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Beating the Common Cold: Kitchen Pharmacy - Part 1

Author: Sonia Velarsan, RD Based on the webinar by Dr. Madhumitha Krishnan, BAMS, M.D.

Are you tired of reaching for over-the-counter cold remedies every time a sniffle or cough strikes? Ayurveda makes several suggestions for symptomatic relief. Relieve chronic discomfort of a runny nose and sore throat with these options suggested by Dr. Madhumitha Krishnan.

This is the first part of our two-part Kitchen Pharmacy series, offering simple self-care choices that are easy to prepare.

1. Camphor, Elaichi, and Lavang to clear congestion and sore throat

Ayurveda has long celebrated the therapeutic properties of camphor, elaichi (cardamom), and lavang (cloves). These aromatic spices have the power to clear congestion and soothe a sore throat. Camphor, for instance, possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can alleviate discomfort. Cardamom and cloves are packed with antioxidants, which may boost your immune system to fight off colds. A warm tea made from these ingredients can work wonders.

Warm tea using cardamom, cinnamon, dried ginger , black pepper, honey to clear congestion and cold
Clears congestion and cold

2. Nutmeg – Balancing Kapha & Vata Dosha

Imbalanced doshas, especially kapha, and vata, can make you more susceptible to colds. Nutmeg, with its warming properties, can help balance these doshas. It is good for cough and cold. To incorporate it into your diet, simply add a pinch of nutmeg, along with whole black pepper and bay leaf, to flavor rice, rice pilaf, or savory soups.

3. Ajwain (Carom Seeds) – External Application for Wheezing and Decoction

For those suffering from wheezing during a cold, ajwain (carom seeds) can be a game-changer. External application of ajwain can help alleviate wheezing and provide relief.

Ajwain or carom seeds used for external application for wheezing
Alleviates wheezing

Ajwain or carom seeds used to reduce cold and cough
Alleviates cold and cough

4. Ginger for dry cough

While ginger and honey are often combined to alleviate a cough, Ayurveda advises against using this mixture for dry coughs, as it may worsen the condition. Instead, opt for ginger alone. Research supports ginger's anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which can help soothe the throat and reduce irritation.

Ginger decoction or kadha to reduce cough
Alleviates cough

5. Milk with Ginger, Turmeric, and Sugar Candy for cold and sore throat

A classic Ayurvedic remedy for a cold is a warm concoction of milk, ginger, turmeric, and sugar candy (mishri).

Warm ginger turmeric milk with mishri or sugar candy used to reduce the cold, cough, and sore throat. Also promotes sound sleep
Alleviates cold and sore throat

Do share your experience with these solutions! Leave a comment on our blog.

If you're interested in watching the recording of the Kitchen Pharmacy webinar and learning about these remedies, please write to us at

Join us for an upcoming event focusing on "Skin Health and Diet." If you're interested, please take a moment to register.


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