Vata-Pitta Balancing Herbs

Vata-pitta is a dual combination constitution that refers to the state of two doshas, vata and pitta, being predominant in an individual’s body composition. This concept of dosha constitution is also recognized as prakriti. In Ayurveda, prakriti is responsible for a person’s mental health and physical stature.

The vata dosha is considered the leader of the body’s Ayurvedic Principles – vata, kapha, and pitta. The primary elements of vata are air and ether. It exhibits qualities such as cold, movement, dryness, clarity, light, and subtlety. This dosha governs all movement in mind and body, controlling blood flow, elimination of wastes, and breathing.

Pitta dosha, on the other hand, is reflected by the elements of fire (agni) and water (jala). Because heat is its inherent nature, this dosha possesses qualities such as sharpness, heat, intensity, fluidity, and lightness that exert a direct influence on your energy, metabolism, and digestion.

Herbal Remedies for Managing Vata-Pitta

The features of these two doshas exert an opposing influence in many ways. Since cold is the main property of vata, while heat prevails in pitta, a proper balance between the two is crucial to maintain good health. To balance your dosha levels you need to use a combination of lifestyle measures including diet, yoga, seasonal guides. Ayurvedic herbs provide an additional edge not just for maintenance of balance, but also to treat dosha imbalances as and when they do occur.

Some of the best Ayurvedic herbs for a vata-pitta constitution include the following.

#1. Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)

Shatavari root

Asparagus racemosus or shatavari has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years to support the digestive and reproductive function. It is traditionally used to help women go through the natural phases of life, including menstruation and menopause. In Ayurveda, shatavari is used to balance both pitta and vata due to its heavy nature. The combination of its sweet and bitter taste has a cooling effect, and its building, oily nature makes this herb a great support for individuals looking for a grounding and nourishing effect.

Investigations into the pharmacological profile of shatavari suggest that the herb may support a number of functions and systems in the body. Some of these benefits could include the promotion of healthy levels of breast milk, strengthening of the immune system, soothing of the digestive tract, and balancing of female hormones.

#2. Amla (Phyllanthus emblica)

Amla fruit and amla juice

Also known by the Sanskrit name Amalaki, Amla grows throughout India and bears goose-berry-like fruits. In fact, it is better known to many as Indian gooseberry. In the subcontinent, it is often referred to as the ‘nurse’, ‘mother’, and ‘immortality’, and has been used in Asian medicinal practices and Ayurveda for centuries.

Amla pacifies pitta, vata, and kapha, though it has an exceptionally calming effect on pitta. This powerful ally for numerous systems of the body may promote healthy cholesterol levels, reproductive health, and energy levels. It can also act as a tonic for the respiratory system, arterial system, the mind, and the heart.

As studies suggest, Amla may be an effective remedy for treating various common ailments and digestive problems. Furthermore, it represents an ideal solution for managing hyperacidity and other symptoms of imbalanced pitta dosha. In addition to balancing agni or digestive fire, it can also promote healthy eyes, skin, hair, and nails.

#3. Vidari Kanda (Pueraria tuberose)

Dried Vidarikand roots

Vidari kanda or vidarikand, also known as Indian kudzu, is a traditional holistic herb regarded as a strengthening aphrodisiac that supports vitality and fertility. According to classical texts, this herb helps support healthy menstruation in women and semen production in men. An essential herb for nurturing the mind and body, vidari is also a muscle tonic and promotes healthy lactation.

Vidarikand acts as a rejuvenative agent for both vata and pitta thanks to its sweet, slimy, smooth, and heavy qualities. According to Ayurveda, it is one of the primary herbs that individuals with a vata-pitta constitution should consider incorporating into their daily consumption.

Furthermore, the numerous health benefits of this ancient herb are also backed by preliminary research. As a recent study concluded, consuming vidari kanda (pueraria tuberosa) may lower blood pressure and increase antioxidant activity. Additionally, the herb could also assist in the treatment of sore throats, emaciation, and kidney and bladder pain caused by dryness.

#4. Amrataka (Spondias pinnata)

Amrataka fruit

Also known as hog plum, wild mango, and amrataka, spondias pinnata is commonly used in Ayurveda for the treatment of indigestion, anorexia, irregular menstruation, nausea, and diarrhea.

A native of Asia, ripe wild mango fruit is sweet and balances vata and pitta, while increasing kapha dosha. Ingesting the bark, however, decreases vata and increases both pitta and kapha.

Unripe wild mango is sometimes also used to manage disorders of vata dosha imbalance, such as constipation, neuralgia, bloating, and paralysis. However, the unripe fruit is sour and may not be ideal for people with aggravated kapha and pitta doshas.

As one comprehensive study on exotic fruits confirmed, research demonstrates “a potential antioxidant capacity for raw Spondias pinnata K., an exotic fruit of India”. The authors suggest that Spondias pinnata K. may contain neutraceutical and therapeutic potential for chronic diseases like diabetes.

#5. Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum maton)

Green Cardamom pods

Cardamom, botanically classified as Elettaria Cardamomum Maton, is a tridoshic Ayurvedic herb that can balance pitta, kapha, and vata. While this remedy may help individuals with a vata-pitta constitution keep their dosha levels in balance, it should be consumed in moderation to avoid throwing pitta off balance.

Traditionally, cardamom has been valued by Ayurveda for its ability to reduce pain, lift the spirit, ease the mind, and restore vitality.

As research also suggests, cardamom may be useful in preventing oxidative stress, obesity, and inflammation.

Choosing Other Herbs

While the herbs mentioned above do have a stabilizing influence and will help balance your vata and pitta levels, there are plenty of other herbs and foods that you can use to find that balance.

To understand the classification of herbs based on prakriti or dosha type, we have plenty of insights from classical texts. They recommend herbs based on specific tastes because of the corresponding effects on each dosha. Vata can be pacified with sweet, salty, and sour tastes while pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes aggravate it. On the other hand, Pitta gets pacified with sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes, while sour, pungent, and salty tastes aggravate it. Sweet tastes, therefore, can balance both pitta and vata.

Keeping this in mind, some of the other herbs used to balance vata-pitta levels include the likes of ripe kapitta, giloy satva, and sweet lemon.

The Takeaway

While herbs can be extremely helpful in maintaining a healthy vata-pitta constitution, lifestyle changes, including daily routines, diet, and exercise are also important. Keep in mind that herbal treatments are effective because of their nutritional and pharmacological properties, which is why it is always a good idea to consult your doctor before you begin using any new product.

References:

  • Alok, S., Jain, S. K., Verma, A., Kumar, M., Mahor, A., & Sabharwal, M. (2013). Plant profile, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Asparagus racemosus (Shatavari): A review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, 3(3), 242–251. http://doi.org/10.1016/S2222-1808(13)60049-3
  • Baliga M.S., Dsouza J.J. (2011). Amla (Emblica officinalis Gaertn), a wonder berry in the treatment and prevention of cancer. European journal of cancer prevention : the official journal of the European Cancer Prevention Organisation (ECP).  May;20(3):225-39. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0b013e32834473f4.
  • Verma S.K., Jain V., Singh D.P. (2012). Effect of Pueraria tuberosa DC. (Indian Kudzu) on blood pressure, fibrinolysis and oxidative stress in patients with stage 1 hypertension. Pakistan journal of biological sciences : PJBS. Aug 1;15(15):742-7.
  • Devalaraja, S., Jain, S., & Yadav, H. (2011). Exotic Fruits as Therapeutic Complements for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. Food Research International (Ottawa, Ont.), 44(7), 1856–1865. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2011.04.008
  • Rahman, M. M., Alam, M. N., Ulla, A., Sumi, F. A., Subhan, N., Khan, T., … Alam, M. A. (2017). Cardamom powder supplementation prevents obesity, improves glucose intolerance, inflammation and oxidative stress in liver of high carbohydrate high fat diet induced obese rats. Lipids in Health and Disease, 16, 151. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12944-017-0539-x

Next: Summer Guide

The changing seasons have a direct influence on the doshas. Fine tune your lifestyle choices with our summer guide to keep your doshas in balance this season.

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The information on this page has been contributed by Dr. Pratik Bhoite, M.D. (Ayu), M.S. (Couns.&Psy.) and is intended for the sole use of Allayurveda. Information contained within this article may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of Allayurveda.

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