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Digestive Tea for Vata Dosha: GINGER FENNEL TEA

If tea were to pacify just one dosha, it might be Vata. Vata dosha governed by the elements of Air and Ether (or space) is soothed by things that are warm and moist, just like a delicious cup of tea. 

If you are cold, tea will warm you; if you are too heated, it will cool you; if you are depressed, it will cheer you; if you are excited it will calm you.
— William Ewart Gladstone

While there are a myriad of teas that will benefit someone with excess Vata Dosha (with symptoms like waking in the night, anxiety, constipation, gas, stiffness, low back pain, dry skin, irregular appetite), this is a very simple and delicious one with ingredients essential to any kitchen. 

Ginger, in one preparation called vishvabheshaja or universal medicine, could be said to be the most revered spice of the ayurvedic kitchen because it benefits health so broadly. Dry ginger is suitable for all doshas, but fresh should be avoided by those experiencing excess Pitta dosha. That said, I have also heard that dry is hotter than fresh, so for those with higher pitta, it is wise to experiment and see for yourself. Ginger is pungent and heating and has a sweet or pungent vipaka, or post digestive-effect, depending on the preparation. Ginger primarily acts to enkindle agni, the digestive fires and improve digestion and assimilation of food. Ginger makes excellent kitchen medicine for the common cold, flu, gas, jet lag, abdominal pain, and poor circulation. 

Fennel seed benefits all doshas and is a special friend to women. It is sweet, pungent and bitter, slightly cooling, and has a sweet vipaka. If you've eaten at an Indian restaurant you've likely tried a little fennel after the meal which works to cleanse the palette and prevent gas or indigestion. I've had clients keep tic-tac containers of fennel seeds in their purses so they can munch on them after any meal for digestive benefit. Fennel increases agni like ginger, but more gently. Women can benefit from using fennel seed in teas or cooking to help alleviate pre-menstrual tension including gas or water retention, regulate menstruation, and promote lactation in pregnant women.  

For this tea, you may find that the fennel seeds provide adequate sweetness to the brew, however if you feel more sweetener is needed maple syrup makes a wise choice as it will raise blood sugar more mildly than cane sugar or honey. 

This tea can be enjoyed warm at any time of day. Enjoy! 

 

ginger fennel tea

~ digestive tea for vata dosha

Makes roughly 5 servings. 

  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, sliced into coins
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 6 cups water

Combine ingredients in a medium pot and bring to boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover. After 7 minutes, turn off heat and allow to cool to a drinkable temperature. Strain to serve. Sweeten with a touch of maple syrup or a splash of almond milk for a treat. 

 

 

References:

Ayurveda: Life, Health, & Longevity by Robert E. Svoboda and Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing by Usha & Vasant Lad