Well, it’s now officially been the longest spell of hot weather in the UK for seven years. And although everyone is now sandbagging their homes against the floods that we are assured will follow, no doubt accompanied by plagues of locusts and so forth, it’s worth remembering: We’re still in the Pitta season. And the Met Office have announced that “summer is not over yet” (so it must be true).
Until the end of August, the predominant influence in nature for those of us in the northern hemisphere is Pitta, and hot weather is a prime cause of Pitta dosha being aggravated in us. Pitta also accumulates in the body throughout the summer, reaching its peak in August.
Pitta is fiery by nature. Excess Pitta is, not surprisingly, often expressed by anger, irritation, frustration, as mind and emotions become overheated. So Ayurveda’s simple yet profound advice in the Pitta season is to cool it, in every way possible.
How to avoid Mango Rage
Those living outside the Northern Territories of Australia may be unfamiliar with this term, but Mango Rage is a prime cause of A&E visits in Darwin during the hottest time of year (opposite to ours, of course). What happens is, a certain section of the population spends more time in air-conditioned bars and pubs to cool off; alcohol and excess Pitta have predictable combustible consequences; and the sequence ends in the Casualty departments of local hospitals, who have come to define the seasonal spike in attendance as Mango Rage, because it occurs when mangos are ripe. (This isn’t a criticism of Australian Pitta-reducing strategies, of course, or of Australians. I could have mentioned The Ashes, after all – another Pitta-related term – but I haven’t).
Anyway – mangoes are very cooling, as are many sweet, juicy fruits. Nature provides local solutions to potential imbalances in every climate, and Mango Rage is a slur on the mangoes, which would actually be very balancing to people who ate them instead of, or even as well as, heading for the pub.
We don’t have Mango Rage over here, but we probably do have Strawberry Rage, or Raspberry Rage, or even Blackberry Rage. But to balance Pitta, one strategy is to find whichever sweet, juicy fruits are in season in this country, and eat them (and mangoes, watermelon and so forth).
Other foods that help balance Pitta are grains, pulses, and bitter and astringent vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, and broccoli (we don’t hear a lot about Broccoli Rage, mind you). Try and include all 6 Ayurvedic tastes in your meals, as this helps balance Pitta as well.
Amongst spices, fennel, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander and cardamom pacify Pitta. And ghee is also very good.
Foods to avoid or reduce in summer are, not surprisingly, hot peppers, very hot curries; and also alcohol (with or without mangoes), coffee, chocolate, and hard cheese.
What else grows in the Pitta season? Well, roses, for instance. Rose is a very cooling influence, and is a valuable ingredient not only in Pitta-balancing aroma oils, but also in the Triphala with Rose preparation (one of our best sellers).
We do like to be beside the seaside
In the Pitta season, the cooling influence of the sea is ideal. Recent research found that the perfect distance for a British family to travel to their holiday destination is under 100 miles, which is a sensible Pitta-reducing target to avoid the are-we-there-yet frustrations that can build up on crowded roads (try using Pitta aroma oil in these situations). Most of us live within 100 miles of the coast, or of a river, lake or reservoir.
To balance Pitta, any water-related sport is good – swimming, or surfing, sailing, even walking by a river or lake (walking in a forest, or in cool mountain air is good too). Lying in the hot sun is not a wise Pitta-reducing strategy, particularly for people with strong Pitta in their constitution.
Excessive exercise is best avoided in the Pitta season, as is taking holidays in any very hot environment without cooling opportunities. And it’s better to exercise towards the beginning or end of the day, rather than at peak Pitta times (10am – 2pm).
There are lots of easy-to-use Pitta balancing products which can save us from Mango Rage during August. These include:
- Pitta tea – organic cooling tea.
- Aloe Vera Gel – cooling, refreshing and Pitta-pacifying.
- Pitta Churna – enhances the digestive fire without over-heating when you need to keep cool.
- Cooling Pitta Aroma Oil – works olfactory magic to cool your body and soothe your mind.
- Organic Virgin Coconut Oil – massage into the head to help cool it.
- Blissful Sleep Pitta tablets
All are able to help keep Pitta in check, and make sure we enjoy the summer.