It is seen as something that generally happens when we get colds and flu in the winter months. It doesn't have to be like this! You can stay healthy all winter long using some simple Ayurvedic lifestyle practices. In Ayurveda as the seasons change and cooler damper weather arrives we have several recommendations and practices to keep us healthy and well during these colder darker months. These practices include herbs, cleansing, diet, movement and daily routine. My top tips are below.
Ashwagandha has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to increase energy, improve overall health and reduce inflammation, pain and anxiety. This incredible herb also been associated with reduced inflammation, reduced cancer risks, improved memory and improved immune function. In addition the natural compounds from Ashwagandha have the potential to be an effective novel coronavirus preventive. Take this daily. Stir into porridge or include in a warm milk drink with turmeric and cinnamon (golden milk).
Chywanaprash has been used for centuries in Ayurveda to help maintain good health all year round. This is a great all round tonic containing a combination of 28 of Ayurveda's foremost herbs - including amla or Indian gooseberry, one of the richest sources of natural vitamin C. *Twice daily intake of 1-2 teaspoons of this tasty sweet, tangy jam is an excellent and enjoyable way to good health and vitality. Simply eat straight from the spoon, add to your favourite herbal tea or mix with warm almond or rice milk to make a deliciously tasty drink.
Neem A research study shows that neem has high inhibition against COVID-19 Main Protease, which is the central enzyme that allows the virus to replicate and infect other human cells. is said to have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal properties. Neem is one of the most popular antioxidants, which prevents cell damage. It is an excellent habit to get into taking it for one or two weeks at a time when the body may be vulnerable to disease, such as at the change of season in Northern Europe.
Food Foods to avoid, all dairy (milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt), uncooked fruit, tropical fruit (bananas, mango, avocado), salads, smoothies, iced drinks. Foods to include, soups, root vegetables (sweet potato, squash, beetroot, parsnip), leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard), pulses, whole grains, gentle spices such as cumin, cinnamon. turmeric, coriander, fennel.
Jala Neti This practice of pouring saline water through the nose is incredibly helpful all year round, but particularly during cold and flu season. Jala means water, and neti is the technique, which uses a neti pot (like a tiny watering can). It’s helpful to chat to someone experienced in this before trying it. (Interestingly this is now also something often ‘prescribed’ by western medical practitioners with a saline nasal spray).
Cleansing breathing or 'Kriyas' It is recommended that these are done every morning on waking, after scraping the tongue and brushing the teeth. For more detailed information please contact me and also see the video on the members page of this website. (Contact me to receive the password for this)
Daily routine, practise a good routine in the way of Ayurvedic Dinacharya
Movement. During this time the Vata and then Kapha doshas increase. Gentle walking outdoors in nature is grounding for Vata yet energising for Kapha. We need to practice Yoga that keeps our circulation moving, and that is also grounding, so slow but active is how we are aiming to be. The winter is naturally a time to rest and be slower, so we need to allow ourselves that, without becoming stagnant.
All of the above are offered from my own personal practice and experience. It was felt by several people that it would be helpful to share. If anything is unclear or you wish to discuss please connect with me. Wishing you a happy and healthy winter! Be the change you wish to see.