Battling the Cold and Flu Season

The Vedas teach us that we live in a world of dualities. As we experience pleasure, we also experience pain. Sometimes there is heat, and other times cold. The dualities of the winter season are felt in that along with the joys of winter (skiing, snow boarding, holiday celebrations) come the dreaded cold and flu season. When a cold or flu strikes, the body experiences an increase in mucous.

Mucous is composed of kapha (the water and earth elements) according to Ayurveda, an ancient health science from India. Ayurvedic treatments involve balancing the elements in the body. When mucous increases, we can ease our cold and flu symptoms by following a diet and taking herbs that decrease the water and earth elements, as described below.

Tip # 1: Mucous (kapha) reducing herbs
Kapha reducing herbs include ginger, cinnamon, licorice, basil, and cloves. Add 2-3 teaspoons of any combination of these herbs to one cup boiled water. Steep for ten minutes and strain before drinking. Add honey to taste. Alternatively, ingest any of the above herbs by adding them to food. Add basil to your salad for example, or cinnamon to fruit.

Tip # 2: Mucous Reducing Diet
When sick, consume less heavy foods such as dairy products, oily foods, nuts, and pastries, and eat more steamed vegetables and whole grains.

Tip # 3: Honey
Honey strengthens the immune system and white blood cells. Take one tablespoon of honey with ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder either daily as a preventative measure, or when sick to reduce cold symptoms.

Tip # 4: Lemon Juice
Add the juice of two lemons, along with honey as a sweetener, to 2½ cups of boiled water. Take before bedtime to relieve cold symptoms.

Tip # 5: Yoga poses
a) Standing Forward Bend: This pose helps clear sinuses and brings energy to head and chest. Stand with feet hip-width apart and fold forward. Rest forearms on a chair seat for increased relaxation. Hold two to five minutes.
b) Legs Up the Wall Pose: Opens the chest area to facilitate breathing. Lie on back with legs up against the wall at a 90 degree angle. Open arms to the sides. Hold for minimum of five minutes.

Tip # 6: Spiritual Prayer/Mantra
Caring for the soul can also strengthen one’s being. Lord Krishna once appeared in the form of Lord Dhanvantari, the god of Ayurvedic medicine. Some people pray to Lord Dhanvantari for improved health. The English translation of the Dhanvantari prayer is as follows:

“We pray to Lord Dhanvantari who holds the Kalasha full of the nectar of immortality. Lord Dhanvantri removes all fears and removes all diseases. He is the well wisher and the preserver of the three worlds and is empowered to heal all souls. We bow to the Lord of Ayurveda.”

Hopefully the given health tips can help you remain strong and fit throughout this rainy winter season. Namaste.

Sara Bock

Sara is a certified Ayurvedic Educator through California College of Ayurveda and a certified yoga teacher for adults and children. She likes to meditate, sing devotional music, and spend time in nature.

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