Saturday, October 3, 2020

Autumn: the Season of Facial Rejuvenation and Detox

 by Parisa Wang

The traditional Chinese lunar calendar divides the year into 24 solar terms. Cold Dew, (Chinese: 寒露), the 17th solar term of the year, begins this year on Oct 8 and ends on Oct 22. In China, the 24 solar terms were created thousands of years ago to guide agricultural production. But solar term culture is still useful today to guide people's lives through special foods, cultural ceremonies and even healthy living tips that correspond with each term.

Autumn is the season of autumn harvest. The yin and yang atmosphere is relatively peaceful, presenting a pleasant and refreshing scene, and it is also the most suitable season for beauty and detox. In terms of yin and yang and five elements corresponding to the five internal organs of the human body, regulating and nourishing the five internal organs will naturally get our body better.

So how should we detoxify and maintain health in autumn?

Fall Detoxification: Focus is the Lungs

From a Chinese perspective, autumn is the golden rule of the lungs, which means that during the year, the lungs act as executive officers in the meridians of the human body. During the autumn season the following symptoms tend to be more common:

1. The skin is rusty and dull. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the lungs manage the skin of the whole body, and whether the skin is moist and fair depends on the good function of the lungs. When there are more toxins in the lungs, the toxins will be deposited on the skin along with the action of the lungs, making the skin color look dull.

2. Constipation. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the lungs and large intestine are a connected system. When there are toxins in the upper lungs, there will be abnormal stasis in the lower intestines, and constipation will occur.

3. Sentimental and easy to be sad. Toxins in the lungs will interfere with the circulation of qi and blood in the lungs, making the lungs unable to smooth the suffocation in the chest normally, and feeling depressed much more sentimental.

How to detoxify lungs smoothly?

The ideal strategy for each person varies based on health status and constitution.  It is always best to work with a practitioner when you are starting any form of detox, but here are a few recommendations that may apply:

1. White radish is a detoxification food for lungs. In TCM opinion, the large intestine and the lungs are the most closely related. The degree of toxin excretion from the lungs depends on whether the large intestine is unobstructed. White radishes can help the large intestine to excrete stool. It can be eaten raw or mixed with cold dishes.

2. Lily improves lung resistance to poison. The lungs have always disliked dry air. In dry conditions, it is easy to accumulate toxins. Mushrooms and lilies have a good effect of nourishing the lungs and nourishing yin, and can help the lungs to fight toxins. Do not process them for too long when eating, otherwise the juice in the lily will be reduced and the anti-virus effect will be greatly reduced.

3. Your practitioner can show you the meridian points of lung detoxification. The acupuncture point beneficial to the lungs is He Gu, which is located on the back of the hand, between the first and second metacarpal bones. At the midpoint of the radial side of the second metacarpal bone, you can pinch this part with your thumb and index finger and press hard.

4. Perspiration and detoxification. The lungs manage the skin, so we sweat smoothly, allowing the sweat to take away toxins from the body and refreshing our lungs. In addition to exercise, the method of sweating can also be a hot bath. Add some ginger and peppermint essential oils in the water before the bath to make the sweat secrete more freely and expel toxins deeply in the body.

5. Take a deep breath. Every time you breathe, there are residual exhaust gases in the lungs that cannot be discharged. Compared with those fresh, oxygen-rich air, these exhaust gases are also a toxin. Just a few deep breaths can reduce the residual exhaust gas in the body.

6. Good sleep. TCM believes that the movement of the twelve meridians begins with the lungs, and the yin and yang alternate time of the day in the human body is at yin every day, at 3 to 5 in the morning, starting with lung qi. At this time, if you can sleep soundly, it will have a cosmetic effect, which will help the lung meridian to smooth the distribution of qi and blood.

7. Also, because of the dry climate and low air humidity, especially after the Mid-Autumn Festival, people’s skin is prone to dryness. You can choose plants that can moisturize the skin. You can blend one or two kinds of fungus, almonds, pine nuts, yam, mulberry, and honey. If you want to make your skin look more delicate. You can choose pear juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, loofah water or barley juice, one of which is used to wipe the face (double dilution with water).

8. The best time to detoxify the lungs is from 7 am to 9 am. At this time, it is also better to detoxify through exercise. Performing aerobic exercises such as jogging when the lungs are at their strongest can strengthen the lungs to discharge toxins.

We have talked about Lung detoxification in autumn. I will continue to discuss the detoxification of other organs (kidney, liver, heart, and spleen) in winter, spring, and summer.

According toHuang Di Nei Jing (an ancient Chinese medical text that has been treated as the fundamental doctrinal source for Chinese medicine for more than two millennia), there are two types of toxins in the human body, endogenous and exogenous. If the toxins in the body exceed the ability of the body's detoxification system to interpret, it will easily lead to various diseases, and also easily lead to premature aging and accelerated aging. Strengthen detoxification and timely removal of toxins from the body, which can protect the body from disease and prolong life.

Working on different aspects of your health by season can often yield better results.  If you have questions about what type of detoxification or nutritional plan is best for you, I would welcome the opportunity to work with you. For more information, please follow my blog post on Yin Yang theory and detoxification.

Please contact Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Easing the transition into Fall

by Dr. Aisha Durrani, ND

In ayurvedic medicine a person’s body can be predominant in one of 3 body types Vata (Air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth).

Fall carries with it qualities of vata. The vata body type contains elements of ether and air. Vata is responsible for movement, digestion, and circulation. Vata minds are creative, quick to learn and enthusiastic. In the fall season we experience the cold dry wind picking up and causing movement of the air element that can aggravate Vata types.

A vata imbalance can show up as cold hands and feet, dry skin and hair, excessive worry, scattered thoughts, fear of the unknown, irregular appetite, and constipation. This year we face the added challenge of worry that aggravates vata further. 

Keeping your vata in balance is good for overall health to balance the immune system, keep you grounded, and energized. These physical and mental-emotional signs also show up in all body types. Here are some guidelines to keep your Vata balanced into Fall:


The following lifestyle factors can help keep your Vata in balance:

  • Waking up early when the air is calm and still.
  • Eat at roughly the same time everyday, routine is key to ground Vata types.
  • Dress warm and in fall colours- oranges, red, yellow, white as these colours are grounding. If you tend to feel depressed avoid dark colours, such as black and grey.
  • Avoid fast movements- driving fast, loud music, running in wind. These movements create more movement of the air element and worsen anxiety and restlessness.
  • Gentle and strengthening exercises- hiking, swimming, biking, yoga and tai chi.
  • Abhyanga/self massage with warm sesame oil before shower can go a long way to ground Vata.
  • Pranayama/alternate nostril breathing and meditation- helps ground and control the air element.
  • Vata types need to avoid fasting during this season to prevent undernourishment.
  • Apply ghee to navel and soles of feet at bedtime if suffering from dry skin and lips.


In general eating warm, oily and grounding easy to digest foods (such as kitchari- recipe below ). Adding warming spices and favouring sweet, sour and salty tastes will help keep vata stable. Reduce raw, cold and bitter vegetables. Increase protein and fat sources

  • Breakfast- oatmeal, cream of rice, stewed apple or pear- cook in ghee and/or milk.
  • Lunch and dinner- grains, steamed or cooked vegetables, soups, stews.
  • Protein: eggs, meat, tofu, legumes and lentils.
  • Fats: nuts and seeds, coconut or olive oil, avocado

Increase Underground Vegetables: sweet potato, turnips, beets, squash, pumpkin, carrots
Reduce bitter vegetables: kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, bitter melon, arugula, cabbage, cauliflower- ensure they are cooked with warming spices.

Fruits- apples and pears (cooked), peaches, grapes, avocado, mango, dates, figs, banana

Spices- asafoetida, anise, bay leaf, cinnamon, clove, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, rosemary, turmeric, saffron, dill,

Oils to favor- ghee, sesame oil, olive oil, flax oil, almond oil.

Teas: CCF tea (Coriander, Cumin, Fennel equal parts), or ginger-cinnamon tea.Warming and soothing bedtime tea- warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Herbs: dashamoola, ashwagandha, haritaki, triphala, vidari.

Kitchari Recipe: 

To book a consultation with Dr. Durrani, ND and to find out about more about your body type and the recommended diet and lifestyle for you, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727.

How To Improve Iron Absorption For Pregnancy

by Parisa Wang, Nutritionist

After the initial excitement or shock of seeing a positive pregnancy test, how many of us are aware that mom’s nutritional foundation sets up the future health of our babies. Pregnancy nutrition matters for baby and mum as it:

  • Supports skeletal development
  • Supports brain development
  • Reduces risk of birth defects
  • Prevents low birth weight
  • Reduces preterm delivery
  • Reduces risk of gestational diabetes
  • Reduces risk of obesity later in life
  • Reduces risk of chronic disease later in life
  • Decreases nausea and other symptoms associated with pregnancy
  • Decreases unnecessary weight gain

When you are pregnant, eating the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, as well as micro-nutrients like iron, folate, calcium, and vitamin D is crucial!

The average female adult requires between 10 and 18 mg of iron a day. During pregnancy, Iron needs are increased by 1.5 times. This increase can be even higher and even higher for vegetarians. The increase need for iron is because of the large increase in red blood cell production which is necessary to support the growth and development of baby, and the placenta. Low iron is linked to preterm delivery, low birth weight, and impairs the mother’s thyroid function. However, everyone’s iron needs can be variable depending on their constitution, their iron level at the time of getting pregnant, how many pregnancies have had, how close together they have been and the symptoms that they have during pregnancy.

The symptoms that you may experience during pregnancy that are associated with iron deficiency include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Heartburn

Food Sources of Iron

It’s always best to get your nutrients from food first.

Iron can be found in animal foods that originally contained hemoglobin, such as red meats, fish, and poultry (meat, poultry, and seafood contain both heme and non-heme iron). Your body absorbs the most iron from heme source. Iron from animal foods have the highest absorption rate and bioavailability. The amount of iron in animal foods include:
  • chicken liver (12.8 mg / 100 gm)
  • beef liver (6.2 mg / 100 gm)
  • ground beef, 75% lean (2.36mg/100 g)
  • turkey, dark meat (2.30mg/100g)
  • lamb, shank (2.11mg/100 g)
  • haddock (1.35mg/100 g)
  • halibut (1.07mg/100 g)
Even though if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, don’t worry. Iron can be found in grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds as well. Vegetarian food sources of iron contain non-heme iron, which takes a little longer time to convert in your body.  The amount of iron in vegetarian sources includes:
  • lentils (6.6 mg/ cup)
  • soybeans (8.8 mg / cup)
  • dates (1.8 mg / cup)
  • spinach, boiled (6.43mg/cup)
  • olives (4.44mg/cup)
  • shiitake mushrooms (3.59mg/cup)
  • brussel sprouts, boiled (1.87mg/cup)
  • broccoli, steamed (1.37mg/cup)
Iron is a key aspect to healthy pregnancy, but there are other nutrients that are also important. Working with a nutritionist during this important time of your life will help you: 
  • Optimize your nutrition
  • Understand whether you’re getting enough iron and other nutrients in your diet
  • Ensure that your weight gain is optimal – not too little; not too much
  • Relieve fatigue and other iron deficiency symptoms
As a nutritionist, I can assist you in figuring out how to balance your overall nutrition levels, and provide you with individualized, personalized, customized nutrition plans. 

To book an appointment, call the Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic at 905-940-2727


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Ayurvedic Skin Care for Summer

by Dr. Leena Athparia, ND, AAWC

Do you have dry skin? Oily skin? Mixed skin or sensitive skin? If you pay attention to your skin, you will notice that it will respond differently based on the season, weather, your activities and your diet.  The more you pay attention, the more you will also know what your skin needs.

Your skin is the largest organ in the body and it breathes. It removes waste from inside the body through sweat as a route of elimination. Your skin also absorbs what you put on it – creams, oils, lotions etc. So what you put on your skin should be clean to the extent you could eat it! Just take a look at your bathroom counter and see if you would eat any of your skin creams.  If not, it may be time to re-evaluate your personal care products.

According to Ayurveda, skin can be qualified by dosha type. The five elements in nature are also at work in your body: space, air, fire, water and earth. For example, if you have excess fire element, your skin may be triggered by hot weather or internal changes like too much spicy or fried food. Inflamed, red or breakout skin can be prevented by taking steps to keep your skin clean and cool.

Ayurvedic Skin Types

Although each person’s skin is unique, most people have a dominant skin type. Read below to see which skin sounds most like yours:

Vata skin:

This skin type tends to be dry, rough, thin, cool and worse with dry, cold, windy weather. Vata skin is most affected in the winter. This skin type does best with nourishing oils such as sesame or almond oil, warm oil massage, thicker creams topically along with frequent hydration, and a diet rich in healthy oils.

Pitta skin:

Pitta skin type tends to be red, inflamed, oily and warm with sensitivity to the sun and hot summer weather. Treatments for pitta skin types include cooling oils or creams such as coconut or olive oil, pitta balancing diet and bitter herbs to clean the skin from the inside out.

Kapha skin:

Individuals with kapha skin tend to have naturally moist skin that can get cold, clammy or oily easily. This skin type is worse with humid weather. Treatments for kapha skin involve oils or creams that are very light and warming such as mustard or almond oil, herbal scrubs, dry skin brushing and toners that are astringent.

Treatments for Summer Skin Health

In the summer, heat and humidity can easily push your skin out of balance leading to common concerns such as: acne, hives, rashes, rosacea, sun spots, redness and sun-sensitive skin. In addition, a diet rich in spicy, oily food and acidic foods (such as excess red meat, alcohol, caffeine and sugar) can cause pitta imbalance in the digestive system to ‘overflow’ into your circulatory system and out through the skin as the body attempts to detox excess waste. Spending too much time in the sun or overdoing your work can add to skin breakouts. You can read more about pitta imbalance and ways to keep cool in the summer here. Below are some tips on a few natural compounds in skin products for pitta skin:


Neem is a tropical plant with so many uses. For skin, it is found in soaps, creams and shampoos. It has cooling qualities so assists the body in removing excess heat. It is very anti-microbial so good for conditions such as fungal skin infections. It is available as an oil but has a strong odour so is more manageable mixed with other ingredients. It can be also taken as a capsule internally to clean the skin inside out. Speak with your naturopathic doctor on how to take neem based on your health concern.


Aloe is a well-known plant that grows in the desert, but very versatile to keep at home to heal burns or inflamed skin. It is very soothing for sensitive skin and makes a great base for skin gels and creams. Try taking a small piece of aloe gel from your plant and apply it to your skin – observe how it feels. Great for pitta and vata types in the summer.


Rose is known for its aromatic scent associated with love, romance and feminine qualities. As an herb, it is cooling and rose water or hydrosol is extremely refreshing. Rose oil or creams work well with pitta skin types to help calm and cool the skin and refresh the mind. Rose mist can be kept handy in the car or at work to spray at the hot times of the day to refresh you, or used as a toner as part of your skin care routine. Rose hip oil, from the fruit of the rose, has a slightly different quality but is also very beneficial for healing burns and scars.


Clay comes from the earth and is rich in minerals. There are many different types of clays that will have different qualities but essentially clay works well in soaps or cleansers due to its exfoliating nature. Clay is drying and tightens the skin due to its astringent qualities. It is excellent to detoxify the skin by pulling out toxins. It is great to use as a cleansing mask in the summer. Great for all skin types but vata skin types may need a moisturizer after using clay as it can dry out the skin.


Calendula is a flower which has been used traditionally in healing burns and rashes. It is commonly found in diaper rash creams, salves for burns, or as an oil infusion to apply on the skin. It is excellent in pitta skin conditions especially where there is irritated or red skin as it is an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It can be used as a cream, oil, ointment or infusion.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is cooling for the skin and is great for pitta skin issues. It has been used for centuries to strengthen skin and promote healthy hair growth. It grows in tropical climates so it often suits hot climates – best to avoid using in the winter or those with very vata skin since it cools the body down but great in the summer.

These are just a few of the herbs that are used in naturopathic & Ayurvedic treatments to heal skin. These systems treat not only by condition, but by the underlying constitution of the person. Different care is needed for each skin type. If you have chronic skin concerns, topical skin care may not be enough – you may need internal approach to cleaning skin from the inside out. Triphala, burdock, neems are just some of the cleansing herbs used for skin conditions. Use these tips for healthy, glowing summer skin or speak to your ND if you have chronic skin issues that you would like to address. Ayurvedic massage with healing oils is also offered at the clinic by Mamta Pranjivan to promote healthy skin and more. 

Dr. Leena Athparia is a Naturopathic doctor & Ayurvedic practitioner at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus on joint health, pain and chronic disease. If you are healthy and looking into preventing disease or learning more about your constitution, Dr. Athparia can help you. If you are looking for Ayurvedic massage, Mamta Pranjivan is offering full body Ayurvedic treatments and head massage. Please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Natural "First Aid" Tips for Summer

by Dr. Leena Athparia, ND

What's in your First Aid Kit? It's likely to have an assortment of bandages, gauze, gloves and the like for emergencies, but what about for the less critical injuries you might get while camping, hiking or for the kids spending time outdoors this summer?

What do you use if you get a burn while cooking? Or a knee scrape while hiking? What do you use for kids' mosquito bites? While critical emergencies require a visit to the ER, most common injuries are minor and can be treated with natural remedies which have fewer side effects and are gentle but effective for speeding up recovery.

Naturopathic first aid involves using naturopathic principles when treating acute concerns such as burns, bites, stings, rashes, strains and sprains etc. Naturopathic doctors use a variety of modalities to help heal naturally and effectively: botanical medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, nutrition, laser and light therapy, TCM & acupuncture and counselling.

Read more about the most common concerns and natural tips for your First Aid Kit. These remedies can be further customized by your Naturopathic Doctor depending on if you are camping or travelling or need a kit for kids.


Too much fun in the sun (at peak time especially) can lead to sunburns. Children, those with sensitive skin, or on certain medications can be more prone to burning. To soothe irritated or peeling skin, use a natural aloe gel which is cooling and soothing for the skin or Manuka honey that you can apply directly to the affected area to help speed up healing. This applies for other kinds of burns such as in the kitchen. While outdoors, protect yourself from strong sunlight by wearing a hat or thin, cotton clothing that protects the skin.


Insect bites from mosquitos, black flies, bees or spiders are inevitable if you spend time outdoors. Bites are not only itchy, painful and irritating, but can also transmit infectious disease. Prevent yourself by being bitten in the first place by wearing appropriate clothing that provides a barrier for bites and using natural bug repellants made of essential oils such as citronella. It is not just a myth that mosquitos are attracted to "sweet" blood. When you eat a diet high in sweet (bananas, juice, sugar), you become a palatable target. Increase bitter foods such as leafy greens and consider supplementing with neem capsules which are blood cleansing. Speak to your ND about essential oils for bites and natural homeopathic pellets or creams for after-bites such Apis.

Cuts & Scrapes

Minor wounds to the skin such as cuts and scrapes disrupt the barrier and can lead to infections and scarring if not treated properly. Your natural first aid kit should contain a herbal antiseptic cream to apply to injured skin to disinfect the area. Some examples are creams that contain calendula, neem oil, tea tree oil, yarrow and comfrey. Other creams such as vitamin E cream or aloe are very beneficial to promote skin healing and reduce scarring. Essential for moms to keep on hand for active kids!

Bumps & Bruises

A must-have for everyone in their natural first-aid kit for any injury or trauma is Arnica. This well known herb appears in many formats such as creams, gels, oils and homeopathics. This herb is well known for healing bruises and speeding up any injury. Homeopathic arnica can be used in creams or taken orally to help with any physical or emotional shock. In addition for injuries, lymphatic creams are handy to help with reducing swelling as are anti-inflammatory supplements which may contain herbs such as turmeric or boswelia. Speak to your ND to learn more about which anti-inflammatories would be good for you.

Putting together a natural first-aid kit can be fun and very handy to keep on hand this summer. Most of these suggestions are safe to use alongside with other conventional treatments. When you are empowered with knowledge, you can be more equipped to help yourself and family members with minor injuries to speed up healing. At Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic, we accept walk-ins for acute naturopathic care for concerns such as sprains & strains, skin reactions, bites, scrapes, hives and other conditions. You don't need to be a patient of the clinic to use these services. Read more about naturopathic walk-in services.

Dr. Leena Athparia is a naturopathic doctor & Ayurvedic practitioner at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus in joint health, pain and chronic disease. If you are healthy and looking into preventing disease or learning more about your constitution, Dr. Athparia can help you. Please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Addressing Chronic Inflammation

by Dr. Leena Athparia, ND, AAWC

Inflammation is a normal immune process in the body in response to infections, toxins or trauma. The word itself originates from Latin meaning to "set on fire".  Common symptoms of acute inflammation manifest as redness, swelling, heat, pain and loss of function. A common example would be when you hurt your finger on the stove or get a sliver. While acute inflammation is a natural response to promote healing, chronic inflammation may be more subtle to notice and can go on for months or years, contributing to degenerative diseases such as: ulcerative colitis, arthritis and chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, skin diseases, gingivitis, diabetes and many other health conditions.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, wellness is based on the understanding of your constitution (prakruti) and balance of the 5 elements, 3 doshas, the digestive fire (agni), the health of the 7 tissues (dhatus) and proper elimination (malas). If any of these aspects are not aligned, this leads to disease. Inflammation is often a manifestation of excess pitta dosha, otherwise seen as "too much fire" or heat in the body or mind for prolonger periods of time. If this is not brought into balance, inflammatory process sets in leading to illness. Summer is also a time where the weather is hot and may provoke imbalance with individuals prone to Pitta conditions.

Identifying Inflammation

Chronic or advanced inflammation may show up as pain, stiffness, fatigue, redness or just feeling 'off'. However, often inflammation can go unnoticed for years before it shows as symptoms in the body. Speak with your ND to find out some of the tests available to identify inflammation:

Tests for inflammation:

  • Food sensitivity
  • CRP, ESR, Ferritin, CBC
  • Vit D, uric acid
  • Ayurvedic tongue & pulse diagnosis

Factors that increase risk of inflammation:
Your constitution, genetics, diet and lifestyle play a role as to whether or not you are more susceptible to inflammatory conditions. Understanding and identifying these risk factors can help you take steps in managing inflammation. Some of the common factors that promote inflammation are:
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor diet (such as refined foods, sugar, alcohol)
  • Obesity
  • Aging
  • Recurrent injury
  • Chronic viral or bacterial illness

Tips to Reduce Inflammation

The goal of naturopathic and Ayurvedic treatment is to identify the causes of inflammation and restore balance. There are certain aspects that increase inflammation and certain things that reduce inflammation. For example, let's say you are eating a fairly 'balanced' diet most of the time, but do eat some fried food occasionally and some wheat that you may have a sensitivity to. On top of it, you are dealing with a stressful deadline at work for the week. These factors, combined, may be enough to trigger an inflammatory response which you may or may not notice. For example, you may notice more fatigue or stiff, puffy joints. Below are some tips to help you address inflammation:

Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet

  • Avoid: Deep fried and trans fats. Limit refined foods and sugars as these can aggravate blood sugar imbalances, leading to inflammation. Consider testing for food intolerances. This will help you identify which foods your immune system may be fighting (such as wheat, dairy, eggs and even certain nuts, grains fruits or vegetables. 
  • Include: From an Ayurvedic perspective, a Pitta-balancing diet is often helpful for reducing inflammation. This often includes a variety of leafy greens and vegetables, herbs & spices such as turmeric and ginger and healthy omegas such as ghee, fish oil and olive oil. Speak to your practitioner to understand what foods are balancing for you. Read more on top anti-inflammatory foods here.

Supplement with Natural Anti-inflammatories

There are numerous supplements that have anti-inflammatory properties. However, every herb works in a different way in the body and so it is always important to understand your constitution and your state of health to customise the best treatment approach.  For example, turmeric is a well-know herb that is widely studied for reducing inflammation. However, turmeric is not advised to take as a supplement alongside blood thinning medications or before surgery as it may thin the blood. Fish oils also have a similar effect. I will highlight a few of the lesser known anti-inflammatory herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine.

  • Boswelia Serrata (Frankincense): This is a resin extract from a tree which has been studied to improve outcomes of Ulcerative Colitis and Arthritis, amongst other inflammatory diseases. The best form to take it is in a capsule or powder with a standardized about of boswellic acid,  the active ingredient. This is often found in arthritis or pain supplements paired with turmeric as they work well together (1).
  • Commiphora mukul (Guggul): This is also a resin extract that is most well-know for it's cholesterol reducing effect. However in Ayurvedic medicine, it has traditionally been used to treat inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, obesity, atherosclerosis and thyroid conditions (2). From an Ayurvedic perspective, this herb is often give to individuals with a kapha imbalance or who have high 'ama' (accumulating toxins). 

Inflammation is a broad term and needs a customised approach for long-lasting treatment. Conventional medications such as aspirin or corticosteroids can suppress the inflammatory response in the body temporarily but doesn't address the root cause of the issue. You may not be able to see or feel it, but chronic inflammation that is left untreated can slowly damage your body. For long-lasting health, identifying the causes of inflammation increase the possibility of treating imbalances before they become more complex, establishes diseases. Summer is a season where Pitta is at it's peak and for many, this can mean flare-ups. Speak with your naturopathic doctor to learn more about ways to assess your level of inflammation and treatments tailored for your constitution.

(1) Siddiqui, M.Z. (2011). Boswellia Serrata, A Potential Antiinflammatory Agent: An Overview.  
(2)Surendran, Saritha. (2018). Commiphora mukul: An Overview. Research Journal of Pharmacy and Technology. 

Dr. Leena Athparia is a naturopathic doctor at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus in chronic disease and health promotion with Ayurveda. She has a keen interest in Ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle. If you would like to work with Dr. Athpariaplease call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.