Claire Ragozzino, the author of the new health tome, Living Ayurveda (Roost Books), shares her insight on tangible ways to live your best, and healthiest life, as spring heats things up a bit.

Winter’s snow melts, April brings cool showers. Spring has arrived.

It’s kapha season, where the heavy, slow, cool qualities and wet weather of late winter and early spring welcome a lightness into our food, breath, and movement practices to balance and brighten kapha. As we move through the seasons, we select foods and adopt a lifestyle that will reduce the increased elements of earth and water. To move out of winter’s sleepy hibernation, your spring practice might include more active movement; breathing practices that bring heat and boost circulation; and lighter foods to energize the body and mind. Spring is also one of the two recommended times in the year to do a cleanse, which I cover in my new book. When you’re feeling dull, heavy, or stagnant, look for ways to lighten up and breathe more vibrancy back into your routine.

Here are a few cleansing beverages to enjoy in the morning and between meals…

Ginger Fennel Tea

On chilly mornings when I wake up feeling a little sluggish and sleepy, I head to the kitchen and put on a pot of this tea while I start my morning routine. The windows fog up with warm condensation and the whole house smells fragrant. I like to sip a hot cup of this while I write and reflect, sometimes fasting on this until lunch, if my appetite is low. This tea is also great between meals for boosting digestion and reducing uncomfortable bloat.

Prep: 2 minutes | cook: 10 minutes | yield: 4 servings

  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon raw honey

In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Add the fennel and ginger. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and steep for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, strain the liquid, and discard the pulp. For a little sweetness, stir in a spoonful of raw honey at the end, if desired. Sip hot, or store in a thermos to enjoy throughout the day.

Dandelion Cappuccino

Roasted dandelion root is an herbal ally in your springtime pantry. More than a common weed, this incredible herb has bitter and drying properties that reduce water retention and support your liver. It brews dark and rich, a great alternative to coffee. I like the product Dandy Blend for this recipe, it’s an herbal dandelion-chicory mix that dissolves like instant coffee. Blended with almond milk and topped with cinnamon, this frothy caffeine-free cappuccino makes kicking your coffee habit easy.

Prep: 2 minutes | cook: 1 minute | yield: 2 servings

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons Dandy Blend
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon ghee or coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus extra for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon raw honey

Bring water to a boil. Combine the Dandy Blend and piping hot water in blender. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend for 30 seconds on high until frothy. Pour into a mug, dust with cinnamon, and enjoy hot.

Cleansing Burdock Tea

Spring’s dampness needs warming and drying properties to balance kapha. This tea combines astringent burdock with heating ginger and the sour taste of lemon to cleanse the blood and reduce water retention. Burdock has been used medicinally across cultures as a depurative, or detoxifying herb, to help remove stagnation from the lymph system, flush the kidneys and liver, and improve circulation. Fresh burdock is available at many Asian markets in the produce section. I keep the dried root in bulk in my pantry to add to a tea or savory broth when needed.

Prep: 2 minutes | cook: 10 minutes | yield: 4 servings

  • 5 cups water
  • 2 inches fresh burdock root, roughly chopped; or 2 tablespoons dried burdock root
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2–3 tablespoons lemon juice

In a small pot, bring water to a boil. Add in the burdock and ginger. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover, and steep for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, strain the liquid, and discard the pulp. Add lemon juice, to taste. Sip hot, or store in a thermos to enjoy throughout the day.

IN MOUSE TYPE AT THE BOTTOM:

Excerpted from Living Ayurveda: Nourishing Body and Mind Through Seasonal Recipes, Rituals, and Yoga © 2020 by Claire Ragozzino (Roost Books). Photo Credit: Claire Ragozzino