Common Cold — Causes & Remedies

Common cold is the most common disorder affecting us. Everyone has suffered from common cold at some point or other in their lives. In Ayurveda,it is termed as Pratishyay
Common cold

The instant I hear or get cold I remember a story told by my Grand mum, a tell-a-tale of Tenali Rama.

Here is the gist of it:

Tenali Rama had cold once and as said by a Sadhu went to the Kali Ma temple to cure it. After many unsuccessful attempts Kali Ma appeared before him. Seeing her thousand heads, he starts laughing to which Kali Ma is surprised and asks “what is the matter? Why are you laughing?” To which he says having a head I’m suffering so much, just wondering how you will manage with a thousand heads. From then on he gets the title of VIKATAKAVI.

Such is the power of a person affecting with cold.

So much for the Intro will start off with the subject now:

Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of healing, has an interesting theory on Roga (disease). It believes that all disease happens because the elements that make up our body go out of balance. The common cold, for instance, strikes when the body’s digestive fire, or agni, is dampened. What causes that? Well, the cold weather itself! Yes, the temperature outside dips and with it, our immunity.

This is what happens: the dimmed fires inside fail to burn body toxins, or ama, fully. The ama accumulates, clogging the micro channels of the body and generating Kapha. Phlegm, or “Kapha,” combined with toxins, or ama, makes mucus. Result: a case of the “ahh-tissues!”

All the three doshas are responsible for the occurrence of common cold:
  • Vata dosha individuals have common colds have dry coughs, little mucus discharge, hoarse voice, headache and a runny nose.
  • Pitta dosha individuals who have common colds will have fever, sore throat, yellowish nasal discharge and continuous blockage of the nose.
  • Kapha dosha individuals who common colds have thick mucus discharges with dull headaches and heaviness of the head.
Some Guidelines: 

Protect yourself: Strengthen your immune system and keep yourself healthy. Cold weather, stress, lack of sleep and poor nutrition can damage your immune system and increase susceptibility to viruses. Two plants that will help you strengthen your immune system are amla and tulsi.

Amla — the highest natural source of vitamin C. Two to three tablespoonful’s of fresh juice of amla or half to one teaspoonful of powder of the same is ideal.

Tulsi — is heat-generating in action and is useful in respiratory infections..Leaves of this plant, mixed with an equal quantity of dried ginger powder, form an excellent substitute for tea during cold and flu.

Early Stages:

If you wake up with a scratchy throat and a stuffy nose, you know you have missed the opportunity to stop a cold before it stops. Garlic and turmeric will help solve your problem.

Garlic — is considered to be a natural antibiotic as it can destroy foreign bacteria and viruses. Internally, 4 grams of fresh garlic is recommended.

Turmeric – is a proven anti-inflammatory agent. Add one teaspoonful of the powder or paste of turmeric to a cup of milk and take the same thrice a day. This helps in early recovery. Fried turmeric powder taken with 1-2 gm of ghee mixed in hot milk, taken internally, gives immediate relief. Gargle with warm turmeric powder two to three times a day to relieve a sore throat.

Later stages: If a cold has persisted for three or four days, our throat, sinuses, and lungs may be severely inflamed. The phlegm is thick and your chest feels sore. Then, try these remedies:

  • During cold and flu, the body loses moisture, and mucous becomes thick and difficult to expel. Thick mucus provides a place for germs to multiply. Half a teaspoonful of Trikatu {Powders of Black pepper+ Pippali+ Ginger} mixed with honey can help by keeping the mucous in the lungs wet and fluid-like, and decreasing inflammation of the respiratory tract.
  • Drink a glass of hot water mixed with the juice of two lemons and sugar to taste. Take the same at bedtime as it gives relief from nasal catarrh.
Lifestyle to adopt:
  • Take plenty of hot beverages. If you like hot chicken soup, have it. These substances open clogged nasal passages and let you breathe more easily.
  • Follow the middle path: don’t skip meals or overeat.
  • Start your day with two glasses of warm water.
  • Eat a timely lunch and an early dinner for good digestion.
  • Before going to bed, apply eucalyptus oil on the forehead, chest and the nostrils in the night. Then wrap yourself in a warm blanket and go to sleep. You will sweat profusely in the night, but let that happen. In the morning, the common cold will disappear, and so will any fever if present.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
Home medications:
  • Take a pinch of salt. Put a few drops of mustard oil in it and blend it till the oil loses its fluidity. Dab this mixture on the nostrils, neck and chest. It will tingle a bit, but the relief will be fast.
  • Mix some jaggery and black pepper together. Boil this in water. Sip this quickly when hot as you do with tea.
  • Take 1 glass of warm milk. Add 1 tsp of turmeric powder. Add 1 tsp of black pepper powder. Mix well. Drink 2 times everyday
  • Kaada is basically a mix of ginger, tulsi leaves, pepper corn (crushed) and boiling hot water
Ayurvedic Medicines:  
  • Vyoshaadi vati — 3 – 6 grams once or two times a day after food or before food, or as directed by Ayurvedic doctor with Warm water. [Children and pregnant ladies should take this medicine under strict medical supervision]
  • Kantaraaryaavalehya — 6 – 12 grams of the herbal jam is administered along with honey / warm water / warm milk. Dosage for children below 5 years of age – 1 – 2 grams, once or twice a day, along with a teaspoon of honey or warm water / milk.
    Dosage for children between 5 – 12 years of age – 5 grams once or twice a day along with a teaspoon of honey or warm water / milk.
  • Tribhuvanakeerti ras — 60 – 125 mg once or twice a day, before or after food or as directed by Ayurvedic doctor. It is traditionally administered along with honey, fresh ginger juice, Tulasi juice.
  • Trikatu churna ½ tsp with honey. This decreases the inflammation of the respiratory tract.

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