Pitta to bring aggravated Pitta under balance: these include foods like coconut, bitters like bitter gourd, ghee which is tridoshic, Mung dal which is cooling and balancing in the stomach, and properly boiled milk which is cooling and nourishing to all dhatus.

8.cooling foods

Eating a steady quantity of food and on time is especially important in aggravated pitta – when Agni is very high and is not given food on time, it can rampage through the body and consume the dhatus leading to conditions like gastric ulcers. Therefore eating at the same time everyday nod eating a sufficient quantity of the right food is very important.

To physically cool the pitta generated by the activity of the eyes and the brain, we advise application of some of our Pitta balancing hair oils that have been formulated with classic pitta balancing herbs like Amla, Bhringaraj, etc.

4.krya classic hair oil

We also advise a regular abhyanga to bring down Pitta throughout the body. This helps dislodge excess pitta through the body and removes it through Sweda (sweat) and secretions from the eyes. It is extremely important during this abhyanga to ensure you do not sleep in the afternoon. This halts the removal of Pitta through the eyes, and Pitta can severely increase in the eyes leading to vision impairment.

 

Application of Herb based Kajal / Anjana

Application of anjana, or herb based Kajal (collyrium) is also very useful in aggravated Pitta. The Ayurvedic texts advice that Anjana should made from important herbs like Daruharidra, oils like castor oil and ghee. Please avoid all lead and petroleum based synthetic eye liners / fake kajals as these are a colossal waste of your time.

10.castor oil for kajal

The eyes are a specially designed organ system. Pitta dosha allows the vision to be focussed and helps the brain process the impulses seen and received by the eyes. But the entire organ itself is made up of fatty deposits which are important for the fine capillaries and other blood vessels that are present in the eyes.

Pitta cannot be allowed to increase unchecked in the eyes as it will consume these fat deposits and make the eye unstable and impair vision. This is why Ayurveda is so particular about eye care.

Pitta has to be continuously balanced in the brain and eye by using cooling oils on your scalp. The eye is to be washed frequently with cool water to remove excess pitta through the water. Anjana application helps both cool the eyes and also removes dirt that can build up in the fatty layer of the eye. This dirt is removed by use of herbs like Daruharidra which literally flushes dirt out through tear secretions from the eyes.

 

Harnessing pitta dosha through colours and clothing

Ayurveda also uses colour therapy and herbs to control aggravated doshas. Pitta dominant prakritis are asked to avoid wearing fire colours (red, orange) in general and use cooling pastel shades. At Krya, we advise wearing white dominated clothing in the evening when you have come back from work.

Similarly, if the linen in your home (curtains, upholstery) is in cool pastel shades, it helps balancing pitta aggravation. This is especially true in rooms where you rest and sleep in.

11. cooling sheers

Pitta prakritis also have a tendency to go overboard with stress and are unable to switch off. So at Krya, we advise adopting phone / laptop / work cut off time. We also advise taking up of a non work related hobby which channels that pitta dominant focus into another, unrelated pleasurable activity – vegetable gardening is something we have seen brings a lot of pleasure and helps balancing pitta dosha.

Silver, Milk, ghee and Moonlight are 4 naturally available cooling substances (and phenomena of nature) that are very useful for balancing pitta aggravation. So we advise sitting in moonlight on full moon nights to absorb the moon’s rays. Milk (when prepared properly) is very useful in cooling pitta and nourishing dhatus as is ghee.

Silver is a very good metal for Pitta aggravated prakritis – eating out of a small silver bowl / plate can help transfer the cooling properties of silver into your body and is a very strong traditional practice as well. Wearing silver, like traditionally silver anklets and toe rings were worn, helps transfer some of these cooling properties to your body. Please note that silver is traditionally worn only below the waist and gold is worn above the waist.

12.silver anklets

Our next few posts will describe the five other causes of hair fall as well. Through these, you should be able to gain an insight into your skin and hair as well, and help your body regain its balance and health.

 

4 critical practices that Krya recommends to keep pitta dosha in check:

  1. Daily Hair oiling – if your situation is very stressful or if your pitta is already out of control, daily hair oiling can keep you cool. Apply ¼ – ½ teaspoon of the Krya hair oil and massage well on scalp. Do not wash off. We have used this very successfully in the case of consumers whose job demands extreme travel in the sun, people in high stress, and pitta aggravation brought on by improper diet. The reduction in excess pitta is quite instant and dramatic.
  2. Addition of cow ghee to the diet: eat atleast 1 teaspoon of melted cow ghee per meal every day, especially in high stress times. Cow ghee is good in beneficial fats and especially helps you think and focus well in stressful times.
  3. Drastically cut down on sour and spicy food especially if your pitta is already aggravated- we recommend a total ban on sour foods like tamarind, tomatoes, curd, mangoes and amchur and completely eliminating red and green chillies and pickles from your diet. Commercial Chinese food is also a culprit in pitta aggravation – ajinomoto is both processed and commercial Chinese food uses a high amount of acidic foods. Cutting down these foods drastically helps slow down premature greying . You will notice a difference in body heat and hair strength within a month.
  4. Head to toe Abhyanga in the first hour of sunrise with warm oil . You will notice the greatest benefits if you combine Keshya abhyanga along with full body abhyanga . This abhyanga is best done as close to sunrise as possible as this gives the body the entire day to release excess pitta. Ensure that you do not strain digestive system on this day with heavy food as this can undo the benefits of the abhyanga.

 

Krya products recommended for Pitta aggravated hair fall like hair thinning, fineness, premature greying, and related hair loss:

  1. Krya Classic Hair system (consists of an oil, wash and hair mask) – the entire system is formulated using classic pitta balancing herbs like Amla, Bhringaraj, Methi, Hibiscus flower, etc.
    1. The Krya Classic hair oil noticeably brings down aggravated Pitta and has been rated by our consumers very highly to improve hair growth and hair strength.
    2. The Krya Classic hairwash gently cleanses without stripping hair of natural sebum.
    3. The Krya Classic hair mask is designed for use once a week – it uses pitta balancing and hair growth promoting herbs to help the health of your hair and scalp
  2. The Krya Abhyanga system for Men and Women (consists of the Krya Abhyanga oil and either a Women’s ubtan or a Men’s ubtan. ) The system is designed to balance aggravated vata and pitta dosha. Most urban dwellers additionally have aggravated vata dosha due to their long commutes, nature of work, uncertain eating timings, etc. This together pushes vata dosha along with pitta dosha out of balance
    1. The Krya Abhyanga skin oil with Vacha and Ashwagandha noticeably brings down aggravated vata and pitta. Users report seeing a reduction in vata related aches and pains and balancing of excess pitta through the body with regular use.
    2. The Krya Abhyanga bath powder for Women with Lotus Leaf and Lodhra – formulated to cleanse skin after an abhyanga. Helps remove excess oil, dead cells, debris for the skin without stripping it of moisture. Prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors as a natural soap substitute.
    3. The Krya Abhyanga bath powder for Men with Vetiver & Van Tulsi – formulated to cleanse skin after an abhyanga. Helps remove excess oil, dead cells, debris for the skin without stripping it of moisture.
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An acne program that works – natural, authentic and holistic. Krya tells you how

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“Hello Team Krya,
Hope you’re well. Sorry for the late reply. The anti acne face wash has been working brilliantly for me. It’s no less than magic. Skin feels AMAZING after it. Regarding my hair, my existing hair feels much stronger now. Regrowth is still taking time. I haven’t been consistent with the abhyanga so far.. Thank you so much “ UN, Mumbai

Here is a bit of background to this email. UN is a young aspiring model who lives in Mumbai and had gotten in touch with us for a skin and hair consultation in August. He was exhibiting the classic signs of high Pitta – acne and hair thinning and was alarmed at the state of his skin and hair, given his profession. He was put on a pitta balancing diet with suggested regimen, lifestyle modifications along with a series of Krya products designed for pitta balance.

His email to us reporting drastic improvement in his skin is extremely encouraging – it means we are on the right track and that his dosha balance has begun improving. If the regimen is fully adopted, we should be able to see much stronger results on his hair as well.

What is acne?

Western science treats acne as a skin disorder where the hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oily secretions from the skin (sebum). Depending upon how often this acne is picked, and the dust and pollution around the sufferer, the skin will have blackheads, whiteheads, be greasy, and may have scarring as well.

what-is-acne

Western cosmetics have also evolved to support this theory: so people are classified by the oil production on their face as those with oily skin, normal skin and dry skin. As the pimples are filled by sebum and dead cells, all external synthetic anti acne cosmetics focus on only 3 goals:

  1. Dry up the oil secretions on the surface so that the pimple is drained using alcohol based toners, and surfactant based washes
  2. Aggressively sanitise the skin so that there is no bacterial contamination of the skin
  3. Use highly astringent substances to give the skin a feeling of being “cool and non greasy”

The problem with cosmetic approaches to acne

Benzoyl peroxide is a common chemical used in anti-acne products. It is a known skin, eye and respiratory irritant. There are also a few concerns about its eco toxicity and its effect on other important organ systems within the body.

Triclosan is another common ingredient used in anti acne products for its anti bacterial effect. There is growing research to suggest that the increased use of Triclosan is giving rise to the growth of superbugs – bacteria resistant to antibiotics. A few studies also indicate that Triclosan could be a thyroid and hormone disruptor.

Oral contraceptives have also been used widely to treat acne. This has been linked to semi permanent and permanent changes in hormone secretion and birth defects if wrongly used in pregnant or lactating women.

synthetic-toners

The use of alcohol extracts in the toners sold for acne prone skin is also extremely troubling – besides being an environmental and respiratory hazard, this substrate is extremely drying and aging on skin. With constant use it upsets the natural sebaceous secretions on the skin, and dries out permanently areas of the skin where sebaceous secretions are fewer causing the early appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Similar effects are seen in the use of salicylic acid based anti acne products – topical application typically results in dry skin and skin darkening especially when used by people with a darker skin type.

What is acne according to Ayurveda?

Ayurveda treats acne as a pitta disorder where pitta dosha is vitiated. This could arise as a result of the person’s prakriti (individual constitution), the climate they live in (tropical climates tend to have a pitta aggravating effect), food eaten (sharp, spicy, salty, sour food tends to aggravate pitta dosha), nature of work (high level of stress, focus, aggression required).

tropical-climate

As the root cause of acne is identified as out of control Pitta dosha, an Ayurvedic company like Krya will attempt to correct this dosha imbalance by changes to the food, changes to the way you conduct your life, additions to your daily regimen, and changes to the products you use.

Pitta dosha deconstructed

In the Pancha mahabutha theory of Ayurveda, Pitta dosha which is made up of Agni (fire) is usually held responsible for the outbreak of acne. The seats of Pitta in the body are the Amasaya (stomach), sveda (sweat), Lasika (watery discharges from soft tissues and membranes like Lymph), Rudhira (blood), rasa (the nutrients absorbed by the body after digestion), Drk (the eyes) and Sparshana (the skin).

properties-of-pitta-dosha

Do make a note of all these diverse organs which are controlled by Pitta, because we will soon see the connection between what you eat, the nutrients you absorb, your eye sight and the state of your skin.

The Ashtanga Hridaya describes the qualities of Pitta dosha thus:

“Pittam sneha teekshano ushna laghu vishram sara dravam”

“The characteristics of Pitta dosha are Sneha (oiliness), Teekshana (sharp and intense), Ushna (Warm or hot), Laghu (light), Vishra (offensive or strong odour), Sara (fast moving) and Drava (liquid like).

Skin and hair characteristics of people with high Pitta dosha

As Pitta is oily and warm, people with high pitta dosha will have oily skin and hair with a feeling of heat. This means they will feel increases in temperature much more. Pitta is the seat of liquid secretions and offensive odours, so people with high Pitta dosha will sweat much more than others and may often have strong or intense body odours.

Pitta is also fast moving so all fast moving skin disorders come under Pitta’s influence: this include redness or itching that spreads on skin like prickly heat, measles, chickenpox and acne.

Pitta dosha affects hair by burning it and thinning it down and burning out its natural colour. So if your pitta dosha is high, you will grey faster, you will start balding faster and your hair will also thin much faster.

symptoms-of-pitta-dosha

The connection between your food and acne

Pitta dosha comprises of 5 types of Pitta which operate in different parts of the body using the intensive metabolic activity of Agni to give the body its vital nutrients. In acne we are concerned with 2 important types of Pitta Dosha.

The Bhrajaka Pitta dosha is located in the skin. This form of Pitta dosha gives skin what we are looking for in all skin products – true lustre and radiance from within.

But here is the key to understanding how Pitta dosha operates. The master key to Pitta dosha is the Pachaka Pitta dosha. The Pachaka Pitta dosha operates in your stomach and its key role is to digest your food and separate the useful part of your food which can be reabsorbed and separate the useless part which gets excreted.

The Pachaka pitta in your stomach, nourishes and kindles the other forms of Pitta including the Bhrajaka pitta which affects your skin.

Food and digestion: the master key to acne and greying

If Pachaka pitta, which handles digestion in your stomach is the key to all pitta dosha we must understand how we can influence Pachaka pitta through our food and our lifestyle.

For people with a predominantly pitta constitution, the Agni in their body is very high and intense. Think of it like a forest fire which rages out of control if left unchecked. So the key to controlling the disorders of high pitta lies in controlling the Pachaka pitta in the stomach.

4 diet changes to control acne:

  1. Reduce the intensity of Pitta by reducing Pitta increasing foods: – eliminate or reduce highly salty, highly spicy and highly sour foods which include:
    1. Red and green chillies

red-chillies

b. Curd

curd-rice

c. Tamarind, Kokum, Tomato, Raw mango

d. Foods that are high in salt – papad, wafers, commercially produced salty snacks, commercial chips

e. Foods that are high in salt – preserves, pickles

pickles

f. Pitta increasing oil seeds – sesame, sesame oil

g. Pitta increasing pulses – Tuvar / arhar dal (Pigeon peas)

h. Pitta increasing sugars – jaggery

  1. Reduce the aggravation of Pitta by feeding it on time
    1. Eat strictly on time at the same time everyday
    2. Eat with the sun – follow the sun cycle so that you eat when digestive power is aided by the sun. If you eat lunch at 2:30 pm for example, you have to rely on your internal Pitta dosha to supply a high amount of digestive fire power. If you eat lunch at noon on the other hand, the sun will help your internal pitta, so energy is not depleted from your body

midday-lunch

c. Do not skip or delay meals – Pitta will rage on, feeding on your soft tissues leading to disorders like ulcers in advanced cases or a feeling of light headedness

  1. Add Desi (native) Cow Ghee
    1. Desi Cow Ghee is the primary Ayurvedic food weapon to control Pitta dosha. It calms down agni in the body and channels it by reducing its intensity but keeping up its strength

desi-cow-ghee

b. Desi Cow Ghee is light and aids digestion so helps the job of Pitta

c. Desi Cow Ghee is also tridoshic – so it acts without weakening the other doshas

  1. Add foods that are cooling and opposite to that of Pitta dosha
    1. A small amount of bitters help calm down Pitta – this is why Ayurvedic solutions for acne use bitters like Neem. Similarly eating a small amount of bitter foods like bitter gourds are very useful in bringing down Pitta

bitters

b. Add cooling foods to the diet: Aged Mung dal, the liberal use of coconut, mucilaginous vegetables like okra, ash gourd, pumpkin, and beetroot, native greens are all useful vegetables to add in Pitta disorders. Ensure the vegetables are pesticide free, fresh and in season.

okra

The way we live our life can itself be aggravating Pitta dosha. So we will see next the regimen changes we advise when Pitta dosha is aggravated.

Regimen changes to make in Pitta disorders:

  1. Regular hair oiling – One of the important seats of Pitta is the Sira (head), and this is the seat which generates Ushna (heat) by the activity of the eyes and the brain. When this Pitta is left uncontrolled, it not only greys hair prematurely, causes thinning and balding, but it also affects vision. Apart from directly affecting the hair and the eyes, excess pitta in this area ultimately affects digestion, Pachaka Pitta and therefore your skin. The hair oil chosen should be formulated with pitta cooling and pitta channelling herbs so that it effectively traps the constant pitta being generated and releases it from the scalp. Please note: that a mineral oil based hair oil SHOULD NOT be used on the head as it increases pitta dosha.

pitta-reducing-hair-oil

  1. Weekly / Bi-weekly Abhyanga – The practice of a regular abhyanga unclogs the srotas of excess oil secretions, and gives the heat generated by the body an effective medium to be trapped and come out. The process of the abhyanga generates heat, helping unclog blocked skin pores and removing dead cells, micro organisms and excess sebum. Oil application may seem contrarian when viewed from the Western lens – if we see the problem of acne as being simply oily skin, then oil application seems unjustified. But if we view acne through the lens of Ayurveda and understand aggravated Pitta as the problem, then an abhyanga is perfect. When done with the right oil and in the right manner, an abhyanga traps excess pitta immediately and effectively and leaves the body in a state of balance. Regular abhyanga practitioners will find that their skin and hair improves in appearance, their digestion improves and their moods become much more balanced. This is the magic of the abhyanga!

abhyanga

 

  1. Practice of meditation to calm down the body and bring down high stress levels – Meditation and pranayama (along with yoga) are extremely useful in controlling the high focus, high stress and high tension brought on by aggravated Pitta. The mind becomes clearer and sharper and is able to work better when given a restful and healthier environment.

meditation

  1. Reduce eye strain: As the eyes are also an important seat of Pitta, we advise reducing eye strain by following a few Ayurvedic methods.
    1. Start your day by rinsing your eyes in clear cold water. You can blink your eyes rapidly in cool water held in your palm.
    2. Gaze into the horizon around sunrise and sunset. The rays of the rising sun at dawn especially are very good for the entire body and the eyes

dawn

c. Gaze into the rays of the moon on Poornima – walking on bare sand or the earth on full moon days after moon rise is extremely beneficial for the body especially to cool aggravated Pitta dosha

full-moon

d. Take a screen break every hour and give your legs and eyes a change – walk over to your friend’s desk or better still, walk around the block post 3 pm to give yourself a break

e. While E-readers are better for the environment, they will strain your eyes much more compared to physical books. Ensure atleast half your reading is on physical books

printed-books

f. Read less in artificial light and at night. Utilise natural, unshielded light (unfiltered through glass panes or windows) much more for work that involves your eyes.

Ayurvedic treatment of Acne and acne scars

We have seen how Ayurveda diagnoses and treats acne, so you should expect a different approach from Krya’s anti acne products as well. We have seen how western cosmetics superficially attack acne. The focus there is on removing excess oil through surfactants and alcohol, controlling sebaceous production and the use of anti bacterial agents to control the spread of bacteria.

We have seen the environmental and personal dangers behind the ingredients used on these products. Apart from these, most acne sufferers find that their skin becomes patchy, dull, unbalanced and loses its radiance with these solutions. Faster aging of skin is also a common complaint with the rapid appearance of wrinkles and fine lines with constant product use.

The most differentiated aspect of a Krya anti acne face wash is that it is one of our most gentle face wash products among a range which is already very gentle. This is very different from how western cosmetics are formulated – a synthetic anti acne face wash will usually be very drying and stripping on skin.

gentle-face-wash

Why does Krya treat acne prone skin extremely gently?

Krya follows the Ayurvedic rule of opposites when treating acne which is a Pitta prone disorder. Pitta is strong, intense, sharp and rapid. We formulate our acne products to be cool, gentle, mild and soft on skin.

So you will find that the Krya anti acne face wash is very soft textured, very gentle on skin, cleanses very mildly and does not provoke any intense or adverse reaction. Among all our products it is the most gentle and healing.

Natural herbs to combat acne and reducing scarring

The Krya anti acne skin products use our special patent-pending production process and herbs recommended by Ayurveda to work on acne prone skin. Manjishta (Indian madder) is one of the herbs we use extensively in Krya’s anti acne products. Manjishta is a gentle, bitter herb that is renowned for enhancing complexion and radiance.

herb-enriched-krya-acne-products

Acharya Charaka describes Manjishta as a Jwarahara (reduces fever) and Acharya Sushruta describes it as a Pittasamaka (balances Pitta). All the Ayurvedic texts have described Manjishta as a herb that enhances complexion and radiance of skin. It is a famous Rakta Shodaka herb (blood purifying herb) in Ayurveda and Siddha. When used in our products, Manjishta improves micro circulation of the skin, cleanses well, draws out toxins and evens out scarring and complexion with regular use.

We use Manjishta in 2 ways in our acne products – Manjishta forms part of our medicated lentil base where we make a special herb decoction for acne into which our lentils and grains are steeped in for a day. In this way, the base lentils and herbs are charged with the medicinal properties of the herbs used in the medicated decoction.

patent-pending

Apart from this, Manjishta is also used separately in the formulation as an ingredient.

Lodhra (Symplocus racemosa) is another famous Ayurvedic skin repair herb that we use in the Krya Anti acne products. Lodhra is astringent, cooling and a tonic Ayurvedic herb. It helps gives firmness to skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and helps reduce pitta in skin.

Arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) is another renowned Ayurvedic herb used to reduce acne in Krya’s anti acne products. It is widely known as a drug given to improve cardiovascular health without side effects. Arjuna is an astringent Ayurvedic herb and is also classified in the list of “Udarda prashamana” herbs – that are used to treat certain skin disorders and infestations like ring worm. Being cooling in nature, it balances pitta dosha. We use it in Krya’s anti acne products to bring down the inflammatory effect of acne, shrink down pimple volume and cool aggravated pitta. It also helps treat minor skin infections which may arise in recurrent or cystic acne.

arjuna-1

These are just a small sample of the 31 Ayurvedic anti acne herbs used in the Krya Anti acne face mask and the 19 Ayurvedic anti acne herbs used in the Krya anti acne face wash. Details of both of these products can be found on the Krya website.

In addition to our acne products, here are some associated Krya products that will help bring down acne, and balance pitta dosha as described above:

  1. Krya Classic Hair Oil with Amla & Bhringaraj to cool the head, reduce pitta in the eyes and the scalp

classic-hair-oil

  1. Krya Abhyanga Oil with Vacha & Ashwagandha for biweekly Abhyanga to reduce overall body pitta

The final pimple solution from Ayurveda

Through this post, you should be able to understand how the Ayurvedic treatment for acne is unique, different, well rounded and holistic. The difference lies in understanding the root cause of acne unlike western treatments which are merely superficial.

When viewed as a pitta disorder, the solution to acne becomes multifold: the use of high quality, timely food which is right for you, a balancing regimen that brings down dosha imbalance through corrected behaviour and the use of high quality, and natural herb filled products that are formulated based on Ayurvedic first principles.

It is no wonder that our consumer, UN, saw an almost magical cure to his yearlong acne problem. In fact he is also seeing changes in the health of his hair by just working on reducing his Pitta holistically.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post and also hope you were able to appreciate the difference in approach Krya followed when treating hair and skin problems. If you too have battled acne , scarring, stubborn pimples or are alarmed at rapidly greying hair or hair fall, and would like to consult us, do call us on 075500-89090 or write to us.

As we often see and say at Krya, true beauty comes from wellness, and wellness alone.

 

 

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