School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion
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Increases These Qualities (Gunas)
Ayurveda helps you assess how you feel through the 20 main therapeutic feelings or qualities called gunas. Through the gunas you can articulate, experience and develop sensitivity to the signals your body sends you. Imbalanced gunas are the root of your imbalances. Every guna has an opposite which balances is (i.e. hot balances cold). You create balance by favoring diet and lifestyle choices that increase the opposite guna.
The 6 Tastes
Taste has meaning in Ayurveda, and brings physical and emotional changes to your body. Taste is experienced on the tongue and is your body's reaction to foods much in the same way that your emotions are mental reactions to experiences. Sweet taste causes physical satisfaction and attraction whereas bitter taste causes discomfort and aversion. Kapha should use less sweet taste while Vata and Pitta would benefit from using more sweet taste. One of the first signs of illness is that your taste and appetite for food changes. The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Do you crave foods with any of the tastes below? Food and herbs with the following tastes could aggravate your symptoms.
The Three Doshas / Body Types
Your body type shows how your strengths, as well as how your body typically goes out of balance. It also shows how your body responds to the environment. Your body type is comprised of certain qualities and affects every part of you - your physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses. This is because your body type is based on how your body uses energy. Ayurveda has 3 body types (doshas), called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata spends energy. Pitta burns energy. Kapha stores energy. Vata people tend to be easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry. Pitta people tend to be hot, focused, driven, and easily inflamed. Kapha people are heavy, stable and grounded, but if they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion.
HAS THE FOLLOWING
OJASOjas is the essence of healthy tissue, immunity, stable energy and happiness. Substances that improve ojas are recommended after lon-term illness, debility, emotional and physical trauma, and even sadness.
EARTHResembles earth (prithvi) in quality - heavy, dense, solid, stable, hard.
WATERResembles water (ap) in quality - fluid, sticky, soft, heavy, stable, cool.
BLANDBland means doesn't have much taste. In Chinese medicine, bland taste refers to afood without little macronutrients, such as cabbage, radish or bok choy.
REPRODUCTIVEReproductive tissue (Shukra/Artava Dhatu) includes male and female reproductive organs.
DOWNWARDDownward-moving (Adho Gati Marga) substances move food downward in the GI tract, settle the nervous system, and relax muscles.
INWARDInward moving substances promote introspection, self reflection, stillness, or slow the system down.
|Energy Vitality Strength|
NUTRITIVEAn herb that is strengthening and nourishing.
TONICA tonic herb strengthens tissue, often restoring healthy function. Tonics usually target a specific organ, tissue, or system ie: brain, muscle or respiratory tonic.
|Heart & Circulation|
CALMS-HEARTAn herb that literally calms the heart. These herbs are helpful in the treatment of anxiety, sadness, depression, or other emotional imbalances in the heart. Related to the Chinese Herbal Category 'calms spirit.'
REFRIGERANTAn herb or substance that strongly cools the body. Can be helpful in cases of heat conditions.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORYReduces inflammation in the body. Different herbs and carriers target different body systems.
ANTIMICROBIALAn agent that kills microorganisms or inhibits their growth. Antimicrobial is an umbrella term that can be broken down into specific categories of target microorganism, such as anti-bacterials, fungals, and virals.
APHRODISIACHerbs that increase sexual arousal through various actions including increased circulation, relaxation, stimulation, or tonics that strengthen glandular health.
GALACTAGOGUEIncreases production of breast milk.
PROMOTES-FERTILITYAn herb that promotes fertility. Generally used by women who wish to become pregnant. These herbs may also help with menstrual problems of deficiency, such as amenorrhea (lack of a period).
UTERINE-TONICAn herb that tonifies and strengthens the uterus. Helpful for menstrual difficulties and fertility. Often herbs that increase ojas, but also circulation to reproductive system.
RELIEVES-BURNINGHerbs that soothe a burn or reduce an internal burning sensation, such as aloe vera.
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