I remember the first time I got a flu in India and was introduced to Ayurvedic remedies for cold and flu that you can easily do at home.
I was in awe how something as simple as spices, breathing and avoiding certain foods made such a big difference!
When seasons are changing throughout the year (think spring, when Kapha can easily get out of balance, or fall when summer is changing to cold and windy Vata) I know that catching a cold is my body’s way to say I haven’t take the best care and now there is an imbalance.
Here are 10 Ayurvedic home remedies for cold and flu season:
- Drink hot water throughout the day
Sipping hot water every 15-20 minutes throughout the day has amazing benefits even if you don’t have a cold. Hot water hydrates your body and your mucus membranes. It loosens all the build up mucous and allows your body to flush out all that immune compromising toxins called ama in Ayurveda.
- Drink Hot Ginger Turmeric – elixir
This one is a must. According to Ayurveda, ginger is one of the best remedies for cold. The pungent taste of ginger pacifies the Kapha imbalance in your body that causes all the puffiness from mucous, congestion, coughing and sneezing. I love to also chew the pieces of ginger while I am enjoying this drink.
Hot Ginger Turmeric -elixir recipe:
2 cups of water
1 tsp(ish) fresh grated or squished ginger
1 tsp(ish) fresh grated turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
1 small lemon squeezed (can use orange too)
Bring the water with ginger, turmeric and cinnamon to boil. Right after reaching the boiling point lower the flame and let the tea simmer for a while. Pour into your favourite mug (or to 2 cups if you’re enjoying this with someone), squeeze lemon and add a sweetener like maple syrup if you want.
- Chew pieces of ginger
Chewing a piece of ginger before a meal will help stimulate your digestive enzymes. This enhances digestion and allows your body to remove toxins more easily.
- Gargle with salt water
Add 1/2 tsp of sea salt into 1 cup of warm water and gargle with this 3 times a day. Gargling with this salt water kills bacteria in your throat that causes illness.
- Breathe and steam
I love preparing a ginger steam to help unclog a stuffy nose and sinuses. All you need to do is to take a large bowl, fill it with few inches of water and add a 1 inch piece of (smashed) ginger. Bring this to boil and then turn off the stove. Put a towel over your head and inhale the steam. This is also great for your skin 🙂
You might also want to look into some Pranayama breathing practices. Simply focusing on the breath and breathing correctly is an amazing way to balance our bodies. Nadi Shodhana, or Alternate Nostril Breathing, is a calming and cleansing breathing technique that help with a stuffy nose. It is also a great headache cure!
- Try a Neti Pot
The neti pot is a traditional Ayurvedic therapy that has been used for thousands of years to loosen mucous membranes.
Add 1 cup of warm water and 1/2 teaspoon of non-ionised salt to your neti pot. Then over a sink, tilt your head at a 45 degree angle and place the tip of the pot into one of your nostrils.
Open your mouth and breathe only through your mouth while pouring the water into your nostril.
Let the water move in and the out from the opposite nostril. this way the water flushes out mucous and bacteria.
- Drink CCF Tea
The name CCF Tea comes from the three ingredients it is made of: cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Mixed to make tea, these wonderful spices enhance digestion and cleanse the body, and thus, improve immunity.
CCF Tea recipe:
2 cups of water
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
Bring these ingredients to boil and then let it sit for a while. You can fill your thermos with this tea and sip it throughout the day.
I love to drink this daily even when I don’t have a cold. It tastes like liquorice!
- Eat light foods that are easy to digest
Light, simple and warm foods are the best for your digestion during a cold. In Kerala we eat Kanji and drink Kanji Vellam to nourish the body and give a break for the digestive system. This way your body gets to focus on getting rid of the cold.
There are different versions of Kanji, and here in Kerala it often is boiled rice and mung beans. This is either meant to be eaten as a soupy bowl or you can also strain the water separate, which is called the Kanji Vellam.
- Avoid Kapha aggravating foods
Heavy, processed, sugary and dense foods are challenging to digest during a cold. Ayurveda also recommends staying away form any dairy, cold and frozen foods and .
So stay away from your banana nice-cream, nut butters and chilled drinks!
- Rest and sleep
Sleep is the time when our bodies can recharge ad heal. Ayurveda recommends to go to sleep by 10.00 pm every night. 10.00 pm is the beginning of a Pitta cycle of the day and by going to bed at this time we can use this energy to let our bodies heal while we sleep.
Use these simple but powerful Ayurvedic remedies for cold to heal, to boost your immunity and to stay in balance while the seasons are changing.