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.
The time of year Bri Maya Tiwari describes above through kapha season (early spring) is usually a time where a lot of people tend to be fighting off something, whether it's a cold, a fever, the flu or a lingering cough.
The best way to prevent a cold or the flu from completely taking over is to be proactive upon those first inclinations of something shifting on the inside. We all know when we feel something creeping to take over!
REST, REST, REST, REST, REST, REST - I can repeat this for the rest of the post but I won't, because I think you get the point. If you have the ability to take time off, please do so, so that your body can use all it's energy to fight off whatever is happening on the inside instead of worrying about helping you function in the world. Also, a note - laying in bed on your phone, indulging in social media or watching netflix is not resting. Let your body rest, let your mind rest - close your eyes and sleep.
Having taken care of my loved ones and myself these past two winters and now this one, I've definitely expanded my special tea formula - which I've started calling Nena's tea, and gotten the regimen down to the point where my friend began to feel sick and we followed it and by day three she was back to her healthy self.
NENA'S TEA RECIPE:
Cut up some ginger root, orange slices (with peel), lemon slices (with peel), licorice root, slices of lemongrass and cinnamon sticks. Remember to cut along the lifeline to reactivate the prana (vital life energy) in the oranges, lemon, lemongrass; so think of slicing from point of root to other side. Boil all of this in water. Cover and let it steep for 10 minutes. Let it cool from hot to warm and 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. Then I add drops of echinacea & goldenseal.
Along with drinking Nena's tea throughout the day, taking elderberry plus pills 2x/day (morning & night), which I get from my local supermarket in the herbal remedy section. Drink with warm water. Eat soups that are brothy and have like carrots, celery etc in them. If there is any congestion, spicy herbs in the soup are good. And drink loads of hot/warm water in between nena's tea.
The magical root ginger 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, thanks to Dr. Vasant Lad:
- 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 honey/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.
- Dry Cough or a cough without much mucus: eat a ripe banana with 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 pinches of ground black pepper, 2-3x/day.
- Productive Cough: mix 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper powder with 1 teaspoon of honey and eat it on a full stomach. If your voice is hoarse, use ghee instead of honey. Take 2-3x/day for 3 to 5 days.
- For flu, make a tea from 1 teaspoon of tulsi (holy basil) in 1 cup of water. Boil for just 1 minute then drink.
- Plus my regimen above.
Contrary to popular belief, a fever does not mean you have an infection. According to Ayurveda, a fever is a sign of ama (toxins) moving in the circulatory system. In some cases, yes there is infection but most often a fever indicates there are toxins in the rasa dhatu, which maintains the body's temperature and pH through sweat glands. You'll want to starve a fever, Ayurveda recommends observing a fast for an acute fever, if you are strong enough. Or you can drink water, juices or the teas below, according to Dr. Vasant Lad:
- Put a handful of cilantro leaves in a blender with about 1/3 cup of water and blend thoroughly. Strain out the pulp. Take 2 teaspoons of the remaining liquid 3 times a day to help reduce fever.
- Take lemongrass, tulsi (holy basil) and fennel in equal proportions. For each cup, use 1 teaspoon of the mixture and steep in boiling water for 10 minutes, strain and drink.
And lastly - 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*