When it comes to options for medicinal herbal tea, the sky and the earth are truly the limits. Depending upon your needs, goals, proclivities, and Ayurvedic constitution, there are a plethora of options for enjoying medicinal herbal tea. If you are just starting to dabble in the realm of herbs, perhaps it would be helpful to first take stock of your constitution, the season, and what you are looking for in a tea.
Ayurveda is not one-size-fits-all. In fact, one of my Ayurveda teachers once made the radical statement that “Nothing is right for everyone; everything is right for someone.” For those who run warm—Pitta types—it is best to focus on cooling foods and cooling herbs. The examples are many, but include cilantro, fennel, rice, coconut, and leafy greens.
On the other hand, those with a Vata constitution will generally want to focus on foods and herbs that are warming, grounding, and nourishing. A few examples include ginger, cinnamon, ashwagandha, oats, ghruta, and sweet potatoes.
To provide further contrast, those with a Kapha constitution are best suited to foods and herbs that are bitter, pungent, and somewhat dry. Examples include black pepper, tulsi, cayenne, dandelion greens, and clear, spicy soups.
Medicinal Herbal Tea for Your Dosha
If you are unsure of your constitution, you may want to spend some time exploring the literature on Ayurvedic doshas and reflecting upon how you relate to the doshas. PIOR Living has a number of journal posts on this topic. As you become more familiar with your dosha, you can choose herbal teas that are better tailored to your constitution. Here are just a few ideas on medicinal herbal teas for each dosha.
Herbal Tea for Vata Dosha
As I mentioned earlier, warming and grounding herbs and spices are best for Vata dosha. These counterbalance the light, cool, dry qualities of Vata. Simple spiced teas are nice, such as combinations of ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and fennel (fennel is cooling but its sweet nature balances Vata).
Also, consider nourishing rasayanas for Vata dosha, such as ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is a rejuvenating root that can be bought as a starchy powder. You can add the powder to hot cocoa, chai, or herbal tea blends. Also, the Ayurvedic herbal jam, Chyawanprash, contains ashwagandha, as well as many other nourishing herbs.
Herbal Tea for Pitta Dosha
Full of fire, Pitta types generally benefit from cool medicinal herbal teas and cooling spices. Think coriander, fennel, cardamom, and mint. Also, Chyawanprash is composed of a base of amla berry. Amla berry, or amalaki, is a deeply rejuvenating herb that specifically balances Pitta dosha.
Herbal Tea for Kapha Dosha
Kapha dosha’s heavy, slow, smooth, moist nature calls for pungent, light, purifying herbs and spices. Therefore, black pepper, cayenne, dry ginger, and fenugreek help balance Kapha dosha. Also, when it comes to herbs that soothe the nervous system, tulsi is a nice choice for Kapha dosha. Tulsi is clarifying and it has a warming energy and an overall purifying effect. You can also find tulsi in Chyawanprash.
Medicinal Herbal Tea: The Options Are Many
Depending upon one’s aim and constitution, there is no shortage of options for medicinal herbal tea. You can try out some of the suggestions here as a launching point. Also, if you are looking for nourishing, rasayana herbs, the jam Chyawanprash is a wonderful place to start, as it contains many supportive herbs. Simply stir a teaspoon or two of the jam into hot water and you have a lovely nourishing herbal tea!
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her practice, Asheville Ayurveda, is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.