Sukti’s Ayurveda Garden World

A large part of understanding Ayurveda is understanding nature. By spending time in my own garden I can connect with the biorhythms of Mother Earth. Being close to plants in this way, growing my own food (when possible) and helping to create a beautiful, colorful space strengthens my relationship with Prakriti, a Sanskrit word describing the basic nature of intelligence that is the foundation of all creation. Eastern health systems recognize this need for strengthening our relationship with Prakruti as a biological necessity. Most life forms satisfy this necessity through procreation, yet because not everyone has or will have children, having a garden to tend to and nurture can be a delightful alternative, or addition to family life.

Sukti's Garden WorldMy Living Art when not working at Tattva’s Herbs!

Each year we observe the natural process of existence through the seasons and cycles of life, death and rebirth. Our world is in constant flux and flow, and this can be seen in the plant world as well. As the sun gets stronger and heat becomes rampant we enter summer time, Pitta season. Pitta Dosha consists of the fire and water elements so it is necessary to balance out the heat in our bodies with cooling foods, herbs and activities. Green salads and vegetables, berries and other fruits are great for a summer diet. Of course it is necessary to soak up some solar energy to warm the bones, as long as we’re careful not to get too much. In Ayurveda many things can be either medicinal or poisonous, so long as we consider moderation, then we can balance from a holistic perspective.

So we need to look no further than our own gardens for medicine! Fresh greens for salads and teas cool the blood and provide nutrition and lightness. Edible goodies sourced locally have ample prana or life force energy, being most fresh from the earth.

Simple Summertime Mixed Vegetables Recipe

simple summertime mixed vegetables Ingredients:

1-2 TBS. Ghee

1 tsp. Fresh Ground Cumin seed Powder
1 tsp. Fresh Ground Coriander seed Powder
1 tsp. Whole Cumin seeds
1 tsp. Mustard Seeds
1 tsp. Fenugreek
1 Pinch Hing

Fresh Zucchini or other summer squash, cut in cubes
1 Cup Fresh Asparagus
1/4 Cup Red & Yellow Bell Pepper

1 tsp. Salt
1/4 Cup fresh cilantro leaves

Directions: Melt Ghee in medium sauce pan. Add the spices except for salt and sauté until the mustard seeds pop. Add vegetables and cook on medium heat, stir often to prevent burning of veggies. When veggies are semi-soft add the salt and garnish with cilantro before serving. This is a basic recipe that balances all three Doshas. The preparation is easy to digest and you can try different vegetables for variety, according to the seasonal availability and your particular body type.

Boswellia Serrata: The Frankincense that Commanded the Price of Gold

Long before processed paper symbolized currency, the plants themselves directly moved from hand to hand in the economic exchange, acting in their own right through myriad displays of desirable qualities.  In days past, the Frankincense resin in particular held the power to take away pain, purify and electrify the air and senses, and buy the very allegiances of gods.

Boswellia Serrata, a small deciduous tree member of the Burseraceae Family, produces the Indian Frankincense Resin when wounded.

This gooey, intoxicating substance is secreted by the trees when they are wounded, and is a gift for any human to ever consume in turn, to ease the pain of our own wounds.

This is our raw material.

Close up of a drop of pine resin

Pine Resin Drop

After growing these trees organically in India, our partners carefully harvest their resin and perform a Supercritical (CO2) extraction.  This process yields a potent concentration of the plants’ highly active terpenes, or volatile oils; the molecules responsible for the aroma that commanded the price of Gold.  You will not find another supercritically extracted Boswellia supplement in herbal commerce.  It’s too sticky.  No one but Tattva’s Herbs will give the time and attention necessary for this arduous task.

Boswellia Serrata, Indian frankincense or Salai is called Shallaki in Sanskrit.  While it is true that our Boswellia CO2 extract contains 257 mg of Boswellic Acid per capsule, the part of the plant studied for it’s effect on pain receptors, let us not mistake milligrams with United States currency.  Today one can purchase a 120 count bottle of Boswellia Serrata CO2 extract for $49.95 U.S., however this aromatic treasure still holds preeminence in religious rituals, has been offered as a sacred gift to royalty, and widely traded for riches such as gold and jewels throughout human history.

Gum Olibanum, Dhoop, India

In our next edition, we will explore the medicinal applications of this precious substance Mother Earth so graciously loans us, along with Her stern instruction to use this medicine wisely and with gratitude.

“We Are What We Eat” Series, Part V, Finito!

Today we summarize this series on the diet’s Ayurvedic dimensions and role in maintaining good health and preventing disease.  In Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Lord Kṛṣṇa compares Himself with the digestive fire, or agni, which assimilates and digests food in order to sustain Life.

God's secrets

Though diet plays a vital role in Ayurveda’s healing modality, these “rules” flex and bend gracefully according to the transient nature of living in your particular body.  Your constitutional make up (prakriti) is unique as are your current needs for balance (vikriti); thus, your dietary needs are also unique.  You will not find pre-set body weights or calorie counting instructions in Ayurvedic Dietary Theory.  You will find recommendations for listening to the voice of your physiology to hear what, where, when and how you should eat.  You will find instructions to include the six different tastes – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent – at every meal, favoring those tastes that are suited to your current needs and incorporating lesser amounts of the rest.  Including different tastes at each meal reduces cravings and balances appetite and digestion naturally, providing clear instructions via the senses, supported by the voice of your own physiology.

Food influences both physical activities and psychological activities.  Agni requires food to maintain the body’s constant activity, much like a furnace providing heat in exchange for the life of a tree; the body of Earth.  Improper, excessive, heavy, and cold food extinguishes this fire and produces endotoxic substances called Ama.  For supplementation, Tattva’s Herbs offers Ginger, Triphala, Chyawanprash and Trikatu to stoke the fire of Agni.

The Ayurvedic way of cooking brings together a harmonious collection of fresh wholesome ingredients into a feast for all your senses.  In a well-prepared Ayurvedic meal, a medley of tastes, textures, colors, aromas and flavors blend together to restore balance to your body, mind, spirit, senses and emotions.

Indian colored spices at local market.

“We Are What We Eat” Series, Part IV

Ayurveda conceptualizes the effects of food on the mind as causing either an increase or decrease in the three Modes of Nature: SatvaGuna, the mode of goodness; RajoGuna, the mode of passion; and TamoGuna, the mode of ignorance. General guidelines are as follows:


IMG_1974 (1)

A Satvik diet consists of fresh fruits like pomegranates, apples, berries, oranges, grapes, grains, and dairy products like milk, yoghurt and ghee (clarified butter). These foods sustain a lean and agile body while encouraging a calm and quiet mind. Fresh buttermilk, fresh green vegetables like spinach, green beans and green peas or split peas are all examples of Satvik food. Although a mild sweet taste is considered Satvik, a strong sweet taste as in chocolates and heavy sweets increases Tamasik qualities.



Food recipes of a spicy, salty and sour nature are considered Rajasik. Vegetables like onions, garlic and spicy or sour preparations like ketchup and vinegar have Rajasik qualities. Wines, pickles, meat (especially red meat), and stimulating drinks like coffee and tea, and all types of alcoholic drinks are Rajasik in nature. These foods can aggravate Pitta and Vata and increase restlessness, anger and irritability. Some Rajasik foods, if vegetarian and taken in moderation by Kapha types can be energizing.


The Tamasik diet is comprised of stale, over-heated, oily, heavy to digest, canned meat and fish products containing lots of preservatives. Large quantities of cold pasteurized dairy products like milk and yogurt are also considered Tamasik. These foods increase Kapha and lethargy, ignorance and apathy. Frozen and preserved foods as well as hybrid foods also increase the Tamasik quality.

Of note, from the Magical Rachael of Tattva’s Herbs, on listening to the body; “That’s the Beauty of Ayurveda, everything is poison and medicine at the same time depending on how you use it!”

“We Are What We Eat” Series, Part III

Sukti amongst the Mexican flowersSukti amongst the Mexican Flowers

Ayurveda approaches health through diet based on eight simple concepts – these are the second four:

Five: Place (Desha)

The classification of Places into distinct types, for example; marshy, dry and normal, reflects diverse climatic conditions and their influence on the body when she eats.  As the individual perceives a complimentary environment, the body absorbs nutrients from food with ease, which in turn exerts positive effects on both body and mind.

Six: Time or Period (Kala)

Food consumed at proper intervals gives the body freedom to digest and assimilate. Once a meal is properly digested, the next meal may be eaten. Types of foods eaten, as well as quantities and quality should conform to seasonal changes, both in environment and availability. As a general rule, the main meal should be eaten between 11 to 2 in the afternoon.

Seven:  Rules for Eating (Upayoga Sanstha)

• Food should be consumed while hot, as this will naturally increase the secretion of the digestive enzymes.
• Meals must be eaten in a relaxed, calm and cheerful atmosphere. One should not eat when nervous, angry, anxious or in a disturbed state of mind.
• Eating too slowly or too rapidly, talking, laughing, thinking or watching television during meals is not advisable.
• Putting one’s attention on the food with the thought that this food is going to benefit the body and mind, does indeed benefit the body and mind!
• Smoking, drinking too much water or any other liquid after eating, is not advisable.
• Taking a shower and changing into clean clothes prior to cooking, creates a pleasing feeling in the body condusive to healthy assimilation of foods.
• In the Indian social environment, a guest is treated like a god. Food is served to guests and children first.
• Chanting of mantras and offering prayers to God adds a beautiful ritual space to the atmosphere, as Gratitude adds her benefit on every level.

Eight:  The Consumer of the Food (Upabhokta )

If one observes the above mentioned, eating as per his/her constitution, digestive capacity, season, time of the day and digestion status of the last meal consumed, then the Body has upmost opportunity to make thorough use of the Blessing of Food provided.

The “We Are What We Eat” Series, Part II

Ayurveda approaches health through diet based on eight simple concepts, the first four of which we will expound upon today:

One: The Nature of Food (Prakruti)

Classification of food into two distinct categories of heavy and light depends on digestability. For example, meat is heavy for digestion while rice and vegetables are light. This is the basic quality or nature of any food recipe and should be thought about before consuming.

Two: Processing (Karana)

Cooked food is considered more nutritious than uncooked food. However, some foods like fruits and salads give greater benefit when eaten raw.  The method of processing or cooking transforms the qualities of our food, i.e., roasting, frying, baking, directly heating on fire, barbeque, mixing, drying, churning, etc.

Three: Combination (Samyoga)

carrot lovers

While one combination of foods nourish and heal the body, another will weaken and break it down.  Combining sour fruits with milk or curd, for example, weakens the digestive system by causing chronic indigestion. Therefore, in Ayurveda we pay close attention to how and why we combine our foods.

Four: Quantity (Rashi)

The quantity of the individual ingredients as well as the total quantity of food consumed by an individual should be decided according to the qualities of the food as well as the individual’s digestive capacity.

The “We Are What We Eat” Series, Part I

sun grapes

Within Ayurveda, we are what we eat, with primary importance placed on the foods we choose in our daily lives. Cultivating a healthy diet nourishes the body’s vitality, as well as the mind and spirit. According to Ayurveda, a healthy human being possesses both a strong body and a sound mind.

A nutritious diet helps balance the three doshas and promote good health. Ayurveda classifies various types of food like vegetables, fruits, nuts, dairy and grains on the basis of their energies and effect on the body and mind. These classifications help us choose foods according to our individual constitution, and avoid foods that may be harmful.  In todays’ hurried modern lifestyle, irregular eating habits and excessive consumption of particular foods is common.  We often consume excess of certain foods that are harmful for us.  Ayurveda suggests ‘antidotes’ or balancing factors for such excesses. These factors help control the negative effects of food we overeat and balance our systems.

Though Ayurvedic literature provides detailed therapies and complex drug formulas for treating most diseases, prevention of disease is the heart of Ayurvedic Medicine. When the fundamental rules of personal and social hygiene are followed closely, building up immunity against most ailments is an achievable task, even in today’s modern lifestyle.

light and dark grapes

A healthy person is defined in the Ayurvedic scriptures as the one who not only possesses the balanced Tridoshas, but who also exhibits a balance of emotions, intellect and a sense of peace.  Diet is given highest importance in health as well as disease. Ancient Indian literature states that when proper diet is followed, medicine is not needed, and when proper diet is not observed, medicines are not helpful.

Simple Salad with Home Grown Greens

Home grown greens & tomatoes with fresh mozzarella (1)

This salad is simple, yet deliciously satisfying. Ingredients can vary depending on personal taste and availability.

mixed greens (included but not limited to): spinach, arugula, kale, lettuce
cherry tomatoes
sliced beets
hazelnuts (walnuts or pecans are also wonderful)
fresh mozzarella