Lime Rose Lemonade for Summer, made from Lime juice and scented with Rose Water is a very refreshing Ayurvedic drink that’s quick and easy. You can enjoy it during any hot weather, in summer or late summer, and anytime your Pitta dosha feels elevated.
Lime Rose Lemonade will cool you off even without ice, which weakens our digestive fire. Its a much better choice than bottles and cans full of phosphoric acid and high fructose corn syrup, linked in studies to lower bone density and diabetes, respectively.
Rose and Lime in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda
Rose is considered cooling and harmonizing in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine. The heat of summer can sometimes create irritability, so this is a valuable quality.In Chinese Medicine we use dried rose petals , Mu Gua, for cooling and relaxing the “Liver Qi” which is associated with the frustration and irritability of Liver Qi stagnation.
This describes the sense of rose in Ayurveda, too, where its use is in teas that pacify Pitta, which is also associated with aggression and tension. Rose is also used in Ayurveda as essential oil in massage oils; as rose petals cooked in milk; as a jam marinated in sugar; and finally, as rose water, both topically, as described in the previous post, and in beverages and sweets.
In Ayurveda Lemon is both sour and warming; it elevates Pitta, which makes it very good for stimulating Agni digestive fire in cases of Vata elevation. On the other hand, Lime is considered cooling, and is slightly bitter and astringent as well, so when combined with water, which is by nature cooling, and rose and sweetener, it has all the qualities that pacify Pitta: cool, sweet, bitter, astringent.
Of course, if you are very Pitta dominant and or in a current state of unbalance, make this drink more sweet than sour, with more rose, and do not use honey, which is heating. And don’t have it every day, but on occasion, if at all.
Lime vs. Lemon in Ayurveda
Lemon elevates Pitta; while Lime pacifies Pitta.
Lemon: Sour and very slightly sweet. Sour flavor elevates, or aggravates Pitta, and also stimulates Agni; a good digestive especially for Vata dosha. Think: pickled foods.
Lime: Bitter, astringent, sour and aromatic. Bitter and astringent both reduce, or pacify Pitta. More important is that Lime is considered cooling in Ayurveda, whereas Lemon is heating.
Lime is also even more refreshing than lemon, because it is so aromatic; it has a really fresh taste that wakes you up in the heat. This may be why most very hot countries from Southeast Asia, to India and Central America, lemon is preferred over lime.
The aromatic quality of lime, along with the sour, bitter, and astringent tastes found in lime does an even better job stimulates the digestive energy, which is important in summer, when the digestive Qi, as its called in Chinese Medicine, or Agni, as we call it in Ayurveda, is naturally weaker.
Worse, is that in summer we eat and drink lots of so cooling, sweet fruit or beverages that can douse our digestive fire, so its important to balance cool and sweet of things like watermelon and cucumber with bitter, sour, astringent, and pungent tastes.
A Dash of Salt
In India, where it is so hot and you sweat so much, lemonade is sometimes made with a dash of salt. There are actually really great spice mixes for lemonade, too, with Amla/Indian gooseberry, cumin, hing/asafoetida, and pepper.
A dash of salt in lemonade does something alchemical; it feels to me as if it softens the water, the way borax does with laundry water, if that makes sense.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, adding a dash of salt balances the sour of the lime, and now you have all the 6 tastes, but one, pungent. And the more tastes that are in a food, the more balancing it is, overall.
Lime Rose Lemonade for Summer
12 oz Filtered Water
1/2 Small Lime, more or less
1 tsp Sweetener of your choice: honey is excellent for Vata and Kapha, Raw sugar is good for Pitta.
Pinch of sea salt, less than 1/16 of a tsp, lets say about 7 grains of fine salt
1 tsp Cortas Brand Rose water, more or less.
Health Saving Tip: Use less sugar by using with stevia. Stevia can be a bit bitter, but mixing it with a natural sweetener masks the bitter taste of stevia. My favorite brand is Stevia in the Raw…
In India they roll the lime around on the table using the palm of the hand before cutting in half, with some pressure. This makes it easier to get all the juice out.
Squeeze the lime into a glass, and add the sweetener. Mexican style lemon squeezers work very well here. You can buy them online, search for Mexican Lime Squeezer.
If using honey, or raw sugar, you will need a little warm water to dissolve it. Honey gives a lovely taste to this, which will vary of course with the kind of honey you use.
Add the rose water and a pinch of sea salt.
That’s it! Stir it up and have a lovely, naturally cooling, summer drink.
How to Pacify or Aggravate Pitta Dosha in Summer
In Ayurveda, Summer is the season in which Pitta naturally increases. If the hot sun makes you sick, or gives you headaches, you almost certainly have a Pitta imbalance. Pitta is also highest at noon, and aggravated by intense heat, excessive sunlight, hot food with chile, sour food like tamarind or vinegar, and excessive salt, like potato chips.
So if your Pitta is dominant, or imbalanced (elevated), you will need to take more than the ordinary care in avoiding the sun and the hottest part of the day, and avoiding the above kinds of foods, just as a start.
Pitta is, on the other hand, pacified by the sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes, such as you find in fruits and leafy green vegetables and herbs, for example, and by foods and experiences that are cooling and a little dry such as evening walks in the shade, swimming late or early in the day, raw vegetables, and Rose Scented Limeade for Summer, which is cooling, sweet, astringent, and bitter.
The astringent taste, which is higher in raw vegetables and lower once they are cooked, is considered drying; taste a lime–it leaves the back of your mouth dry, that is the astringent taste. Whereas when you taste a lemon, the sides and front of your tongue salivates, that is the sour taste.
Variations on the Recipe
I like to make limeade with sparkling water sometimes. Then I don’t use the rose, but like to use lemon and orange, kind of in imitation of the Italian Soda Orangina or the US drink, 7-UP. There is a mineral water from Georgia (the country) called Borjemi, that is very strong, even sulfurous. I like to use it sometimes.
Where to get Rose Water
The best and cheapest brand of Rose Water to use in your Lime Rose Lemonade for Summer is Cortas Brand Rose Water, which is made in Lebanon.. Other good brands are Indo-European and Sadaf. Get them online, or at any Middle Eastern, Arab, Iranian, and sometimes Indo-Pak market.
A 12 oz bottle should be from two to four dollars only.
copyright eyton shalom, july 2011, all rights reserved, use with permission
Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego