Common cold and flu are one of the most common illnesses which all of us have suffered from at some point of time in our lives. Generally, cold and flu improves within a week to 10 days without taking any medicine.

The general common flu symptoms include common cold (more severe than usual), body ache, headache, chills, high grade fever, lethargy and weakness, sore throat and cough. Ayurveda refers to this condition as ‘Vaata Kaphaja Jwara’.

Detailed here, are Ayurveda’s approach to common flu like conditions, and treatments suggested to get your body back to the condition of good health at the earliest.

Ayurvedic treatment for cold and flu involves administration of ayurvedic drugs, supplements, herbs, and adopting lifestyle measures that are effective for the condition.

Ayurvedic medicines

Use a decoction made of any one of the combinations of Tulsi, Adaraka, Pippali (long pepper), Kali Mirch (black pepper), Haldi (turmeric) and Guduchi (Giloy) in morning and evening.

Ayurvedic medicines such as Sudarshanaghana vati, Sudharshana Churna, Samshamani vati, works by way of improving the host defence mechanism.

Taking half-a-teaspoon of Sitopaladi Churna with honey both in morning and evening for 3 to 5 days, helps in relief from cough.
Ayurveda suggests medicines like Sudharshan Danwati and Sudarshan Churan made of gilolya for mild flu-like symptoms, which works like paracetamol.

Having one tablet of Naradiya Lakshmi Vilasa Rasa, for 3 to 5 days, helps reduce fever to a great extent.

Vamana (emisis) procedure of Panchakarma may also be taken under observation of an expert physician, if necessary.

The delicious Aurvedic Chyawanprash, can be taken on daily basis to strengthen lungs and build immunity. It also helps rejuvenate all body tissues, increasing strength and virility, and alleviate respiratory conditions.

For persistent colds associated with flu, try Trikatu, made of ginger, black pepper and long pepper, which helps dry up mucous and clear channels. It is traditionally taken with raw honey.

Natural home remedies

Drink fresh ginger tea, as it increases circulation, promotes sweating, digests mucus, and relieves congestion. In fact, for chronic mucous, fasting on ginger tea for two to three days helps in speedy recovery.

Mix half-a-teaspoon each of fresh ginger juice and honey and take thrice a day.

Soak 2 parts of fresh ginger root, 3 parts cinnamon, and pinch of cardamom in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Add half-a-teaspoon of honey, when it cools down a little. Drink this several times a day.

Crush ¼ teaspoon of fresh ginger root with 8 basil leaves, 2 peppercorns, 2 cardamom seeds, 1 cup of water, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 2 cloves, and 5 mint leaves. Boil, filter and add one teaspoon of honey. Drink thrice a day.

Take one mashed onion, extract the juice. Add a tablespoon of honey. Mix well, and drink a teaspoon of it thrice a day.
To one glass of hot water, add 4 teaspoon each of fenugreek powder and lemon juice, 1 teaspoon each of honey and ginger paste, mix well, and boil for 15 minutes. This remedy improves sweating and reduces fever.

Diet, lifestyle modification and prevention

Avoid kapha-provoking diet like cold food, cold drinks, curd, fruit juice, ice cream fermented food, ice-cream etc.

Eat light, warm and simple foods such as soups. Avoid congestive foods such as sugar, fried foods, dairy, bananas, meat and yeast. Remain hydrated, and warm water is best for this.

Increase garlic intake, as it helps restrict growth of influenza (flu) virus.

Use a neti pot, as it helps prevent cold and hay fever during the spring. Do steam inhalation regularly, and if possible, add few drops of Eucalyptus, crushed ginger root, to this water before inhalation. This helps clear respiratory tract.

Get plenty of rest and practice Bhastrika to clear sinuses.

Lastly, it is a known fact that flu is a contagious condition which can easily spread through cough or sneezing of the infected person. Try not to share handkerchiefs or other common items with the patient.