I am sure we all have our own little tricks for dealing with the common cold. Some of us straightaway pop decongestant and sinus-relief tablets, others try to blow it all out loud and clear.
Ayurveda, I have realised, offers some truly helpful advice for increasing your immunity, so that the nuisance simply doesn’t happen—or at least bugs you much less frequently. I’ve tried all these tips, with success. Sharing them with you:
1. Keep your digestive machinery running smooth. If there is constipation, a cold is usually not far behind. The reason: all that undigested material is rotting inside your system, creating a ‘seedbed,’ so to say, for agents of disease to thrive on.
2. Include ‘warming’ spices in your diet: specifically black pepper and cumin. Freshly crushed black pepper, mixed with a spoonful of honey, is a cold-fighter that generations have used.
3. Stewed fruits, such as apple, pears and peaches, cooked with cloves and cinnamon, warm you up nicely and keep the a-tissues away!
4. Turmeric is my absolutely favourite spice for boosting immunity. It has innumerable healing benefits, among which is its capacity to destroy germs and ease inflammation. So, cook your greens, stews and stir-fries with a touch of turmeric. You get both golden colour and healthy respiration.
5. Avoid certain ‘mucus-forming foods’ such as yogurt and cheese at night. They increase Kapha, which is associated with ‘congestive’ disorders.
6. Basil and honey make another powerful combination, because both are known to boast antiseptic and immunity-boosting properties. How about a soothing honey-basil tea? It’s delicious, too.
7. Here’s an obvious one, which surprisingly many people do not follow: stay warm. When you have a cold, you should not sit in an airconditioned room or wear skimpy clothes. Your body needs warmth and protection to arm itself against the nasty cold.
By Shubhra Krishan
Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman’s book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).