Spring is a time of accumulation and holding. We have (naturally) built up some excess from the winter months with all that lovely turning inward and richly nourishing comfort foods. Kapha, the dosha of Spring, likes to hold on to all of that. That’s why spring is the time of year when we might consider a deeper cleanse.
One of the tools we might use for spring are drying powers. These can be as simple as a chick pea or lentil flour to complex formulas with herbs and spices. If you have a Kapha Ayur-Kit for Spring (there are only two left for purchase), this year’s kit came with two types of drying powders. One made of chick pea flour with kitchen spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, and Bibhitaki. Bibhitaki is one of the three fruits that makes up the Ayurvedic triphala (which we’ll talk about in Herbs and Ayurveda). The other is made of chick pea flour with lemon peel, orange peel, rose, and sandalwood.
What do we do with a drying powder? It may help to think of them as similar to a face mask. Add water and apply (you can leave a ‘mask’ on to allow the herbs to do their magic). You can apply them dry and scrub in to encourage movement, warmth, and letting go (all good practices for Kapha). You may spot treat places of excess, maybe it’s a joint with excess fluid or swelling (please seek medical support if this is on-going or the reaction of an injury; this is for those of us are just prone to build up of fluid) or stubborn layers of excess under the skin (yes, I do mean fat and cellulite, though I hesitate to say it, because these treatments are about health and wellness vs. beauty treatments–beauty is a bonus to wellness).
You may use on your whole body, especially if you have high Kapha in your constitution (or high Kapha Dosha currently). The following are a few suggestions for drying powders, try it for a few to seven days and see what happens:
- Use as a face cleanser/mask for excess oily spring skin.
- Use to spot treat areas of accumulation: arm pits, breasts, belly, bums, hips, thighs, etc.
- Use as a scrub for the feet, especially if your feet are prone to swelling. Our feet are at the mercy of gravity and are often prone to build up.
- Use as a soap replacement for a week.
- Scrub your whole body vigorously with drying powder. This is great as part of a cleanse to eliminate excess from the outside in, as you cleanse with food from the inside out.
- If you have nature leanings (and a safe place), it can be invigorating to scrub away outside and hose off with cool water or jump into a lake, stream, or ocean (maybe wait until it’s a good warm, spring day…perhaps with a lovely full moon). Ocean sand is a natural drying/scrubbing “powder” that draws and pulls excess from the skin, while nourishing with salt and nutrients. Nature always has her own pharmacopeia.
Of note: if you are high Vata, use wisely. Follow with a layer of warm oil to keep your skin and deeper tissues from over-drying. Be more gentle with your “vigorous” scrubbing. Use more water (or oil) with the herbs and allow the mask to rest longer vs. a friction action, which can aggravate Vata. That said, spring is the time of year that Vata is “Alleviating”, so unless Vata is unusually high, or you are particularly out of balance, you should be fine. Remember to keep Vata warm–no shivering if you’re taking that last suggestion!!
Happy Spring. It’s making an appearance!!! The maple trees are seeping and we’re beginning to see daffodil and crocus greenery peeking up.