Ayurveda Instructor Gaithersburg MD

All too often, the return of autumn means another round of nagging colds and flus. Don't want to spend the next six months wrapped in a cocoon of blankets, downing hold-your-nose cough syrup and mystery capsules? Forget about starving the cold and feeding the fever, and follow the lead from three healing methods--ayurveda, naturopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine.

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Sidestep the Sniffles

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By Matthew Solan

All too often, the return of autumn means another round of nagging colds and flus. Don’t want to spend the next six months wrapped in a cocoon of blankets, downing hold-your-nose cough syrup and mystery capsules? Forget about starving the cold and feeding the fever, and follow the lead from three healing methods—ayurveda, naturopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine. Their safe and effective remedies can stop a sickness at first sniffle or throat tickle and have you back in action before the Kleenex boxes pile up.

Ayurveda
The centuries-old Indian healing practice of ayurveda views colds and flus as signs of dosha imbalance—in Western terms, when your biological energy or constitution goes haywire. These maladies strike more often in autumn and winter because both seasons increase vata, the dosha associated with wind and cooler weather. Ayurvedic practitioners believe the change from hot to cold weather weakens our digestive fire or agni and, with it, our immune system, leaving our body with an excess of toxins called ama (that filmy, white gunk coating your tongue). This “sticky” environment makes the body more susceptible to illness-causing viruses.

As if that weren’t enough, too much ama can bring on an excess of kapha, the dosha associated with cold and wetness (known in cold-speak as phlegm and mucus). A kapha imbalance will leave you feeling heavy and sluggish with lots of congestion and thick, heavy nasal discharge. A cold caused by a vata dosha imbalance, on the other hand, shows up as fatigue and sleeplessness and is usually accompanied by a dry cough, a sore throat, and a watery, runny nose.

Rx For Prevention: You can counteract the effects of the cold and windy vata season by keeping your body temperature up. At the first sign of a sniffle or cough, begin a morning ritual of abhyanga, a head-to-toe heated sesame oil massage. (Fill a glass jar with oil, and run it under comfortably warm water.) Follow with a warm bath or shower. This added warmth helps stimulate your digestive fire so your body has an easier time “burning off ” phlegm and mucus.

Keep your immunity at its strongest by taking any (or all) of the following herbs: ashwaganda (600 to 1,000 mg daily, divided into two or three capsules); amalaki (250 to 500 mg twice a day); and gotu kola (500 to 1,000 mg daily). “All these build up resistance to stress and other external invaders that can weaken your immune system,” says Mark Toomey, PhD, director of health science at The Raj, a Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center in Fairfield, Iowa.

Rx For Treatment: Generally, you can treat both cold types with the following remedies, says Toomey. First, cut back on all dairy, like yogurt, cheese, and milk, and foods made with sugar and oils, all of which tend to increase kapha and mucus. Up your intake of warming herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, pippali (known in the US as long pepper), basil, cloves, and mint to soothe kapha and vata. Toss them...

Author: Matthew Solan

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