by Professor Lynn Basford
If we examine the annals of ancient traditions, such as the Celts, Druids, Egyptians, Greeks, Chinese and all aboriginal communities, there are some similarities in that they viewed health and illness from an holistic perspective – i.e. physical, emotional , psychological, social, environmental and spiritual. For some, chiefly, Chinese, Tibetan, Persian, Arabian and Greek medicine were influenced by the 5000 year old Vedic system known as Ayurveda.1 Meaning the, ‘Science of Life’.
Ayur=Life-Longevity and Veda=Science/Knowledge
In principal, Ayurvedic medicine was designed to support and maintain wellness and optimise health through a process that understands one’s own energetic nature and characteristics that are underpinned by our interconnectedness with universal energies, our physical and psychological selves, and our lifestyle and living conditions.2
For health to be achieved each aspect is balanced accordingly and influenced through the effects of seasons, attention to diet, proper hydration and use of senses. Health is not considered to be a static entity, but one that is dynamic as within a constantly changing kaleidoscopic lens.
The main tenet of Ayurveda is the notion that the energetic nature of individuals is based on three fundamental energies governed by our inner and outer environments. That is movement, transformation, and structure.
Known in Sanskrit as Kapha, (Earth), Vata (Wind), Pitta (Fire). It is suggested that these forces of nature relate to our physical and mental characters. For example, if Vata is dominant in our system we tend to be thin, light, enthusiastic and changeable. Conversely, if Pitta is dominant we are intelligent and have a strong appetite for life, but can be intense and goal orientated. Finally, when Kapha prevails, we are nurturing, easy going and methodical. What is to be remembered is that even though there may be a dominant characteristic there needs to be a moderating balance forged by the least dominant energies for health to prevail. 3
Health is a Balancing Act!
One important goal of Ayurveda is to support and maintain balance using a preventative model. However, when balance is lost and health is compromised then a series of interventions are offered based on the prevailing dominant energy force.
Interventions can be applied internally, or externally, and may incorporate: herbal infusions, diet, aromatherapy, massage, mental therapies, spiritual therapy, music therapy, meditation, and palliative care. In some circumstance surgery is also viewed as an option to remove decayed or damaged internal organs /tissues, or during obstetric intervention to save lives.
This is, of course, a rudimentary explanation of Ayurveda, given that it is a highly complex and multifaceted framework that views health from an holistic perspective with a great understanding that, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts 4
A far cry from the reductionistic model advocated by western models who view health and disease from a background of ‘ologies’, e.g cardiology, rheumatology, craniology, neurology, gynaecology, gastroenterology, etc.
The key phrase for Ayurveda is that for health to be achieved balance and harmony must be maintained.
To summarise, Ayurveda considers that:
- We are connected and interconnected through all living and non living things within the universal framework and drawn from the five elements; earth, fire, water, air, ether ( space).
- We are intrinsically connected between ourselves and our environment and people we associate with. ( NB. we are composed of trillions of cells that are influenced by our external and internal environments/stimulus)
- Health is maintained if we retain balance and harmony that is not jeopardised by our lifestyle, and living conditions ( diet, exercise, work, relationships).
- Once our balance is compromised we are susceptible to disease or dysfunction.
- Health can be realigned using a framework of interventions designed to address the imbalance, and our base energy characteristic.
- Preventative health is key, but if disease prevails then Ayurveda seeks to find the cause!!! Then treat.
Menopause – An Ayurvedic Tea Option
Menopause, as we have often cited in previous articles, often creates a flurry of emotional, physical, spiritual and relationship issues. Clearly, a discordance between balance and harmony, according to Ayurveda tradition. While it is acknowledged that the imbalances would be viewed from an holistic perspective and the prevailing energetic characteristics of the individual, Tea/ herbal infusions are known to be prescribed and have been observed over the millennia to have the desired effect. Tea, has according to the description (being translated out of Chinese encomium 1686, author unknown), these following virtues:
It purifyes the Bloud of that which is grosse and heavy
It vanquisheth heavey Dreames
It Easeth the brain of heavey damps
It easeth and cureth giddinesse and Paines in the Heade
It prevents the Dropsie
It Drieth moist humours in the heade.
It consumes rawnesse
It opens obstructions
It cleares the sight
It clenseth and purifieth adult humours and a hot liver
It purifieth defects of the bladder and kiddneys
It vanquisheth superfluous sleep
It drives away dissines, makes one nimble and valient
It encourageth the heart and drives away feare
It drives away all the Paines of the Collick which proceed from Wind.
It strengthens the inward parts and prevents consumption
It strengthens the memory
It sharpens the will and quickens understanding
It purgeth safely the gaul
It strengthens the use of due benevolence.
(Source: James Pogson, Northern Tea Merchant, Chesterfield, Uk. www.northern-tea.com 5 )
The latin word, ‘ Encomium’, refers to a huge compliment, something praiseworthy. If teas/herb infusions can indeed address such range of maladies then I think some menopausal women would appreciate a bucket load of tea!!!!!!
To be more specific, in Ayurvedic traditions there are teas (herbs) that are blended to address certain energetic characteristic imbalances, and those specific to ease presenting symptoms. I have highlighted a few of the blends here:
Vata Herbal Tea:
Green Tea – Camellia Sinensis, Lemon Grass, Lemon Peels – Citrus × limon, Fennel,Cinnamon, Green Cardamom, Black Cardamom, Cardamom Grain, Cloves, Ginger, and Bay Leaves.
The warm and soothing flavours of fennel is mixed with the sourness of lemon thereby keeping you calm and balanced throughout the day. Fennel helps shortness of the breath, helps to reduce adipose ( fatty tissue) by opening obstruction of the liver. It is also useful for headaches and is a good mouth freshener.
Pita Herbal Tea:
Green Tea – Camellia Sinensis, Saffron , Fennel, Cinnamon ,Green Cardamom, Black Cardamom, Cardamom Grains, Cloves, Ginger, and Mint.
It is a refreshing and cooling infusion that contains the health benefits of saffron and cardamom. It helps one to stay cool and relaxed throughout the day. Saffron is known to be beneficial in the treatment of several digestive disorders and promotes and strengthens the functioning of the stomach. Saffron is also known to aide and regulate menstrual periods.
Kapha Herbal Tea:
Green Tea – Camellia Sinensis, Cinnamon, Cloves, Ginger, Black Pepper, and Fennel.
This tea is spicy and revitalising. Herbs like cinnamon and cloves blended with green tea and black pepper give you the boost to stay alert and full of energy that lasts the whole day. Black pepper is known as a digestive and nerve tonic. It stimulates the digestive tract and relives flatulence. It is also said to be useful in relieve irritating coughs and gum inflammation.
Black Tea – Camellia Sinensis, Green Tea, Green Mate, Lemon Grass, Rose petals, Ginger root, Roman Chamomile, Green Cardamom, Black Cardamom, Black Pepper, and Holy Basil.
This Ayurvedic herbal blend can support you in times of moderation. It was harmoniously composed using Indian recipes. The intensive spicy-flowery smell and taste let all ingredients fully unfold. The Chamomile’s infusion is excellent for migraine and headache due to gastric disturbances. It will also regulate the menstrual periods. It also makes an ideal general tonic for children.
Anti – Stress Tea:
Black Tea – Camellia Sinensis, Cinnamon, Liquorice root, Ginger root, Fennel, Lemon Peels – Citrus × limon, Green Cardamom, Black Cardamom, Cardamom Grains, and Lemon Grass.
The rich and slightly sweet aroma makes this blend an ideal companion for anyone under stress and needing a revitalising effect. This colourful and attractive creation is aromatic and soothing in taste and will quickly become a favourite. Liquorice is known to be a laxative and expectorant, and an excellent remedy for relieving pain, discomfort and other symptoms caused by bitter matter in the stomach, or due to stomach ulcer. It is also useful in muscular or cramp like pains.
Roman Chamomile, Lemon Peels, Bay Leaves , Fennel and Marigold.
Calming tea is safe and tried and tested Ayurvedic formula designed to ease stress and tension, encouraging a state of relaxed alertness without drowsiness. This healing formula contains Chamomile, known for its mild, apple-like flavour. Chamomile has been used as a calming agent for centuries and is widely regarded for the way in which it helps compose the mind and cools the body. Lemon peels and Bay leaves are used in this formula as it is a popular antispasmodic and mild anti- irritant. The tea also contains marigold flowers that cool the body and Fennel Seed that aids in calming the muscles, improving digestion relieving flatulence and stomach trouble. Calming tea will help you stay calm throughout the day and is also great for children.
Ginger Fresh Tea:
Green Tea – Camellia Sinensis,Lemon Grass, Liquorice, Ginger, Peppermint, Lemon Peels – Citrus × limon and Black Pepper.
This is fruity and spicy tea that is most refreshing. Ginger is useful in the treatment of flatulence, colic, vomiting, spasms and other painful afflictions. It is an excellent remedy for coughs and colds, respiratory disorders, impotency, menstrual disorders, aches and pains.
Women’s Activity Tea:
Black Tea – Camellia Sinensis, Lemon Peels – Citrus × limon, Cinnamon, Fennel, Liquorice, Green Cardamom, Black Cardamom, Cardamom Grains, Ginger, Cloves and Lemon Grass.
This Ayurvedic herbal blend is specially formulated for women. It is a balanced tea that is sweet and fruity, made to revitalise and refresh when energy levels are sagging. It is especially useful in promoting and regulating menstrual periods.
Ayurvedic Healthy Day Tea:
Black Tea – Camellia Sinensis, Rooibos , Coconut, Ginger, Cinnamon, Apple, Green Cardamom, Almond.
This tea combines blends of herbs, plants, fruits and spices. Ginger is particular useful in the treatment of flatulence, colic, vomiting, spasms and other painful afflictions of the stomach. It is an excellent remedy for coughs and colds, respiratory disorders, impotency, menstrual disorders, aches and pains.
(Source: by kind permission of the Lochan Tea Company and The Northern Tea Merchant NB pre-determined percentages not included)
If you suffer from a range of maladies that are affected by your hormonal (menopausal) imbalances, then reach out for a warming cup of tea, be it black, green or indeed a blend of herbs and spices that have been specifically blended to deal with a host of issues such as: fluctuating moods, lethargy, digestive disorders, menstrual cramps, lack of concentration, memory loss ( temporary), irregular periods, heavy and prolonged bleeds, hormonal imbalance that affects your humour and heat regulation.
Go on, try a Tea today! And if you like, give us some feedback to tell us how you got on!!!
- Chopra centre –Ayurveda – The Science of lifehttp://www.chopra.com/our-services/ayurveda 1-04-15.
- Elizabeth Roberts- Ayurvedic educator & therapisthttp://www.beshara.org/uploads/sound/ 1-04-15
- Aristotle, “More Than The Sum Of Its Parts” cited in, Stanley A HawkinsUlster Med Jv.77(1); 2008 Jan PMC 2397008
- Jones WHi., translator. Hippocrates, Vol II. Cambridge, USA: LOEB; 1923 Med J. 2008 Jan; 77(1): 43–50.
- James Pogson, Northern Tea Merchant, Crown House , 193 Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield,S40@BA. UK. www.northern-tea.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lochan Tea Company, Registered Office: 2nd Mile, Sevoke Road, Siliguri 734 001, West Bengal, INDIA
Ph: +91 353 254 0652 Fax: +91 353 254 7001
Email: email@example.com; www.lochantea.com / www.doketea.com