In the season of coughs, sneezes and the flu, try these home remedies

Winters can be hard on one’s health as in this season, the flu virus spreads rapidly. It’s not surprising that the medical term for flu comes from the Italian phrase influenza difreddo, ‘the influence of the cold’.

Flu/influenza is different from a common cold. Colds usually develop slowly, whereas flu/influenza tends to come suddenly and strikes hard and fast. It is caused by a virus which affects the upper respiratory tract, and the symptoms include fever, headache, blocked or runny nose, aches and body pains, and sneezing. According to estimates, flu is responsible for 40 per cent of missed work days. A typical bout clears up within a week.

With the growing use of modern medicine, most people rely on antibiotics, but they don’t work against flu viruses unless there is a secondary bacterial infection. There are some medicines to provide relief, however, simple natural preparations in our own homes can help address minor complaints.

Categorised as complementary and alternative medicine therapies (CAM) to treat the common cold, some of these are traditional antidotes, others include nutritional and herbal supplements. Few have also been supported by scientific evidence. It seems everyone has their own special, secret home remedy.. Some of them are:

* Kahdha: The grandmother’s recipe to cure cold and cough. It’s 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. Other benefits that have been attributed to honey include anti-tumour, anti-mutagenic and anti-viral properties.
* Tulsi tea: Among its innumerable benefits, tulsi is believed to reduce stress, enhance endurance, increase oxygen utilisation, boost immune system, slow ageing and reduces inflammation, and fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections. It can be made into a tea or a decoction.
* Vitamin C: The anti-oxidant properties of Vitamin C help boost immunity and fight infections. At least 1 gm per day can be recommended for the prevention of colds.
* Drink plenty of liquids. Havewater and warm soups to prevent dehydration.
* Last but not the least, rest.
* If symptoms persist, consult a physician.

[Author is a clinical nutritionist and founder of  www.theweightmonitor.com and Whole Foods India]

source:Indian Express