Ayurveda expert on herbs to help keep flu, RSV and Omicron at bay | Health

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Winter is the season of piping hot tea and coffee, staying curled up in your blankets and also of cold, cough and fever that threaten to ruin the joy associated with the cold months. A good immunity can help you be at the top of your health and cut risk of getting infected with seasonal flu, RSV and new strains of Covid and Omicron. The symptoms of all these viral and respiratory infections are similar and most of the people are reporting fever, cough, cold, runny nose, sore throat, headaches and sneezing. In fact, flu, RSV and Covid are together raising hospitalisation cases especially in children in US and other parts of the world. (Also read: World Arthritis Day 2022: Ayurveda expert on herbs and remedies to manage arthritis)

Ayurveda recommends different herbs, foods and other tips depending on the Ritucharya to cope with seasonal changes. According to the ancient medicinal practice, winter season is divided into two spans based on the intensity of the cold. The first half is called Hemanta, with comparatively milder chill, while the other half, with a more chill, is known as Sisira.

“As we all know, winters are more or less lethargic. This feeling tends to escalate the dosha in the body with this same lethargy, the Kapha. Winters are generally believed to be the Kapha season. When it is stabilised, it brings strength to the body, while on its countermand, it causes all the winter blues in the form of cold, flu, muscle stiffness, etc,” says Dr Archana Sukumaran of Kerala Ayurveda.

“Some authors also believe that Vata dosha is also on the verge of rising due to increased coldness and dryness in the atmosphere. According to Ayurveda, the winters are also the season that gives the most strength to the body,” adds Dr Archana.

Herbs and remedies to boost your immunity

Dr Archana says the endurance of the body changes as the conditions change and a strong immune system protects one from disease-causing agents and lowers chances of experiencing severe symptoms in case of any infections.

“Each season requires a distinct regimen and food to deal with the outside environment and temperature,” says the Ayurveda experts.

She also suggests a few herbs that can be effectively incorporated into your diet to boost your immunity.

● Shundi (Zingiber officinale): The constant companion of all delicious Indian meals, dry ginger is the best herb that can impart immunity. It has abundant potential to normalize the digestive fire and reduce the accumulation of Ama, the product of improper digestion, the key factor for forming flu-like symptoms. This Gastrointestinal stimulant has an expressive immunomodulatory property that helps to impart tissue-level protection.

How to include in your diet

Dry ginger can be most effectively incorporated into your diet as an infusion to teas, mild sugar, dry ginger candy, or even a pinch to enhance the taste of your salads. Tuss nil syrup is enriched with Shundi, which can help keep a dry cough away.

● Amla (Emblica Officinalis): The sour goodness of Indian gooseberry is well acclaimed throughout the world. This tiny fruit is filled with innumerable health benefits.

How to include in your diet

Simply munching on this sour punch, pickling it, or even having a glass of gooseberry juice can tremendously help you gain Vitamin C. You can also try Amla effervescent tablets or Chyavanprash to improve your strength, immunity, and longevity. Although there are plenty of companies manufacturing chyavanprash, for best results, go for the original formula that uses a wild variety of amlas rich in tannin instead of the large hybrid ones.

● Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum): The aromatic goodness of Indian basil is not only a compulsory component of religious rituals but a vital factor available in our homes that can enhance immunity responses to its optimum. Although it mildly increases pitta content, it normalises the function of both Vata and Kapha entities. It has antimicrobial action that helps to protect the body, particularly the respiratory system, against pathogenic interventions.

How to take

Inhaling the steam of tulsi-infused water is an ideal method to relieve respiratory congestion.

● Haridra (Curcuma longa): The compulsory ingredient of every Indian home, turmeric is a must-have herb to boost immunity. It has Usha Virya (Hot potency) with Krimighna (Antimicrobial) action. It is a natural detoxifying agent that helps to improve immunity. It relieves depression, anxiety, and other cognitive malfunctions and improves mental health.

How to add it to your diet

Consuming the revolutionary Golden milk is the best yet most simple you can adopt daily to impart the wellness of Haridra in your lives. You can also try turmeric effervescent tablets to improve your immunity.

● Black pepper/Long pepper: Pepper is one of the best herbs to balance Kapha because of its hot potency.

How to add it to your diet

You can include pepper in your diet or in delicious recipes such as soups or Rasam to keep cold at bay. Agasthyarasayanam, an original formula with long pepper as one of the ingredients, helps keep cold and cough at bay while acting as a lung detox.

Other Ayurveda recipes for Flu season

– Doing nasya with Anu thailam, a unique blend of 30 balancing ingredients such as leptadenia or jivanti, liquorice or yashtimadhu, fragrant swamp mallow or hrivera & Indian bael or Bilva, and other herbs processed in goat’s milk and sesame oil helps in clearing the accumulated doshas from the nasal passage and helps you breathe better.

– Similarly, another popular Ayurvedic remedy- Karpooradi Thailam- a warming chest rub oil, soothes down and clears congestion in winter. Suitable even for kids, simply rub the oil over your chest and steam inhalation to enjoy uninterrupted breathing.

“Along with these, the proper dietary habits and the right regimen according to seasonal change is necessary to tune the body with the music of nature,” says Dr Archana.

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