In Ayurveda this time of year is a Kapha aggravating time. This means that the heavy dampness of winter can affect our upper respiratory tract leaving us phlegmatic and slowing down our digestion. This is especially true for those of us that are predominantly Kapha by nature or that commonly find this dosha out of balance.
In Ireland we are particularly prone to Kapha aggravation due to our damp boggy environment and humid air!
When in balance the earthy Kapha dosha brings us our strength and immunity. It grounds us and allows us to lean into our most compassionate self. Kapha types seek to rest and conserve energy, build connections in relationships and indulge in nourishing themselves.
But during certain times of the year Kapha can increase weighing us down physically and emotionally. This stagnation can also be felt in the mind, clouding our thinking. Our digestion becomes sluggish. Our joints become heavy and swollen. Our muscles achy with the coldness Kapha lets in. The body becomes dull and tired. Our respiratory tract becomes phlegmatic affected by all the dampness and inertia of winter. We feel stuck in our emotions and frame of mind, finding it difficult to make positive change.
So how can we lift this state of aggravated Kapha? Coming to the end of April it's time to work on clearing Kapha by utilising the extra light available to us and the fresh growth of the plants and vegetables emerging.
Some of the most useful foods to clear the mucus and coldness associated with Kapha are our heating pungent herbs. In Ireland at this time of year we use Amoracia rusticana roots (Horseradish) for the job.
Amoracia is easily grown here in most soils. It spreads from the tiniest amount of root left in the ground so there is little fear of killing your Horseradish plant when harvesting some roots. Even smelling the roots can bring on watering in the eyes due to its pungency. Amoracia is excellent in tacking that thick Kapha congestion of the sinuses and any catarrh of the nose and throat. Its additional affect of improving the circulation, stimulating the appetite and promoting better bowel motions make it the perfect go to herb for Kapha stagnation. Horseradish root can even be made into a rub for those achy joints and muscles. As well as kick starting the body out of Winter and into Spring herbs like Amoracia invigorate all the senses bringing clarity of mind. To clear Kapha, I'll be making a vinegar from our Horseradish roots and adding the grated roots with other stimulating spices like black pepper, cayenne and ginger into meals of cruciferous veg like kale.