By Shannon Sexton, Yoga+
It’s the dead of winter and you’ve got a miserable cold or the flu—again. Why is it so hard to escape this season without sneezing, coughing, aching, or running a fever?
We often invite these ailments in unwittingly. As the temperature drops and twilight falls earlier and earlier, we’d rather slouch on a couch and eat pizza in front of the TV than take a brisk walk or head to the gym. Throw in a few festive holidays and we’ve got an overburdened, under exercised body brimming with ama (toxic buildup). And because winter is a kapha-dominant season, we begin to feel increasingly cold, heavy, wet, dense, and inert. As kapha rises and ama builds, the body becomes congested.
In its wisdom, the body attempts to slough off this toxic buildup before it causes bigger problems (according to ayurveda, ama is the fertilizer for all the seeds of illness). A cold or the flu can be the mechanism for a little “spring cleaning,” however unpleasant.
So while it’s tempting to raid the medicine cabinet for cough suppressants, decongestants, anti-inflammatories, and anti-nausea medications, ayurveda encourages us to support our body’s cleansing mission, even if it means toughing out uncomfortable symptoms. Here are some natural ways to cope with colds and flus.
At the first sign of sıckness…
Support your body’s cleansing efforts and boost your immune system with the following items:
Vitamin A (20,000 IU once a day for 5 days at your heartiest meal. Contraindicated in pregnancy.)
Zinc lozenges (25 mg up to 3 times per day, best with food to prevent stomach upset.)
Echinacea extract (30 drops in an ounce of hot water, 4–8 times per day. Best absorbed on an empty stomach, 30 minutes before meals or 2 hours afterward.)
Vitamin C (500 mg 4–8 times per day on an empty stomach.)