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5 Ayurvedic Tips for Colds and Flu
According to Ayurveda, there are two main reasons that we may catch a cold or the flu.
First, if we have been too busy to eat whole, fresh foods, have regular exercise or to get proper rest, our energy may become depleted. Decreased vitality can strain any aspect of the body. In response, our immune system is not able to function to its optimum and our susceptibility to micro organisms increases.
The second is when the body needs to cleanse due to an accumulation of toxins. Any substance that is not healthy or useable by the body will have a damaging impact. This may include: air pollution, pesticides, food additives, affects from cigarettes or alcohol, byproducts of metabolism, incomplete digestion, and emotional / mental toxins.
Following a regular routine will assist us in staying healthy throughout the winter and the entire year. However, if a cold “catches” us, here are some suggestions for a quicker recovery.
Ayurvedic tips for colds and flu…
1. Drink Hot Water
Frequently drinking hot water throughout the day encourages our body to release toxins and mucous. Aim for having 8 cups of hot water per day – taking sips at least every 1/2 hour. This will encourage our inner Fire Element to increase metabolic functioning. Eating or drinking cold or iced substances will reverse this, causing the storage of mucous and toxins.
2. Light, Easy to Digest Food
The body will increase manufacturing of mucous in response to heavy food: dairy products, red meats, fried foods, and wheat. While treating a cold or flu, it is best to avoid these foods as they as inhibit proper digestion.
Having a warm bowl of soup supports an ease of digestion. This allows the body to use its energy towards a proper immune response instead of using the much necessary resources to breakdown and assimilate foods that may be a burden.
3. Oil Pulling
Have you tried the effective cleansing technique known as oil pulling? Many people have found that the internal cleansing from this ancient therapy can reduce the amount of time that they are ill. Put 1 TBSP of plain sesame seed oil in your mouth first thing in the morning and swish for 15 to 20 minutes, then spit it out and brush your teeth. Sesame oil is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger that encourages toxins to leave the body via the blood plasma. You can increase the effect by repeating a second or third time in the day. Best to do on a relatively empty stomach.
4. Ginger Tea
Drinking a warm cup of ginger tea has many healing effects. This delicious spice assists in releasing excess mucous and toxins from the body. Your digestion will benefit from its ability to increase your digestive fire, decrease intestinal gas, and to facilitate having a better bowel movement. If you are feeling any nausea, sipping on ginger tea is very soothing.
You may use a variety of brands that offer dried ginger tea. However, putting a few slices of fresh ginger into a mug with hot water is so much more delicious! Try adding lemon juice and some honey. This yummy beverage will enhance ginger’s expectorant quality. Be sure to not add the honey until the water is at a temperature that you can drink. Over heating honey damages its healing ability.
5. Steam Inhalation
Are you congested? Try Boiling a pot of water, bring it over to the table and wrap a towel over the outside of the pot. Sit down, add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil, and put a towel over your head to create an herbal steaming tent. Breathe deeply for several minutes. Have a box of tissues next to you!
Hopefully you will never need to use these ayurvedic tips as prevention is the best cure. But, just in case, using these time tested healing methods can be very beneficial.
This article was originally published in the Fall/Winter 2014 Insight Healthy Living Magazine and online at www.insightdirectory.com and has been republished with permission.