Revered in ancient Rome as an aphrodisiac and proverbial for their benefits on eyesight, carrots are sweet and bitter with a heating energy. They calm vata and kapha. Their high antioxidant content is the reason why carrots are used for blood cleansing, liver cleansing and cancer healing. Yet, delicious and comforting as they are, carrots may disturb pitta if consumed in excess. Balance carrots with pitta-soothing vegetables such as green peas, leafy dark greens or cilantro. And be especially cautious with carrot juice, because it is highly concentrated. It is best for pitta to combine cucumber, cilantro or aloe vera juice with their carrot juice.
Daucus carota subsp. sativus (Hoffm.) Arcang.
Carrots were first cultivated on the Iranian plateau--a region comprising today's Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Although wild carrots (Daucus carota var carota) have a woody and unpleasant-tasting whitish root, the agriculturalists of five thousand years ago developed tasty and nutritious purple and yellow carrots. Over centuries of cultivation, carrots with different nutritional profiles were developed. In Europe we are accustomed to orange carrots, which are the richest variety for beta-carotene content and easy to grow as well. However, in India, red, purple and near-black carrots were grown, (Daucus carota ssp. sativus var. atrorubens Alef.). Purple and black carrots contain major antioxidants--anthocyanins, pheolics and flavonoids, while red carrots are a good source of the important eye nutrient, lycopene. Seeds of these Asiatic carrots are now available from seed companies. We recommend growing or using both European and Asiatic varieties of carrot for their specialized antioxidant profile, although red and black carrots are definitely more erratic producers than standard orange varieties.
Rasa: Madhura tikta (Sweet and bitter)
Virya: Ushna (heating)
Vipak: Katu (pungent)
Guna: Laghu (light)
Good for eye health
Diarrhoea and dysentery: Well-steamed carrots with ghee are the first vegetable to eat after an episode of diarrhea or dysentery and help in gut healing. Carrots are an important prebiotic food to aid restoration of your microbiome.
Haemorrhoids: 1 cup carrot juice with 2 tsp. cilantro juice twice daily on an empty stomach.
Sprue and malabsorption: 1 cup carrot juice with a pinch of trikatu twice daily. (Trikatu consists of dry ginger, black pepper and pippali or long pepper. If you don't have trikatu use dry ginger instead).
Chronic indigestion: 1 cup carrot juice with 1 pinch dry ginger powder daily.
Cancer support: Combine ½ cup carrot juice and ½ cup aloe vera juice and take twice daily.
Alcohol detox: Take 1 cup carrot-beet-cucumber juice daily and eat a daily portion of Liver Cleanse Sabji.
Probiotic support: In North India it is traditional to make a lacto-fermented carrot beverage known as kanji for probiotic support.
Sources: Alandi Pulse Manual, Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing by Usha and Vasant Lad.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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