The change of seasons – spring and fall – are ripe for catching a cold or the flu. The weather is unpredictable: warm and sunny, cool and rainy, or crisp and windy. These changes aggravate Vata dosha, making us more susceptible to getting sick. But with some simple Ayurvedic home remedies and self-care, you can ensure strong immunity and a quick recovery.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Ayurveda teaches us that our daily habits are the best way to promote wellness and prevent illness. Because good health begins and ends in the gut, illness is often caused by wrong diet. It is important to eat freshly prepared, wholesome and seasonal foods in accordance with your dosha type. When we eat food that is too heavy (kapha-aggravating), poorly combined, or we eat under stress, ama or toxins begin to form. If you notice a low appetite, feeling heavy or a coating on your tongue:
- Lighten up your food for a few days. Try fasting on ginger tea and broths or enjoy some soupy kitchari.
- Limit sugar and snacking as they weaken the digestive fire.
- Try spacing meals at least 4 hours apart to promote strong digestion.
You’ll know your body has burned off any toxins when the tongue is clear and a strong appetite has returned.
Self-care promotes immunity by balancing Vata dosha. Everyday stressors such as screen-time, being busy and eating on-the-go can all aggravate Vata (which is involved in any illness). Taking time to slow down and rest can help balance Vata and boost Ojas or immunity. We know that good sleep is crucial to immune function so make sure that you’re getting plenty. Exercise also boosts immune function and a good sweat helps the body eliminate toxins.
If you find yourself under the weather, Ayurveda offers some wonderful home remedies for cold and fever. You may have these simple ingredients in your pantry already. Keep in mind that these remedies aren’t a substitute for medical care so be sure to see your physician if your symptoms worsen or persist.
If you are congested, try these tips:
- Fasting. Your congestion is likely caused by ama. Support your body’s ability to burn off toxins by fasting on ginger tea or clear broths until it clears up.
- Consume Trikatu. This potent blend of black pepper, long pepper (pippali) and ginger makes a great Ayurvedic remedy for cold and cough. These hot and pungent spices work to liquify excess kapha, clearing airways and strengthening agni.
- Make an infusion of turmeric, tulsi and ginger tea. Sip hot throughout the day.
If you are nauseous with the flu, try:
- Ginger tea. Ginger helps soothe the stomach and has anti-viral and pain relieving properties. Boil a few slices in water. You can add some honey once it’s cooled.
- Drinking CCF tea. The combination of cumin, coriander and fennel promotes digestion and the removal of wastes plus it keeps you hydrated.
- Taking a ginger and baking soda bath for aches and pains. This ginger heats the body up, helping to sweat out toxins and soothes sore muscles and aches. You can add essential oils like lavender or tulsi to soothe the mind.
If you have a fever, try any of the following:
- Fasting. Your body has turned up the heat to burn off ama. Fast on ginger tea or clear broths until the fever breaks.
- Drinking 1 cup diluted Concord grape juice with ½ tsp. cumin powder, ½ tsp. fennel powder and ½ tsp. sandalwood powder
- Making a tea from equal parts fresh ginger, lemongrass and tulsi as diaphoretic to bring down fever. Use 1/3 tsp. of each herb per cup.
- Bay leaves infusion promotes sweating, breaking fever, and flu symptoms.
- Taking Chyawanprash. Chyawanprash is an Ayurvedic remedy for cold and illness. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and is a rich source of nutrients, helping to strengthen the immune system. The unique blend of herbs will help ward off viruses and rejuvenate the body after illness or fever.
With plenty of rest and the right Ayurvedic remedy, you’ll be on your way to feeling better in no time!
Ayurvedic Practitioner, Yoga Teacher