Be Healthy in Autumn

The Acharyas tells us that by simply following appropriate Dinacharya (daily routine) and Ritucharya (seasonal routine) we can avert about 85% of all diseases. Imagine that!

Dakshinayana period, when sun starts moving to the Souther direction, starts in autumn and the bodily strength gradually increases. During the rainy season the body is accustomed to the coldness in the atmosphere. Sudden exposure to the heat of the sun rays in autumn makes the body hot and aggravates pitta, which has been accumulated in the rainy season. On the other hand, vata gradually decreases.

Autumn season (Sharad Ritu) started on the 11th of September in India. It is important to balance Pitta dosha in autumn season. This advice does not apply to those staying in the colder regions, who should follow a diet suitable for the rainy season in autumn.

* One should consume food that is katu (bitter), madhura (sweet), tikta (astringent), laghu (light) and sheetal (cooling). This type of food pacifies Pitta dosha.
* Eat rice, barley, wheat, mung dal, pointed gourd (parwal), bottle gourd (lauki), bitter gourd (karela), ash gourd (petha), yam, young radish, Khand, mishri, jaggery sugar, amla, honey, raisins, ripe banana, pear and dates.
*Avoid curd, mustard oil, heavy food like potato and others. Gas producing vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage should be reduced – and must be cooked well with ghee.
*Use cooling chyawanprash (chandraprash) to cool down the body.

* Avoid exposure to the sunlight, overeating and sleep during the daytime.
* Apply sandalwood paste to reduce the heat of the body.
Your haircare and skincare regime should include herbs like Vetiver, Saffron, Aloe vera, Sandalwood and Rose as it effectively pacifies Pitta dosha. These herbs help calm the rashes and eliminate excess heat production from the body.
* Use mogra soap or mogra incense to relax your sense.
* Find ways to include Lotus and Lily flowers in your lifestyle by making them an essential part of your home decor.
* Wear light, pastel shades.
* Spend the late evenings absorbing the moon rays.
* Swim in clean rivers or lakes.
* Boil water with herbs like Punarnava, Lodhra, Amla, Usheera,etc.
* Use medicated ghee with bitter herbs.

Detoxification/ Cleansing
According to Ayurveda, every healthy individual has to undergo seasonal detoxification. In autumn season Virechana purgation therapy and blood letting therapy are adviced.
* For a purgation therapy you can use triphala, liver tonic.
* You can do a blood letting therapy in an ayurvedic center or if that is not possible, simply donate blood in autumn.

Additional Advice for Those Who Are Very Sensitive to Heat

Those who came from the West or who are more sensitive to heat can take some extra care, which is usually applied in summer.

  1. First of all, drink a lot of water. In hot seasons it is the best to drink water from matka (claypot), which cools it down, makes the water alkaline, purifies it.
    • Drink a lot of cooling drinks: Gomata’s amla juice, tender coconut water, lime juice, rosewater, cucumber water, sugarcane juice, rose milk (milk mixed with water and rose syrup).
    • Try Gomata’s limeonade: take 1 lime, Gomata’s natural mishri sugar or khand sugar, rosewater, mint and matka (claypot) water. Mix it all and enjoy a refreshing and cooling drink.
    • Try Gomata’s nimbu pani. Intake of lemon water with a pinch of black salt 2-3 times a day improves the absorption of minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium, etc. Simply mix matka water, juice of one lime, a pinch of black salt, toasted and crushed cumin seeds and some Gomata’s natural mishri or khand sugar.
    • Make buttermilk at home: beat the yoghur mixed with double or triple quantity of cool water and churn it until butter separates and mix the liquid (buttermilk) with black salt, ground cumin and coriander leaves.
  2. Replenish electrolytes and minerals, which are lost from the body due to excessive sweating. Tender coconut water, fresh fruit juices and supplements can help you to do that.
  3. Follow a pitta pacifying diet. Know exactly which food and spices are cooling and which heating. Carefully avoid the heating food and choose the cooling food, it will make a big difference in how you feel. Generally, choose food, which is sweet, bitter, astringent, moist, light.
    • Choose fruits like melons and other sweet fruits. Avoid sour fruits. 
    • Eat more greens in salads and smoothies, especially choose the green leafy vegetables, cucumbers and other green vegetables like seasonal Indian vegetables tinda, parwal, torai, loki, kakdi.
    • Rice is cooling; however, capattis may heat the body so it could be a good idea to avoid them in hot season. Avoid any dry grain items like bread and cookies in hot seasons.
    • Most nuts and dry fruits are heating; choose coconut, soaked raisins.
    • Use cooling spices like fennel, cardamom, mint, coriander, parsley.
    • Avoid white sugar, choose cooling natural Gomata’s mishri and khand sugar.
    • Reduce the intake of fried, oily, salty, spicy and sour food.
    • Take raabri i.e. buttermilk cooked with barley flour.
  4. Do not take ice cream, especially when the body is hot from walking outside. Do not take water directly after coming back from outside, let the body cool down for 15 minutes.
  5. Avoid walking outside during the hottest hours (11am-4pm). If you need to go out, carry an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun. Otherwise, you can use a hat or a turban to cover your head. Do not walk barefoot.
  6. Close the windows during the day and open during the night. Use fans and air conditioners; however, do not turn them on directly after coming back from outside, let the body cool down naturally for 15 minutes.
  7. Good quality Kajal put under the eyes cools down the body.
  8. Apply aloe vera or coconut oil on your body including the head to cool it down. Use coconut oil for self-massage. Spray rose water on your head.
  9. Try pranayama. Practice Sheetali breah by inhaling through a curled tongue and exhaling through the nose. Regular practice of Anuloma Viloma balances the heat and cold elements or the opposing forces of the body. 
  10. Do moon salutations before going to sleep.
  11. Put cotton in your right ear.
  12. Take a bath in a lake or river, preferably Yamuna. If you take bath in Yamuna early in the morning, it will help you to stay cool throughout the day.
  13. Take it easy, especially during the hottest hours of the day. Listen to your body and take rest when you feel tired. Exercise early in the morning when it is not hot.
  14. Wear light loose cotton, linen or silk clothes. Matka silk is especially cooling.
  15. Massaging feet with ghee draws out the heat from the body. Rose water applied to facial skin helps to remove excess heat from the head and neck region.
  16. Use Ayurvedic herbs to reduce the heat:
    • Brahmi is known to help reduce excess heat in the nervous system therefore helping with good sleep, preventing migraines and irritability.
    • Shatavari helps to nourish the body and also helps towards increased absorption of water during hot seasons.
    • Neem is also known as the cooling herb for the skin. Anyone who may have tendency towards skin ailments in hot seasons, the Neem is the herb for you.
    • Turmeric helps to cleanse the liver, skin and blood by removing excess Pitta from these organs.
    • Camphor has exceptional cooling and soothing properties that soothe the irritated and itchy scalp during hot seasons. 
    • Apply chandan paste on your forehead to reduce heat.
    • Try other herbs like anantmool, manjishtha, laung, khus, kewda.
  17. Ayurvedic doctor may give some Ayurvedic medicine to reduce heat in the body. Try Gomata’s Chandraprash, which is especially created to help reduce summer heat.

Find the products for autumn below.