Remedies for cold
Cold is our immune response and should not be whipped into submission by use of synthetic drugs. The cold attacks are a result of food allergens also. The food which causes the attack must be found by careful investigation. The patient should stop cold water from fridge and take warm water. 500 ml water boiled for 2 minutes with 25 gm salt + a tsp of turmeric powder should be used for mouth-gargle to ease throat pain/swelling/voice problems. The patient should remain happy and avoid excitement. The cold ignored for long time turns into a chronic one. With proper food management and simple home remedies, children in age group up to 12 years, the cold gets cured for ever.
There are many home remedies for cold. The constipation, if present, must be treated first by giving `Virechana' of Haritaki(harde), Sonamukhi or Castor oil depending on unbalanced Kapha, Pitta and Vata dosha respectively. Keeping constipation under control is the most effective remedy for cold.
A fast for a day, while drinking warm water (ushnodaka) frequently during the day, till strong hunger is felt, is a naturopathy recommendation. Light diet thereafter causes good digestion. Khichdi, a principal diet in Saurashtra, is highly recommended, especially with a little ginger, black pepper, cummeen seeds sauting. Daily light exercise should relieve constipation.
Another simple cold remedy is to go for a walk in dry climate. Sweet foods, cold foods, late night out, moving in hot sun, should be avoided. Curd at night, ice-cream after a heavy dinner is sure catalyst for cold attack. If curd needs to be taken, mix a little turmeric in it to kill Kapha promoting qualities of curd.
Mixture of Ginger, black pepper, Peeper-Longum (peeparimul) powders
Trikatu Churna is commonly recommended for cold. This powder can be taken ½ - 1 tsp in a tsp of honey. Honey reduces Kapha. Turmeric, Nicotine snuff, Ayurvedic smoke are also recommended by some Vaidyas. Tulsi is also somewhat effective in Cold and cough remedies.
To reduce the frequency of cold attacks, the immunity of the patient must increase. An expensive remedy for chronic cough and cold consists of mixture of Mahalaxmi Vilas Ras, Suvarna Vasant Malti Ras, Swas Kas Chintamani Ras(if breathing difficulties are also present), one Tablet (100 mg each) each, crushed and mixed together. Divide this mixture into two doses. Mix with honey and lick twice a day.
You can take tea made of Tulsi and Mint. This Tea can be made by adding 11 fresh leaves (or 1 tsp tulsi powder) and 11 fresh leaves of mint, boiled for 10-15 minutes. Add honey when the tea is lukewarm and drink twice a day.
Nowadays, the patients approaching vaidyas have already tried out many treatments elsewhere and ayurveda is last retreat for them. Such patients should take `Draksharishtam' 2 tsp with equal water after food. This kindles digestive fire. Avoiding Kapha promoting foods such as Curd, Sweets, Cheese, etc and staying at places where winds are minimal will be beneficial. Keep head, neck, chest well covered with warm clothes.
Nasya of `Anu Tailam' also helps in frequent colds.
Lastly, for those who want to fight cold tooth and nail, here are few more recommendations which can be tried according to convenience:
- Payasam made from Ghee, Jaggery and Peeperimul.
- Eating roasted horse gram
- Boiling milk with sugar and black pepper and drinking it 2-3 times a day.
- Warm Oil massage and subsequent hot water bath during winter also prevents cold.
- Grind together Black pepper, Ajwain, poppy seeds (Khas khas) by equal weight, take 3-6 gm of this mixture twice a day with water.
- Chew Cardamom or Clove throughout the day to relieve cold symptoms.
Cakes and desserts need more fire to digest. But that doesn't mean you have to ignore your sweet tooth. Metabolize the sugar better with bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamom. Ice creams given after sumptuous marriage dinner should be avoided.
Pierce red colored apple with 4 cloves and boil. Once done, remove the cloves and savor this energy-enhancing fruit. It gives essential energy or "ojas", boosting immunity. One should drink water stored in copper vessel, 12 hours or longer (no limit).
Dr. Shirish Bhate is a Senior Ayurvedic Consultant. He can be contacted at - shirishbhate @ yahoo.com
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