Cold and flu got you down?  Turn to your Ayurvedic medicine cabinet to help you kick those flu blues.’

According to Ayurvedic medicine, the common cold results largely from an imbalance of the  Kapha and Vata doshas. Vata (air-space element combination) imbalances lower immunity.  This invariably leads to a build up of the Kapha dosha (water-space element combination) to compensate. However, Kapha mechanisms typically overcompensate to make up for the ‘dryness’ associated with imbalanced Vata and lowered immunity. The result is excessive ‘coldness’ that creates mucus. This in turn reduces your ‘Agni’  or gastric fire, leading you to have the ‘chills.’

Ayurvedic remedies involve using warming herbs and spices to help you break down and expel mucus while re-building your gastric fire. So, while the idea of a runny nose might not appeal to you, chances are that if you can transition from  being ‘stuffed up’ to ‘blowing it all out,’ then you are well on your way to recovery.

My favorite herbs to remedy the common cold are tulsi (‘Holy Basil’), the universal immune booster and ginger which helps to ‘loosen and liquefy’ stuck mucus. Both are great for helping balance Vata and Kapha.

Try these simple Ayurvedic home remedies to unclog your ENT system and help you breathe easy.

1. Ginger and Tulsi Tea

Make a brew of tulsi and ginger herb tea and sip it every couple of hours.

As always, I recommend fresh ginger root and tulsi leaves. The former are easy enough to find at most natural food stores, the latter you can find with a bit of looking, or just order seeds and grow your own. Use 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs per 1 cup of water.

Alternatively, check out Organic India’s Tulsi and Ginger tea or Ayoma’s Kapha Tea. Both are made with dried tulsi and ginger.

Consider using honey not just to sweeten your tea but also to help soothe  a sore and abrasive throat.

2. Herbal Inhalation Therapy

Inhalation therapy is an age-old trick for breathing in the potent powers of herbs and releasing mucus.  It works every single time!

Boil 3-4 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger root and chopped tulsi leaves into a pan filled with a quart of water.  Alternatively, add a 3-4 drops of tulsi and ginger essential oils into a quart of boiling water. When the decoction begins to release steam, remove the pan from the stove-top and bend over it to inhale the herbal steam for about 10-15 minutes.  For best results, ‘tent’ your head and the pan with a large bath towel to prevent the herbal steam from escaping.

Resist the temptation to ‘sniff or swallow’ back mucus as it begins to decongest in your nose and throat.  If you find that you are expectorating quit a bit, then take a momentary break from your inhalation therapy to blow it all out.

Image Credit: Creative Commons – Superhua