According to Ayurveda, three physiological principles called doshas—pitta (fire), vata (air), and kapha (earth)—govern metabolism and digestion. To balance your dosha, try these simple spice mixtures, called churnas. Incorporate your choice into cooking, or use as a condiment.

If you feel

Cause

Use

Irritable, impatient, overly hot

Pitta imbalance

Pitta churna. In a spice grinder, finely blend 1 teaspoon each cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and turmeric.

Distracted, worried, hypersensitive

Vata imbalance

Vata churna. In a dry skillet, roast 2 tablespoons each cumin seeds and coriander seeds until nutty. Transfer to a spice grinder and add 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds; process to a fine powder. Mix in 1 teaspoon ground licorice, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon asafetida (a.k.a. hing powder), and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Sluggish, lethargic, depressed

Kapha imbalance

Kapha churna. Roast 2 tablespoons each cumin seeds and coriander seeds, plus 2 teaspoons fenugreek seeks, in a dry skillet until nutty. Transfer to a spice grinder and add 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional). Process to a fine powder.

Note: To determine your dosha, check out Yoga and Ayurveda by David Frawley (Lotus Press, 1999).