According to Ayurveda, colds are a Kapha (water and earth) -Vata (space and air) disorder. The Kapha qualities causes the body to build up an excess of cool and moist Kapha, resulting in congestion and a runny nose and excess Vata reduces digestive fire (agni) leading to chills, loss of appetite and/or poor digestion.
Ayurveda suggests using food as medicine. Managing cold and cough through the below remedies is the best way to boost immunity and bring balance during the Kapha heavy winter season.
- Gargle with salt water. Gargling with salt water loosens excess mucus and removes bacteria and fungi from the throat. Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt in 1 cup of warm water and gargle in the morning and night.
- Mulethi or Licorice, is an effective Ayurvedic herb for cough. Mulethi powder is useful in managing sore throat, cough and excessive production of mucus in the airway. A Mulethi tea, with Tulsi (Holy Basil) an immunity booster and honey with antimicrobial and cough suppressing properties, is a powerful tool in managing mucus and cough. To make this tea, take 1/4 teaspoon Mulethi powder, a pinch of cinnamon powder, black pepper powder and few tulsi (Holy Basil) leaves; add to 1 cup of boiling water, simmer for 5 minutes, transfer to a cup and add 1 teaspoon honey to it. Drink a few times a day and reduce frequency as cold and cough gets better.
- Ginger. According to Ayurvedic Medicine, ginger is one of the best remedies for colds; its pungent nature reduces Kapha dosha, which is often causes excess mucus. While ginger can be added to foods, hot teas and water for drinking and steaming, one of the best ways to consume ginger is with brewed coffee. Boil 8 oz of water with a tsp of dried ginger power, a tsp of coffee powder (instant coffee), a tsp of cumin seeds and half a tsp of crushed peppercorns; strain and drink with a tsp of honey.