There are so many options of sweeteners on the market today but none as pure and good for the planet as local organic honey. Honey contains Vitamins C, B3, B5, as well as folate, manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, and selenium. This is impressive compared to what else is offered on the shelves. Bees even have their own digestive enzymes that they transfer into the honey they make, bringing extra goodness to your gut!
Honey is not only delicious; it also provides longer lasting energy than sugar because it is lower in fructose and other trace minerals which gives off less of a blood spike than sugar does to the body. This means that it has a lower glycemic index than other sweeteners.
Honey is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory… I think you get the picture! Some people believe that by ingesting honey with pollen it could also help with pollen allergies. Studies are inconclusive on that front, but I can see the correlation and it doesn’t hurt to try!
The bottom line: There are many reasons to choose different types of sweeteners for different reasons, but to me honey is usually the clear winner.
Scientific Name: Hibiscus moscheutos ssp. moscheutos
Common Names: hibiscus, ambary plant, burao, rosa sinensis, red sorrel, karkadi, kenaf, African mallow, Indian sorrel, Jamaica sorrel, Jamaica tea flower, roselle, Sudanese tea, red tea (1)
Sanskrit Name: Japā (2)
Family: Malvaceae (1)
Higher Classification: Hibisceae
The tart taste of hibiscus is due to is content of 15 to 30% plant acids, including citric, malic, and tartaric acids. The wine-red color of the tea is the to anthocyans, including delphinidins and cyanidins. In tea, the herb yields mucilage and pectins. (3)
Hibiscus sabdariffa is a member of the mallow family (Malvaceae) and is native to parts of North Africa and Southeast Asia.
The flower, fresh, dried, cut, and powdered. (2)
The calyx (the structure around the petals) are the primary plant part used, specifically in teas for lowering blood pressure and for its cooling effect.
AYURVEDIC HERBAL ENERGETICS
Dosha effect: PK- V0 (+ in excess)
Rasa: madhura (sweet) and kashayam (astringent) (2)
Virya: shita (2)
Vipaka: madhura (sweet) (2)
Gunas: sattvic, light, dry
Hibiscus flowers taste madhura (sweet) and kashayam (astringent). (2)
They are cold in terms of potency and can reduce aggravated Pitta and balance Kapha. ... Ayurveda refers to this condition as Raktapradar.
DHATU AND SROTAS
Rasa, Rakta, Mamsa, Majja, Shukra/Artava (3)
Circulatory, artavavahasrotas, majjavahasrotas (3)
KARMAS OF HIBISCUS
Rakta Shodhan (alterative), hemostatic, shitala (refrigerant), emmenagogue, demulcent, shulagna (antispasmodic), diuretic (4)
Cystitis, fever, inflammatory skin disorders, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, cough, fever, venereal diseases, circulatory disorders, constipation, hair loss, infections, heart burn, toxins in blood (4)
Hibiscus is a member of the Malvaceae family, or the mallow family of flowering plants. There are more than 200 species, all of which are known for their colorful, showy blooms. There are many folk remedies attributed to hibiscus flowers, including help with stomach or digestive problems, and to help soothe the nerves. Recently it has been added to many ready-made teas due to its high levels of anti-oxidants. The Journal of Human Hypertension published an article that showed that drinking hibiscus tea can reduce the blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. (5)
Severe chills, high Vata. Pregnancy. May be a contraceptive. (4)
Pregnancy was terminated in 92% of the animals and peripheral level of progesterone declined when benzene extract of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis flowers was provided orally at 1 gm/kg/d from day 5-8 of gestation (6)
In a randomized clinical trial with 100 patients with mild hypertension and diabetes, drinking an infusion of sour tea (Hibiscus sabdariffa) three times daily for four weeks was shown to significantly decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (6)
In a randomized trial, patients with metabolic syndrome treated with a Hibiscus sabdariffa extract powder had significantly reduced glucose and total cholesterol levels, increased HDL-c levels, and an improved TAG/HDL-c ratio (t-test p<0.05). A triglyceride-lowering effect was also observed. (6)
A one-year ethnobotanical study conducted by interviewing 48 people from Tamilnadu, India on their knowledge and uses of medicinal plants reported of the 139-plant species identified, Hibiscus rosa sinensis was ranked eighth in use value. (6)
African folk medicine uses hibiscus as a diuretic, to relieve pressure in the gallbladder, and to relax the uterus. The mucilage in the herb make it a mild laxative, but they are also helpful when the herb is used as a wash to treat weeping eczema. Regular consumption of hibiscus teas often lowers blood pressure, typically 8 to 12 mm/Hg. Hibiscus is also the source of the hydroxycitric acid (HCA, or hydroxycut) used in many diet formulas. This compound has been long used to fight obesity. Scientific studies with lab animals find that it stops the conversion of carbs in food to body fat. It fights appetite and encourages weight loss not by increasing energy expenditure but by encouraging the "wasting" of carbohydrates. HCA does not enhance weight loss during low-carb or Atkins-style diets, but it does help weight loss when used with a program of general calorie restriction reducing consumption of carbs, protein, and fats equally. Hibiscus powder will have more of a laxative effect than other forms of the herb. It delivers more HCA. It is also more likely to help lower LDL cholesterol, although definitive research of the use of this herb for controlling high cholesterol has not been completed. Hibiscus is Good for Controlling Pitta Diseases. (3)
1. Cms.herbalgram.org. 2020. American Botanical Council: Herb Med Pro. [online] Available at: <http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbmedpro/index.html#param.wapp?sw_page=@@subcategory%3FherbID%3D272> [Accessed 3 June 2020].
2. Lad., V. and Frawley., D., 2001. The Yoga Of Herbs. Lanham: Lotus Press, p.124, 204.
3. O’Dunn, D., 2011. Florida Academy of Ayurveda, Herb Manual, Page 73
4. Alandi Ashram Herb Spreadsheet
5. Cms.herbalgram.org. 2020. American Botanical Council: Herb Med Pro. [online] Available at: <http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbmedpro/index.html#param.wapp?sw_page=@@subcategory%3FherbID%3D272> [Accessed 3 June 2020].
6. Cross J. MEDLINE, PubMed, PubMed Central, and the NLM. Editors' Bulletin. 2006;2(1):1-5. doi:10.1080/17521740701702115
1. Ayurvedic Facials: My new favorite is combining hibiscus powder with rosewater to create a paste for my face! Or try 1/2 tsp turmeric mixed with 1 oz heavy cream. Refrigerate leftovers.
2. Tea ceremony: Turn on calming music (Karunesh is nice), brew up your favorite cup and find a cozy seat. I like chamomile, lavender and jasmine.
3. Yoga Nidra: So many yoga studios are offering free online courses. Take advantage! Check some Yoga Nidra out here: https://www.yoganidranetwork.org/downloads
4. Go Barefoot: Take off your shoes and Put your feet in the dirt. Soak in those sun rays and let nature flood your spirit. Nature has not been cancelled.
5. Burn Sage/Incense/Aromatherapy: My favorite scents are nag champa, ylang ylang and lemongrass.
6. Read a Book: For fun! I get really caught up in professional or educational literature. Switch it up and read for pleasure!
7. Hobbies: Playing music, pickling vegetables, writing poetry, vision boarding, exploring new podcasts... get creative!
And if you find yourself needing extra connection, or help reaching your wellness goals, reach out to prema.shakti@hibisKISSayurveda.com. We are in this together!
Feeling anxious? Anxiety is one of the most common sufferings among the current population. (Not to mention the fear of the unknown around the current situation regarding COVID-19!). While you should talk to you doctor to determine if medication is needed, there are practices you can implement into your daily lifestyle to combat this type of stress. Here are a few of my favorites.
Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breath):
Create a peace symbol with your dominant hand, then lower the peace sign (index and middle finger) and raise the thumb, ring and pinky fingers. With your palm facing you, close off the right nostril with your thumb, exhaling through the left. Inhale through the left nostril, then close off the left nostril at the top of the breath with your ring finger, release your thumb from the right nostril to open for the exhale. Repeat back and forth, alternating nostrils. This breath work technique regulates the right and left hemispheres of the brain and clams the nervous system.
Repeat 4x, first directing the words to yourself, then to a loved one, to an acquaintance, and lastly to someone you are having difficulty with. If the last round provides to be too difficult, use the final round to direct the words to all sentient beings.
“May I/you feel protected and safe,
May I/you feel contented and pleased,
May my/your body support you with strength,
May my/your life unfold smoothly and with ease.”
Instead of using technology to scroll through fearful articles or social media arguments, call your friends and family using FaceTime (or a similar platform) so that you can see their faces while you connect. Make a commitment to limit and use social media for promoting good.
The olfactory system is one of the fastest ways to connect to the central nervous system. Unpleasant or bad smells actually send pain signals to the brain to warn us of possible danger. Alternately, pleasant fragrances tell the body it can relax. Commonly used fragrances to mellow out to include lavender, rose, frankincense, ylang ylang and cinnamon.
Oiling my feet before bed with organic sesame oil guides the energy downward and pacifies the vata dosha. Wipe off excess oil and wear socks if desired.
We’ve been hearing it a lot lately; wash your hands. While extremely important, there is much more that you can do to help boost immunity during times when you need it (i.e. the coronavirus). Here are some simple ayurvedic tips to help boost your immunity during the winter season, or when dealing with a public health crisis.
1. Diet, diet, DIET. Start by making a change to a plant-based diet. This doesn’t mean eliminating meat or dairy, but rather focusing on having vegetables and fruits as the main portions of your meals. Bitter greens (think chard, spinach, kale, arugula), broccoli, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, okra, bitter gourd, berries, oranges, lemons, papaya; all of these vibrant foods carry a serious punch of vitamins and antioxidants. The brighter the better! This is your first line of defense against an illness. And don’t forget to spice it up with garlic, cayenne, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin and fennel!
2. Take your daily herbs. Tulsi (which can also be taken as a tea) supports the respiratory system, Ashwagandha works as an adaptogen for the whole body, and Guduchi assists with total body detoxification. These are just a few of the many ayurvedic herbs to help boost immunity.
3. Take your nightly triphala. Triphala is one of the best herbs to detoxify the body of waste material. Known by the proverb: “One who has no mother at home, his mother is triphala”. It helps to flush the liver, kidneys and GI tract.
4. Oil yourself daily. In ayurveda this is called abhyanga, which means ‘oil massage’. Using organic sesame or coconut oil cover the entire surface of your skin. Not only are these oils anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial, they are high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and will act as a barrier between your skin and potential infectants. Use a Q-tip to swap your nostrils to create a barrier for your nose.
5. Keep it moving. You may be avoiding large public places including the gym, but don’t let that stop you from feeling a light sweat. If you live near nature go outside for a few early morning sun rays, as long as the trails aren’t too crowded. If you are opting to stay indoors, try yoga (I know you keep saying you want to try it). If you are feeling more energized, simply turning up the tunes for an at home dancing session is not only good for the body, but also wonderful for the mind and spirit!
6. If feeling run down, sleep it out! Create yummy nightly routines and rituals to help you get into the mood to sleep. Having a cup of hot chamomile tea in the evening can help the body to relax before your nightly slumber. Add some honey – it’s an anti-viral! Oil your feet and slip socks on before going to bed to ground your energy. Getting enough rest is crucial to a healthy immune system.
Lastly, I’ll continue the broken record, keep washing your hands. This should be a no-brainer whether there is a global health pandemic or not. Germs like to hang around on clothes and metal objects, including door handles and faucets. Do what you can to avoid catching any illness but know that if you do you’ve taken all the right steps to fight it with a strong immune system.
You can order a one-month supply of triphala or get a custom herbal formula made for your needs by contacting me at email@example.com.
Ghee has been used since ancient times in traditional āyurvedic cooking. Simply put, ghee is clarified butter. It is composed almost entirely of fat.
Ghee in moderation does not increase total cholesterol and in turn, it actually can help build the good cholesterol your body needs. The recipe for ghee removes the residue from butter (including water and milk solids), and has a longer shelf-life with no refrigeration necessary. It is a pure golden oil that, although produced from milk, has different qualities than that of a diary product. Ghee is free from trans-fatty acids, lactose and casein.
Ghee is tri-doshic and provides benefits for all. Said to be a sattvic food, ghee has a nuttier taste than that of butter or margarine. It is great to use as a spread, in place of cooking oil, and for additional āyurvedic therapies.
Health is created and maintained through our daily routines and rituals. In āyurveda, routines are aligned with the rhythms of nature to keep the body in homeostasis and out of a state of stress, leading to diseases of the mind and body. Below is an example of a daily āyurvedic routine.
Awaken with the sun: During Vata time; start the morning off with gratitude by pausing to send loving energy into the universe. Give thanks and welcome the blessings of the day yet to come.
Cleanse face, eyes, ears and mouth with cool water: Reduces Pitta excess that has built up during the night. Senses will become open and receptive.
Brush teeth/scrape tongue: Check the tongue to observe ama (waste) collected throughout the night. Using a tongue scraper, starting in the back of the mouth and pulling to the tip of the tongue. Brush teeth using herbal, natural toothpaste.
Sip warm water with lemon: Cleanses the GI tract and removes ama (waste) from the digestive & elimination systems. If there is excess Vata, allow water to sit overnight in a copper cup to drink in the morning. If there is excess Pitta, substitute lime for lemon.
Engage in dry brushing and abhyanga.
Shower/cleanse in body temperature water: Making sure not to shock the body in too hot or too cold temperatures, use an all natural body wash as to not strip your skin of their natural oils.
Swab nostrils: Using a q-tip, dip in rosewater hydrosol and swab nostrils; follow with dipping a new q-tip into nasya oil or sesame oil and repeat swabbing nostrils. Use a neti pot as needed for present irritants.
Morning sadhana: Morning yoga practice; surya namaskar (sun salutations).
Pranayama: Morning breath work.
Mantra: Set an intention for your day.
Morning meal: Breakfast should be taken at first point of hunger. Consume food in silence to break your overnight fast.
Daily work/tasks/activity: During this time of day, complete the tasks that require the most focus.
Mid-day meal: Lunch should be the largest meal of the day when agni (digestive fire) is highest (10am-2pm). To aid in digestion, lay on the left side of the body following your meal.
Social interaction: Vata time of day (2pm-6pm) is best to gather with friends and loved ones.
Evening meal: Dinner should be light and served at the next point of hunger. Eat just enough to bring you until bedtime, but not right before going to sleep - should be at least 2 hours prior to your slumber. If hunger persists before bed, enjoy a cup of spiced milk.
Let everything go: Take an inventory of your day followed by relaxing activities (warm bath, reading/writing, stretching); light some natural candles with calming aromas.
Pranayama & meditation
Oil feet: Using sesame oil (or any grounding oils), wipe off excess oil and wear socks if desired.
Nightly slumber: Laying in the manner appropriate for your dosha - Vata on back, Pitta on right side, Kapha on left side.
1. Take Triphala every night! The Vata dosha rules travel and can cause
constipation when jet setting around. Taking 1/2 tsp. of triphala with
warm water before bed can help to keep elimination regular.
2. Stay hydrated! Make sure to drink plenty of purified water and herbal
tea to stay hydrated, especially when on an airplane. Traveling can be
super drying and dehydrating to the body.
3. Keep snacks on your person! It is easy to want to grab quick food while
on-the-go. Most of these foods are pre-packaged and contain lots of
preservatives. Real food wasn't meant to last 3-6 months on the self!
Fruits and nuts are wonderful options. And drink CCF tea in between meals
to help with digestion.
4. Oil yourself to calm Vata. Remove your shoes, massage your feet with
sesame oil (or some other favorite), and cover with cotton socks. Reapply
oil as needed and leave on for the duration of the flight. Use your nasya
oil for dry nose.
5. Walk whenever you can. Walk the airport, walk the aisle of the plane.
Bust out some yoga moves when on layovers in the airport.
6. Get plenty of sleep. It is easy to stay awake on airplanes, but once
you land you will be happy for the rest you got! Take melatonin and use
essential oils, ear buds and an eye pillow for comfort. Consider bringing
Epsom salts for a restorative bath when you arrive.
7. Use organic rose water spray to refresh hot skin on a summer day. Make
sure to wear a natural SPF in the sun and to be aware of sun rays during
Pitta hours (10am-2pm) when the sun is at its strongest.
8. Flying can cause sinus pressure to build. But you can practice some
simple moves to keep the pressure off: press gently under the eyes from
inside to outside, massage the base of the ears in slow circular motions,
and use revolving pressure on the temples with fingertips.