Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

I often get quizzical looks when I start an introductory lecture on Ayurveda with the comment that “the three doshas are not body types.” Vata, Pitta and Kapha are certainly foundational to every aspect of Ayurvedic theory and practice and understanding them starts with the fact that we are made up of all three doshas, just as everything in nature is made up of the five great elements ether, air, fire, water and earth. These concepts are quite similar to Yin, Yang and Chi in Traditional Chinese medicine, and knowing of their qualities, expressions and functional integrity or interrelationship is the key.

7 Constitutional Types

Constitutional “types” relate to the unique, individualized expression of each of the 3 doshas within an individual, not to simply identify with one. Ayurveda’s practical method identifies 7 basic constitutional “types,” based on our doshic make-up, but each of these types have infinite expressions. For example, someone may be single dosha predominate- Vata, Pitta or Kapha, while others dual-doshic- VP, PK, VK and some are tri-doshic/VPK=. Identifying where we fall along this constitutional spectrum isn’t an end game that culminates with a simple “one size fits all” list of how to live our lives or what types foods we should or shouldn’t ever eat based on our “dosha type.”

Knowing which dosha or doshas that are predominate in our unique constitution helps us to better understand long-term trends relating to our personal health as well as patterns of imbalance that might present themselves due to

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Life undoubtedly will present us with many challenges, but it seems that over time, we learn to accept things. The resiliency of spirit somehow gives us the ability to accept almost anything, in time. When we make an effort to show up everyday to practice meditation, we are training ourselves in a deeper way, to accept things as they are, in that moment, no matter how we feel. Meditation is an act of deep surrender that spreads out into all aspects of our life. Conversely, what arises during practice, often relates to our dealings in day-to-day life, one reflecting the others.

At times we may feel enthusiastic about sitting for meditation, and at other times we may feel like it is the last thing we want to do with ourselves. In my practice, when I’m distracted and preoccupied with the daily list of things to do, I make a note of what it is that needs attending to afterwards, and then resolve myself to the practice as earnestly as I can by saying to myself, “There is plenty of time for all of “that,” after “this.”

Often the mind will make every excuse in the book to not take the precious time out to sit. This is precisely where our practice of meditation can really start bearing fruit. When the river of emotion is swollen and ready to breach its banks, if we can bring ourselves to the meditation cushion, withdrawing the mind away from the pulls of the world,

Ayurveda - Herbal Medicine - Nutrition - Self Care - Yogic Healing - Meditation

Elderberry Sambucus nigra

Part used: berries, flowers
Effect on Dosha: VPK=
Taste: berry-sweet, sour, bitter/flower-slightly bitter, pungent
Energy: berry-neutral to cooling/ flower-cooling
Post Digestive Effect: berries-sweet/flowers-pungent

Tissues: plasma, blood, muscle, fat
Systems: respiratory, immune, digestive, circulatory, urinary
Properties: antioxidant, immune tonic, astringent, expectorant, diaphoretic, digestive, carminative, relaxant.
Indications: coughs, colds, sore throat, tonsillitis, congestion, respiratory infections, asthma, fever, flu, gas, allergies, abdominal discomfort, inflammation, high cholesterol, poor eyesight.
Preparations: infusion, tincture, syrup, winter cordials, medicated wine, food preparation.
Precautions: None for flowers. According to the Botanical Safety Handbook* the unripe and raw fruit contains sambunigrin, which may cause nausea, vomiting or severe diarrhea. Avoid elderberries that are red in color. The fruit is commonly cooked to avoid digestive upset and possible toxicity or the fresh fruit. Sambucus nigra is the variety most commonly used in herbal medicine and is considered to be relatively safe, especially when cooked.

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The most common variety of Elderberry used is the purplish-black berries of Sumbucus nigra. They are sweet, sour and slightly bitter to the taste. The ripened fruit is purple/black in color and the sweetest berries are the best to harvest for medicine making.

Elderberries have long been used in in folk herbal traditions of North America and Europe. In recent years, Elderberry has regained popularity and this increased interest has spurn research that seems to confirm much of its common folk uses. They have antiviral and antibacterial properties and are used to bolster the immune system in the treatment of common colds,