compressed blends

I’m notorious among my friends for ordering hot water in restaurants.   In fact, my single quick Ayurvedic tip for random strangers that ask, is to drink hot water — replace cold drinks with room temperature or hot ones.  One of my friends asked me jokingly if hot water was one of the ways I, with relatively little effort, stayed in shape, and I replied “actually, yes!”  Nonetheless, it still amazes me to hear from my clients how a single simple shift such as this betters their health and sense of well-being.

You’ve probably heard me say this before, but if you have a fire charged with cooking and transforming your food into nutrition, you have to tend to it with the appropriate qualities in the right quantities.  For example, ice cold drinks will snuff the heat of the fire, and too much liquid with a meal (even hot liquid) will overpower the dry needed to keep it blazing.  Balanced digestion – the right amount of heat, dry, and sharp — is health and vitality.  Therefore, to that end, what we choose to eat and drink should support balance.

Start the day with about 2 cups of hot water.  It’s not only cleansing and supportive to agni (digestion) but is so soothing.  A squeeze of lemon will add to its cleansing, agni-kindling effect.  Adding fresh ginger will do the same.  Drinking hot water and teas throughout the day will carry these benefits forward into the day.

Hot water is additionally thought to be more hydrating than cold water, as cold water constricts intestinal blood vessels allowing less absorption.

Just remember to limit hot water intake to about 8oz total around a meal (during and 1 hour after.)  One small shift such as this can be the difference between belching and indigestion after a meal versus a feeling of lightness, clarity, and satisfaction.

Tea is a wonderful, flavorful way to drink hot water.  You should still drink plain water throughout the day, but depending on your dosha and the kind of tea, you can pair teas with the optimal time of day for balance and added synchronicity with your environment.

Kapha types, with a predominance of heavy elements, do well in the morning with the caffeine in a cup of black or green tea.  They need a little kick in their cup to get moving.  There is also substantial research on the weight reduction benefits of green tea — lessening the gross and heavy qualities that lead to kapha imbalance and disease.

However, vata types, the lightest of the doshas, will likely be over-stimulated with caffeine and respond better to herbals with soothing, calming qualities such as lemon, lavender and chamomile.   This is especially true in the evening.  Rooibos is also an excellent herbal choice for vata with its warm, caramel color and flavor.

Green tea in the morning and early afternoon is likely tridoshic (good for everyone), but its effect is more accurately dependent on the individual state of balance.  A relatively balanced vata-type with appropriately functioning liver detox pathways should be able to metabolize the caffeine in green tea without further aggravating vata.

Green tea adds a gentle layer of focus that the fiery pitta intellect craves.  Based on color alone, green tea is soothing to pitta types.  Mint tea is also an excellent choice for pitta. It is cooling and balances the heat of pitta, yet it also kindles agni, making it a great digestif around a meal.

Maybe because I’m English, maybe because I’m also Indian, and maybe also because I practice Ayurveda – but I just love teatime!  It’s a time for comfort, a time to slow down, a time to connect, and such a gratifying ritual.

Recently, I’ve discovered t-sips – a brand of Ceylon tea imported from Sri Lanka by a friend of mine.  It’s one of the best tasting teas I’ve had!  Actually, when I go back and resample teas I once liked, I’m realizing that t-sips has raised the bar because they don’t taste as good.  The taste is in the quality.  The leaves are hand-picked and packed in country at the edge of the rain forest.  Because only new growth (the bud and its two leaves) are harvested, the tea is jivania (life-promoting) and anti-oxidant rich.  And sustainable!

With tendencies towards vata aggravation myself, my two favorites are the vanilla mint after a meal and the tropical lemongrass in the evening. I find mint tea to often be too sharp and one-dimensional, but this one is so well-balanced, smooth, and subtly, deliciously mellow and sweet.  The lemongrass is so intensely flavorful that it takes me back to a summer night on a balcony in the middle-east when I had lemongrass tea prepared freshly from a plant.

My friend created a 10% discount code to share.  It’s: NISHA.  The tea is available at  There are 10 blends to choose from and part of the proceeds from sales go towards building a cerebral palsy hospital in Sri Lanka!

t-sips is creating quite a stir here in Austin.  Drink vendors that recognize that the taste of the final product depends on excellent ingredients are using it in everything from bullet chai to kombucha.

I hope you make some time to savor the moment with tea.  Soothe, cleanse, kindle digestion, and help the needy all in one sip.  I’m so happy to have something so delicious to share with you.  I hope you get to try it.

Enjoy and happy sipping!

— Nisha Khanna, M.D.



© 2014 Nisha Khanna.  All rights reserved.  Please note that this content is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.