Ayurveda is the world’s oldest healing system. Ayurveda means “the science of life” (ayur – life and veda – science) in Sanskrit. In India, Ayurveda originated more than 5000 years ago, also called “Mother of all healing”. It focuses on elevating the immune system rather than fighting disease. There are several ayurvedic remedies available for treating cold and flu. Ayurveda has three types of doshas (1, 2), each associated with specific body functions. The five elements are grouped into three basic types of energy.
- Vata (combination of air and space) – energy associated with body movement.
- Pitta (comprised of fire and water) – energy associated with the body metabolic system.
- Kapha (combination of water and earth) – energy associated with body structure.
There are 8 categories in Ayurveda for treatment and prevention. They are,
- Bhuta Vidya – Psychiatry
- Baalachikitsa – Pediatrics
- Kaayachikitsa – Internal Medicine
- Shalakya Tantra – Treatment for Ear, Nose, and Throat
- Shalya Tantra – Surgery
- Vishagara Vairodh Tantra – Toxicology
- Vajikarana – Fertility, Conception & Aphrodisiac therapy
- Jarachikitsa/Rasayana – Rejuvenation and Geriatrics.
Home Remedies for Cold and Flu
1. Drink Hot Water Regularly
Drink warm water to keep your body hydrated. It provides numerous benefits to your body, both internally and externally. Frequent intake of hot water flushes out the toxins, which are called ama in Ayurveda. It balances Kapha and loosens mucus membranes that cause congestion.
2. Gargle With Saltwater
It will loosen excess mucus from the throat and also kills fungi and bacteria. Gargling three times a day will prevent infections during cold and flu season (3). It provides relief for throat pain.
Ingredients – Salt, Warm water.
- Mix ½ tsp of salt in warm water.
- Gargle the water and spit it out.
3. Tulsi Tea
Tulsi is one of the natural Ayurvedic herbs that provide many benefits (4). It helps to reduce fever and headache, relieve congestion, and support digestion. Tulsi is best for people with cold and flu.
Ingredients – Tulsi leaves, lemon
- Add 1 ½ cup of water and tulsi leaves in a vessel.
- Boil it under medium flame and stir them periodically.
- Take a bowl and strain the water.
- Add lemon juice in the water and mix well.
- Warm Tulsi tea is ready to be served.
4. Ginger Turmeric Tea
Ginger contains antibiotic properties that reduce inflammation and clear congestion (5). Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant (6). Manuka honey stops the growth of bacterias that causes sore throat, while lemon boosts vitamin C levels in our bodies.
Ingredients – Ginger, turmeric, manuka honey, lemon, cinnamon, warm water.
- Take a small pan and add 250ml water, grated ginger (1 or 2-inch piece), 1 tsp of turmeric and boil them.
- Close the pan and let simmer for 20 mins.
- Add ½ lemon juice, raw honey 1 tbsp, and cinnamon ½ tsp.
- Wait for a few mins and serve the warm tea.
5. Cumin, Coriander, Fennel Tea
Cumin consists of antioxidants. Coriander is rich in fiber and has an anti-diabetic property, which stimulates insulin growth. Fennel is filled with minerals and nutrients. These spices, when combined, cleanse the body and boosts immunity.
Ingredients – Cumin seed, coriander seed, fennel seed, warm water.
- Mix water and ½ tsp of cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in a saucepan.
- Let it boil; after some time, turn off and cover for 15 mins or overnight.
- Strain it and sip the tea frequently.
6. Steam Inhalation
Inflammation in the sinus blood vessels prompts a stuffy nose. Acute upper respiratory infection, such as sinus infection or cold, causes irritation in the blood vessels. Steam helps to flush out the mucus or phlegm from the lungs.
- Boil the water until steam comes and pour the hot water in a bowl.
- Drape a thick towel over the back of your head.
- Close your eyes and lower your head towards the hot water.
- Make sure your head is 8 inches away from the water.
- Inhale slowly for 2 to 5 mins through your nose.
- Never steam longer than 15 mins.
Don’t bend your head too close to the steam. Some people will be allergic to eucalyptus, but it will be effective if added for steam inhalation.
7. Take Ashwagandha
This herb with immuno-boosting properties will help people to maintain their immune level (7). It also deals with chronic stress and fatigue that occurs through viral infections. Consume ashwagandha as a powder or tablet daily for better results.
Breathing Exercises to Treat Cold and Flu
1. Dirgha Shwasan
Sit straight in a cross-legged position and take a deep breath through the nose; while inhaling, the stomach must expand, and as you exhale stomach should be flat. Do at least 10 times when you feel uneasy.
- Opens up blocked nose.
- Purifies the blood and improves stamina.
Make yourself comfortable, sit straight. Fold the index and middle finger of your hand, use the thumb to close your right nostril, inhale through the left nostril. Close your left nostril using the last two fingers and exhale through the right nostril. Continue inhaling and exhaling through the alternate nostril for 8 to 10 times.
- Opens nasal track.
- Maintains body temperature.
- Purifies the blood.
- Makes you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
3. Kapal Bhati
Breathing and stomach movement should have rhythm, which is the most important one. With your right thumb, block the right nostril inhale slowly and exhale through the same nostril with force. Repeat for 20 to 25 times. Do the same in the left nostril by closing it with the left thumb and repeat 20 to 25 times. Inhale and exhale forcefully without closing both the nostrils and repeat for 40 times.
- Increases body temperature.
- Burns fat when stomach movement is coordinated with forceful breathing.
- Warms the nasal track and destroys cold viruses with heat.
Tonics for Treating Cold and Flu
1. Immaculate Immunity Tincture
It is an herbal tonic with a bitter taste that treats viral and bacterial infections like cold, flu, sore throat, fever, nausea, etc. Consult a medical practitioner before using it.
Procedure – Take 5 dropper fulls of dosage while being sick (every 2 – 3 hrs). When the symptoms are reduced, take 2 dropper fulls thrice a day (for next 7 days) to prevent recurrence of the illness.
2. Mahasudarshana Churna
This tonic fights all types of infection, such as viral, bacterial, fungal, etc. It is a natural detoxifier that kills infectious germs and relieves nausea, cold, flu, fever, and sore throat. It is a powerful liver tonic (8).
Procedure – When sick, mix ½ tsp of this tonic in warm water and consume for every 2 to 4 hrs. Once the symptoms are reduced, continue the same dosage for 2 – 3 times a day. Consume until 7 days to prevent the recurrence of the illness.
General Remedies for Treating Cold and Flu
1. Turmeric Milk
Add ½ tsp of turmeric powder and ½ tsp of black pepper powder in 1 cup of warm milk, blend and drink it.
2. Honey Tea
In warm water or tea, mix 1 tsp of honey and drink it.
Take 3 clove buds and put them in your mouth. Suck them until it doesn’t have any flavor. It relieves sore throat and coughing spasms.
- Maintain a healthy immune system.
- Stay away from people infected with cold.
- Consume plenty of hot beverages.
- Eat balanced and nutritious food.
- Rest well.