The science of Ayurveda works as a system by balancing energies and qualities.
The science of Ayurveda is nothing other than nature itself.
We intuitively do actions all the time to balance our own energies. When we are cold, we put on more clothes to get warm. We drink hot beverages in the winter. We eat warming soups and sit in front of fires.
We can treat ourselves by balancing excessive light and dryness with something heavy and oily. And vice versa, we can treat heaviness, stuckness, and feeling congested with something mobile, light, warm, hot.
Most of the time in the modern age though, we can’t really figure out what’s going on in our own body. It takes a lot of practice to learn about ourselves. We have lost touch with who we are as people and as beings living in nature.
However, through practice, attention, stillness and with some guidance we become our own healers through attention to our body. And still, there are times when we do understand, but we go against our own best interests because we like the tastes of certain foods, etc. In the beginning, however, it’s often best to seek advice and help from a qualified practitioner who can lead you to balancing out your health.
A recent article by CNN goes against Ayurvedic principles. It recommends eating yogurt to fight a cold. Healers from Chinese medicine and Ayurveda probably shake their head at such proclamations. Or at least, I did, when I first read this article.
First, it’s hardly appropriate to take advice from the Dairy Council in this matter as, of course, they will encourage dairy consumption. That aside, let’s look into the real issue at hand.
Yogurt is cold, heavy, liquid, soft, and smooth.
These attributes or qualities are all qualities of kapha, one of the the three main doshas. When people have a cold, they generally feel cold, they feel static, stuck, congested, and have sticky liquid and perhaps slimy phlegm mucus coming out of the nose or stuck in the chest. These qualities of a cold are also all qualities of kapha. Therefore to give a like substance to treat the offending problem is a problem in and of itself. One would never treat cold with cold in Ayurveda – it goes against the whole science of life.
Therefore, when holistic healers read these articles from a prominent news organization, they shake their head. It makes hardly any sense from a common standpoint. And these are the same reasons why if you are feeling congested with a cold, it’s inadvisable to eat ice cream or other cold dense soft foods, for instance, bananas.
Again, we intuitively know these things, but we often do not follow through with diet. We have not yet decided that diet plays an enormous part of what goes on in the body. Instead we pop pills like antihistamines or other drying substances to dry up the phlegm or and then we eat yogurt.
Learning to understand basics of nature would go far in helping us manage our basic health.
What the articles does get correct is it’s important to maintain healthy digestion. However, probiotics are not the only way one can keep regular. Where is the Vegetable Council when you need them?
Fiber, warm vegetables, and whole grains are perfect for keeping your digestion flowing smoothly. Regular exercise and water are also important too.
And if your digestion still feels stuck, you can take some Ayurvedic herbs, such as haritaki which balances vata in the colon or triphala for all three doshas.
And in regards to zinc, yes, there is evidence it’s important for immune function but so are vitamin D, C, A and a lot of other vitamins. If you really want to battle that cold, why not try a spinach, mushroom and chickpea soup, all great sources of zinc, fiber, while additionally being warm, light, and liquid. Adding spices such as ginger, turmeric or pepper will help to move the phlegm with the pungent, hot, sharp properties. Kale is a great vegetable for the winter as it already grows abundantly during this time. Anytime you eat seasonally and locally, you are living in accordance with nature.
Being in charge of your health requires a lot more than simply taking everything you read and absorbing it or participating in the latest fad. It requires thought, research and careful attention to the ideas. And then going back to the basics, the roots, particularly in the winter, when we see the reality of the cold hardness of the climate.