By Sara Crow, L.Ac.
Through the thoughtful combination of food, herbs, flower essences and essential oils we can enhance harmony in the body-mind and bring forth a desired state of being – such as a sense of belonging and rootedness to the earth. Nature is a beautiful example of oneness and harmony. By being more connected to that, we can begin to increase those states inside ourselves.
Let’s begin by looking at the function of a root. Roots help to stabilize and support a plant; they also draw water and nutrition from the soil to feed the rest of the plant.
Therapeutically, roots offer concentrated earth energy nutrition for body, mind, and spirit. It is easy to see why this might be; this part of the plant is perpetually surrounded by soil and earth. Therefore, generally speaking, a root will have a different quality and therapeutic quality from a leaf or a flower. Some examples of foods we eat that are roots are: beets, carrot, burdock, turnip, yam, potato, and radish.
Roots are grounding, centering, and stabilizing. They can be used to strengthen and balance the body, and keep stress in check. Roots can help us to feel more calm, steady, and stable.
Eating roots can enhance our energetic connection to the earth to soothe anxiety and feelings of disconnection. They are really good for people that have a hard time relaxing, focusing and staying present; all vata imbalances. Some physical manifestations of this might be: spaciness, forgetfulness, anxiety, dizziness, insomnia, and hyperactivity. For example, if you have a hard time calming down, eat a root!
Energetically, many roots have a downward direction offering a grounding, balancing, and settling therapeutic for our nervous system. For example, roots in general could be seen as the nutritional equivalent to the most grounding and stabilizing acupuncture point, Kidney 1. It’s located on the bottom of the foot. Both eating a root and pressing on Kidney 1 are immediately de-stressing.
Rooting or grounding is related to the first chakra. This energy center is thought to help us harmonize with the earth and can ground us in earthy stability and comfort. It grants us a sense of energetic belonging to the earth, offers physical strength, and helps solidify our life or soul purpose.
Now, let’s look at some specific nutritional approaches to nourish the first chakra, de-stress and ground.
Brown Foods, Herbs + Roots
- Turnip, fermented root veggies (ground-buried), walnut, burdock, potato–especially with the skin, shitake mushroom
- Rhodiola herb and flower essence
- True Ceylon cinnamon and Chinese Cinnamon Rou Gui, Sandalwood, Vetiver and Ruh Khus essential oils
Black Foods, Herbs + Roots
- Black radish, maca, black salt, burdock root
- Shilajit, rehmannia, black sesame seed, Chinese licorice root: many of these support the root chakra and nourish the Kidney Jing
Red Foods, Herbs + Roots
- Red berries such as raspberry (tea and berry itself), goji, schizandra berry, beet, longan berry, rose, hibiscus, grass-fed meat (cooked rare), and burdock root build blood
- Flower essences of salmonberry and mossy mountain heather
- Blood-building foods nourish the sense of self, calm the mind, and increase comfort in physicality/body