Help your Hormones
I have lost count of the number of women to whom I have recommended the wonderful adaptogenic herb Shatavari, which helps to balance the female reproductive cycle. The co-founder of Pukka Herbs, has also written extensively on this magical women-supporting herb here. It can take up to three months for the herb to really settle into the system and balance natural hormone production, so do be patient. I, however, felt the benefits within four weeks – and the usual irritable, impatient, and more negative mindset that tended to kick in before my period, noticeably softened and faded away. I also experienced fewer cravings and less discomfort… as though I were on a more even keel, which is most welcome. I hasten to add here, however, that all that we feel – the highs & lows, the tenderness & release – has it’s sacred and crucial place, and it’s vital that we really begin to listen in and learn from our bodies and their ever-ebbing and flowing needs. For more on sacred rituals to ease period pain, and understand what you’re feeling and why, read on here too.
Keep on Moving
I begin most mornings with a glass of hot-tish water and a squeeze of lime. This tends to keep my digestive tract clear, but in the event that things get a big sluggish (very common after Christmas, with it’s differing foods & routines), the wonderful & supremely gentle Ayurvedic supplement Triphala, or the Organic Pharmacy’s Detox capsules, can get things moving naturally.
Reawaken your Agni
A great tip that really boosts how efficiently your digestive system prepares for the influx of food during a meal, is a little nibble of something beforehand. A classic Ayurvedic tip is to grate a small amount of fresh ginger, add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt, and eat that before a meal (right there you have the pungent, salty and sour tastes, which all boost our digestive fire AKA ‘agni’). A ginger tea also helps, as does chewing on some fennel seeds before, and after, a meal.
I always, always, have a jar of Chywanaprash in the cupboard – what is it? A sticky firm jam-like substance, dark golden brown in colour, that combines some of Ayurveda’s most potent adaptogenic herbs and ingredients. From amla (a sacred sour & sweet fruit, also known as Indian Gooseberry), an adaptogen that really boosts the body’s own immunity and ability to stave off degenerative diseases, to Ashawaganda, which has a justly earned reputation as the stress-relieving herb (it can also aid sleeplessness), this amazing concoction often contains up to 35 unusual herbs and ingredients, all of which are very high in antioxidants and holistic benefits. I resolve to take a teaspoon a day – and love it dissolved in warm water (add a decaf teabag of choice, or not, as it tastes chai-like thanks to the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom inside), and enjoyed at the end of the working day. One note – as it also contains honey, it must be mixed with warm, never hot, water only. Hot water & honey are a notable Ayurvedic no-no – heating honey changes its properties, and actually makes it toxic to our systems. Sounds odd, I grant you – but try pouring some boiling water over honey and note what happens to it – it goes almost plastic-like, hardening slightly, and losing its velvety unctuous quality, and it also tastes less pleasant.