By Dr. Rita Khanna
The common cold, also known as “acute coryza,” is an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and is caused by infection with a virus. It is a very irritating condition. You are neither sick nor are you well enough. In spite of all the modern advances made by science, no drug or vaccine has yet been discovered to cure the common cold. There is an old adage that if you take medicine, the cold is cured in a week – otherwise, seven days. However, in the case of a weak constitution, a cold may lead to more serious diseases, such as tonsillitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. It is essential to receive proper treatment. Through Yoga Sadhana (practice), it is possible to build up sufficient energy, strength, and resistance to overcome a cold and its unpleasant effects. All Yogic techniques are designed to strengthen the body and mind, and when learned under expert guidance, help to make us less susceptible to mental depression, emotional upsets, loss of energy, and imbalance in the neuro-endocrine systems.
The common symptoms of a cold are running nose, sneezing, heaviness in the head, mild temperature, aches and pains in the body, soreness of the throat, tiredness, etc. If the flu virus is more severe, its symptoms are severe as well. This includes headache, high fever, exhaustion, cough and chills, intense muscle pain, sore throat, blocked nose, and loss of appetite.
Toxic condition of the body, disorders in the functioning in the heart, overeating, eating acid -forming food, liver problem, high level of cholesterol, sudden changes in temperature, wrong eating habits, excessive smoking, over and under sleep, lack of exercise, pollution, and so on.
Yoga is very effective in conditions of cold and cough. Yoga not only helps to prevent a cold, but improves a person’s health and strengthens the immune system, thus lessening susceptibility to colds.
Surya namaskar, Sarvangasana, Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, Dhanurasana, Marjari Asana, and Yogamudra in Vajrasana, are useful Asanas to shun a cold.
Ujjayi, Kapalbhati, Bhastrika, Suryabhedana, and Anuloma- viloma are effective means to ward off a cold.
The practice of Ling Mudra, along with Pran Mudra, for a few minutes every day, is very helpful. (If ling mudra is practiced daily, along with a proper practice of Kapalbhati Pranayama, then various incurable disease of the chest can be healed).
To form Ling Mudra, join both palms and lock the facing fingers together, keeping the right thumb straight and upright. The upright thumb must be encircled by the other thumb and index finger. Linga Mudra is the booster of the body’s immune system and helps to relieve other problems related to human anatomy.
Practice it any time you want; but don’t practice it a lot, as it produces heat in the body. It can cause sweating, even in winter, if you practice it longer. In addition to practice of this Mudra, follow a balanced and healthy diet. Drink lots of water, juices, and eat more fruit.
It stops the production of phlegm and gives power to the lungs, cures severe cold and bronchial infection, invigorates the body, and is good in low BP. Regular practicing of this Mudra is effective for those who are overweight.
To form the Pran Mudra, join the tips of the ring finger and the little finger with the tip of the thumb.
It improves immunity, improves the vitality of the body, improves eyesight, helps in proper functioning of the lungs, energizes the heart, and removes vitamin deficiency and fatigue.
Jalneti and Kunjal constitute the Yogic method of relieving and curing the common cold.
• Kunjal cleans the stomach of mucus and clears the throat. This has a reflex action on all the glands of the body, as they are governed by the same parts of the autonomic nervous system.
• Neti then cleans out all the nasal passages, sinuses, eustachian tubes leading to the ears, as well as the eyes. This reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain. The salty water acts, by osmosis, to draw out mucus and phlegm, and helps to dry and clear the passages.
• Neti also rebalances the Nadis, allowing Prana to flow more efficiently and clears the mind of tension. Kunjal and Neti rebalance the Doshas, reducing Kapha, and increasing the digestive fire, so that we feel heat radiating from the navel centre. Bhastrika performed, after Neti, further fans the gastric fire.
When you can reduce the unpleasant effects of a cold, through the regular practice of Kunjal and Neti, it becomes possible to view the cold as a cleansing process with great long-term benefits. Therefore, we should never try to suppress or ‘cure’ a cold with drugs. Colds remove from our systems the accumulated toxins and poisons that have built up over the years. The extra production of mucus increases the metabolism of the body, and the subsequent use of protein and other substances, washes out internal dirt more efficiently. This means that our bodies can function better afterwards. With this outlook, a cold can even be viewed as part of the path to higher and cleaner living.
The following diet will aid the elimination of mucus:
• Salads with plenty of tomato, carrot, celery, cucumber; papaya, guava, apple, orange, lemon
• Raw sugar (gurh/ jaggery) mixed with turmeric and made into small balls, taken with a little water
• Hot vegetable or lentil soup
The following drinks will aid the elimination of mucus and help fight the cold:
• Boiled water with lemon juice
• Cracked wheat (dalia) with raw sugar
• Carrot and other vegetable juices
• Tea with grated ginger, black pepper, Tulsi leaves
• Cumin (jeera) juice – made by boiling one glass of water, then adding cumin seeds until the color of the water changes. Strain and drink.
Milk, ghee, cheese, yoghurt (dahee), bananas, and all heavy, starchy and fatty foods, which increase mucus, and thereby, depress the gastric fire
SOME RECEPIES FOR COUGH AND COLD
Take more of tomatoes and spinach, 50 grams onion, 5-10 flakes of garlic, 2 shimla mirch (capsicum), cabbage, carrot, lauki (bottle gourd), green coriander, a little salt. Cook all these vegetables in the cooker with water. Then strain them. To make it tastier, squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle roasted jeera (caraway seeds) in it. If you want to make the soup thick, first churn the boiled vegetables in a mixer, and then strain.
UKADA (HERBAL TEA)
Take 1 cup water, ½ inch ginger crushed, 1”cinnamon crushed, two black pepper corns crushed, ten Tulsi leaves crushed, ten mint leaves crushed
Boil everything together. Strain and put one teaspoon of honey. Drink four times a day.
Fresh ginger juice ½ teaspoon, Tulsi juice ½ teaspoon, a pinch of black pepper
Mix all in one teaspoon of honey. Take 3-4 times
• Drink only warm water.
• Add 1 teaspoon of honey and lemon juice each to half a cup of warm water, and drink it several times a day.
• During fever, if feeling shiverish, take a hot water sponge bath. If the fever is high, use normal water for a sponge bath.
• Do Kunjal first thing in the morning, followed by Neti. Repeat Neti 2-3 times during the day.
• Steam inhalations, with balm, help to relieve stuffiness and sore throat.
• Chest pack, along with a hot foot bath, relieves cold, bronchitis, asthma, pleurisy, pneumonia, fever, cough, whooping cough, and so on. A hot foot bath is beneficial; especially if powdered turmeric is added to the water.
• Sleep is the best cure when you have a cold.
Cold is often ignored as a common infection, but it needs to be treated. A Yogic lifestyle makes the body and mind flexible, so that we can better handle the stresses and strains of modern living. We begin to tune into the natural cycles of day and night, and seasons, so that changes in weather are accompanied by a corresponding change in our bodies. Yoga helps us to overcome a cold by maintaining our internal heater. Through the science of Prana, a Yogi becomes immune to the dual nature of existence, so that heat and cold, pleasure and pain, sorrow and joy, all come under his control and are seen as inseparable phenomena. Heat generated in the body is an aspect of Prana, the life-force. When we awaken Prana, we feel its warmth at many levels. Through regular Pranayama, proper quantity of Vitamin C in your diet, as well as consuming fruits and vegetables, are some methods to prevent a cold. Most essential is washing your hands frequently, especially after coming into contact with someone who has a cold.
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