Ayurvedic Hot Chocolate
Warmth is a key factor in harnessing the cold, dry and rough winds of #vata during winter. To help us during this time of year, look for and create warmth in:
- your food; feed yourself only cooked foods, nothing cold or raw;
- your fabric; envelop yourself in all the soft, fuzzy, fabrics you can get your hands on;
- your friends; surround yourself with only the warm, nourishing and the most supportive of peeps.
Winter is Vata season and hot chocolate is a great antidote to the chilly and crisp weather happening outside. Being naturally cold, dry, and light, Vata dosha is pacified by sweet, warm, oily, heating and grounding substances. Together the ingredients in this Ayurvedic hot chocolate serve as a balm for the often harsh realities of winter.
Ingredients (makes 2):
1 cup of organic whole milk or milk alternative
2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
¼ cup cacao powder
1 tsp *cinnamon – or 2 cinnamon sticks (one per cup)
¼ tsp of ground *ginger (optional)
Pinch of ground *cardamom (optional)
2 *star anise
1 tsp *ashwagandha
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat.
Whisk in maple syrup and cacao powder until well blended and heated.
Remove from the heat; whisk (until foamy) the spices and ashwagandha.
Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg or cayenne if you like a little kick. Add the cinnamon sticks (if using) and the star anise.
Cinnamon: An effective herb for strengthening and harmonising the flow of circulation. It is a good diaphoretic and expectorant in colds and flus, and is especially good for those of weak constitution. It is a pain reliever for toothache and muscle tension. It strengthens the heart, warms the kidneys and promotes Agni.
Ginger: Is perhaps the best and most sattvic of the spices. It was called vishwabhesaj, “the universal medicine”. The uses of ginger in digestive and respiratory diseases are well known. It is also good in arthritic conditions and as a tonic to the heart. It relieves gas (which vata season increases) and cramps in the abdomen, including menstrual cramps due to cold.
Cardamon: One of the best and safest digestive stimulants. It awakens the spleen, stimulates samana vayu, rekindles Agni and removes Kapha from the stomach and lungs. It stimulates the mind and heart and gives clarity and joy. Added to milk it neutralises its mucus forming properties and it detoxifies caffein in coffee. Its quality is sattvic and it is particularly good for opening and soothing the flow of the pranas in the body.
Star Anise: Calming and a great expectorant for coughs. Warms the abdomen, dispels gas, regulates energy, treats abdominal pains.
Ashwagandha: Holds a place in the Ayurvedic pharmacology similar to ginseng in Chinese medicine, yet is far less expensive. It is the best rejuvenative herb, particular for the muscles, marrow and for Vata constitution. It is used in all conditions of weakness and tissue deficiency in children, the elderly, those debilitated by chronic diseases, those suffering from overwork, lack of sleep or nervous exhaustion.