It’s quite common to catch the flu or a cold in Winter, which in ‘Ayurveda speak’, means Kapha season. However, we‘re in Spring now and still hearing your stories of struggling with the flu and we want to help.
First let’s look at what might be going on.
Kapha – like Winter (and also like this year’s Spring) … is typically wet, cold, and heavy. In Ayurveda, we believe that when the external weather is like this, those same qualities build up inside our bodies. This dampness extinguishes our internal fire, or Agni.
Think of Agni as the fire that burns at your core. Agni is ‘that which transforms’ and describes our capacity for digestion and metabolism. It is said to be responsible for digesting everything we eat, feel and think. When Agni isn’t working properly, basically nothing works and our immunity is weakened.
Why does this happen?
When Agni is low, Ama, or toxins build up, blocking the tiny channels of the body and generating phlegm. As this phlegm or Kapha increases, we get the extra mucous, watery eyes, congestion on the chest, and irritation in the throat that is all too familiar. Basically, as our immunity drops, our body becomes fertile ground for virus and bacteria to thrive.
So much for the cause. What’s the cure?
There are nearly a billion cases of the common cold each year. That’s a lot of people feeling not their best. We are going to draw on the ancient tradition of Ayurveda and share tips to stay well.
1) ACT FAST
As soon as you spot things are not feeling great, do something. The cold virus replicates quickest over the first couple of days and the congestion and mucus that feels so gross is actually your body’s way of trying to fend off the virus.
Get on top of it quickly by …
2) EATING PUNGENT FOODS
Garlic, ginger, onions – proven foods with specific qualities of increasing heat in the body and raising your metabolism to help fight any virus.
– Garlic contains allicin, which blocks the enzymes that contribute to infection. Make a drink of warm milk and add crushed garlic to it. It won’t taste great but it’s seriously good for you so go for it if you can.
– Ginger – great for coughs and colds. Make a hot tea of 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ginger (less if using powder), add a few crushed cardamom pods and let it stew. Sweeten to taste with honey. Drink all day.
– Onions – anti microbial. Try sleeping with half an onion (cut horizontally) next to your bed to absorb all the nasties. Just please be sure to throw it away the following day. Onion is also full of sulphur which supports your immune system, so eat it or rub some onion juice into the soles of your feet before bed. This is a great one to try on the kids.
3) BONE BROTH IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
Although Ayurveda normally avoids eating meat, for the seriously weak or debilitated there is an exception, and there are many amazing benefits of bone broth. It supports kidney and adrenal health; it builds the blood (especially good for women); heals and protects the GI tract, increases overall energy and in our case, increases immunity … among many other things.
Make your own or there are good quality bone broths available from most supermarkets these days.
This is the number one priority for your body to get better, so don’t put any extra pressure on yourself when you are sick. Rest, rest and more rest.
And to avoid colds altogether, going to bed at the same time every night and not later than 10pm if you can manage it, might be the single best anti-cold weapon that you have.
5) GARGLE AWAY A SORE THROAT
There’s the old salt water gargle, but we’ve got an easy recipe with an Ayurvedic take to it right here.
6) THE MAGIC OF HONEY
Ayurveda has used honey for centuries both to cure disease as well as for promoting good health. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts and that the constant use of honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles to fight bacteria and viral diseases.
– For severe colds, take one tablespoon of lukewarm honey with ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder daily, to clear the sinuses.
– Or mix equal parts of honey with ginger juice to get rid of mucous and find relief from cold, cough and sore throat.
7) DRINK TEA
We need a warming tea to bring balance back to Kapha dosha. Ginger tea is perfect and you might like to try making your own with this recipe.
And of course given we are Bodyscape…
While you may not feel like moving when your head is aching and your nose all bunged up, yoga is actually helpful to restore, release, boost temperature, immunity and generally support you to feel better.
If you are too unwell to get to class, we have Members Hub, an online library where you can try or do a few rounds of sun salutation at home to generate a little heat.
Since time immemorial, plants have been a rich source for therapeutics. Beyond the common herbs and spices we have already talked about, we can utilise the Ayurvedic and Oriental herbs in the Wellness Spa as part of your toolkit to combat dis-ease.
Let us know how you go and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if we can support you with anything.
The Bodyscape Wellness TeamContact us