triphala: a magic travel tea
I'm at the Himalayan Institute this weekend for an Ayurveda & Allergies workshop with Dr. Rosy Mann. It's a quick weekend, I flew in Friday and will fly out today, Sunday. Anytime we travel, especially air travel, we are increasing the air and ether element (vata dosha) in our bodies. We experience this increase in the air element (a vata imbalance) through many symptoms including: restlessness, and spaciness in the mind; dryness, chapped lips, gas, and constipation in the physical body. None of these make arriving at a new destination particularly fun. I've learned as I have traveled more over the past few years, that there are many things I can do to keep myself in better balance as I travel. This keeps me happier, and makes the trip, whatever the destination, more enjoyable.
A few years ago while traveling, a friend introduced me to triphala, and it's now a staple of my travel-wellness as well as daily-wellness arsenal. Triphala is an ayurvedic herbal remedy, that consists of three (tri) fruits (phala): amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. These three fruits each balance one of the three constitutions (doshas), making this formulation universal or tri-doshic. Triphala can be used daily for rejuvenation and detoxification, and proves particularly useful for travel induced vata imbalance as it supports healthy digestion and elimination. In plain speak, no more travel induced constipation!
I find triphala most effective when taken as a tea (ayurveda teaches that the taste of a substance contains vital information and instructions for the body, and that taste is missed when you take a capsule). The usual recommended dose of triphala is 1/4 tsp per 8 oz of water. I put my 1/4 tsp in hot water, and give it a stir and then let the sediment somewhat settle out. This weekend, I was rooming with a friend I affectionately call the Ghee Goddess, who makes amazing medicated ghee, and always has it on her. So to this cup I added ~ 1 tsp of her Shatavari-Brahmi Ghee. Shatavari is a rejuvenative that is particularly nourishing for women, and Brahmi is an herb that is used to provide mental support and rejuvenation. The ghee lends a moisturizing heaviness that also pacifies vata. If you didn't have a medicated ghee, just a plain ghee would do. I drank this warm cup right before bed, and woke up this morning feeling grounded, present, and with elimination working. Next time you hit the road, pack some triphala powder, maybe some ghee, and find some hot water...it will make you a happy traveler.