Originally published in Yogi Approved.
Nothing knocks you off your grind like getting sick. As we enter Kapha spring season, many of us are suffering from congestion, sneezing, and coughs . . . telltale symptoms of a Kapha imbalance. But have no fear! Ayurveda offers us many home remedies for flu and cold season.
Believe it or not, there is no real way to “cure” a flu or cold – all it takes is boosting your immune system. A flu or cold is just your body telling you that you haven’t been taking care of it correctly, and this is especially true during seasonal transitions.
Here Are 8 Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Flu and Cold Season:
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian holistic health system, states that we must balance our diets to the season in order to prevent this dreaded springtime flu or cold. As the best-selling author of Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda and an Ayurvedic practitioner, these are my go-to home remedies for getting over the flu or cold holistically.
1. Sip Hot Water Regularly
Take a sip of hot water every 20 minutes throughout the day. This will hydrate your dehydrated system and allow your body to flush out immunity compromising toxins, called ama in Ayurveda. Hot water balances Kapha and also loosens mucus membranes which are causing the congestion.
2. Drink CCF Tea
CCF tea is an acronym for cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds. When paired together, these three spices cleanse the body, enhance digestion and enhance immunity. Follow my simple CCF recipe below.
CCF Tea Recipe
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- 4 cups filtered water
In a small saucepan, combine seeds and water and bring to boil. Turn off heat and cover for 15 minutes or even overnight for a stronger brew.
Strain into a thermos and sip every 20 minutes throughout the day to keep your digestive system hydrated and your belly happy.
3. Try a Neti Pot
The neti pot has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda to flush out the nasal cavity, loosen mucus membranes, and remove toxins.
Here’s how to use a neti pot:
- Combine 1 cup warm water+ ½ tsp of non-iodized salt in your neti pot or use a neti pot saline solution
- Over a sink, place the tip of the neti pot into one of your nostrils
- Turn your head at a 45 degree angle
- Open your mouth wide and breathe only through your mouth as you pour the water into one nostril
- Allow the water to move into the nostril and out the opposite nostril. This will pull away any mucus, bacteria, or viruses
Learn more about how to use a neti pot in my book, Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda
4. Oil Your Nasal Passage
After your neti pot, practice nasya, or oiling the nasal passage. Simply put some nasya oil on your pinky and lubricate your nostrils. This will prevent cracks and keep your nostrils hydrated. Many nasya oils contain herbs, such as neem, for further antibacterial benefits.
5. Gargle With Salt Water
Salt water helps kill the bacteria in the throat that causes illness. It also loosens excess mucus, and clears out the system. All you need to do is gargle ½ tsp sea salt in 1 cup warm water, 3 times a day.
An American Journal of Preventive Medicine study found that people who gargled three times daily saw nearly a 40 percent reduction in upper respiratory infections during cold and flu season.
6. Chew On Ginger
Chew on ginger with salt before meals. This helps stimulate your digestive enzymes, which enhances digestion and allows your body to remove toxins. Ginger also reduces Kapha, clearing out puffiness, mucus, and head colds.
7. Practice Pranayama Techniques
Practice pranayama to enhance breath. Simply breathing correctly can resolve many imbalances within the body. Most of us forget about our most basic healing tool – our breath, which is the most profound healing force we have.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Get to sleepS by 10 p.m. each night. Sleep is the only time your body has to recharge and heal itself. At 10 p.m., we enter the Pitta (fire) cycle of the day, and we get a second-wind of energy. By going to bed before 10 p.m., we can direct that energy towards our healing while we sleep.
A Final Note
Have a healthy transition into Spring, and stay balanced! Using the power of these Ayurvedic home remedies for flu and cold, you can take control of your health, boost your immunity, and feel good all season (and all year) long.