Cure a Cold, the Ayurvedic Way

Bundle up when you have a cold. Keep warm!

You’ve got a tickle in your throat. A foggy head. Sinus pressure. Sneezing. As much as you try to resist, you’ve got a cold. And it sucks!

While popping cold medicine can help you feel better in the short term, suppressing your immune system makes your cold hang out even longer.

A cold happens because of an imbalance in both kapha and vata doshas and the best way to counteract this is with heat and dryness.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you beat a cold and be virtually symptom free within a few days.

Adjust your diet. Once you feel a cold coming on, lighten your diet. Reduce sweets and heavy foods and instead opt for things that are easy to digest like kichadi, brothy soups, and steamed veggies. Cut out dairy, cheese, and heavy meats for the time being. Add warming spices like garlic, black pepper, and cinnamon to the foods you eat.

Drink your ginger. If you’re super congested, grate 1 tbsp. of ginger root, a few cracks of black pepper, and 1 tsp. of cumin seeds. Boil that in 1 1/2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink it. Drink this concoction a few times per day.

Steam. Boil water, pour into a big bowl, hold your head over it and cover your head with a towel. Add a few drops of eucalyptus. (Just don’t put your face too close.)

Oil. It sounds odd and feels a bit funny, but if you have the type of congestion that’s feels like an immovable snot block, you’ll try anything. Once you’ve used the steam treatment, heat sesame oil (not the toasted kind) to body temperature and put it into a dropper. Lie back and put a couple of drops of oil into each nostril. Message your nose and sinuses and this will help get things moving.

Got a cough? Mix a tbsp. of raw honey with 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. Take this every hour for a dry cough.

Another ginger remedy for the throat and a cough: get yourself a tbsp. of raw honey, grate some ginger and squeeze out a few drops of ginger juice from what you’ve grated onto the honey. Raw ginger has a drying action and will help your cold dry out faster.

Herbs. A mixture of herbs called sitopaladi helps heal a cold, improve respiration, and it’s actually pretty tasty because it’s got some sugar and cinnamon. (You can find it on Banyan’s site and stores that sell Ayurvedic herbs.)

Light exercise and yoga. Stick with rest, especially for the first two days. Downward dog and some inverted yoga poses will help the congestion move out of your head and lungs. Afterward, massage your sinuses to help break up congestion. Don’t start any cardio or exercise until your congestion and cough are gone.

Finally, don’t stress over healing. The body is quite intelligent and wants to be balanced — a cold is its way of achieving equilibrium so take these steps to help support it.

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