Treat that common cold with these grandmother’s recipes

Tis the season to be jolly…

It is also the season to fight blocked noses and irritating cough. But what causes the cold during this seasonal change? Is it just the dip in the temperature? Or is there something more to it? “We’re in hemant ritu (winter) where we tend to eat a lot of kapha aggravating food like sweets, sugar, ghee etc. to cope up with the weather. While these foods are important, the body finds it difficult to digest them which in turn creates aama (un-digested food particles) in the body and that’s the cause of low immunity,” explains Amrita Rana who is a trained Ayurveda practitioner, “There’s a reason we have spices like cardamom, nutmeg etc. in our kheer, gajar ka halwa and even Christmas cakes. They help ease the digestion,” she adds.

Indian kitchens are full of remedies to combat the common cold and where most pills, cough syrups and antibiotics fail, the age old recipes work as magic potions. We scouted through a few kitchens to make a list of grandmother’s recipes.

Ginger and honey
Juice a bit of ginger and mix it with honey; ginger helps reduce kapha in the body and honey has properties that ensure that the effects of ginger travel to the most minute sections of our system. Both ginger and honey being heat-y in nature increase pitta in the body and bring about a balance. However, make sure that you use natural or organic honey and stay away from mass produced ones. You can buy pure organic honey from brands like Zizira Organics, Under The mango Tree etc.

Turmeric or haldi is a mainstay in every Indian kitchen and while it adds colour to the food it’s also a natural antiseptic. Haldi doodh is the most common recipe…yes, we all despised it as kids but it does work wonders. Haldi needs fat to be absorbed by the body and hence it’s mixed with milk or oil.

1. Heat milk, add a pinch of haldi and bring it to boil. Drink up.

2. Heat a little coconut oil, add turmeric to it and let it roast for a few seconds. Let it cool down and add a bit of honey and lemon juice. Down it like a shot.

Kadha or hot infusions
Our first reaction to kadha is ewww! Well, the general idea of a kadha is that it’s a hot, bitter drink. The truth is that kadha means kadha hua – boiled for some time and not necessarily bitter. The most common one is made with tulsi which is rejuvenating and also takes out aama from the body.

1. Boil water with a few tulsi leaves and ginger. Let it cool down. Add honey to it and drink.
2. Boil water with ginger and clove, Let it cool down. Mix in honey and drink.

You can also buy the herbal tea from or Tulsi Mulethi tea from

This is an age old recipe which is still used in a lot of north Indian homes. It looks and tastes a lot like thinned down version of halwa.

Heat a tbsp. of ghee in a pan, add 2 tbsp of besan and roast on low flame, stir constantly. When the besan starts to leave an aroma add 1 tsp raw sugar or a little bit of jaggery. Continue stirring and add a cup of milk once the besan turns brown. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Drink it hot.

Other recipes
1. Boil milk with mulethi and munakka (big brown raisins) and drink it in the night.
2. Parcel a few pinches of ajwain in a muslin cloth, heat it on an iron tava and lightly pat it on the forehead (especially of children) to relieve clogged sinuses.
3. Heat garlic pods in mustard oil and massage on chest, back and feet.

Prevention is better than cure
A few tips and tricks to prevent cold.
1. Avoid kapha inducing food in the evening like yogurt, sweet potato, rice and other foods that have cold potency.
2. Our bodies tend to dry up in this weather both from inside as well as outside. Massage your head, hands and feet with oil (mustard, sesame, olive, coconut) before shower.
3. Eat a lot of greens.

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