As fall turns to winter, the number of cases of common cold start increasing. In fact most colds occur between the months of September to March after which they taper off. Scientific evidence shows that just cold temperatures themselves are not to blame but the fact that cold causing viruses survive better in conditions of low humidity which generally occurs during the colder months. Nasal passages and mucus linings also become drier making them prone to viral infections. In addition to seasonal changes in humidity, people tend to stay indoors longer thereby increasing chances of infection through contact
Cold symptoms usually start showing 2-3 days after infection. Anti-biotics may provide quick relief of symptoms but do not treat the underlying cause. In fact anti-biotic use during colds is generally not recommended as many times not only do the symptoms get worse but they also interfere with the body's own defense systems. The best way to prevent or lower the risks of catching cold and other infections is by building immunity. Herbs such as Amla, Vasaka, Ashwagandha, Licorice, Manjistha and Shilajit (mineral pitch) are well known for their properties in providing comfort and supporting health during the cold season.
Dabur Chyawanprash is probably the best known ayurvedic formulation that is known to build immunity. It is also an excellent tonic that provides comfort and relief. It contains 40 herbs that strengthen the body's immune system and improves overall strength and vigor. Available as a tangy sweet-sour tasting jam it is good for children and adults.
Septilin is another herbo-mineral ayurvedic formulation that helps build the body's defence mechanisms. Septilin works by increasing the effectiveness of white blood cells. It helps build up the body's own resistance to infections and re-infections. It is considered beneficial in providing support to the respiratory tract as well as to the skin, eye, joints, and urinary tract.
Vasaka / Malabar Nut - This herb is excellent for removing phlegm and excess mucus. It supports the bronchial system and the respiratory tract.
Turmeric - Also known as curcumin, turmeric's various benefits are legendary. Turmeric is considered to be an anti-oxidant and helps build the body's defenses.
Holy Basil / Tulasi - Holy Basil is considered an excellent remedy for the respiratory tract. Tea made with tulasi leaves is an age-old home remedy in India for soothing the throat and easing the respiratory tract. A combination of Tulasi, Turmeric and Black pepper is a traditional remedy to warm the body during the cold season.
Amalaki / Indian gooseberry - This fruit is said to contain the highest amount of naturally ocurring vitamin C. Its high vitamin content in combination with its adaptogenic properties that help build up the immune system make it an important herb in Ayurveda. Amla is the base for Chyawanprash.
Trikatu - Trikatu is a warming blend of 3 spices. It contains equal portions of Black Pepper, Indian Long Pepper and Ginger. These three pungent herbs form a strong combination that stimulates respiratory function. It is a heating formula that is excellent during colder months and helps in clearing phlegm and allows easy breathing. Trikatu is a cleansing herbal blend that also stimulates gastric juices and boosts metabolism.