Ayurveda defines the Common Cold as a disease originating in the nasal cavity marked by a watery discharge from the nose. The main doshas involved in the common cold are Vata and Kapha.
Ayurveda believes that due to various causative factors there is a vitiation of the ‘Rasa‘ (body fluids/plasma) tissue and blood tissue which makes the body prone to attack by the precipitating causes leading to a bout of Common Cold.
Ayurveda believes that if the body’s physiology is working properly then the body resists the attack by external pathogens (viruses) and allergens – the two factors considered to be responsible for the common cold by modern medicine.
Causes of Common Cold as told by Ayurveda: The causative factors are divided into four categories
Factors causing derangement in digestive fire namely: – excessive intake of food articles that take a prolonged time to get digested, for example, fried food, or food made from concentrated milk; – excessive intake of food with the dry property like popcorns and other roasted grains
Factors that make the respiratory system more vulnerable to disease: – repeated exposure to a dusty and smoky environment – abnormal season, for example too much rain in the summer season – change of place of residence, or travel – climate change e.g. moving from mainland to sea shore
Factors aggravating Kapha and Vata Dosha: – exposure to dew/snow – exposure to a draft of air – remaining awake at night – constipation – remaining in a swimming pool for too long – bathing in the state of indigestion. – excessive sex
Factors that affect the Fluid (rasa) and blood (rakta) tissue systems: – incompatible food – eating at the wrong times – eating even when not hungry. – too much exposure to heat, for example working in the sun or in front of a furnace – indigestion
Ayurvedic Remedies for Common Cold Ayurvedic treatment: The treatment of the common cold is directed at correcting the digestive fire and pacifying the Vata and Kapha Dosha.
1. A herbal tea made from equal parts of raisins, black pepper, basil leaves, cinnamon bark, and licorice roots, boil in 2 cups of water until reduced by half, and then drink warm with 1 tsp of sugar. 2. Wrap the head with a cloth/scarf 3. Take 1 tablespoon of Caraway seeds and dry roast them. Wrap in a muslin cloth and make a poultice and pat the forehead and around the nose with gentle dabbing strokes. Also inhale the aroma emanating out of the poultice. This will dry up the nasal secretions, open up the nasal passages and relieve the headache. Avoid exposure to the outside air for half an hour after fomentation. 4. If a cold is accompanied by a fever then boil 10- 15 crushed mint leaves in a cup of water and add a pinch of rock salt and sip. Repeat 4-5 times a day at regular intervals. The fever will subside. 5. If there is a lot of shivering then boil 10 crushed black peppers in a cup of water. Reduce to half and sip slowly. Lay down covering your head and body. Switch off any fans you have going. This will induce sweating and will take care of body pain, chilliness and watery discharge, and the heavy feeling of the head 6. Take fresh 7-11 basil leaves, ½ teaspoon of ginger, and 7 coarsely ground black peppers. Put in 2 cups of boiling water for two minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered for 2 more minutes. Strain the mixture and add pre-boiled 1 cup of milk and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar. Drink in small sips and lay down covering yourself from head to toe. This remedy is very effective in taking care of all symptoms related to the common cold.