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Health Corner - Common Cold

Pratibha Shah

A very warm hello to all.

I am going to say hello to you every two weeks to share some health tips and some simple remedies taken straight from the ancient texts of Ayurved, for your seasonal and other commonly occurring problems.

Today I’ll start with the most irksome problem of winter – common cold. Common cold is caused by a virus, according to modern medicine and the symptoms may vary from a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and nasal congestion to cough.

Without going much into the medical details of the disease, let me share a few easy remedies which will alleviate the symptoms very effectively. Keep these simple formulas handy and start your child or whoever the patient is on them, as the first symptoms start to appear: 

•    Ginger tea for adults and ginger juice with honey (ginger juice may be warmed a few seconds in the microwave before mixing with honey) for children or the teetotaler. Ginger is a good mucolytic agent, which means it helps break down mucus.

•    Black pepper powder (finely ground and fresh is preferable) about ½ tsp mixed with about 4tsp of honey, to be taken about 1/4th tsp, every 2 hrs. Black pepper has excellent anti allergic properties and is therefore very effective in controlling the initial symptoms of sneezing and runny nose.

•    Another way to take black pepper is to apply it on a cut lemon, then roast the lemon with the cut part facing the fire for about a minute, holding it with prongs.  A fine coat of brown sugar/mishri or jaggery is applied on the cut surface after taking it off fire and then the patient should suck on the lemon until the black pepper and sugar has been sucked. This lemon can be used one more time in a similar way (applying black pepper and one of the sweeteners). It is not only anti allergic but also helps in soothing  sore throat and of course you are getting plenty of Vitamin C.

•    If eggetarian, can boil egg, cut and apply black pepper and salt and have it hot.

•    Sometimes common cold onsets with severe dryness inside the nose. It becomes painful and difficult to breathe. An excellent remedy that works wonders in this situation is – ghee kapoor. It can be easily prepared at home. Warm a teaspoon of ghee, take it off fire and add 1/4th tablet of edible kapoor in it. It’ll melt. Allow it to cool and your ghee kapoor is ready. (Please take care not to use the kapoor used for pooja).

•    If you feel as if your head has suddenly gained a lot of weight, a simple rub can cause you to lose all that extra weight. Take a tsp of mustard or sesame oil (available in your local Indian Store) in a pan and heat it. Add 1/4th tsp carom seeds (ajwain) and 5 whole black pepper, crushed once, to the hot oil, stir and remove from fire. Now add 1/4th tsp of saindha lavan (rock salt) and when comfortably warm, apply and rub on your forehead.

A few useful tips:
•    Cover mouth while sneezing/coughing and wash hands frequently to prevent spread of the disease.
•    Dress appropriately and stay warm.
•    Warm water and warm liquids/soups to be preferred; cold food and cold liquids to be avoided.
•    Use black pepper liberally (unless allergic to it).
•    Steam inhalation definitely helps.
These remedies will alleviate the initial symptoms or prevent further aggravation of the disease. However, if the infection still sets in, then proper medicines like sitopaladi choorn, Septilin Syrup or Tablet, Vyoshadi Vati, etc. may be required to be taken, under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic Physician. These medicines have an antibiotic effect and are also immunity boosters.

More next time. Cheerio and stay warm!!!!

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