Common Cough & Cold

It is a catarrhal and inflammatory condition of upper respiratory tract due to viral, allergic or mixed infection.

Symptoms of Common Cough and Cold

Due to vitiation of Kapha, the upper respiratory tract gets inflamed and congested. Kapha dosha having qualities of cold, heavy and damp accumulates in the gut and the respiratory system when one eats fatty creamy cheesy food and cold foods, lack of exercise or other indulgences. Aggravated Vata dosha which is being light, cold and dry may also cause this problem. Vata can be agitated by alcohol, caffeine, exertion, poor sleep, excessive travel, deep stress, advanced ageing and poor nutrition.

Sneezing, coughing, runny nose, heaviness of the head followed by inflammation of the mucus membranes of the eyes and nose, body aches, chills and loss of appetite.

Usually, a bout of cold is not accompanied by fever. However, if that is the case then it may be a sign of the flu or a bacterial infection.

For the first couple of days, the nose will have a watery discharge, but it soon becomes thicker and darker. There are also chances of a mild cough that can last well into the second week.

If you are asthmatic, getting a cold can worsen your condition and it is a good idea to check with a doctor to better manage your condition.

Since a cold can make your asthma worse, check with your doctor to see if you need to change your regular treatment plan.

If you are coughing up thick or dark-colored mucus and/or start running a fever, see a doctor immediately as it is an infection caused by bacteria.

Signs of a cold will start to manifest between 24-72 hours after being infected by the cold virus. Typically, they last for 3-7 days. While common cold symptoms will start to recede after a week, you may continue to feel stuffy for the next week or so.

One is most contagious during the first 3 days of being ill, but generally the first week is considered as an infectious period.

Causes of Common Cough and Cold

A cold starts when a virus latches on the lining of your nose or throat. Immediately, the immune system springs into action by sending out guardian white blood cells to attack the intruders. Unless this particular strain of virus has attacked you before, the attack fails and your body sends in supporting reinforcements. Your nose and throat start to swell up and produce mucus. With a large percentage of your body’s reserves directed at fighting against the cold virus, you start to feel run down and miserable.

Therefore, a common cough and cold is basically a viral infection that you can catch from another person. This can happen by coming into direct physical contact with an infected person or by touching a surface that has been contaminated by germs – like remote controls, keyboards, doorknobs and cutlery – and then touching the nose and mouth.

Another way to get infected is by breathing in infected droplets that are released when a person sneezes or coughs.
A cough may be caused by the inflammation of the larynx or the pharynx and develops in the chest due to change in weather.

Ayurveda and Common Cough and Cold

In Ayurveda, it is known as Pratishaya mainly due to vitiation of Kapha dosha. But other doshas can also be involved in it:
Vata dosha: Dry cough, little mucus discharge, hoarse voice, headache and a runny nose
Pitta dosha: Fever, sore throat, yellowish nasal discharge and continuous blockage of the nose
Kapha dosha: Thick mucus discharges with dull headaches and heaviness of the head

The real cause of this disorder according to Ayurveda is attributed to the dampening of the digestive for or agni. And what would dampen a fire? The cold weather, of course! As the temperatures start to dip outside, our immunity begins to plunge too.
Now, these dimmed fires fail to burn the body’s toxins (ama). These toxins then start to accumulate in the microchannels of the body and soon clog the bronchial tubes. The Kapha on the body combines with toxins or ama to make mucus.
The reason for higher incidence of cough and cold during winter is the increased intake of catarrh-forming foods such as white bread, meat, sugar, porridge, puddings and pies. Hay fever, flu, sinusitis, etc. are the associated causes of this disease.

Ayurvedic Treatment of Cold and Cough

Herbs
  • Vasaka (Adhatoda Vasica): Vasaka is an herb that is widely used in Ayurveda to cure bronchial infections where the mucus becomes thick and sticky. Vasaka powder (2 gms) can be had with warm water as one of the best natural cold and cough remedies. 5 ml of fresh vasaka juice + 2.5 ml of ginger juice + 1 teaspoon of honey is an excellent formula for easing the breath.
  • Garlic (Allium Sativum): Garlic or lahsun is an herb with warm potency which is one of the top home remedies for running nose. Add this herb to your lentils and veggies.
  • Ginger (Zingiber Officinale): Ginger or adrak is a warming spice that is used in Ayurveda to keep Vata and Kapha at bay. Add a few slices of fresh ginger, a few pinches of cinnamon powder and cardamom seeds in boiled water. Let steep. Fill this spiced water into a thermos and sip throughout the day. This is one of the best home remedies for cough and cold that will aid in decongestion and digestion. Fresh ginger juice when combined with pineapple juice is one of those quick cold remedies that works like a natural flu shot. Drink twice a day.
  • Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum): Tulsi or holy basil is one of the most potent natural cold and cough remedies and is perfectly safe even for children. Grind a handful of tulsi leaves along with 10 black peppercorns. Consume thrice a day. One can also benefit from drinking tulsi juice regularly during flu season. Tulsi tea is a wonderful drink to treat cold and fever. Simply boil some tender tulsi leaves in water. Add a dash of honey and consume.
  • Amla (Phyllanthus Emblica): Amla or India Gooseberry is rich in Vitamin C and also loaded with a range of polyphenols (gallic acid, ellagic acid, luteolin, corilagin, etc.) – all of which contribute to greater immunity and fight free radical damage. One can drink 30 ml of amla juice every morning or consume the fresh fruit. Taking a bit of amla powder with honey twice or thrice a day also works wonders to cure long-term dry cough.
Ayurvedic Supplements (to be taken under physician’s guidance – Consult Now)  

               Chyawanprash Special

               Kasamrit

               Laxmivilas Ras (Kas)

               Tribhuvan Keerti

               Vyoshaadi Bati

               Kantara Arya Ava Lehya

               Shadbindu Taila

               Trikatu Powder

               Prawal Pishti

               Mahasudarshana Churna

               Sitopaladi Churna

               Chitrak Haritaki

               Mahalaxmi Vilas Ras Suvarna

               Laxmi Vilas Ras (Nardiya)

               Vasaristha

               Pippalyasava

               Triphala Churna

Diet
  • In case of severe cold and cough and when fever is present the patient should abstain from all solid foods and only drink food and vegetable juices diluted with water.
  • After this the patient should adopt an all-fruit diet for two to three days. Taking three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits such as apple, pears, grapes, oranges, pineapples, peaches and melons. For drinks, unsweetened lemon water, or cold or hot plain water may be given.
  • After the all-fruit diet, the patient can gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet, with emphasis on whole grain cereals, raw or lightly cooked vegetables and fresh fruits.
  • Avoid cooling foods that slow down the digestive fire like tomatoes, eggplant and bananas.
  • The patient should avoid soft drinks, candies, ice-creams, and all products made from sugar and white flour.
  • Drink a lot of fluids like warm water to flush out toxins.
  • Do not engage in fasting during winter. Fasting lowers the body’s defenses and one becomes more susceptible to diseases.
  • During winter, eat an Ayurvedic apple stew as an immune-boosting dessert. Spear an apple with four cloves and boil. When done, remove the cloves and delight in the warming, rejuvenative fruit.
Lifestyle
  • Mix a pinch of salt with a few drops of mustard oil. Blend well and dab onto the face neck and chest. This might tingle but it offers quick relief.
  • Taking steam for 5-10 minutes is also a wonderful way to ease decongestion. Add a pinch or two of camphor or a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Cover your head with a warm towel to get all the goodness of the vapors.
  • Sweating is very helpful during a cold. Cover up and let the body sweat it out.
  • Keep your head and feet warm and pamper your feet with a warm sesame oil massage.
Yoga
  • Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
  • Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
  • Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
  • Forward Bend Pose (Hastapadasana)
  • Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)
  • Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra)