Andy Boone, Happy Lucky’s General Manager and Master Tea Blender, worked with Ayurvedic practitioner and chef Jennifer Millar to create our line of Ayurvedic herbal blends. For springtime, we reach for Kapha tea which contains lemon balm, dried ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and black peppercorns. Why?
“These spices and herbs move things around in the body,” Andy says. “They break things up, like chest congestion and also lubricate the joints and ligaments.”
This tea is drinking particularly good right now—because spring is Kapha season. So, what exactly does Kapha mean and what does it have to do with springtime? Everything. If you have allergies, listen up.
Ayurveda can seem very mysterious to those of us familiar with Western culture and medicinal practices. It is an ancient functional medicine system developed in India and based on a simple classification system that matches diet, lifestyle, and herbs to the individual to improve health and support wellness.
To clear up some of the mystery surrounding this foreign vocabulary we asked Clara Macy, a Northern Colorado Ayurvedic practitioner, to give an overview of Kapha dosha. Here’s what she had to say.
“There are three seasons in Ayurveda. Vata is winter, Kapha is spring, and Pitta is summer. Each season has a little bit more of one or two of the five elements—earth, water, fire, air, and space. All of these exist in nature and in everything, including our bodies. But the ratio of those elements within the body is very unique to each individual. Some of us have a little bit more fire or air or water,” she explains. “It’s your nature, and that’s what dosha means: nature.”
The Kapha dosha has more of the earth and water elements. People who fall under Kapha are earthy, strong and stable, loyal and loving, and very grounded.
Kapha types have a strong build and excellent stamina. Large, soft eyes; smooth, radiant skin; and thick hair are also important Kapha characteristics. Those who are predominantly Kapha sleep soundly and have regular digestion. But when Kapha builds to excess, weight gain, fluid retention, and allergies manifest in the body. When they’re out of balance, Kapha types may become overweight, sleep excessively, and suffer from asthma, diabetes, and depression.
Kaphas are naturally calm, thoughtful, and loving. They have an inherent ability to enjoy life and are comfortable with routine. When in balance, Kaphas are strong, loyal, patient, steady, and supportive. People with an excess of Kapha tend to hold onto things, jobs, and relationships long after they are no longer nourishing or necessary. Excess Kapha in the mind manifests as resistance to change and stubbornness. In the face of stress, the typical Kapha response is, “I don’t want to deal with it.”
If too much of any dosha is present in the body, it will create an imbalance. Since Kapha is inherently cold, heavy, and dense—like an early springtime snow—the key to balancing Kapha is stimulation. Kaphas tend to cling to the status quo and routine, so they need the stimulation of new sights, sounds, and experiences.
To balance Kapha dosha, follow a regular daily routine, ideally awakening before 6 a.m. each morning and avoid taking naps during the day.
Kaphas are particularly sensitive to cold, damp conditions and benefit from heat. Use dry heat if you are congested—a common Kapha complaint. Using a heating pad under your back or a sunlamp at your chest is often helpful. Avoid exposing your nose, throat, and lungs to cold winter air if you aren’t feeling well.
Bryce Miller, one of our Leafsters, goes to the Kapha tea when he wants a jolt of non-caffeinated energy. He also loves the strong flavors of the ginger, peppercorns and cardamom. “I feel very energized after drinking this tea,” he explains. “And it’s exactly what I want when I want a strong, almost aggressive, flavor.”
Welcome spring with Happy Lucky’s Kapha tea. It will move the stagnation out of your body and you will find that you are blossoming, just like the daffodils and crocuses that are welcoming the longer, sunnier days.