• Dr. Patty Hlava

Kapha Tea: Connection in a Cup

A few years ago I was in India. I was spending time at an Ayurveda center in Kerala receiving treatments and learning more about Ayurveda as a practice. After one of my treatments, I went for a walk with a good friend of mine and we stopped in one of the local shops. As we entered the shop, I sneezed. I sneezed repeatedly, and proceeded to experience of the “sinus episodes” that were so familiar to me at that time. I felt waves of embarrassment at my incessant sniffling and nose blowing.

“Kapha tea!” one of the shopkeepers exclaimed with genuine concern. “You need kapha tea! You want some kapha tea?”

I wasn’t quite sure what he was talking about, and before I could ask a clarifying question, he rushed over the corner of the shop and pulled out a small burner, a steel pot, and some filtered water. Then right there on the floor in the corner of the store, he started the fire, poured in water, and reached under the counter for some spices.

All the time he was making this tea, he was telling me and my friend stories about him and his brother, and their shop. After some time, he poured the tea into some cups and we sat and chatted a while a longer.

It wasn’t long before I felt the warmth of tea soothe my spirit. The compassion of the shopkeeper infused into this cup of tea. My congestion cleared a bit. My embarrassment cleared completely and my heart warmed with this experience of genuine human connection: me, my friend, and a couple of shopkeepers.

Kapha, in ayurveda, is the energy of water and earth. It’s also the energy of connection. In our body it’s about our tissues, lubrication, and growth. Emotionally, it’s about compassion. When we have too much kapha, we can experience excess mucous, respiratory issues, and even a bit down and disconnected—kind of like we’re stuck in mud.

When kapha energy is balanced, we’re all about connection, growth, and grounding.

This past week, I had the joy of being invited to share some Ayurveda fun at a small social gathering. I talked about the doshas over a shared pot of kitchari (a lovely and nourishing porridge-style meal). Then we all found our way toward the kitchen where we sampled some dosha-specific chocolates and had some fresh kapha tea—the same tea that I had at that little shop in India.

The room lit up. Maybe it was the chocolate, but I think it was the tea. Something about holding a warm up of tea grounds us—it brings us back into our body and connects us with our senses. We slow down and become more present, with ourselves and with each other. Kapha tea contains some warming spices and herbs, that helps melt through the density of the mucous—that heaviness in our heart that can keep us feeling isolated and separate.

The remainder of the evening was full of learning, vibrant conversation, and deep connection. It was full of that nurturing quality of people coming together.

The next time you’re feeling a little stuck—a little sticky, go ahead and warm your heart with a cup of kapha tea and a friend.

Here’s the recipe:

☕️ The Kapha Tea ☕️

  • 6 cups water

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 4 cardamom pods, cracked

  • Pinch of saffron

  • Pinch of raw sugar

Bring to a boil.

Turn down heat and simmer 4 to 8 minutes to desired strength. Strain and enjoy! 😊

Share with friends or pour into a stainless steel thermos and sip on throughout the day.

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