Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Cough & Cold: Experts Recommend
After a longish monsoon, winter is around the corner – Hemant ritu begins on Sharad Purnima (in early November) and goes on for two months. It is a time when the earth cools down, energizing & rejuvenating the surroundings. As per Ayurveda, any change in ritu should also bring about a change in diet and lifestyle that suit that particular ritu. During Hemant ritu, the vata dosha is at its peak and the digestive fire or agni is at its highest. The human body’s bala or strength is also at a maximum. Generally, late winter (Shishir ritu) and spring are periods when kapha dosha gets aggravated but kapha dosha can increase when the temperatures are cold, and the atmosphere is heavy.
So, although Hemant ritu or onset of winter, is more about pacifying the vata dosha, it is necessary to also avoid aggravating the Kapha dosha. The cool, heavy climate can cause accumulation of ama/toxins thus blocking the energy channels or the free movement of doshas in the body. This is one of the main reasons why cold weather affects kapha dosha. Further, eating cold food items, consuming cold water or other drinks can mean an invitation to cold and cough.
Ayurvedic view of cold & cough
Ayurveda states that excess of kapha, combined with a weak digestive system, causes nasal congestion/cold and cough. Poor digestion means that the food eaten is not fully ingested and then results in ama/toxin formation. This ama extends into the respiratory system as mucus and causes cold or cough. Though not serious ailments, they can be irritating and hamper regular functioning of the person affected. Ayurveda suggests a variety of home remedies for cough & cold.
Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Cough and cold
One of the most well-known natural remedies for cough and cold, Tulsi, often referred to as ‘the queen of herbs’ has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antitussive (cough-relieving) and anti-allergic properties which boost immunity and the production of antibodies that help fight infections. The herb also helps clear the nasal passage by helping remove the mucus. Tulsi is known to help balance the kapha dosha, has a calming effect and helps keep stress away.
What it does – Tulsi not only has kapha pacifying properties, but it also has deepan (appetizing) + pachan (digestive) qualities which help to reduce ama as well as remove the excessive mucus.
How to take – Tulsi kadha (drink) is one of the most effective ayurvedic medicines for cough.
Take a pan filled with water and boil 10-12 leaves of Tulsi, along with 1 tsp of grated ginger/adrak, and 1-2 dried kali mirch/black pepper, pinch of black salt. Squeeze half a lemon into the mixture. Let it boil for a few minutes, switch off the gas and let the mixture stand for some time. Then strain it, pour it warm into a glass and drink.
An ayurvedic remedy for cough that has been practiced for centuries in India, Honey or shehad is one of the best cures for dry and wet cough and helps relieve throat irritation.
What it does – Honey balances the kapha dosha and is known to have mucolytic properties. It helps loosen the mucus to provide relief from chest congestion.
How to take – Take one tsp of honey mixed with a few drops of ginger juice, twice a day to get respite from throat irritation as well as cough.
One of the most effective ayurvedic treatments for cough, Guduchi has antioxidant, antiviral and antipyretic (fever-reducing) properties. As per Ayurveda, Guduchi has deepan + pachan qualities and helps balance the tridoshas (vata, pitta & kapha).
What it does – Guduchi is anti-inflammatory and helps reduce frequent coughing as well as soreness of the throat.
How to take – Take two teaspoons of Guduchi juice or two pinches of Guduchi powder with warm water and drink it on an empty stomach in the morning.
Known as sweet wood, mulethi or licorice, often used as a flavoring agent in tea, is an effective herb for countering cough. Mulethi, in powder form, can help relieve sore throat, excessive mucus production as well as coughing.
What it does – Mulethi helps loosen the mucus inside the respiratory tract to ease chest congestion and reduce coughing.
How to take – Licorice roots can be chewed directly to get relief from sore throat & cough. Or add 1 tsp of mulethi powder to a glass of warm water and drink it twice a day.
An ayurvedic preparation made from vanshlochan , cardamom, cinnamon and pippali, Sitopaladi churna is widely used in management of colds and coughs as well as other respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, chronic inflammatory lung disease etc.
What it does – It has anti-inflammatory, expectorant, rasayana (rejuvenating), deepan + pachan and kapha balancing properties that boosts immunity and also helps expel excessive mucus from the lungs.
How to take – take 1-2 gms of sitopaladi churna with a spoonful of honey, twice a day. Ideally don’t eat food for at least half an hour before taking the churna to get the best benefit.
One of the most important spices in Indian kitchen, ginger or shunthi/dry ginger helps in balancing vata and kapha dosha. It also has deepan + pachan properties that aid digestion.
What it does – One of the main ingredients in herbal cough medicines, shunthi has anti-inflammatory properties that provide relief from sore throat and reduces the symptoms of cough, cold and body ache.
How to take – take ¼ tsp of shunthi/dry ginger and mix it with 1 tsp of honey and mix it well. Take this mixture twice a day for 3 days to get relief from sore throat.
Pippali is another useful Ayurvedic home remedy to manage cough and cold. It has vata and kapha balancing properties as well as expectorant qualities.
What it does – the expectorant quality of pippali allows decongestion of airways by loosening the mucus thus enabling easy breathing.
How to take – take 1 pinch of pippali churna mixed with 1 tsp of honey, after lunch and dinner, twice a day until the coughing and cold subside. Pimpali kshirapak or milk decoction is more suitable for kids.
The golden spice, used in Indian cooking for centuries, is known to have multiple health benefits. It helps balance the kapha dosha due to its ruksha/dry property and also helps pacify vata dosha due to its ushna/hot nature.
What it does – The curcumin in turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that helps reduce excessive sneezing & coughing as well as strengthens immunity.
How to take – the most popular & traditional remedy is drinking a glass of warm milk mixed with turmeric before going to sleep. Turmeric milk aids quicker recovery from cough and cold.
Also, taking turmeric powder mixed with honey 3-4 times a day is an effective remedy for dry cough.
Turmeric gargling (one cup of hot water + half tsp of turmeric powder + half tsp of salt) soothes the sore throat.
Cough and cold, though not severe diseases, do disrupt our lives. Use Ayurveda health care and these simple, easy but effective home remedies to keep cough and cold away.
Book an online ayurvedic doctor consultation to get expert advice from specialist Vaidyas on personal health management and customized diet & lifestyle plans.
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