Cilantro’s growing in the garden these days and that’s a good thing! A natural heat-expeller (I’m making that term up, but that’s what it does), anti-inflammatory to ease allergies and arthritis, digestive, anti-bacterial and anti-viral, the list goes on.
The leaf to the coriander seed, this green is used widely in Indian, Asian and Mexican cooking. It has cooling properties which balances the heat found in many dishes that use chilies and peppers, like salsas and curries.
According to Ayurveda, spicy dishes can add to a person’s internal fire
Ayurveda calls our internal fire Pitta, affecting the way we feel, as well as the way we interact with and see the world. Mix this up with the abundance of Pitta-increasing foods/activities engrained in our lives (i.e. coffee, alcohol, over-work, stress, etc) and we can become unbalanced.
A post diving deeper into what Ayurveda is and why I reference it in relation to the healing benefits of food is coming soon, yet I’d like to say a little more now.
A common question is, “Does Pitta have to do with the physical body and temperament?” And “What will I feel like when I get rid of it?” Ayurveda in general weds the body and mind. One can experience physical symptoms or qualities of Pitta and, most likely, will experience mental qualities as well.
Now, to “get rid of it.” You don’t want to, we need fire. A friend, and small business owner, gave me an example from her life as she worked with a Doctor of Chinese Medicine to help her with a sleep disorder. Let me just say also, if she had an abundance of fire in her system it makes sense she’s a hard-working, successful small business owner. Fire is needed to manifest and accomplish such goals.
Pitta (even in overabundance) can be helpful!
The charm comes in knowing when and how to find balance so we don’t work to exhaustion or start yelling impossible demands at our employees.
My pal was experiencing troubled sleep, acne, and painful menstruation. Her doctor of Chinese Medicine gave her an herb regimen and for the first week of therapy she experienced the physical sensation of heat in her body. After that first week her skin began to clear and she felt relief from painful menstrual cramping and restless nights. According to Chinese Medicine she was expelling excess heat.
This is a perfect example of what Pitta-reducing or cooling herbs can do.
In terms of “how will I know if I’m balanced?” Heck if I know, really!
I can’t tell you what you will feel when you’re balanced. Health and body awareness are personal journeys. Always in flow, balance is never static. You’ll know when you feel balanced and when you need balance, even if others disagree. Ya dig? So go forth, and good luck!
This brings us back to cilantro, which is a great herb to help reduce and balance heat.
It can act as a mild diuretic, aiding the body to release excess heat. As we enter into Spring it’s a perfect time of year to start using cilantro in cooking to expel stored heat we may have accumulated from heating foods during the winter (i.e. meats, fats, sweets, heartier vegetables, butter, and dairy products).
Cilantro helps alleviate allergies.
Due to anti-inflammatory properties cilantro helps sinuses and blood vessels stay open and flowing. Cilantro also aids digestion, which helps strengthen our immune system. Keeping internal inflammation at bay and digestion healthy is essential to alleviating allergies.
All you need is a teaspoon of cilantro juice a day to start benefiting. Use it in cooking, chopped and tossed over rice, in salsas, throw a handful of fresh leaves in a smoothie even! Keep a bundle in a cup of water on the counter and nibble a sprig when you walk by. Make it up, do what you want!