Inspiration

Skip the trip to the pharmacy!

We all know that if we don’t have time to prevent illness, we will need to take time to cure it. But still, popping a pill is so much easier than rethinking what goes into our bodies. It’s a convenient, 21st century ‘quick fix’. But there’s a way around this – equally quick and easy (once set up) and it will also save you the trouble to buy mountains of OTC medications at your local pharmacy:

Set up your own ayurvedic ‘kitchen pharmacy’.

Most grocery stores stock at least some of these...

Most grocery stores stock at least some of these…

Maybe this sounds daunting, but you don’t need to rush to the shops now and get lots of fancy equipment such as mortar and pestle. All you need to do is add a few items to your grocery shopping list. Here are some ideas I love:

  • Get some ginger and eat a fresh piece with a pinch of rock salt before a full meal – this will boost your digestive power by activating the salivary glands; they trigger production of the body’s enzymes that enables easy absorption of nutrients – a quick and easy way to improve digestion. Nothing fans the digestive fire more than ginger.
  • Drink a cup of buttermilk after your meal – it lubricates the intestines and reduces bloating. If you’re pitta, go for aloe vera juice, it has a wonderfully cooling effect.
  • Make sure your food contains all types of taste, not just sweet and sour (as is very common in the West), particularly bitter and astringent: for bitter add basil, nettle, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, for astringent try to include more lentils, quinoa and sprouts.
  • Turmeric is a wonder weapon – add it to anything you eat, it’s a great blood purifier and eliminates excess mucus from the throat (great for colds and sore throats). If there’s one spice you should have in your cupboard, it’s this one!
  • Cinnamon tea invigorates circulation and helps keeping blood sugar in check.
  • Try a cup of cool coriander tea – overall, coriander balances the three doshas but also helps if you’re prone to urinary irritations.
  • Get some liquorice – it’s great for balancing vata – all you need to do is pop a tea bag into a cup and boil some water!
  • To further improve digestion try herbal teas: camomile, ginger and mint are great options.
  • Teas containing cumin are perfect after heavy meals (that’s why in India there’s always a small pot of cumin seeds passed around after food). The Sanskrit word for cumin, jiraka, actually means ‘digestive spice’.

There are thousands of medical plants and herbs known in Ayurveda – and several among them are so common that we add them to our foods without blinking (think salad herbs mix or pepper). It really takes no time at all to stock up on some teas and herbs to sprinkle over salads or add to whatever is boiling on the stove.

If you need more inspiration, including some recipes, there’s a great book called ‘A Pukka Life‘, you can buy it for about 15 pounds or borrow it from the local library (both my libraries in London and Melbourne had a copy).

And if you’re really strapped for time and need a healthy, convenient quick fix, go for this great selection of Pukka teas – they tell you on the box what it’s for (my favourite is the ‘After Dinner’) instead of just listing the ingredients and leaving the guesswork to you:

Pukka kitchen pharmacy - quick fix!

Pukka kitchen pharmacy – quick fix!

Note: Administering more complex formulations should always be left to an experienced ayurvedic doctor. 

Top image: credit.

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19 replies »

  1. My Mom used to work for All India Radio. Every morning she used to host a program named “Arogyam Dhana Sampada” ( health is wealth).. Everyday they had an informative piece about the health benefits of some herb/spice.. I was a stupid teenager back then and used to hate that program since it used to come on at 7 AM.. Now, every now n then, I ask my Mom about some household remedy for minor health issues..it’s a lot better than popping a pill..

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    • Oh I know, the wisdom to realise that parents actually *are* able to give good advice! It’s also sad to see that so much knowledge of herbal remedies gets lost with the availability of pills for every minor ailment…

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  2. I absolutely love to make my own chai in the winter – cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, pepper, star anise, ginger and honey. It does wonders for my immune system – and being kapha, it lights my fire (in a good way 🙂 ) Beautiful photo of the spices, by the way.

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  3. I started researching about the medical effects of spices recently. It is really interesting and so easy and also yummy! I love ginger and it has often helped me fight upcoming colds!

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    • Lovely, thanks for sharing! Isn’t it crazy to think how much of this ancient knowledge is getting lost nowadays? Probably there’s also a few things my grandma still knew – who didn’t have access to expensive pills and medication!

      Thanks for reading,

      Andrea

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