Peter Piper packed a pitta picnic! Okay, maybe that’s not technically how the tongue twister goes. But, try saying it five times fast anyways just for fun. If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that sometimes, we like to go deep into the spiritual significance of summer and plenty of other witchy, heady, and even deeply researched scientific topics. But we also enjoy a really great leisurely time with our friends and family, especially as the warmer months wane and we relish these last lovely days of summer. Perhaps we even overdid it just a little (the carefree languishing in the sun) because July’s National Picnic Month has now come and gone. But, our herbalists have long been dreaming up this joyful guide to those final picnic outings inspired by outdoor playdates with loved ones and some of our favorite plant-based snacks… with a purpose. Pleasure with a side of cooling herbs and foods to balance and pacify pitta is our kind of party. Who’s with us?

Let’s rewind a bit for those who don’t know. You might be wondering “what’s pitta?” One of the three main Ayurvedic doshas (more on those below), pitta, is associated with the heat of summer. The tenacious pitta is also associated with the fire and water elements. Ayurveda is a natural medicine modality that was developed in India over 3,000 years ago. It’s based on three concepts: the interconnectedness of self and the natural world, the body’s constitutions, and life forces, or doshas. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word meaning “life knowledge” or “science of life.” Based on plant medicine and natural remedies, the goal of Ayurvedic medicine is to regain balance between mind, spirit, and the environment—to reclaim or increase harmonious living.

Ayurvedic medicine posits that there are five elements that make up the world: ether (or space), water, earth, fire, and air. We are each made up of these elements, too, represented by the doshas. You may have any combination of these elements, but your dosha reflects which elements factor most prominently into your personal constitution. A trained Ayurvedic practitioner can help you determine your dosha, but here are the basics on the elements each dosha expresses the most.

  • Kapha: Earth and water
  • Vata: Air and ether
  • Pitta: Fire and water

Let’s take a deeper look at each dosha and how various plant medicines can support and rebalance them.


Kapha, represented mostly by earth and water, is associated with spring. There’s a slow, steady, heavy, even sluggish quality to Kaphas. Physically healthy with strong bones, they’re typically very compassionate, happy, and caring. They can also experience slow metabolism and weight gain if they’re off balance. Their spirit is prone to depression, and they can lack motivation. Kaphas often need outside encouragement and support.


Air and ether dominate a Vata dosha. They are cool, flowing, spacious, and light—and their dry qualities are represented by autumn, for its cool, dry days. Vatas are known to be slender, creative, and sometimes eccentric. They’re often flexible and easy breezy, yet their moods can change with whatever’s happening around them.

Mentally, they can become easily overwhelmed. stressed, and forgetful. Emotionally, they may experience high levels of anxiety and can have trouble sleeping. Physically, they have poor circulation and generally don’t like the cold. They may have irregular eating habits and experience digestive issues.


Highly competitive, motivated, and intelligent, they’re natural-born leaders. Physically, they’re muscular and strong, and often hungry. They can be aggressive and impatient, prone to conflict and mood swings because of their fiery nature. Bonus Tip for Pittas: Pack or apply some essential oils topically before you head out for your pitta picnic. The best essential oils for a Pitta will cool their anger, settle their emotional swings, and calm their mental activity. Here are a few of our absolute favorites:

  • Lavender Kashmir should be a staple in every family’s home. It’s cooling and relaxing while also uplifting the spirit, which is why it’s been cherished throughout the world for thousands of years. It’s also been particularly revered in folk traditions for its profound ability to cool an overheated body. Lavender can help reduce feelings of anger, agitation, and insecurity, making it a Pitta’s perfect match.
  • Rose Geranium is a premier cooling oil. It promotes vitality for the entire family, young and old alike. This uplifting oil has an overall balancing effect, which extends to the skin, helping to stabilize both oil and dry skin while keeping skin supple. Calming and grounding, rose geranium helps to reduce feelings of stress and worry. For a Pitta, it can especially help to uplift mood and promote well-being. While lifting your spirit and promoting sensual feelings, you’ll be in the ideal mindset for your summer gathering with a few dabs behind your ear, or in the crook of your wrist and neck.
  • Blue Chamomile is among the most supportive for a healthy inflammatory response. Calming and cooling, this cousin of the daisy is also among the gentlest of oils: ideal for children, the elderly, and those with sensitive skin. For promoting relaxation and deep, restful sleep for those overworked Pitta minds, and for nourishing and restoring natural skin health and beauty.

Why Use Ayurveda?

Ayurveda combines plant medicine and lifestyle approaches to bring balance and harmony to one’s life. Homeopathy has roots in Ayurveda, and much of Western medicine comes from Ayurvedic principles.

Although much of its original teachings are lost, Ayurveda is a recognized and certifiable medicinal practice in India and worldwide today. What makes Ayurveda special is its individualistic, whole-person approach. In Ayurveda, each person has a unique energy imprint, which creates one’s constitution. Ayurvedic medicine examines and ultimately treats each person through a deep understanding of their physical, mental, and emotional traits—so they can adjust their health and regain mental, emotional, and physical balance.

There are many free resources, like online quizzes, to determine your dosha. Be sure to look for a reputable source, or consult directly with a trained Ayurvedic medicinal specialist to learn more about how to integrate Ayurveda into your plans for reaching your own wellness goals. Now, let’s dive into our herbalist-approved herbs and foods for elevating your summer picnic game. By paying closer attention to how we’re balancing pitta energy, we can nosh and lounge more coolly and consciously.In Ayurveda, summer is classified as a time of “pitta”. This is the season with the highest levels of heat—and therefore, fire—so it’s especially important to emphasize cooling, pitta-pacifying foods and herbs this time of the year to keep your fiery energy, body temperature, and hot-headed moods in balance.

  1. Rose (Rosa centifolia)

Roses are known for their cooling effect on the body. Their aroma soothes the mind and the emotions, while its skin benefits and digestive aid abilities further help to cool a Pitta. For your pitta picnic, pack some rose water, make simple rose mocktails, chilled rose lattes, rose bliss or love bites (depending on who’s coming with you!), or rose popsicles (find these and more recipes here).

SHOP ROSE | Read about the healing powers of roses.

  1. Holy Basil / Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

Tulsi cools the body, supports digestion, detoxifies, promotes emotional balance, and possesses both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. For one of the most impressive endings to a picnic ever, try making this Blue Dream Ice Cream with holy basil and healing butterfly pea flowers in advance. Keep chilled until you’re ready to serve. Holy basil is an incredibly versatile ingredient for cooking, and it’s no coincidence that its seeds (also known as sabja or tukmaria) are common textural elements in dessert drinks like falooda and other cold summer treats from South and Southeast Asia.

SHOP TULSI | Read how holy basil can shift us into higher consciousness.

  1. Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)

A root in the asparagus family, shatavari has nourishing, soothing properties to help conditions ranging from heartburn and indigestion to inflammation. Shatavari can be added as a supplement to both simple drinks and complex recipes, from Ayurvedic ladoos (so easy to pack and snack on!) to plant-based milks with a boost of pitta-cooling, stress-reducing, and antioxidant benefits. 

Keep reading about using shatavari for womb care, as a love potion, and more here.

  1. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

A calming herb that promotes digestion and clears blockages. It can help reduce pitta imbalances such as acidity, inflammation, and irritability. Peppermint can help disperse mental fog and sharpen focus. As a cooling herb, peppermint is extremely effective for Pittas, and can relieve tension and ease emotional swings. Its cool and clearing nature also makes it ideal for stimulating mental agility and improving concentration. Physically, it can ease overextended bodies and muscles for a hard-working Pitta. Peppermint teas are well loved around the world as pre- and post-meal digestive aids and it’s equally delicious in countless types of sweets, but for your pitta picnic, you might want to consider it as a first aid kit essential, too. Headaches, stomach pain, fevers, irritation, heat, or itching are all on the list of possible ailments relieved by both internal and external uses of peppermint.

SHOP PEPPERMINT | Read about using this herb for improving digestion and other ailments.

  1. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Soothes and cools pitta due to its digestive benefits, detoxifying properties, calming effect, and overall support for liver health. For a sweet and savory twist on the typical picnic dip situation, try this Golden Sun Mung Beans with Rose Yogurt recipe. Not only is this dish an absolutely visually stunning picnic option, it’s also loaded with anti-inflammatory power for pitta-pacifying effects. Check out our recipes, how to eat for your body type, and gentle cleansing options (all with fennel and more) here.

  1. Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

With a strong cooling nature, cardamom benefits digestion, detoxifies, soothes, and aids the respiratory system. Not sure how cardamom gets an invite to this pitta picnic? Two words: iced chai. That’s our top choice for adding cardamom to your pitta party, but the possibilities are infinite when it comes to adding this fragrant ingredient to your summer recipes. There’s these almond pistachio cookies, all sorts of pastry options from so many cultures around the world where they spice up their dough with cardamom, and even some savory/less sweet recipes that could make for pitta picnic show stoppers. Think salads, dips, spreads, and even cold treats like India’s famous kulfi.

SHOP CARDAMOM | Get recipes and herbalist tips for how to use these magical pods.

  1. Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

This cooling, bitter nervine from the mint family balances pitta in the mind, soothing restlessness and mental overdrive. An excellent antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory, skullcap can offer relief from muscle tension and pain, chronic headaches, anxiety, and even insomnia. Whether stirring it into your hangover-free mocktails or making what we think is a truly epic vegan cheese board, skullcap is an underrated ally for Pittas that should definitely find its way to your picnic blanket spread this summer.  

SHOP SKULLCAP | Stock up on even more nervines to instantly calm down.

For a picnic’s sake, you’ll likely be mixing some prepared food and drink with some raw fruits and vegetables—at least to dip in that sublime mung bean yogurt mix and to adorn your cheese board! These pitta-pacifying foods are among some of the simplest seasonal choices to amplify overall cooling potential.

  1. Coconuts

Coconut helps to move pitta and purify the digestive system. It also balances acid levels and cools the system. While coconut water has obvious hydrating benefits, don’t be afraid to pack some raw coconut meat, or incorporate coconut flavors into your food and drink offerings in new and creative ways!

  1. Cucumbers

Cucumber is excellent for pitta due to its cooling, hydrating, and alkaline properties. Cucumber's high water content helps maintain hydration. Besides the obvious use of cucumber slices to garnish almost any summer dish, another easy way to maximize the benefits and minimize mess for your pitta picnic is to make a homemade electrolyte refresher by combining cucumber, lime, and coconut water.

  1. Limes

This citrus fruit cools, supports digestion, hydrates, and is rich in vitamin C. Known for its ability to detoxify the body, lime is a true must-have at any picnic or cookout during the summer and in almost any season. Did you know that in 2022, the United States lime consumption amounted to approximately 17M metric tons?! To make a super easy gut healing lemonade for the crew, try this Watermelon Chia Aloe Lemonade recipe. Almost everybody loves lime and gut health is especially critical for keeping internal fire energy in equilibrium, but you’ve probably never had a healing tonic quite like this at a picnic… unless your whole tribe is a bunch of wild and wonderful herbalists!

  1. Melons + Berries

Melons provide a cooling and hydrating quality to the body. They are low in acidity, and offer essential nutrients for overall health. Berries such as blueberries have an astringent flavor, and they also help to calm and cool pitta dosha. Berries can also benefit pitta dosha-related organs such as the eyes. As the liver and gallbladder are both considered important sites of pitta, this Liver-Loving Papaya Boat is an excellent addition to your pitta picnic if you’re thinking about getting together with your loved ones a bit earlier in the day, say around breakfast or brunch time. Papaya myth: papayas are a type of melon; their nickname is indeed “tree melons”. Papaya magic (truth): papaya fruit is actually considered a berry, which means no matter how you slice it, they’re ideal for Pittas if they’re in season near you!

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