Fall is such a pleasant change from the hot blistering days of summer. The small specks of yellow on the trees and the nip in the air serve as gentle announcements by the season “I am here! I am here!”
But you know who else makes an unwelcome appearance during this time? Yep: the common cold.
This past weekend @paradoxed succumbed to the germs in the air. High fever, sore throat and crankiness ensued. He wasn’t alone. My Facebook feed read like a medical journal with friends’ updates ranging from “I feel the sniffles” to “I’m sick of being sick!”
As most of you know, I used to be the queen of common colds not too long ago. Every three or four months, as the weather would change and someone would sneeze three blocks away, I would go under for at least a week. For a while I tried antibiotics, then I tried nothing (neither experiments went well) and now I turn to a combination of Ayurvedic home made remedies and acupuncture treatments if things get too bad.
So here are my top 5 recommendations for when battling the hard-to-fight-in-fall common cold:
Make warm water your friend this season. It keeps the mucus membranes hydrated and flushes out toxins that the body is trying to release. I highly recommend investing in a stainless steel thermos for this season and the next. It’s a pain to warm water every time you’re thirsty and you’ll most likely not do it.
Ginger-lemon-honey (GLH) tea
This tea is called “Puja’s tea” in our friend circle. The back story is this: A bunch of us visited San Francisco in March. It was cold (hey we live in Florida, what do you expect?) and some of us got sniffly right away. I prepared this tea the night we arrived and everyone woke up feeling better the next day. Everyday we would head out, explore the city and every night we would sip GLH. So my point is: it works. You will need:
One big chunk of ginger
Chop the ginger into chunks and smash it to bring out its juices. Boil in water and let cool down. Add a teaspoon (or more) of raw honey and half a lemon. You will feel the constriction in your throat start to ease and a lot of heat in your body (which is a good thing)
It’s generally a good idea to eat light, nutrient-dense foods during a cold. The body requires significant energy to fight off the bad guys without having to deal with difficult digestion issues. Lightly sauteed vegetables, soups and other light preparations are good choices. And then there’s khichdi.
This porridge-like Indian preparation combines rice, lentils and vegetables to provide the ultimate comfort and nourishment during a cold (or any sickness for that matter). Khichdi is a powerful detoxifying and cleansing meal.It is easy on the belly while at the same time supplies the body with essentials nutrients to heal, repair and restore. You will need:
1/2 cup white rice
1 cup yellow mung dal
I small onion chopped onion
ginger (small chunk), garlic (1-2 cloves) finely chopped
1/2 a teaspoon each cumin, mustard seeds
Chopped vegetables (carrots, beans, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower)
Coconut oil/ghee (1 tablespoon)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin and coriander powder
Heat some coconut oil in a deep pan and add the mustard and cumin seeds till they start to sputter. Add the ginger, garlic and onion and saute for a minute till the onions turn translucent. Add the turmeric, vegetables, coriander and cumin powder and mix. Add the rice and lentils, add 7-8 cups of water, salt and let this mixture cook for 30-40 minutes. If you have a pressure cooker, close the lid and allow three whistles.
R & R
Allowing yourself time to rest can cut your recovery time by half or less. A cold makes heavy demands on our body’s reservoirs and rest is the best possible way to get out of it’s way. Note: Sitting in your bed, watching TV or browsing the Internet DO NOT count as rest. Our eyes expend a lot of energy and every bit is precious during this time. Turn off the lights, play some soft music or a guided mediation and let your body relax. Sleep early. Stay warm.
All traditional healing modalities place a high value on turmeric’s myriad healing properties. Particularly for colds turmeric makes great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory medicine. Add turmeric to all your food while you’re recovering. I also add it to grated ginger with honey and eat small portions throughout the day (this mix has a bite to it so consume with caution). Another recommendation is to mix turmeric with warm milk (dairy/almond/other) and drink before going to bed.
As always the best cure for a common cold is prevention: building a strong immunity with proper diet, reducing stress and loving self-care.
Now I’d love to know:
- Did any of these remedies make you want to run to the kitchen and try them out? Tell me which one, please!
- Do you have some tips and tricks to beat the common-cold blues? What? What? What?