Simple ayurvedic remedies can be very effective in preventing various winter ailments. These remedies can be easily prepared at home and, the good thing is, they have no side effects. Most of us, during winter, live with uncomfortable dry skin or nasty cold that sometimes become very difficult to cure. But did you know that ayurveda can not only treat the external symptoms of such ailments but also cure the underlying causes as well?
Ayurvedic physician, Dr Vivek Gupta says that according to ayurveda there are three basic energies of life and one always dominates the others. ‘Vata’, which means the wind, has sensory qualities such as dryness, coolness, roughness, lightness and unsteadiness. During the beginning of winter season and the end of autumn, the temperature begins to cool down, leaves dry up, and your entire surrounding mixes with ‘vata’. “As a result, ‘vata’ in your body also gets aggravated and your entire circulatory system gets affected. Your arteries, capillaries and even nerves become dry,” he says. The Week caught up with Dr Gupta to find out what can be done to lead a healthy and comfortable winter and also had him share some homemade cures for various winter ailments.
“In order to prevent your skin from getting dry and chapped, limit your exposure to ‘vata’ qualities in the environment and increase exposure to those elements that are opposite of ‘vata’,” says Gupta.
In order to keep your skin healthy, you should pamper e it with warm and smooth substances. One of the best recommended solutions for dry skin by ayurveda is a warm oil massage. Warm oil is exactly opposite of ‘vata’ and it can do wonders for dry skin. “A warm oil massage is not only good for your skin but it is also beneficial for your mental health. It will keep you relaxed, stress free, and will enhance your concentration power,” says Dr Gupta.
Another good way of keeping your skin healthy is by reducing the amount of coffee you drink in winter. “Caffeine usually upsets the ‘vata’ in your system causing capillaries of your skin to dilate and constrict unnaturally. So it is better to consume warm water or warm milk throughout the day. This will help you keep your skin healthy from within,” says Dr Gupta. “You may also have warm soups or stew. Do not hesitate to have small portions of ghee n during winter as it will help in keeping your skin smooth. 5-10ml of coconut or almond oil in milk for adults and 1-2 ml for children is also good for health. Walnuts are also an easy source of healthy fats and are extremely good for your skin,” he adds.
The best way to treat chapped or parched face is by using cow’s milk and rose water. “You first need to boil pure cow’s milk in a small pot and let a layer of skin form on top of the milk. Remove the skin and place it in a small bowl. Add few drops of rose water as soon as it cools down and mix it into a paste,” says Dr Gupta. This smooth paste can now be applied to dry face or chapped lips. According to Dr Gupta, this simple cream will deep nourish your skin if you keep it on for 30 minutes to an hour.
You may also use almond and warm water to keep your skin smooth and glowing. “The fatty acids present in almonds are extremely nourishing for your face and this paste is easy to prepare as well. All you have to do it grind a few almonds and keep it in a jar. Take one tablespoon of this almond powered and mix it with water and apply it on your face in a circular motion,” says Dr Gupta. This will help exfoliate dead cells and enhance blood circulation on your face as well.
Applying aloe vera paste, bitter groud and honey on your face and leaving it for 15 minutes can moisturize dry skin. Applying 2-3 drops of mustard oil in your naval before going for a bath can be a great cure for chapped lips. Also applying pure ghee, butter, or coconut oil on your skin can do wonders.
Cracked and swollen feet
There are various ways to cure cracked or swollen feet in ayurveda but one of the simplest ways according to Dr Gupta is to clean your feet with warm water and massage it with warm oil at night. You may use castor, coconut, mustard or almond oil. After that wear cotton socks and leave it overnight. “This will help keep your feet supple and smooth,” say Dr Gupta.
Another simple way to treat cracked feet is to make a paste of Neem leaves and mix it with turmeric powder. Apply the paste on your feet and leave it for half an hour. Then wash your feet thoroughly with warm water.
To reduce feet swelling during winter, Dr Gupta suggests soaking your feet everyday in a mixture of sea salt and lukewarm water. “Also massaging your feet everyday with warm sesame oil can help a lot in reducing the itchiness and swollenness from your feet during winter season,” says Dr Gupta.
Cough and cold
“If you have persistent cold and you are most likely to disturb everyone around you by incessant coughing during winters, then the simplest remedy is to carry clove buds with you. Put at least three clove buds in your mouth when you start coughing and let it work its magic by slowly dissolving in your tongue,” says Dr Gupta.
A mixture of turmeric powder and salt in a glass of warm water for gargling is also great for preventing sore throat. Dr Gupta mentions that this mixture contains anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antiviral properties.
Tulsi, turmeric, and ginger tea is great for fever, cough and flu. “Add tulsi, turmeric and ginger in hot water and boil it for about 10-15 minutes. This is great for preventing or treating cold, cough, or flu,” says Gupta. “Honey with warm water is also extremely good for health,” he adds.
“Mix a tablespoon of turmeric with warm milk and drink it every day before going to bed during winter. This will help prevent as well as cure cold and cough,” concludes Dr Gupta.