Ayurveda ode to buckwheat

Ayurveda Ode to Buckwheat: a shout out to the Southern Hemisphere

Knowing that we’re in these last few weeks (perhaps) of winter here in the North, I’ve been especially enjoying warming buckwheat, before I begin to shift over to more cooling grains. As the Northern Hemisphere leaves winter behind, I’ve got a favorite warming breakfast I want to pass on to inhabitants of the Southern Hemisphere, as you all head into autumn. This is my Ayurveda ode to buckwheat.


Serves one, can be easily multiplied

Calms Vata and Kapha, mildly increasing to Pitta

Organic ingredients preferred whenever possible

1/3 cup Pocono brand Cream of Buckwheat

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

2 Tablespoons raw chopped walnuts

¼ cup chopped raw apple (1/3 medium apple)

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch of salt

1 cup water

Put all the ingredients in a small pot, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer until cereal is done, about 10 minutes. Eat as is, or add your favorite sweetener and a dab of ghee or Miyoko’s.

Different option: I cook on a wood stove in cool weather. If you also happen to cook this way, you can layer the ingredients into a single serving iron pot (as pictured) in the order given here in, lastly pouring the water over the rest of the ingredients. Cover, set on hot wood stove and cook until done. It smells wonderful with the apple and cinnamon.

Ayurveda Food Dynamics of Buckwheat

From an Ayurvedic perspective, buckwheat is warming. It is a gluten free seed, not a cereal. It is astringent, sweet, and pungent in taste, with a heating virya and a sweet vipak. Its warmth makes it most balancing for Vata and Kapha, yet because it is heavy, Kapha constitution is wise to have it in small amounts. It is beautiful for Vata and Kapha in fall and winter. Vata does well with it in late winter and early spring, as does Kapha. Its heat increases Pitta. It is rich in flavonoids friendly to the blood vessels and antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory.

One cup of cooked buckwheat, which has a lovely purple hue, has 6 grams of protein. With 4 grams from the walnuts in this recipe, Breakfast Buckwheat offers a total of 10 grams of protein, a respectable amount. It is also rich in potassium and magnesium, health friendly minerals. However, buckwheat is quite carb rich – 33 grams per cup. If you want extra protein to eat with this Ayurveda ode to buckwheat, a soft-boiled egg, some scrambled tofu, or a high protein seed milk can work well.

When to eat warming grains, when cooling grains

When the weather is cool, warming grains balance you best, especially if you have a predominance of Vata or Kapha in your make up. Warming gluten free grains include buckwheat, sorghum, corn, millet, and brown rice. Warming grains with gluten include spelt and rye.  In the high mountain desert Southwest where I live, we will have coolness probably only for another month. Right now I am favoring these warming grains. Then I’ll start to use more cooling grains. You can also mix grains as flours in recipes to achieve the balance you need. Click here for a free Adapt Recipe resource about this.

Cooling gluten free grains (and carb-like substances) in Ayurveda include amaranth, GF oats, quinoa, basmati rice, sago, tapioca. Gluten grains that cool include regular oats and oat bran and wheat.

Ayurveda ode to buckwheat in the Southern Hemisphere

Buckwheat is an ancient grain that has been cultivated for thousands of years in the Northern Hemisphere, in China, Japan, Tibet, Korea, eastern Europe especially, and India.  Most likely it originated in Eastern or Southeastern Asia.

Buckwheat is valued as a bee-attracting short season cool weather cover crop by gardeners worldwide. It can grow well in high dry areas, yet not in the tropics. The Southern Hemisphere holds just 10% of the globe’s humans, with more ocean and less land than the North. Yet buckwheat does grow here. If you live in Peru, Columbia, Argentina, Australia, Tanzania or South Africa, buckwheat has found a home here. (Egypt and India too, yet they bring us back to the Northern Hemisphere). Production of buckwheat has increased tenfold in Africa over the last fifty years. Is buckwheat served in your area? Do you have favorite dishes made with this ancient grain?

If you have challenges finding buckwheat locally, consider sorghum as an alternative or growing it yourself. Here is a second resource from Australia on growing buckwheat. Growbiointensive.org has some of the strongest community-oriented agriculture programs in both Latin America and Africa, as well as here in the United States, with different varieties of buckwheat.

Other ways to add buckwheat to meals

I use buckwheat flour in place of wheat flour in quick breads, and add a teaspoon of xanthum gum to help hold the muffin or pancake together. In my cookbook Ayurvedic Cooking for Westerners you can find buckwheat in recipes for Blue Corn Bread, Crepes, Homemade Egg Noodles, and Buckwheat Cakes. In the On-Demand Adapt Recipes course for Autumn and Winter, you can find a detailed chart of the dynamics of buckwheat and other grains. This course focuses on eating well during the cool seasons.

Ayurveda Ode to Buckwheat: Organic Sources

It’s worth exploring fresh local sources in your area. Here in Santa Fe Wild Leaven makes a wonderful Buckwheat Millet bread. This link leads to their giant party-sized loaf. Yes, a single piece can be purchased at the Wild Leaven shop in Santa Fe with soup. No, they don’t ship. Yet you might find a local shop in your area that makes some wonderful food with buckwheat.

In Polarity Therapy, sprouted buckwheat is used in the Health Building diet. Recently I was glad to meet on Instagram a maker of Himalayan organic sprouted buckwheat flour that looks quite delightful. Sprouting makes the food even easier to digest.

For you lucky eaters in the Southern Hemisphere who are just going into chillier weather, here is one organic source in Australia. Good fortune finding buckwheat close to home!

With thanks to Usha Lad & Dr. Vasant Lad’s superb Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing and their summary of food dynamics.

PS: While India is going into spring, I was still glad to see several organic sources of buckwheat available. Yes!

Note: Special 50% off Sale on Adapt Recipes On-Demand course with Amadea for Autumn-Winter, thru Feb. 29, 2024

For more seasonal guidance on what to eat and drink, see Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda by myself and photographer Renee Lynn, available here.

Amadea Morningstar writes and teaches about healing and self care. She’s the author of Easy Healing Drinks from the Wisdom of Ayurveda with photographer Renee Lynn, as well as the classic The Ayurvedic Cookbook with Urmila Desai. Amadea directs the Ayurveda Polarity Therapy & Yoga Institute in Santa Fe, NM.