Elements: Air, Fire, Earth
Decrease: Kapha and Pitta
Found in the Pungent, Bitter and Astringent tastes
Balanced by Oily, Sweet, Salty and Sour
Action: sparks the fire and enhances digestion power, increases absorption, opens and clears the minute body channels.
Positive effect: dries up excess wetness and stops secretions such as diarrhea or catarrh.
In excess: suffocates, creates contraction, pain, spasm, stagnation, constipation and nervousness. Harmful to complexion, creates and is created by separation, disconnection, rejection and isolation.
Food representation: legumes, millet, rye, buckwheat, old honey, crackers, rice cakes, popcorn.
Dryness & Aging
Dryness is the measure of wear and tear on the body and a cardinal sign of aging. “Dry is old, oily is young.” Baby fat is the plump picture of youth, but dryness shrinks tissues, just like a shriveled raisin. Dryness highlights wrinkles and effects of aging on the skin.
Chronic dryness is irritating to tissues, causing heat and inflammation. Although dryness can come from dehydration and astringency, classic dryness refers to the roughness associated with lack of fats. Fats are essential to health, especially omega-3 fatty acids, because they are the basic building blocks of all cell membranes.
Dryness & Emotions
SNEHAin Sanskrit, meaning “oil” is also the word for love and strength. Oil is pleasing and attractive, but dryness creates separation. Healthy dryness can be carefree and cheerful, but pathological dryness creates lack of interest, fear, loneliness, and isolation. Pain is dry. Oil is the symbol of affluence while dryness is the symbol of poverty, frailty, and depletion.
Dryness & Digestion
Dry foods, including dense foods such as nuts, absorb moisture. The body hydrates dry, dense food with saliva and secretions from the stomach to make a sauce. The source of these secretions is the blood. The loss of fluids to digestion in dry individuals can be significant and lead to dehydration of organs. Soak dried or dense foods, like granola, before eating them, and take sips of warm water between bites.
Some foods, like dry fruits, are dry due to lack of water. Other foods, soaked or not, are dry due to diuretic quality. High potassium foods like potatoes, dandelion greens, and beans are diuretics. Popcorn is highly drying because it lacks water and corn is high in potassium. Adding electrolytes, such as a pinch of salt, balances the effect of diuretics. Salt added to water increases water retention in the kidneys.
Causes of Dryness
Bitter greens like kale scrape fats from tissues, aid weight loss, and increase dryness. Dried fruits, dense nuts, and diuretics are drying. Exercise, sweating, fasting, skipping meals, lack of sleep, lack of routine, excessive thinking, vomiting, and diarrhea all create dryness. Criticism, shame, guilt, anxiety and a continual state of stress or tension create dryness.
Dryness viscous cycle
Skipping meals makes the blood dry. Dry blood means that blood is thin and lacking juiciness, sweetness, and emolliency. Fasting and skipping meals is the quickest way to make the blood dry. Fasting and dry blood can be therapeutic for excess fat conditions.The skin is generally high in fats and it is the first organ to suffer when blood becomes pathologically dry. Some symptoms of dry blood and dehydration include dry skin, dry mouth, chapped lips, increased heart rate, headaches, and dark colored urine. The coating on the tongue dries out and becomes clear. The eyes, nasal passages, sweat glands, and all mucosal and glandular secretions begin to dry up. Dry glands lead to poor digestion and the inability to absorb nutrients from food, further aggravating the condition of dryness. Downstream in the small intestine undigested food begins to ferment, turning gassy and phlegmy. Dryness of the colon causes constipation, which can progress to more serious bowel conditions.
The liver stores glucose, the energy currency of the body, much as a potato stores nutrients for the rest of the plant. Dry blood creates a dry liver deficient of glucose, leading to hypoglycemia. Poor circulation and phlegm associated with chronic dry blood leads to dry, cracking joints and musculoskeletal pain, rough skin, and inflammation. Pathological dryness also creates brittle hair and nails, dry wheezing, tissue depletion, and impotence.
Qualities which Increase Dryness:
Elements: Ether, Air, Fire
Natural attributes: Hot, Fast, Sharp, Mobile, Dense, Hard, Rough
Tastes: Pungent, Bitter, Astringent
Treatment of excess Dryness
Elements: Water, Earth
Natural attributes: Oily, Sticky, Smooth, Liquid, Wet, Slow, Soft, Stable
Doshas: Vata pacifying diet and lifestyle
A daily full body oil massage will help reduce dryness quickly. Vata and Kapha should use sesame oil. Pitta can use sunflower or almond oil. Drinking teas fortified with electrolytes, including salt and sweeteners, can help rebuild internal fluids. A generally oily yet easy to digest diet is imperative. A teaspoon of ghee with meals is also recommended. Stress management and routine are important lifestyle habits which can help reduce dryness.Going to sleep early and a midday power nap are essential habits to treat dryness.
Ingredients that are Dry
Amaranth, Barley grits, Buckwheat, Corn, Corn Flour, Corn Meal, Corn Starch, Masa, Millet, Poha, Popcorn Popped Amaranth, Puffed Rice, Rice Cakes / Puffed Rice, Rice Flour, Rye, Teff
Adzuki Beans, Alfalfa Sprouts, Black Beans, Black-eyed Peas, Brown Lentil, Butter Bean, Cannelini, Chick Pea (Garbanzo), Fava Beans, Kidney Beans, Lima Beans, Mung Bean, Pinto Beans, Red Lentils, Soy Beans, Split Peas, White Navy Bean, Yellow Lentil
Acorn Squash, Artichoke, Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Burdock Root, Cauliflower, Celery Root, Daikon Radish, Fennel Stalk, Parsley root, Potato, Pumpkin, Spaghetti Squash, Sun Dried Tomato, Turnip
Arugula, Bean Sprouts, Beet Greens, Cabbage, Celery Stalk, Chard, Chickweed, Collard Greens, Dandelion Leaves, Endive, Grape Leaves, Kale, Lettuce, Stinging Nettles, Watercress
Anchovy, Chicken breast, Turkey breast
Apple (raw), Apricot (dried), Cranberry, Cranberry Juice, Dates (dried), Green Plantain, Guava, Melon, Pears, Plum, Prunes (dried), Watermelon
Black Tea, Coffee, Dry wine
Basil, Cardamom, Celery Seed, Coriander Seed, Cumin, Curry Powder, Dill, Fennel Seeds, Fenugreek, Ginger (Fresh), Green Tea, Hing (Asafoetida), Lemongrass, Mint, Nigella (black cumin), Nutmeg, Oregano, Parsley, Safflower, Saffron, Sassafras Leaf, Tarragon, Turmeric
Seltzer Water / Club Soda