the common cold

Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on the common cold

the common cold

Well, I’ve got it, the first cold of the season.  After a healthy and vibrant summer, it comes as a kind of shock to feel sub-optimal, but I know that we’re heading into that time of year when most of us are moving from one mild (or not) health infraction to another so to some degree it’s expected.  I find that doing my best to ease through the symptoms while my body does what it needs to to fight the bug can make a big difference.  Here are a few suggestions that you may entertain when faced with a nagging cold.

* Don’t try to fight what your body is doing to rid itself of the illness.  While the runny nose can be annoying and uncomfortable, it is the result of the body increasing its mucous production to flush out the allergens or virus, and to protect the nasal passages from further invasion.  Antihistamine use to treat runny nose when you have a cold slows mucous production and can cause the germs to stick around even longer.  Instead, try using a neti pot or saline spray which clears out the nose and reduces irritation but doesn’t impede the body’s production of the mucous itself.  The body is left to run its cold-fighting protocol.

* Keep yourself well hydrated.  You are losing fluid through a runny nose, sneezing and coughing, and can become dehydrated.  Drinking more water or herbal teas during this time is helpful.

* If you have a sore throat, try gargling with hot, highly salted water (as salty as you can stand it).  Repeat as often as needed for relief.

* Medical research shows that natural honey is even more effective than cough syrup to relieve your nagging cough.  (This goes for kids too!)  Find yourself some raw honey (the pasteurized stuff has been wiped clean of the healing properties it naturally contains), and swallow a teaspoon before bed or when you need relief.  Do not boil honey as it becomes ineffective when heated too highly.

* Try drinking this immune-boosting drink to ease symptoms.  Place a tsp of raw honey into a mug.  Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, grate in some fresh ginger or powered/dry ginger or turmeric (both fight mucous production), and a large dash of cayenne pepper.  Boil water and allow water to settle down for a minute before adding to honey mixture (very warm is ok, boiling is not).  Add a bit of water, mix everything together, then top up with more water to taste. (Or add an ounce of warm whiskey/bourbon for the hot toddy that my Italian relatives swear is the key to breaking through the illness!)

* Oregano is shown to have strong antibiotic qualities.  Try oil of oregano in either tincture or capsules to help fight off the cold or flu.

* Take some tips from Ayurveda.  Increase your intake of warming spices such as cinnamon (blend honey and cinnamon together, take by the spoon-full), cumin and pepper, and add some immunity-boosting turmeric to your food where you can.  Avoid dairy (especially at night) while you are sick as they are known to be mucous forming, and the last thing you need when you’re blowing your nose and coughing is more mucous production!

* Avoid eating big meals and eat foods that are ingested as close to their digested forms as possible.  Allow your body’s energy to go towards fighting the illness rather than working hard to break down large quantities of food.  Soups and other foods that are cooked well, served warm, and high in fluid content are best.  Digestion and immunity are very closely linked.

* Create comfort for yourself whenever it’s possible.  Keep your body warm (higher body temperature kills bacteria/viruses quicker- don’t be too quick to fight that fever!).  Wrapping a scarf around your throat can help ease discomfort.  Take baths scented with lavender or eucalyptus if you’re congested, use a mixture of eucalyptus and camphor to help break up a cough.  Put a few drops of lavender oil near your bed, in an essential oil diffuser, or on your propped up pillows to help bring comfort at night when symptoms can be at their worst and self-pity at its highest.

*Rest.  And that might mean during the day- getting a good night’s sleep is notoriously difficult when you’re sick.  Know when your body needs the bed, and that may not be at night.  Don’t be a hero- especially when plodding off to work likely means bringing your fate down upon the others around you!

Take care of yourself in this vata/kapha season.  Rest well, eat well, keep warm, tend to your body’s need to slow down and de-stress.


All content by Lisa Veronese. Please do not publish or copy my material without my consent.