Fighting a Cold & Flu with Ayurveda & Herbs

Bri Maya Tiwari says “all diseases begin at the junction of the seasons and so all types [doshas] are cautioned to be especially aware during the seasonal transitions. The fortnights of mid-September and mid-November are the most crucial periods during Vata season.” Cold, windy, clear and dry weather aggravates Vata dosha and may lead to colds and any number of Vata ailments such as insomnia, constipation or joint soreness/pains. If you do feel that cold coming on or already have a flu, here are some tried and tested things I’ve done to either prevent a cold/flu or help treat it:

Second only to rest, the best remedy for a cold is GINGER! The magical root nectar from the Gods has highly potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It's effective at warming the body and helping to break down the accumulation of toxins in our organs and helps to clean our lymphatic system (our body's sewage system). Here are several home remedies using ginger:

  • My favorite: Cut up some ginger root and boil it in water. Let it cool from hot to warm and add slices of fresh organic orange and/or lemon. Add some honey. (TIP: NEVER add honey to hot water - it loses all its medicinal quality and basically turns it to sugar. Allow any water you've boiled to cool down before adding the honey) Listen to your natural instinct on how much of each to add. I normally like to add about a half of a thumbs worth of ginger slices to my water and 1/4 of an orange or two slices of lemon and a drop of honey. Those proportions change depending on how my body feels.
  • Shots, Shots, Shots! Ginger shots, that is - muddle equal part ginger and water. Not too much though, this one gets you right in the jugular! 
  • Combine the following herbs together:
    o Ginger 1 part
    o Cinnamon 1 part
    o Lemongrass 2 parts
    Steep 1 teaspoon of this for about 10 minutes in 1 cup of hot water, strain it, and add honey for sweetness if desired. Drink this tea several times a day and it will help with the cold, congestion and flu.
  • Combine the following herbs together:
    o Ginger 2 parts
    o Cinnamon 3 parts
    o Cardamom just a pinch
    Steep 1 teaspoon in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes. When the tea has cooled down, you can add about ½ to 1 teaspoon of agave for taste.
  • Boil 1 teaspoon ginger, or a few eucalyptus leaves, in a pint of water. Turn off the stove, put a towel over your head and inhale the steam. This will relieve congestion and help you feel better. Even steam with no herbs added will  help to open clogged  airways while bringing much needed relief and moisture to the dry, sensitive, tissues of your nasal cavity. 

CAUTION: Never combine ginger and aspirin. They are both blood thinners and should not be taken together.

Additional herbal remedies are:

  • For flu, make a tea from 1 teaspoon of tulsi (holy basil) in 1 cup of water. Boil for just 1 minute then drink
  • Echinacea shots mixed with water
  • Vitamin C
  • Hot water: drinking hot water several times a day is an effective way of removing toxins from the system
  • Triphala (either in pill form or powder to make a tonic)
  • Avoid dairy products, if they are in your diet
  • REST, REST, REST- this is actually THE most important thing to do when you feel that cold coming on! Did I say that already? *wink*