If you’ve heard of Ayurvedic medicine, but haven’t the foggiest what it is or how it *actually* works, we give you the lowdown on the basics of this ancient health practice and how it can possibly help your periods...
In a nutshell, what's Ayurveda?
- Ayurvedic medicine – also know as Ayruveda – is one of the world’s oldest healing systems originating in India thousands of years ago.
- The ultimate goal of the practice is to treat the body without using prescription drugs or invasive surgery.
- Ayurveda translated from Sanskrit means “the knowledge of life."
- Three ‘energies’, called doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha – make up the concept of healing the Ayurvedic way. The belief is that ill-health or pain happens when there is an imbalance in the three energies.
What does it mean for periods?
- In Ayurveda, periods are considered a blessing not a curse, with your monthly cycle acting as a valuable insight into your health and wellbeing.
- Each part of your cycle is ruled by a different dosha; Kapha governs the first half of the cycle— until you ovulate — as the body thickens the lining of the uterus in case of a possible pregnancy.
- Pitta controls the phase after ovulation, when there's an increased blood supply to the lining of the uterus. If the egg isn't fertilised, the Vata dosha increases, the uterus lining will shed and your period arrives.
- Each dosha when imbalanced, causes it’s own particular symptoms before, during or after your period. This would mean symptoms can be classified as Vata, Pitta or Kapha dominant.
If the Vata is imbalanced you may feel symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, headaches and a scanty flow as the menstrual cycle begins.
- Avoiding coffee, tea, tobacco, drugs, and extremely spicy foods.
- Choosing foods that are warm, heavy, and oily.
- Limiting foods that are cold, dry, and light.
- Keeping hydrated.
- Slowing down, resting and reducing stress.
A Pitta imbalance causes women to feel anger, irritability, excessive heat, a bad complexion and heavy bleeding during menstruation.
- Avoiding coffee, tea, chocolate, alcohol, cheese, yogurt, and animal products.
- Not skipping meals or eating late, when you are hungry.
- Avoiding sour, salty, spicy and pungent or hot foods.
- Choosing foods that are cool and liquid, sweet or bitter.
- Deep breathing and meditation.
Depression, bloating, heaviness and lethargy when your period arrives can be the sign of a Kapha imbalance.
- Avoiding salt, cheese, yogurt, chocolate, and refined sugars during your period.
- Drinking ginger tea. Cooking with lots of spices – ginger, cumin, turmeric, cardamom, fennel and coriander.
- Eating raw honey.
- Staying active and exercising daily.
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