Art by Clyde Caldwell
Ayurvedic cooking was one of my first introductions into incorporating herbs into my everyday routine. At the beginning of my herbal training, the fact that food could be used as medicine itself was foreign to me. With a busy single mother and as an only child, I grew up on Taco Bell and Hamburger Helper. Later on, when buying food for myself on minimum wage, I lived in a food desert where dinner ingredients were found at the local Dollar Store. One of the main attractions to Ayurvedic cooking, for me, was the fact that I could make huge meals for cheap. Not only that, but I could use spices and herbs for flavor AND medicinal benefits.
A huge component of Ayurvedic cooking is digestion. In Hindu belief, when the heart is lacking passion and the mind is lacking drive, the body is lacking Agni, the deity responsible for the fire in our lives that also aids in digestion. Cutting out meats and most cheese was the first step on the Ayurvedic path. Moving on to using herbs was the second and that’s when I discovered the magical CCF tea-Coriander, Cumin and Fennel tea. Coriander, Cumin and Fennel ignite the fire in our digestive system and remove blockages, while providing essential minerals and vitamins. With this base, the Fire Energy Bitter was born.
Coriander Seeds (Coriandrum sativum)- All over the world, Coriander has been used in meals for its flavor and appearance (also known as Cilantro) but even Ancient Greeks and Romans used Coriander medicinally. However, the East is associated more with using the Coriander Seed. Medicinally, the Coriander seed is a stimulant due to its high content of Vitamin B1 Thiamine. If the body has a B1 deficiency, it lacks energy oddly enough!
Fennel Seed (Foeniculum vulgare)- In any digestive blend, the idea of bringing on a healthy poop can scare many. This usually comes with a lot of flatulence but a huge benefit of Fennel is that it can curb gas. Not only can it curb gas, but it can curb an over-indulgent appetite which can lead to further constipation and lack of energy. Another essential vitamin, B2 Riboflavin, can be found in this tiny seed.
Spearmint (Mentha viridis)- High in multiple B Vitamins, Spearmint was essential for the Fire blend. When the body is all fired up from digestive herbs, Spearmint comes in with its cooling effects to calm the stomach and other muscles. For the female body, Spearmint also can help with menstrual cramping. There’s really not much this herb can’t do and can be found in other blends of mine.
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)- Nourishment and this herb go together like PB&J. As a digestive blend, it’s extremely important to not only focus on what is going out of the body but also what is going into it. Alfalfa is packed with a whole array of B Vitamins. It is also a huge source of protein which the body needs when working so hard on clearing blockages.
Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale)- Open up an herbal book and there will be pages upon pages of the benefits found in all parts of the Dandelion. The dandelion is a huge advocate of liver health which improves hormonal regulation, metabolism and digestion among many other functions. For this reason, Dandelion Root was added to the Fire blend but was also added for its high content of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a crucial vitamin for all day energy.
Chickweed (Stellaria media)- To further the digestion in case of constipation, Chickweed is another cooling herb ready for the cause. Chickweed has also been used throughout history to help with absorbing minerals and vitamins while also contributing to those said minerals and vitamins. For us vegans, it is also a great source of iron which, when lacking, can lead to problems with energy and digestion.
Fire works on the body, mind and heart by allowing us to let go of what is unnecessary and hold on to all that is needed that we may be lacking. Fire is associated with the signs Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Bring the drive back into your life. The world needs your passion. As above, so below.