By Dr. Shikha Sharma
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Avoid Catching Cold by Taking these Herbs

Common Cold” a very familiar term we hear especially during the monsoons and change of season. It is also described as inflammation of the mucous membrane of nose, eyes, and throat (something we all have experienced). Since common cold is caused by more than 200 different viruses such as rhinovirus, syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus etc, the human body cannot build immunity against it. Some of the symptoms of common cold are:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Watery eyes
  • Low-grade fever
  • Headache

One of the most common causes of cold is weakened immunity. Thus to prevent cold it is very important to add immunity-boosting foods to the diet. Some of the herbs and foods that can be added to the diet to avoid cold are:

  • Garlic: Allicin, a compound present in garlic is known to have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties which prove to be a good immunity booster and help in eliminating any symptoms of the cold. It can easily be incorporated in food otherwise for more concentrated sources it is available in pearls and capsule forms.
  • Sambucus: Also known as elderberry is packed with quercetin which is anti-inflammatory in nature and helps keeping cold and flu symptoms at bay, also it is kids safe, It is available in the form of drops and chewy tablets.
  • Andrographis: Commonly known as green chirayta is a plant known to prevent influenza, sore throat, fever, this her has medicinal properties that help in detoxifying the body. It is available in the form of Churans and tablets.
  • Ginger: Any early signs of cold? Let ginger come to the rescue with its antihistamine and decongestant properties and it will prevent the inflammation from growing. Add it to your tea, soups or broths.
  • Echinacea: It is known to reduce viral infection, reduce inflammation and treat upper respiratory issues. It is available as a health supplement in the or of tablets.
  • Calendula: It protects against free radical damage, fights viruses, combats inflammation. It can be taken in the form of tablets or tea infusions.
  • Turmeric: This golden beauty is a powerhouse for anti-inflammatory compounds, add a pinch of turmeric to warm milk and let it work its magic.
  • Mushrooms: Medicinal mushrooms containing Shiitake, maitake and reishi are great for strengthening the immunity system. Add these to your daily vegetables or enjoy it in soups.
  • Red bell peppers: A rich source of vitamin C and beta-carotene is a sure shot immunity booster. Add it to salads, pasta, or just roast them and make a yummy soup out of them.
  • Green tea: This superfood need no introduction, known for its polyphenol content and antioxidant power can keep a lot of health problems a bay. 2 cups of green tea a day is ideal for maintaining health.
  • Pumpkins: A great source of beta-carotene has an important role in repairing and maintaining the mucosal lining. Pumpkin cooked as a vegetable or a soup is a yummy way to include it in the diet.
  • Oyster: This seafood gives you an excellent dose of zinc which can really improve your immunity.

Some other tips to prevent cold are:

  • Wash your hands often: Do this especially after using the toilet, before and after eating food as dirty hands can become a storehouse for cold-causing viruses.
  • Cover your nose while sneezing: Cold spreads through the air so someone who has cold should not sneeze into the open to prevent the infection from spreading.
  • Exercise regularly: There is no immunity booster like regular exercise, people who exercise daily fall sick less often.
  • Include vitamins in your diet: Especially vitamin A and C as they are known as the immunity vitamins. Vitamin A is present in all the yellow, green, orange and red fruits and vegetables; for e.g. tomato, papaya, carrot, pumpkin, squash, spinach, kale etc while vitamin C can be found in all the citrus fruits. For e.g. Orange, guava, amla etc.
  • Up your water intake: It is very important to stay hydrated to prevent and manage cold, especially during summers. Dehydration worsens the symptoms of the cold.

We hope that by including these tips in your daily routine, you’ll be able to protect yourself from catching a cold.

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