No matter how well you take care of yourself, everyone catches a cold or flu at some time or the other. That’s probably the reason why it is popularly known as a ‘common’ cold. A cold on its own does not harm the body much but it leaves you feeling weakened and suppresses the immune system. Cold is a viral infection and hence is usually unresponsive to antibiotics and other medication. However, Ayurveda can help manage a cold better and speed up the recovery process.
Cough and cold can be triggered by a number of factors including a sudden drop in temperature, exposure to dust or pollen or staying in rooms with poor ventilation. Additionally, aggravating the Kapha dosha can also cause a cold or cough. When the food we eat is not digested properly, its turns into ‘ama’ that triggers cold or cough when it reaches the respiratory system. Some common ayurvedic remedies for coughs and colds are:
- Enhance your body heat: Keeping the body warm, especially the head, throat, chest and feet, is the first step to recovering from a cold. Drinking a cup of hot spiced tea or a glass of warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, a few times a day, can also help. Spices like cumin, coriander and black pepper are considered heat generating spices and hence should be used liberally when preparing food.
- Vapour therapy: To recover from a cough that is accompanied by congestion, try inhaling the hot vapours of water mixed with a little eucalyptus oil. This helps dilate the bronchial tubes and unblocks the nostrils. Inhaling the vapours of water mixed with rock salt can help relieve heaviness in the head and a mild cold. Simple hot water vapours itself can even be inhaled to relieve sinusitis pain. To benefit from vapour therapy, it is essential to sit in a room without the fan on and to cover your head and the vapour source while inhaling the steam.
- Dhooma Paan: Inhaling turmeric smoke is said to have an antiseptic effect on the lungs and respiratory tract. To benefit from this therapy burn a dried root of turmeric and inhale the smoke a few times. If you do not have access to the dried root of turmeric, place a red hot piece of charcoal with a few dried leaves in a clay pot, add a heaped spoon of turmeric powder to this and blow gently till it catches fire before inhaling the smoke.