With no official cure for the common cold, you may feel powerless against this annoying and temporarily debilitating imbalance. But while Western medicine doesn’t have much to offer in terms of remedies, Ayurveda does. It’s possible to prevent colds with Ayurveda by taking care of yourself throughout the year, and even fight colds with holistic elixirs and lifestyle practices.
Why do people get sick?
Ayurveda has a unique concept of immunity known as ojas. This is your vital essence; the most subtle byproduct of digestion. It’s ojas which gives you your strength, vitality, lustre, and immunity. When ojas is depleted due to poor diet, irregular sleeping, or stress, your resistance to disease is weakened.
This explains why one person in a family can have a cold while the others stay healthy. Two people with different quality ojas who are exposed to the same cold virus will be affected differently. The person with weak ojas will get sick, while the person with strong ojas won’t.
If your ojas is weak and you do fall prey to a cold, you can support your body by maintaining equilibrium of your doshas. This includes heeding to your digestive strength and facilitating the digestion of aama or toxins. The better you take care of the body while you’re sick, the less severe the cold will be and the faster it will go away.
1. Stay Warm.
Don’t think that it’s impossible for you to catch a cold from being cold. Sleeping in an overly air-conditioned room or going without a coat for too long in the winter is enough to make you sick. Wear an undershirt that covers your chest (a main site of kapha, which is out of balance during a cold) and layer with a warm wool sweater. Use a hairdryer after showering and always cover your head and body when going outside.
2. Drink Immunitea.
Immunitea fights off viruses, digests toxins, and opens the channels of respiration. Find out how you can make your own!
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 peppercorns
- 1 tulsi tea bag
Combine all ingredients in a mug of your choice.
- Allow the ingredients to simmer in 2 cups of water for five minutes.
- Drink three times daily.
3. Rest, Rest, Rest.
During a cold, the body needs rest more than it does activity. So, skip yoga, workouts, and other physical activity. And if possible, try to take the day off work at the first sign of a cold. Let the body focus on getting better. While it may seem silly, it’s possible to stop a cold dead in its tracks.
4. Avoid Kapha-Aggravators.
Certain foods can generate mucus and make a cold worse. These are kapha-increasing foods such as yogurt, ice cream, cheese, bananas, avocados, and anything cold or heavy, so do your best to avoid them at all costs.
5. Focus on Your Breath.
To combat a stuffy nose, bring a few inches of water to a simmer in a large pot. Turn off the heat and add three drops of eucalyptus oil. Drape your head with a towel, and hover over the steam for a few minutes, taking a breather as needed.
Another option is to stick a peppercorn on the end of a safety pin and light it with a match, then breathe in the smoke. Both of these techniques will open the channels of respiration for serious sinus relief. If you put these practices into action as soon as a cold hits, you can save yourself from a long and drawn out sickness.