Winters are here and instances of cold, cough and flu are on a steady rise. Indian households, particularly in North, often start preparing for winters much in advance. Summer veggies and fruits give way for winter vegetables and greens. Warming winter spices like cardamom and cinnamon also find their place in a range of our curries and concoctions. Most of our winter-favourite ingredients are helpful in giving our immunities a boost. Ayurveda has a handful of remedies, which can help prevent you from winter-related infections, using only a few common kitchen ingredients.
Here are 5 Ayurvedic remedies to keep cold and cough at bay.
1. Ginger remedy: India's love affair with ginger needs no introduction. Apart from adding their distinct flavour to our curries, they are also replete with medicinal and healing properties. Its active component gingerol has sedative, antibacterial and analgesic properties that help combat cold and flu. According to 'The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies' by Dr. Vasant Lad, a ginger-cardamom tea is an effective way to prevent infection. Mix two parts of ginger with three parts of cinnamon and a pinch of cardamom. Steep a teaspoon of the mixture in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. When the tea cools, add half a teaspoon of honey to taste. Drink the tea twice a day for relief. Dr. Vasant Lad in the book also suggests taking steam for quick relief. "Boil 1 teaspoon of ginger, or a few eucalyptus leaves, in a pint of water. Turn off the stove, put a towel over your head, and inhale the steam. This will relieve congestion and help you feel much better."
2. Ghee remedy: Ghee is one winter staple we cannot do without. It helps keep your body warm and energetic. This is why many winter preparations use a lot of ghee as one of the main ingredients. In Ayurveda, there is a particular 'nyasa treatment' to alleviate cold that you may try too. It involves pouring a few drops of warm pure cow ghee into the nostrils, first thing in the morning. Make sure you consult an Ayurvedic expert before going about the treatment.
3. Black pepper kadha: Black pepper is loaded with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are essential to soothe cold, ease chest congestion and de-clog nose. Black pepper is also enriched with vitamin C, which helps rev up your immunity. You can prepare this warming kadha for relief. To a cup of water, add some ground tulsi leaves, half a teaspoon black pepper and half a teaspoon chopped ginger together. Boil the concoction and consume lukewarm. You can also add a teaspoon honey if the kadha is too bitter for your palette.
4. Tulsi remedy: Tulsi, or holy basil, is used in many Ayurvedic kadha preparations to ward off risk of common cold and cough. Tulsi is a powerhouse of antibacterial and antiviral compounds that may help boost immunity naturally. Extract some ginger juice and add crushed tulsi leaves and some honey to it. Consume this drink for instant relief. You can also brew a hot tulsi tea with the help of this step-by step guide.
5. Turmeric milk: A tall warm glass of haldi doodh is a desi go-to remedy for healing a variety of ailments, one of them being common cold and cough. Turmeric is packed with an array of anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds that are helpful in fighting cough, cold and chest congestion.
Try these remedies and make the most of this nippy weather!
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