Elements: Fire

Increase: Pitta

Decrease: Vata and Kapha

Found in the Sour, Salty and Pungent taste

Balanced by Cold, Bitter, Astringent and Sweet

Action: Promotes expansion, cleansing, digestion and absorption, enhances circulation and peristalsis, reduces and moves body liquid, diaphoretic.

Positive effect: clears the body of toxins and phlegm, enhances intelligence and perception.

Hot is anything that causes an increase in temperature or causes sweating. The body radiates heat from the blood through sweat. When the weather is hot, the blood vessels on the surface of the skin dilate and the heart rate increases, making the skin red and flushed.

Summertime is the season of poor appetite. Red skin is engorged with blood, leaving less blood for digestive organs. Hot weather makes the body relaxed, comfortable, and grounded. Pathological heat causes dizziness and fainting. The body becomes lethargic like the “lazy dog days of summer.”

Sweating and secretions help cleanse the skin, digestive tract, circulatory, and lymphatic system. Saunas, baths, steam baths, sweat lodges, and exercise are among the numerous ways people cleanse with heat.

In excess: Causes bleeding, thirst, dizziness, fainting, burning sensation, inflammation, anger, pride, criticism and hate.

Heating Foods

Spicy food brings blood flow back to the GI tract. It stimulates the appetite, burns toxicity, and reduces tissues. Heating foods cause thirst, sweat, a burning sensation (as in chilies), and even bleeding. Eat too much turmeric and you might get angry. Turmeric is heating because it dilates blood vessels. Vinegar is heating because it is acidic. Generally, avoid heating foods in the summer.

Hot Water

Hot water is one of the most powerful medicines. As hot weather brings blood to the surface of the skin, hot water brings blood to the GI tract. Hot water improves digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food. Drink Hot water 20-30 minutes before your next meal to prepare your digestion. If thirsty during or immediately after your meal, drink sips of hot tea. Hot water improves circulation. It is a powerful diaphoretic that opens the pores of the skin, and is the primary therapy for fever in Ayurveda. Hot water is also a decongestant, liquefying masses of stagnant phlegm.

Effect of Heating Foods on the Nervous System

When there is too much heat, the mind becomes hot tempered, angry, irritable, or impatient. Heat increases courage and valor. Passion is hot. Heat generally projects the personality outward. Yogis spend time in cool mountaintop temperatures because it helps them turn inward.

Causes of Excess Heat

Irritation, wounds, fermentation in the small intestine, exercise, too much clothing, excess exposure to the sun, liver congestion, infection, hot climates, hot foods, anger, frustration and envy cause heat conditions.

Signs of Excess Heat

A red tongue tip, red or yellow eyes, Red skin or yellowish tinge to the hands and skin, rashes, acne, infection, suppuration of wounds, fever, anger, irritability, sweat, liver spots, premature graying of the hair, and loss of hair.

Treatment of Hot

Bitter tasting foods and herbs, such as Curry and Neem leaves, clear heat from the blood and the liver. Astringent foods and herbs, such as Amalaki, relieve inflammation in the gut. Sweet tasting foods and herbs, like Shatavari and licorice root, cool and nourish body tissue. Milk, cucumber, cilantro and watermelon are cooling. Washing the face or sprinkling the body with cool water is cooling.

Ingredients that are Hot


Buckwheat, Millet, Oats, Rye


Beets, Carrot, Celery, Garlic, Daikon, Onion, Parsley, Parsnip, Radish, Turnip


Arugula, Chives, Mustard Greens, Scallions, Spinach, Turnip Greens, Watercress


Anchovy, Beef, Chicken, Egg Yolk, Eggs, Fish, Lamb, Liver (Beef, Chicken) Shrimp


Acorn, Cashews, Chestnuts, Hazelnut, Peanuts, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Pistachio, Sesame Seeds, Tahini, Walnuts


Corn Oil, Mustard Oil, Olive Oil, Safflower Oil, Sesame Oil


Apricot (fresh), Cherry, Currants (dried), Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Pineapple, Prunes (dried), Tamarind, Tangerine


Jaggery, Maple, Molasses, Rice Malt


Alcohol, Apple Cider Vinegar, Balsamic Vinegar, Beer, Cacao and Coffee (Short term effect), Kombucha, Miso, Olives, Pickle (Cucumber), Red Wine, Red Wine Vinegar, Sauerkraut, Tobacco / Nicotine, Umebushi plum, White Vinegar


Ajuwan, Allspice, Basil, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper, Caraway Seeds, Cayenne Pepper, Celery Seed, Chilies, Cinnamon, Cumin, Curry Powder, Dill, Fenugreek, Ginger (fresh and dried), Hing (Asafoetida), Horseradish, Jalapenos, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Mustard, Nigella (black cumin), Nutmeg, Orange peel, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Salt (Mineral Salt), Star Anise, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric


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