The beginning of winter can be a hard time to manage for some, as the onset of the colder seasons can mean we are more vulnerable to illness. How many of us have been “under the weather” recently?
Thankfully nature has a wonderful healing pharmacy at our disposal…
Enjoy some simple and natural Ayurvedic home remedies to strengthen your immune system and beat the cold and flu bugs this winter!
Immune Boosting Tea
The spices aid digestion and help remove toxins. Fresh ginger is excellent as it increases circulation, promotes sweating and digests mucus (eugh…) relieving congestion. If you don’t like the flavours of cinnamon and cardamom, fresh lemon juice is great with ginger too!
Pop all the spices into a mug and add boiling water. Let it stand for a minute then add honey to taste.
- Fresh ginger root- half an inch sliced thinly
- Ground cinnamon 1 tsp
- Ground cardamom – a pinch of. You can use bruised cardamom pods instead
This flavorsome spice mixture helps to build heat in the body and boost the immune system. Add all the spice together and keep in a jar ready for use.
Add 1 teaspoonful to a cup of hot milk (almond, cows, coconut) or boiling water twice a day. Enjoy the warming and stimulating properties! Add extra sweetness as desired…
- 1/2 tbs ground ginger
- 1/2 tbs black pepper
- 1/2 tbs ground cardomom
- 1/2 tbs ground clove
- 1/2 tbs turmeric
- 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
- 3 tsp jaggery or any natural sugar
Night Time Almond Milk
This delicious drink soothes the nerves and is great for digestion as well as removing toxins from the deep tissues. You can use cows milk if you prefer. I also like using coconut milk. And it doesn’t have to be night time!
Warm the milk and spice together in a pan. Let it stand in the mug for a minute before adding your honey (other sweeteners available….) to taste
- Almond milk
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp thinly sliced fresh ginger
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamon – or use a brusied cardamon pod or 2
- 1 pinch black pepper or pippali
- 1 tsp honey
Herbal Steam Therapy
Ayurveda calls therapies that involve sweating Swedana, and the idea is to remove excess Dosha from the body – in this case Kapha mucus and congestion It’s like a little miracle! Thyme and Rosemary are powerful essential oils for the respiratory system as well as being antibacterial and antiseptic. This is so good if you have any sort of cough or cold, sinus congestion or bronchitis, and you can do this several times a day until you’re feeling better.
Add a few drops of Thyme or Rosemary (or both) essential oil to a large bowl of just boiled water, pop a large towel over your head and breathe deeply for 5-10 mins with eyes closed.
Let’s not forget Vicks Vaporub !
A wonderful decongestant formula containing Menthol, Camphor and Eucalyptus. Rub it onto the chest, neck and throat, inside of the arms (lung meridian) and back. You can also use 2 teaspoons for your herbal steam!
From an Ayurvedic perspective, the cold and flu season begins as we start to transition from the hot, bright and intense summer months (governed by Pitta), into the autumn (Vata) season.
As the weather changes, we are called to re-balance and adjust our diet and lifestyle.
Entering autumn the qualities in and around us become cooler, drier, lighter, and windier. This transition can weaken our immunity and make us more susceptible to illness.
When the winter (Kapha) season arrives with its qualities of cold, wet and damp, heaviness and stagnation, the onset of illness can increase even more.
Hopefully we all made it through the Vata season by favouring Vata’s opposites: warmth, wetness, heaviness, and stability. This grounds the body, mind and spirit while strengthening the immune system for winter.
When winter arrives, you could introduce some of Kapha’s opposites, which are: warmth, dryness, lightness, and mobility.
Read more about Ayurveda here.
The Ayurvedic approach to seasonal balance…
- Stay cosy by the fire and wrap up warm when you head outside.
- Eat warming soups and stews lightly spiced to keep the digestive fires at their peak.
- See friends and family and enjoy the warmth to be found in keeping good company.
- Keep moving with regular exercise to balance the heaviness and stagnation of winter.
- A walk in bright winter sun is a fantastic antidote and will help your spirits to soar. Take a friend, a flask of soup and some SuperPower Chai, and all your needs are met!