It is winter,and the flu virus is spreading rapidly. Its not surprising that the medical term for flu,comes from the Italian phrase ‘Influenza di freddo’,meaning the influence of the cold.
Flu/influenza are slightly distinct from the common cold. Colds usually develop slowly,whereas the flu tends to strike hard and fast. Caused by a virus which affects the upper respiratory tract,the symptoms include fever,headache,blocked or runny nose,aches and pains through the body and sneezing. A typical bout clears up within a week.
With the growing use of modern medicine,most people rely on antibiotics,thinking they will help. But the fact is they will not work against flu viruses unless there is a secondary bacterial infection. While some medicines may provide relief,simple home remedies can help address minor complaints.
Some of these are traditional antidotes,others include nutritional and herbal supplements. Few have also been supported by scientific evidence. Some remedies commonly practiced at home include:
Kadha Grandmothers recipe to cure cold and cough,kadha is a herbal mix of spices including cinnamon,cloves,black pepper,ginger,desi ghee and basil.
Honey with spices Honey is known to possess anti-bacterial,anti-oxidant,anti-inflammatory and prebiotic properties. It also has anti-tumour,anti-mutagenic and anti-viral properties. Manuka honey,a special honey from New Zealand,has been used to cure infections in the upper respiratory tract,including chronic sinusitis,rhinitis and allergic symptoms.
Some honey and spice combinations to cure cold include honey and nutmeg; honey and black pepper; honey and ginger; honey and cloves and honey and lemon.
Turmeric and ghee in milk: Turmeric can modulate the immune system has and it is known to have antiviral,antibacterial,antifungal activity
Fenugreek seed decoction: Fenugreek helps asthma and sinus problems. Fenugreek decoction is known to ease soar throat and laryngitis. It can be combined with honey and lemon.
Garlic: Garlic has been long known for its therapeutic benefits. Some of the most known traditional garlic therapies include:
Boiled garlic: Asthma
Garlic mashed,mixed in vinegar and then gargled: Tonsilitis
Strong garlic infusion rubbed on temples: Headache
Tulsi Tea: Among its innumerable benefits,tulsi is known to reduce reduce inflammation,fights bacterial,viral and fungal infections. It can be made into tea or as a decoction.
Barley water to treat fever: One of the earliest cultivated grains,barley,commonly known as jaun is used as a food for the convalescing,and is believed to have a healing effect on the body.
Amla: Also known as the Indian gooseberry,is an excellent source of vitamin C.
Joshanda: A unani concoction of seven herbs to ease cough,cold and bronchitis.
Chawanprash: An ayurvedic herbal concoction which is believed to boost immunity.
Zinc and Vitamin C: Zinc is an essential mineral which helps to reduce the risk of infections and common cold. Prolonged use of zinc (6 to 8 weeks) is not recommended,as it can lead to copper deficiency. Anti-oxidant properties of vitamin C help boost immunity and fight infections.
Also,drink plenty of liquids. Choose water and warm soups to prevent dehydration. Steam inhalation with eucalyptus and peppermint and gargling with tea oil.