SERVING SIZE: 1 tbsp
SPECIES: Raphanus sativus
How Can This Ayurvedic Food Make You Feel Great?
Footnote: The information for this article was in part gathered from a 2019 study and survey of 24 students of Ayurveda who experimented with daikon. During the study, students ate daikon for 3 days and journaled the pharmacological effects. This study was sponsored by the Joyful Belly School of Ayurveda, and specifically the Mastering Ayurvedic Digestion & Nutrition certification course.
When I first saw it, daikon reminded me of an alien. Daikon means 'fat root' in Japanese. But this fat root, resembling an albino carrot, has a feisty kick. Bite into daikon, and you'll be exhilarated by its fresh crisp and crunchiness. Daikon is known for its ability to break up stagnation and sluggishness. As a hot bitter, daikon is earthy and penetrating. It stimulates the body, while sharpening mental focus.
Daikon radishes are quite versatile, culinary speaking. This a good thing because it can take a while to eat your way through a monster radish that can grow as large as your arm, or even your leg. Although heavy to carry, daikon can lighten up any dish.
Daikon has been called the "radish with soul" because of its spirited peppery taste and heroic size. This bull in the china shop is straightforward and honest. It puts up a fight. It stimulates and energizes you. But if you're looking for something more tame, Daikon's sharp taste transitions to a milder sweetness upon cooking. A bitter aftertaste lingers, however. And, it is this bitter heat that is the magic of Daikon, and a sure sign of its kapha pacifying nature.
As daikon purges fluids from your body, it also stimulates digestion, and encourages healthy elimination. This record setting radish is a great addition to any cleanse. More recent studies suggest this monster root is the newest heart-healthy vegetable, helping to protect coronary blood vessels and prevent heart disease and stroke.
Cleanse Excess Water WeightIn Chinese medicine, daikon is said to have "bland" taste. This doesn't mean lack of taste. Rather, bland taste implies low calorie content. As a natural diuretic, daikon can help you shed excess water weight. It induces dryness. It flushes the kidneys, cleansing the blood and imparting a sense of lightness. It dries up feelings of lethargy, sluggishness and being "weighed down."
Together, the dry, light, and warm qualities of daikon are a fitting combination. It boosts sluggish metabolism and energizes your whole being.
Daikon are a rich source of insoluble fiber. This type of fiber is helpful for regulating elimination. By flushing the kidneys and bowels, Daikon rids the body of toxicity.
Lung Clearing and Nasal DecongestantFrom chest tightness to walking pneumonia, daikon is a first choice root for all watery lung conditions. Heat and dryness often work in tandem, especially in the lungs. Next time you eat daikon, notice how the heat of daikon spreads from your mouth to a warm glow in your belly. From there, the warmth rises up to the chest as Daikon's heat begins to circulate in the blood. One client notes, "My chest was opening with warmth after eating Daikon." Another explains, "My mouth feels hot after chewing. The heat comes up through my sinuses."
Daikon's heat works to clear and open passageways in the lungs, helping to melt and break up and flush out phlegm and mucus. One student notes, "My cheeks feel warm and my nose is much more clear." Daikon induces clarity, like a clear blue sky expanding open over the dry desert. It opens nasal passages and gently dissolves mucus.
Flushes Puffiness From The SkinDaikon cleans the skin. As daikon pushes heat upwards, it begins to move outwards from the core to the skin. It opens pores and can even make you sweat. In the body, heat generally rises and moves outward in this spreading manner. One student enjoyed this heat, "My heartbeat went up," she said. "It made my head feel warm, clear, and light." As the heat penetrates throughout your body, it facilitates a melting action of all stagnated fluids. This includes the blood, respiratory tract and the skin. Daikon notably flushes the skin of puffiness.
Another student notes, less favorably, that, "daikon made me break into a cold sweat." Once blood vessels are dilated and pores are open in the skin, heat is rapidly lost. This makes daikon ultimately a "cooling diaphoretic." Take caution, as you could easily catch a chill by eating Daikon on a cold day. Instead, dress warmly when using daikon on a cold day. This will help you retain the heat, so it doesn't simply radiate away from your body.
Clears Stomach Heaviness & IndigestionThat warm feeling mentioned earlier makes daikon a great digestive. Daikon clears heaviness and food stagnation from the upper GI. The sharp, hot nature of daikon stokes digestion and stokes the digestive fire (agni). This make daikon a great remedy for digestive ailments induced by a weak or cold metabolism, such as gas, burping, or poor appetite. Daikon is a fantastic source of the digestive enzymes amylase and esterase. These enzymes become more readily available when daikon is grated or shredded.
A Joyful Belly student testifies, "my gut felt warm but comfortable." Another notes "my tongue felt cleaner and my breath fresh." A clean tongue and fresh breath is a sign that your body is clean, that there is less fermentation in the GI. Vata individuals should use caution though, as the light, dry and airy components of daikon can have the reverse effect. If daikon makes you too dry it can actually create gas. For Kapha individuals, Daikon's bitter heat offsets the richness of any heavy dish.
SummaryDaikon is a hot, drying bitter that clears stagnation. It is especially useful for the lungs. An Ancient Chinese Proverb states, "When white radishes are in season, doctors should take a break". Experiment for yourself and add daikon into your repertoire of holistic remedies. You'll surely enjoy the crisp and mild pungency that it offers.
ABOUT DAIKON RADISH
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WHY EAT AN AYURVEDIC DIET?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. An Ayurvedic diet is tailored to your individual body type and the specific imbalances you are working with at any given time. Ayurveda shows you your specific body type’s needs and what should be favored in your Ayurvedic menu. Watch as you eat less but feel more satisfied because what you are eating truly nourishes you. Since Ayurveda believes all disease begins in the digestive tract, food is your first medicine. By eating a healthy diet that’s ideal for your body, you experience optimal health.
Is Daikon Radish Good for My Ayurvedic Diet?
AYURVEDIC MEDICINAL QUALITIES
Experiences are PersonalExperiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary. The list of actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
WARMS-ABDOMENWarms the muscles and organs of the abdomen, stimulating digestion and metabolism.
DIGESTIVEHerbs that encourage healthy digestion.
SPLEEN-TONICAn herb that strengthens spleen function by improving strength of the blood. Spleen tonics Builds agni, brighten the person's appearances & firms up tissues.
Energy Vitality Strength:
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
Heart & Circulation:
CARDIAC-STIMULANTHerbs that increase the heart rate. Useful in cardiovascular health, blood stagnation, and subjective feeling of heaviness in the chest area.
BLOOD-THINNERHerbs that thin the blood. Helpful for people with heart disease or clogged circulation.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORYReduces inflammation in the body. Different herbs and carriers target different body systems.
IMMUNE-STIMULANTStimulates and strengthens the immune system. Helpful when fighting off a cold or flu.
Kidney & Urinary:
DIURETICHerbs that promote urine formation, thereby flushing the kidneys and urinary tract while eliminating any excess water retention. As diuretics reduce water retention, they are often used to reduce blood pressure.
Liver & Gall Bladder:
CHOLAGOGUECholagogues stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder for improved digestion.
Lung and Sinus:
CLEARS-SINUSESCleanses sinuses by draining excess mucus, allowing for clear, easy breathing.
FLUSHES-SINUSESAn herb that relieves sinus congestion by flushing out mucus.
WARMS-CHESTWarms the chest and lungs, clearing mucus and allowing for clear breathing.
BRONCHODILATORAn herb that encourages the widening or opening of the lung airways. Helpful in cough and asthma.
DECONGESTANTAn herb that reduces mucus congestion in the sinus or lungs by restricting blood flow to mucus membranes.
LUNG-TONICStrengthens the lungs. These herbs are helpful when recovering from either acute or chronic lung issues like bronchitis or pneumonia.
Mind, Stress & Sleep:
STIMULATES-CROWNCreates a feeling of awareness or tension in the area at the top of the head.
Skin Care & Beauty:
DIAPHORETICAn herb that induces sweating, often by dilating blood vessels close to the skin.
Find Your Symptom:
WARMS-HEADAn herb that increases sensations of heat and warmth in the head.
BREAKS-UPThe Sanskrit word for breaking up congealed matter / clogs in the body. Often used for constipation. Be careful with herbs that have Bhedana action.
HEALTH & WELLNESS PRACTITIONERS!
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Eat Well for Life With Ayurveda: Balance Your Dosha
HOW DOES EATING AYURVEDICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
View Other Ingredients for SpringDaikon Radish is recommended for Spring. Check out these other Spring foods here.
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a traditional home remedy forThis information has not been validated by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Respiratory HealthAsthma, Cough with mucus / wet cough, Difficulty expectorating, Large amounts of mucus, Mucus Congestion, Mucus/congestion in mornings, Pneumonia, Post nasal drip, Sinus Infection, Sinus pain around eyes, Sinus pain in cheeks, Sinus pain in forehead, Thick mucus, White mucus
DigestionBad breath, Craving Crunchy Foods, Foul taste on tongue, Frequent Burping, Indigestion / Upset stomach, Pancreatic Insufficiency, Slow, heavy digestion, Tonsilectomy
Blood and CirculationBlood thick / Congested lymph, Bluish / Purple Tongue, Cold extremities, Diabetes (Adult Onset), Heaviness in heart area, High Blood Sugar, Insulin Resistance, Low energy, Puffy face, Slow Heartbeat, Thick coating tongue, Water Retention, White tongue coating
SkinBluish Skin, Cold aggravates, Puffy / swollen skin, Purple/blue lips, Thick, cool skin
BonesCold aggravates pain
Mind Stress SleepConflict makes me depressed, lazy, Confusion / Cloudy Mind, Depressed, Depressed when stressed
Weight LossHypothyroid, Low metabolism
PoopMucus on stool
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.