It’s that time of year when everyone’s got a cold and you just hope that you’ll somehow be the exception and make it through the season unscathed. I hope so too! But it’s unlikely, so read on for 5 Ayurvedic tips to nip a cold in the bud.
None of these suggestions are meant to replace the advice of a medical professional. Especially if you suspect infection or have preexisting health conditions, be sure to go see your doctor to make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent an infection becoming worse and causing damage to your bodily tissue.
5 Ayurvedic Tips to Nip a Cold in the Bud
Doing the following may shorten the duration or reduce the severity of a cold. Try these remedies as soon as you start to feel symptoms.
1. Steam with Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. With a cold, it’s the antiviral action we’re most keen on benefitting from.
- Boil a litre (or so) of water and then place the water in a container big enough to put your face in (you’re not really going to put your face right in it, but over it)
- Get a big towel and then put 2 or 3 drops of tea tree oil in the water
- Let the vapours rise up for about 30 seconds before putting your face over the water (the first vapours are too strong - don't breathe them in!)
- Put the towel over your head and breathe the steam into your nose and mouth, alternating between the two
- Continue for as long as feels good but at least a minute or two
- Do this once or more, daily
2. Take Echinacea Tincture
Echinacea is a herb that increases white blood cell count temporarily. This helps us fight infections and viruses.
- Take your favourite brand of high quality Echinacea Tincture 2-3 times a day, in a bit of warm water, on an empty stomach
3. Do Neti
Neti is irrigation of the sinus cavity and nasal passages with warm salt water. This helps flush out the mucous, where the virus lives.
- Get a neti pot; you’ll need about 1 cup of water for each nostril, so depending on the size of your pot, you may have to fill it twice to do each side of the nose
- Dissolve about ¼ tsp. of Himalayan pink or Sea Salt per cup of water
- The water should be warm, so you can dissolve the salt in boiled water and then add filtered cold water to make the mixture warm, not hot
- Repeat neti 2-3 times a day; more often if there is a lot of mucous
- After the nostrils have dried following neti, put some high quality oil in the nose to lubricate it a little (e.g. coconut, sunflower, ghee, olive)
4. Goldenseal Tincture for Infection
If you suspect an infection, add Goldenseal tincture to your regimen; it has antibiotic properties. You can take it the same way and with the same frequency that you are taking Echinacea. This will also be helpful if there’s a mild fever. If there’s a strong fever, see your doctor.
5. Drink Ginger, Lemon & Honey Tea – Lots of It!
Ginger tea is a bit of a magic bullet in Ayurveda. The strongly warming effect of fresh ginger tea stokes our digestive fire, which allows our body to function more effectively in just about every way. Immune function is one of our many digestive functions (digestion is a broader concept in Ayurveda) and viruses are overcome, in part, by being subjected to heat.
- Use 1-2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger per litre of water
- Boil the ginger and then set to a low, rolling boil for at least 7 minutes; longer will make it stronger (I leave mine on simmer for 30 minutes!)
- Stronger is better but only if you don't overheat after drinking it
- Add lemon and honey, to taste
In addition to all of these, do all the things your mom told you to do when you have a cold: get lots of rest and eat warm, moist and well-cooked foods (soup!). You may not avoid getting the cold but you’ll almost certainly shorten its duration and severity if you follow the suggestions above, as soon as you notice the first symptoms.
What practices and tricks help you get over colds more quickly?