There is a sense of panic, as there is no relief from the virus. While most are practising hygiene as per the measures stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are some that an individual can take to help strengthen the respiratory system in the most natural way.
Understanding the anatomy of a cough
Prana Vayu and Udana Vayu (types of vata), govern the respiratory system. When allergens, viruses and bacteria vitiate them, irritation occurs. As a countermeasure, the body forcibly expels air to remove the obstruction. During this process, the vata (biological air) balance in the body gets impaired and causes ‘vataja kasa’.
Ayurveda explains cough as Kasa Roga, which is caused due to derangement mainly of vata dosha. Exposure to smoke, dust allergens, viruses, aggravates the vata in the region of the chest and brings about contraction and stiffness of the eyes, back, chest that may give rise to kasa which may be dry or with sputum.
Types of cough
Cough can be identified as wet or dry. A wet cough is one in which mucus builds up in the chest and causes the body to expel mucus whereas a dry cough produces little or no mucus or sputum and it may develop towards the end of a cold or after exposure to an irritant such as dust or smoke.
Strengthening the respiratory system
Certain foods can generate mucus and make cold worse. There are some foods that are intrinsically cold by nature and hence when consumed, they tend to further aggravate the cold. These are known as kapha aggravators. Some foods that aggravate the kapha and can be avoided are yogurt, ice cream, cheese, bananas, avocado etc.
Vasaka / Adulsa / Adhatoda
Also known as a Malabar Nut, vasaka is a powerful herb known to be very effective in managing respiratory problems such as cough, cold and asthma. It balances the kapha and pitta in the body and aids the lungs’ ability to receive more prana and oxygen.
Jal neti is a traditional Ayurvedic and Yogic practice of maintaining nasal hygiene. Jal neti is not only beneficial for upper respiratory health and balancing the nervous system, but is also a healthy practice for mental well-being, increasing clarity of mind. It allows for fuller, freer breathing, which increases the amount of prana, or vital life energy.
Some tips given by Ministry of AYUSH
For dry cough and sore throat:
1. Steam inhalation with fresh pudina (mint) leaves or ajwain (caraway seeds), can be practised once a day.
2. Lavang (clove powder) mixed with natural sugar / honey can be taken 2-3 times a day in case of cough or throat irritation. These measures generally treat normal to dry cough and sore throat.
But it is best to consult doctors if symptoms persist.
(The writer is director at Millennium Herbal Care Ltd)