New Delhi: Winter may be on its way out, but the common cold is pretty much the year-long companion. Changes in weather lowers the immunity and increases the susceptibility to catching a cold but with a few handy, home remedies, its easy to fight the cold.
Mohamed Rafiq, Principal Scientist, Research and Development Center, The Himalaya Drug Company, has shared a few simple remedies to cure a common cold and be healthy and rejuvenated through the season:
* Drink lots of liquid: It's important to stay hydrated as it helps break the congestion and keeps the throat moist, reducing irritation. Drink more than the usual eight glasses of liquid -- from water to tender coconut water, juices or soups.
* Take steam: Inhaling steam two times a day is highly recommended for clearing chest congestion. It helps you breathe easy and clears the nasal passage. Hold your head over a pot of boiling water and inhale gradually through your nose. For effective results, mix a few drops of peppermint or lemon essential oil in the water before taking steam. The antiseptic and anti-viral properties in the essential oils are useful as an expectorant.
* Use a herbal cold balm: Herbal cold balms consist of soothing herbs that help relieve congestion and cold symptoms. Pick one with herbs like eucalyptus, mint and nutmeg that have several therapeutic properties. Eucalyptus helps in decongesting the chest, mint soothes the throat, relieves nasal congestion and nutmeg facilitates the stimulation of blood flow to the area where the balm is applied. Apply it on your forehead, nose and neck every three hours, especially at night before going to bed.
* Gargle twice a day: Salt water gargle is an age-old therapy for cough and sore throat. It will help soothe your throat and loosen the mucus, while also reducing swelling. Just add a pinch of salt and turmeric in hot water and ensure that you adjust the temperature of the water to suit yourself. Do it twice a day and you are sure to feel better.
* Apply hot water bag: A hot water bottle helps in clearing the congestion in the chest. The gentle warmth will help you breathe easy. Fill your hot water bag, wrap it in a thin cloth and rest it between your shoulder blades or your chest. You can rub a balm before resting the bottle on yourself for effective results.