As we move deeper into the Winter season, one of the symptoms you may be experiencing is increased dryness. According to many Ayurvedic healers, Late Winter is governed by Kapha Dosha, the energies of earth and water. However, some serious Vata overtones are happening here on the surface.
Rough wind, and hard ground, bitter cold temperatures and clear days are all qualities of Vata Dosha’s air and ether energies.
What is happening here is something we call, a vitiation of Vata Dosha, and it’s manifesting specifically, as dryness. Hair, skin, lips, nails - all of it, dry as a whistle.
When looking to bring balance to this overactive wind energy and soothe dryness, we must utilize warming and grounding qualities.
Hydrating the outside
In Ayurveda we almost solely use natural oils to get the job done. Most people are familiar and likely have/use coconut oil. While a great oil for Pitta dosha, specifically in Summer, coconut oil is light and cooling in nature. This oil is not your best choice the Winter season, and for my dominant Vata and Kaphas - not your first choice ever. Instead, opt for un-toasted organic Sesame oil. Tri-doshic, sweet, grounding and slightly heavier by nature this oil is a must in your medicine cabinet.
Use it abundantly on your body before AND after your shower. For extra oomph, add some warming essential oils like Frankincense + wild orange.
A daily dime size amount of oil on your hair ends will make for shiny, health and hydrated locks. Also useful in protecting hair from heat damage.
Add nasya to your daily routine. Nasya, the sister of Neti, is the practice of lubricating the sinuses with oil. A little sesame oil on your finger tip, rubbed inside the nostrils should do the trick.
Mix warm water + Almond meal into a paste for a exfoliator for the face. Try dry brushing around the rest of the body to slough dead skin and increase warmth.
Humidifiers in your home and workplace are helpful to balance the dryness created by central heat. A modern medicine cabinet must, if you ask me.
Hydrating the inside
When we talk about hydrating the inside, we are going to look directly at what we are consuming, for the answers.
These dark days tend to bring with them an increased consumption of caffeine and/or alcohol. Neither are bad, though both of their qualities increase dryness dramatically in the body. Thus, practice paying attention to dryness patterns and consumption of these beverages.
Add a pinch of Pink Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt to 12 oz of warm water in the afternoon to increase hydration on a cellular level. These nutrient dense salts will remineralize drinking water and increase electrolyte content, making it easier for the body to absorb.
Increase your intake of water rich foods like dark leafy greens, broccoli, red peppers, and really all veggie varieties!
Everyone know’s the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids. To boost their effect try getting them in your food as well as supplements. Walnuts are a great source of this essential fat. Soak them overnight in water, to makes more digestible. Hemp seeds are another great option. Add them on top of any dish for a healthy crunch. Ghee, clarified butter, is a favorite tool in Ayurveda for increasing smoothness throughout the body.
If you’re struggling with a dry, hot, hacking cough, look for remedies made with demulcent herbs. These herbs contain more water and create protective barriers in the body, reducing dryness and inflammation. Licorice tea is an easily accessible remedy for dry lungs. Natural cough syrups containing licorice, slippery elm, marshmallow root are great to keep on hand as well.