It is no wonder that the flu has been spreading around like crazy, considering how chaotic the weather has been for the last few weeks. Constant shifts between freezing cold and sunny weather make for perfect conditions for bacterial and viral growth and spreading through air. This year, the flu has been particularly stubborn and dangerous, as we’ve never had so much elderly and children hospitalized, or even die, due to the flu.
The flu is primarily caused by viruses that attack our respiratory system. The illness is contagious, and it is transmitted through air. Symptoms of the flu can be extremely variable; from mild discomfort to even death. Average symptoms include fever, cough, throat ache, fatigue, and nausea.
The period of development for the flu is 1-4 days after getting in contact with the viruses. Some people even carry and spread the virus around without ever exhibiting any symptoms. Those with the virus are contagious for 3-4 days after getting sick.
Ayurvedic approach on treating the flu doesn’t rely on treating the symptoms, like most other medical approaches do. It deals with preventing the viral infections in the first place, as well as treating the whole body when an infection does occur. Ayurveda uses herbal supplements, which are a lot milder compared to commonly prescribed medication. The main goal of these supplements is to enable the body to fight the intruding virus, and not to kill the virus itself. This, according to Ayurvedic principles and theories, makes our entire organism stronger and more resilient.
Ayurveda treats the flu like it would treat Vata of Kaphadosha, as the symptoms are similar. The flu involves all three doshas, whose balance is important for our overall health, according to Ayurveda.
Building the resilience to the flu starts with not allowing the Kapha and Vata to get aggravated. For those unfamiliar with Ayurveda, Kapha and Vata are cold energies, while Pitta is the hot energy. Logically, during the winter, when it’s cold out, the two cold doshas can get aggravated. Making sure you are always warm is the key element in preventing these two doshas from getting aggravated; wear a hat and a scarf when it cold, and try to layer-up your clothing. During winter, cold drinks and foods should be avoided, and hot teas, as well as hot, hearty stews should be consumed to keep the cold doshas happy.
According to Ayurveda, staying up at night, sleeping during the day, not getting enough rest, and overworking yourself all contribute to dosha aggravation. These steps are suggested in order to boost your body’s immune system:
- Keeping yourself warm, as mentioned before
- Avoid over-indulging in sex
- Consuming herbs such as Amalaki, Guduchi, Ashwagandha, Tulsi, and Ginger is suggested
One of the best ways to improve your immune system and prevent the flu is to consume Tulsi Ginger tea, several times a day. It’s made fairly simply:
Take 10-15 leaves of basil or ½ teaspoon of dried tulsi leaves, 5 black peppers, 1 cm piece of ginger, and a small stick of cinnamon. Grind the ingredients, then boil them in 1 and a half cups of water, until half of the water evaporates. Sweeten to taste with raw sugar, and sip while still hot.
If you fail to prevent the flu and get sick, get plenty of rest, avoid the cold, and try to consume food that is nutritious and digested easily. Consume more fluids than you think you need, and you’ll be fine in a few days.