What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest healing systems for the whole body and has thousands of years of application behind it. It works by fortifying the body’s defenses against external threats, thus keeping away diseases.

By employing tonics like Chyavanaprash and Ashwagandha preparations, Ayurvedic remedies can seriously boost the body’s immune systems. Therefore, ayurvedic medicine for cold and cough is also common.


Ayurveda believes that coughs and colds are brought about by the three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). The treatment objective is pacification of the doshas through the utilization of herbs and a proper diet.

Ayurvedic treatments for common cold and allergies employ easily available ingredients, are free from side effects and can be practiced safely at home. Here is a look at some Ayurveda home remedies for the treatment of  the common cold and cough:

Basil leaves with tea

The most common Ayurvedic home remedy for a cold and cough is a decoction. By balancing Kapha and Vata, basil helps to relieve the pain in the flanks, side of the chest and abdomen. Take a litre of water, add tea leaves and boil. Take about 20 fresh leaves of basil and a slice of fresh ginger, dice it into small pieces and add to the boiling water. Grind a few peppercorns and add fresh neem leaves to this boiling mix.

Basil contains essential oils like camphene, eugenol and cineole, which relieve chest congestion and loosen mucus. It also possesses potent antibacterial properties. Neem not only possesses antibacterial and antifungal properties but also boosts the immune system by energising the lymphocyte cells. Pepper provides relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion.

It is also a mucolytic that breaks down and expels the mucus and phlegm. Keep boiling until the mixture becomes half the original quantity and allow it to cool. Have this mixture 3-4 times a day for relief from cold and cough. You may heat the mixture before  use. Add a spoon of honey to sweeten it if you find the taste to be bitter. Powdered organic neem, basil and honey can be substitutes for fresh leaves or ginger.

Basil with cloves

Ayurveda identifies lavanga, or cloves, as a Lavanga Kaphapittahara, or one that balances the Kapha and Pitta doshas. Take 10 leaves of Basil and 6 cloves. Grind them in a mortar and pestle before adding them to 100 ml of boiling water. Keep boiling until this mixture is reduced to a half. Add a pinch of rock salt and sip while hot. Drink twice a day for three days. Not only will this rid the body of fever and but it will also relieve chest congestion.

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Turmeric with milk

Turmeric is a miracle spice with many therapeutic benefits. A potent antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, turmeric has been used for generations to relieve common cold and congestion. Ayurvedic physicians look upon turmeric as a natural aspirin that pacifies the vitiated Vata and Kapha doshas.Grate a piece of turmeric (you can also use a teaspoon of organic turmeric powder) and add to 200 ml of milk.

Bring it to a boil and then allow it to cool for a few minutes. Strain the milk (not necessary if you are using turmeric powder) from the turmeric and add a spoon of honey. Sip while hot. The best time to have this is just before bedtime. Drinking this concoction will boost immunity and relieve chest congestion. You can also drink this daily as the combination is loaded with antioxidants and is great for the body.

Honey and cinnamon

If you have severe cold symptoms, a cough and congestion, make use of two common kitchen ingredients, honey and cinnamon. Cinnamon eliminates the kapha from the respiratory tract by liquefying it. It also balances the Vata and Pitta. In Ayurveda it is classified as a Peenasahara and Kaphakasahara– one that relieves allergic rhinitis and running nose and eliminates phlegm.

Take 1.25 grams of cinnamon powder with a tablespoon of honey. Follow this with a glass of warm water. Honey is loaded with vitamins and iron. Combining it with cinnamon boosts the immune system.

Carom seeds, onion and garlic

This is a combination specifically meant for children. Take a couple cloves of garlic, half an onion and a spoon of carom seeds. Grind them together with water until you get a paste of medium thickness. Slightly warm the paste on a pan and apply to the back or chest, and forehead. This balances Kapha and Vata, and increases Pitta. In Ayurveda,  this spice is called a Jvaraghna (useful in fevers) and Balya (improves strength and immunity).

Eucalyptus oil (EXTERNAL USE ONLY – Eucalyptus oil can be toxic when ingested)

In the case of severe congestion, where the patient is unable to breathe properly, use eucalyptus oil as a remedy. Take a bowl of boiling water and add 5 ml of eucalyptus oil. Cover the bowl with a towel so that you can inhale the steam; inhale ten times through one nostril and exhale through the other and then repeat the process with the other nostril.

Eucalyptus increases the Pitta dosha, while pacifying the Vata and Kapha doshas. It is also an excellent mucolytic that breaks down the thick phlegm and facilitates it smooth excretion.

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