Food & Health  

After the scorching summer heat, monsoons are a welcome change. It is also a season, however, for respiratory tract infections, cholera, typhoid, diarrhoea, malaria, dengue fever, asthma and more.

According to traditional ayurveda, ‘what heals also prevents.’ Various herbs have properties to fight against infections. Here’s a list of herbs that will boost your immunity and help fight the diseases and infections common during monsoon:

* Basil or tulsi contains phyto chemicals, bioflavonols and anti-oxidants compounds such as Rosmarinic Acid, which is a very good anti microbial agent for treating infections in the respiratory tract. It also provides relief from chest congestion by dilating the airways in the lungs. One of the easiest and most convenient ways of boosting your immunity is to have one to two cups of tulsi tea daily. The hot tea neutralises the cold coming into your body from the external environment and regulates your internal temperature.

* Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and is great for boosting immunity. Include it in your food and add it to hot milk and drink it every night.

* Triphala, a combination of three herbs (amla, beheda, harde), is a potent antioxidant. This aids digestive capability of the body which tends to go down during monsoon. Moreover, amla is the richest source of vitamin C, which reduces the severity of cold and makes the immune system stronger. Beheda helps in curing cough and clearing congestion. It also controls loose motions and cures diarrhoea. Gargling with the decoction of harde powder can soothe the throat. Harde is also a digestive aid.

* Licorice is associated with curing respiratory issues since ancient times. It’s one of the finest cures for cold, sore throat and related problems.

* Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-protozoal properties. It helps in relieving stubborn coughs and clearing mucus that blocks the lungs. The anti-viral and anti-bacterial property of garlic is attributed to the compound “Allicin”, which gives it the hot and strong flavour. The compound “Ajoene” present in garlic helps in controlling bacterial and viral infections. In addition, it also works as a natural preventive measure for cancer, more specifically colon cancer. It is also used for treating muscle cramps and pain.

* Ginger contains anti-inflammatory gingerols and shaogals. It helps relieve a sore throat quickly, and also kills rhinoviruses that cause respiratory infections.

* Cinnamon helps in treating sore throat, colds and cough. A nice warm cup of cinnamon tea can heal throat irritation, itching and can prevent the approach of an impending cold effectively.

* Pepper is added to tonics for treating cold and cough. Pepper also provides relief from sinusitis and nasal congestion. It has an expectorant property that helps to break up the mucus and phlegm depositions in the respiratory tract. Its natural irritant quality helps you expel these loosened materials through the act of sneezing or coughing, which eliminates the material from the body and helps you to heal from infection or illness.



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