With summer fun comes the summer sun, and with the summer sun can come sunburn. According to Ayurveda, burns and inflammation represent imbalances in the pitta (fire) dosha. In order to restore balance, Ayurveda treats with opposites; the qualities that balance the heat of pitta are cool and sweet.
Here are a few tips for treating sunburn with Ayurveda.
Ghee whiz! Spread some ghee on the affected area. Ghee, which is simply clarified butter, has a cooling and moisturizing effect. It helps with all kinds of burns by bringing down the pain level as well as aiding in the repair of the skin.
Aloe-lulah! Keep an aloe vera plant in your house; break off a leaf and squeeze the gel on the affected area five to eight times a day.
Paste it up. Make a paste of turmeric and sandalwood, moistened with cool coconut water, and rub it on the sunburn. Turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory properties that cool the skin. You can also try a mixture of coconut oil and raw honey to cool and moisten the skin and ease the pain.
Roses for the red. Fill a spray bottle with rosewater and keep it in the fridge. Use it throughout the day to spritz your skin. Rose oil is also cooling and hydrating—apply it to your face or put a few drops in a cool bath.
Eat sweet. Choose cooling, sweet foods like fresh, seasonal fruits; cucumbers; cilantro; and fresh, raw salads. Avoid hot, spicy, and pungent foods; alcohol; and caffeine.
Stay cool. Avoid physical activity that will bring up your body temperature; stay out of the sun; and wear breathable, loose-fitting clothes. It’s important to balance the body and bring it back to homeostasis. Remember, in Ayurveda, like increases like. Rather than stoking the fire, cool it down!
Sarajean Rudman is a Kripalu Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda Health Counselor program. She has more than a decade of experience in personal training and group fitness.
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