Ayurvedic Treatment for Common Cold or Flu – Herbs & Home Remedies


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Rachna Sharma
Rachna is an Ayurveda doctor in the making. She is an avid reader and book lover. She is currently learning to heal people with the magic of Ayurveda. She is a rational person and believes in simple living & high thinking.

Even in the current era of advanced medical treatments, Common cold or Flu is still one of the most common reason to visit a doctor. More or less, everyone suffers from common cold at some or other point of time.

Symptoms of cold like runny nose, sore throat, nasal block, cough, body ache, headache, chills with mild fever are quite annoying & highly interferes with our daily routines.

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Cold is an indication of the breakdown of our body’s defense system, which, if not treated, may give rise to other threatening conditions. There is no very effective immediate remedy to cure a cold. Fortunately, Ayurveda offers useful curative remedies.

Cold & Flu is usually due to aggravated kapha dosha, which accumulates in bodily channels. So, Ayurvedic treatment focuses on clearing kapha out of these channels. Ayurveda recommends various herbs, detoxifying diet, home remedies, spices, yoga, & other measures.

What are the Ayurvedic treatment for cold?

Generally, an anti- kapha Ayurvedic treatment and detoxifying diet are prescribed in common cold. Treatment includes not only the right herbs & diet but also Yoga & Pranayama.  These Ayurvedic remedies have been commonly used in India since time immemorial.

How to use herbs in common cold?

Various anti-kapha, expectorant, & diaphoretic herbs are mentioned in Ayurvedic texts to cure a cold. Most of the herbs are popular spices like ginger, cinnamon, caraway seeds, mustard seeds, long pepper, cloves, turmeric, licorice, mint.

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Lets find out how you can use these herbs.

  • Mix turmeric powder with 1-2 teaspoon of basil leaves juice & lick the mixture
  • Make a decoction of equal quantities of dry ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, & lemongrass in a glass of water until only half remains
  • Boil dry ginger powder or fresh ginger in milk & drink it twice a day
  • Mix ginger juice with honey and lick this mixture
  • Drinking spiced teas like of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, & basil is an excellent remedy for cold
  • Boil cinnamon, & black pepper. Add honey to this mixture and take it twice a day to lessen the sore throat
  • Chew 5-10 leaves of basil with black pepper seeds to cure sore throat
  • Drink water boiled with fennel seeds & clove powder or prepare its decoction
  • For colds with high fever, make a formula of basil juice, sandalwood water, & peppermint juice. Mix 2-3 teaspoon of this herbal formula in a cup of water and take in every two to three hours
  • Licking mixture of onion juice and honey cures the chronic cold

How to get relieved of nasal congestion?

Blocking of the nose is the most typical symptom of Flu. Living with a blocked nose is quite discomforting. It creates difficulty in breathing and is quite annoying as well.

  • Apply a paste of saffron, sweet flag, & water on forehead and around the nose to liquefy cough

Inhale the steam of water mixed with eucalyptus oil or crushed garlic. This helps in expelling out the cough and enables you to get relieved of the cold sooner.

  • Roast the powder of mustard seeds, caraway seeds, & sweet flag. Wrap it in a cloth and apply on the sides of the nose & inhale it
  • Inhaling hot caraway seeds helps clear nasal congestion
  • Bathing with warm water eases chest and nasal congestion

What to do for a sore throat?

A sore throat can be very irritating. It hampers our speech as well as creates annoyance in swallowing food. With some simple Ayurvedic tips, it is easy to treat such sore throat.

  • Drink decoction of cinnamon, & black pepper added with honey to reduce sore throat
  • Gargling with alum, turmeric, or salt helps a lot in treating sore throat
  • If you feel dryness in the throat then chewing sweet wood helps
  • Chewing 2-4 black pepper with five leaves of basil relieves sore throat
  • A decoction of 5-10 basil leaves relieves a sore throat as well as cures cold

What are the suggested diet in the cold?

Eating the right Ayurvedic diet during a common cold can help you regain your strength & relieve sooner from cold. Usually, not much attention is paid to our diet during cold. But Ayurveda advises some dietary regimens to be followed.

  • Fasting for a day is advisable if you are not too weak as it helps in washing out the toxins & virus and improves appetite
  • Drink lots of hot fluids. They help in discharging excess mucus but avoid drinking or eating anything cold
  • While fasting taking hot vegetable soup, onion- garlic soup, and herbal tea is beneficial in cold
  • Khichari (green lentil & rice porridge), thin soup of green lentil, horse gram medicated with ginger, black pepper, long pepper are light on your stomach and is an excellent digestive stimulant
  • Add spices like ginger, black pepper, garlic, clove, asafoetida, cinnamon, cardamom, & nutmeg in your diet. Drinking hot spiced lemon tea is an excellent way to relieve from excess cough
  • Eat dry food items like roasted Bengal gram & barley
  • Avoid rice, black gram, cucumber, tomatoes, banana, milk, or any milk products, especially cheese & yogurt. However, taking milk boiled with turmeric, ginger, black pepper, or asafoetida
  • Do not eat meat, nuts, bread, pastries, candies, & sweet fruit juices
  • Have citrus fruits like orange, sweet lime, lemon. Vitamin-C reduces the severity of cold

What are the recommended Ayurvedic medicines?

Generally, symptoms of cold subside within 3-4 days. But, if it takes longer to get rid of Flu and symptoms are severe, then it can be cured with the help of natural herbal drugs.

There are numerous drugs in the Ayurvedic system to cure a cold. Some of the commonly used medicines are Sitopaladi powder, Talisadi powder, Shatyadi powder, Citraka-Haritaki Avaleha, Chitrakadi Vati, Khadiradi Vati, Guda ardraka, Suvarnamalini vasant.

Powders should be taken with honey while Vati or tablets are to be taken with warm water.

If you also have fever along with body ache, then take Tribhuvankirti rasa and Anandbhairava rasa twice a day.

Which yoga to do in common cold?

Various yoga postures prevent & cure a common cold by strengthening our immune system. During flu you can practice following yoga postures to get relief from different symptoms of the common cold

  • Setu bandha asana
  • Sarvanga asana
  • Paschimottana asana
  • Ardha matsyendra asana
  • Ushtra asana
  • Bhramari Pranayama
  • Bhastrika Pranayama
  • Jal Neti
  • Anuloma viloma
  • OM Chanting

What are the dos & don’ts for cold?



Eat light, warm & simple food. Eat whole grains, boiled & steamed vegetable or soups

Consuming cold foods, cold drinks, ice cream, fried foods, sweet fruit juices

Wash your hands frequently like after bathing and before eating

Taking head bath, cold shower & sleeping in air conditioner

Get rest as much as you can

Exertion, excessive stress

Take lots of warm fluids & Vitamin-c fruits

Touching mouth, nose & eyes frequently

Keep away from crowded places & dusty environment

Suppress urges of sneezing & coughing

Final Thoughts

The common cold is often ignored, which may lead to a further complicated diseased state. Hence, prevention and early treatment is the best effective remedy for cold.

Ayurvedic natural remedies do not just suppress the symptoms of cold. It instead cures cold by expelling out its chief culprit i.e., Kapha dosha.

In India, Ayurvedic therapies for cold are well-known home remedies & quite commonly used. Prevention & cure of common cold through natural, safe, & cost-effective Ayurvedic solutions is certainly a boon for our society. 

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