lifestyle

Ayurveda 102: Discover the Best Herbs for Balancing Your Dosha

If you’ve noticed that your energy levels have been low, or that you’ve experienced mood swings, or even drier skin than normal, your Dosha may be out of balance. The word "Dosha" actually means “that which is most likely to go out of balance.” Doshas are the constitutions that make up the body, according to Ayurvedic philosophy, and there are three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These three Doshas are the combinations of the five elements of Nature (Air, Water, Fire, Earth, and Ether), which are present in all of us and everything around us. When a body is in balance, all three doshas are in equilibrium.

When a body is out of balance, one or more of the doshas may be in excess. In order to bring healing to your body, Ayurveda requires a balance of opposite energies. This equilibrium can be achieved through lifestyle changes, including changes to your diet and incorporating herbs into your wellness routine.*

Not sure which Dosha(s) you are? Take a Dosha quiz online or check out the first blog in our Ayurveda series, Ayurveda 101, which contains information from Ayurvedic Wellness Coach, Anna Levesque. Once you know your Dosha(s), read on to discover the best herbs for balancing it.

Herbs for the Vata Dosha

Are you always on the go and cannot sit still? Are you the artistic one in your family? Do you have the gift for gab and may have affectionately been described as talking a mile a minute? If so, you may have a predominant Vata Dosha. Vata is the Dosha of movement and is the combination of Ether and Air. People with a predominant Vata Dosha tend to be small-framed, thin, and light. Vatas are typically creative and spontaneous, but they can also be plagued by anxiety and worry.1 As a result, some Vata types may experience digestive challenges, such as constipation, or bloating. And while Vatas tend to move faster, some may feel easily fatigued and have low stamina, poor circulation, cold extremities, and dry skin and hair.

Since Vatas sometimes struggle with occasional anxiousness and are cold and dry, this Dosha may be supported by herbs that are calming, warming, and moistening.*

Ashwagandha Root

Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years as a Rasayana (rejuvenating) herb. It is also a renowned adaptogenic herb that helps nourish overall health and well-being.* From the Ayurvedic perspective, Ashwagandha is considered particularly balancing to Vata as it has a calming influence on the nervous system.* Our Ashwagandha Root can help you cope with stress in a healthy way.*

Triphala Fruit

Triphala Fruit in nature

Triphala is valued for helping to balance all three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha). Triphala is an herbal blend made from the fruits of three trees that grow in India and the Middle East (the Sanskrit term Triphala means “three fruits”). Together, these three berries can help support digestive health and the body’s natural cleansing processes.* Triphala Fruit is a great choice for Vatas as this Ayurvedic fruit blend helps maintain normal regularity.*

Ginger

Ginger is a warming herb and is another excellent choice for Vatas to help warm their cold tendencies. Ginger is also traditionally used for digestive issues, making it ideal for soothing the stomach concerns that Vatas tend to deal with.* Our Ginger Root, Certified Organic liquid extract can help reduce occasional nausea or an upset stomach.*

Herbs for the Pitta Dosha

Would you describe yourself as a classic Type-A personality — meaning you tend to be a perfectionist type that is highly organized and likes everything in its place? Are you a bit competitive? Do you have a fiery personality and at times can be quick to anger?  If so, you may have a predominant Pitta Dosha. Pitta is the Dosha of transformation and derives from the elements of Fire and Water. The term Pitta translates as “that which cooks.” People with predominant Pitta Dosha tend to be of medium, muscular build, strong, and naturally athletic. While Pittas tend to have strong digestion, they may experience heartburn, upset stomach, skin challenges, odorous sweating, and occasional inflammation. Pittas often "run hot" and commonly feel overheated.

Cooling, soothing, and calming herbs can help alleviate the natural fires that Pitta has, and are good for when this Dosha becomes imbalanced.

Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola is used in Ayurvedic healing to balance all three doshas — Kapha, Pitta, and Vata.* It is highly regarded in Ayurvedic medicine as one of the most spiritual herbs. For Pittas, it helps maintain a sense of calm and relaxation, which may support Pittas whose perfectionist personalities can cause them to feel occasional anxiousness and stress.* Gotu Kola has also been traditionally used to support mental focus.* Our Gotu Kola Leaf, Certified Organic liquid extract packs the cognitive-supporting properties of this revered herb in a convenient bottle, making it is easy to use at home or on the go.*

Bacopa

Bacopa in Gaia Herbs Greenhouse

Bacopa is a powerful rejuvenating, or Rasayana, herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It has traditionally been used to support overall cognitive health.* This adaptogenic herb is so highly respected in Ayurvedic medicine that it’s also known as Brahmi, a derivation of the word Brahman, which means “the energy of universal consciousness.” Bacopa is believed to have a cooling effect that helps balance the Pitta Dosha.

If you need help maintaining a healthy, thriving mind, try our Gaia-grown® Bacopa.* When we were unable to find raw Bacopa that met our rigorous quality standards, we didn’t give up and instead spent years researching and growing our own Bacopa in our greenhouse in North Carolina. In fact, we are one of the only sources of Bacopa grown in the U.S.

Dandelion Root

Dandelion is mostly known as a backyard weed, but it has amazing nutrient qualities and health-promoting properties. It has been used for thousands of years by many native cultures in herbal remedies. Dandelion is ideal for the Pitta Dosha, as it is both a cooling and drying herb, so it is able to help balance Pitta. Our Dandelion Root & Leaf, Certified Organic supports digestive health and function, so is an ideal choice for Pittas.*

Herbs for the Kapha Dosha

Would you describe yourself as calm and unflappable? Are you a natural nurturer who is caring and loyal to your friends through thick and thin? If so, you may have a predominant Kapha Dosha. Kapha represents water and earth and is the Dosha of structure, strength, and stability. People with predominant Kapha are inclined to have rounder, softer bodies, and also have large, lustrous eyes, and shiny hair. Kaphas have many great qualities and are typically caring, grounded, and dependable. On the flip side, Kaphas can be slow-moving, stubborn, and are prone to issues with weight gain, digestion, water retention, and congestion.

Because Kaphas are moist and cold and tend to have a slower digestive system, people with this Dosha may find balance in herbs that are drying, warming, and tonifying, which will “ignite” their digestive fires.*

Turmeric

Turmeric Roots in soil

In Ayurvedic medicine, Turmeric is believed to be a detoxifying agent and useful in balancing excess Kapha in the body.* Our Turmeric Supreme® Extra Strength combines Turmeric with Black Pepper, which is added for absorption, and helps reduce occasional inflammation due to normal daily wear and tear.* This herb can help you maintain a healthy, active life.*

Holy Basil

Holy Basil, also referred to as Tulsi, has been revered for thousands of years in Ayurveda and traditional Western herbalism. This stimulating herb is ideal for Kaphas to support a healthy mood.* This adaptogenic herb helps the body respond to stress in a healthy way and aids in creating equilibrium within the body.* We offer this esteemed adaptogenic herb in both a Holy Basil Leaf, Certified Organic liquid extract as well as Holy Basil Leaf Liquid Phyto-Caps® so you can pick the format that works best for your lifestyle.

Ginseng

Kaphas are at times inclined to feel tired and run down. Ginseng, known for its uplifting and energizing properties, may offer ideal support for the Kapha Dosha.* Our Ginseng Supreme liquid extract is made with an invigorating blend of herbs that help support normal levels of energy and stamina.*

Finding Balance

During these stressful times, achieving equilibrium is more important than ever so you can feel your best. Now is the ideal time to tune into your body closely to help determine what it needs to serve you. By uncovering your Dosha and learning what herbs can help balance it, you can maintain stability internally and live a healthier and happier life.

References:
1 Ayurveda: A Brief Guide Introduction and Guide. The Ayurvedic Institute. https://www.ayurveda.com/resources/articles/ayurveda-a-brief-introduction-and-guide