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winter therapies

Ayurveda Guide For The Winter

Got the flu? Winter is called the flu season, the cold season, and the season when people fall ill by contagious diseases. In winter, the sky is often cloudy, the weather is cold, damp and heavy and life even in the cities moves slowly. According to Ayurveda this season is the “Season of Kapha” when balanced kapha supplies strength, vigor, and stability to body and mind this subtle energy is responsible for lubricating joints, moisturising skin, and maintaining immunity, but in excess it can lead to sluggishness, mucus related diseases and excess weight.

Winter doesn't have to be like this. In fact, it is the best season to improve immunity. Winter does not have to weaken you if you know how to strengthen your immunity. Immunity can be hereditary (immunity that you are born with), seasonal (fluctuates according to seasons) or planned. In the latter one can enhance the immunity by dietary and lifestyle changes and herbal decoctions.

Winter is the ideal time to enhance immunity as digestion is better in cold weather, thus providing more nourishment to the body.  Foods that enhance immunity are vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Foods with preservatives, fast foods, deep-fried foods, cold foods and cold drinks reduce the effectiveness of immunity building herbal preparations. 

Late nights and irregular eating habits affect digestion. Since nights are longer try sleeping early as the body requires more rest. During winter one does not have to get up early, (not beyond 7am) as you normally would in other seasons.

Your morning routine could be like this:
Upon awakening, scrape the tongue to remove toxic buildup and to improve circulation to the visceral organs.
Brush your teeth with toothpaste made from heating herbs such as cinnamon, clove, bilva, and haritaki.
Next, drink a cup of warm water to stimulate a bowel movement.
Take an oil massage or do a self massage with sesame oil.  Let the oil soak in for about 20 minutes and then take a hot shower. Never forget to apply oil on your head (moordha taila).
A massage is good for stimulating the body organs, removing impurities and building resistance to stress and disease. A mixture of flours of yellow gram (channa), green gram (moong), fenugreek seeds (methi) in equal proportion is the best herbal scrub which can be used to remove the oil. This mixture prevents the washing of natural oil from skin.

Foods for winter: For breakfast have stewed apples, pears, and dates, stirred into hot cereal cooked with some warming spices (allspice, basil, black pepper, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek, fresh ginger, green chili, mustard, nutmeg, rock salt, rosemary, and turmeric) and herbal tea made of cinnamon, clove, ginger, and black pepper. An ayurvedic breakfast tends to release the energy slowly so that a complex meal is digested fully by lunch time.
One special formulation is called Chywanaprash, which can be taken daily to strengthen the lungs and boost the immune system. This delicious herbal jam acts to rejuvenate all the body tissues, increasing strength and virility, as well as alleviating respiratory conditions.
The ayurvedic lunch is well cooked. It is made from fresh ingredients. Dining on small portions of 5 or 6 dishes is considered ideal. Kichadi (ki-ch-ree) is good as it is nutritional, suits all doshas and is very easy to digest. 
Dinner should be lighter than lunch and should ideally be eaten before 8:00 p.m.

Home remedies for winter: If you have recurrent colds, or a persistent cold, you may also want to try trikatu made of ginger, black pepper and long pepper. These spices act to dry up mucous and clear channels. It is traditionally taken with raw honey which aids in clearing mucous. It should not be taken if you are pregnant or suffering from the effects of aggravated Pitta dosha (eg: heartburn, hyperacidity or stomach ulcers). Finally, turmeric is a potent natural antibiotic and can be used all respiratory tract infections. Boil half a cup of water with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, add a little milk (or almond milk) then use as a gargle.
Add some honey in milk and apply this mixture over the face, neck, hands and legs and keep for fifteen minutes before washing it off. Applying honey on the skin is also effective in winter dryness, as it gives moisturizer to the skin. Applying cold milk with the help of cotton ball over the skin is also effective and gives relief from the irritation of the skin.
Mix pulp of mango, grape, banana, cucumber and avocado and add some honey in it. Then apply this mixture over the skin and wash it off after 20 minute. This is also very effective in the treatment of winter dryness.
Chapped lips are a very common skin problem, especially in cold, dry winters. Common signs of chapped lips include redness, dryness, sensitive, cracking, splitting, peeling, and pain. It is very essential to keep the lips soft and moist. One of the main causes of dry lips is lack of water in the body. That is why it is necessary to keep the body hydrated. Drink lots of water to keep the body moist which in turn can keep the skin soft and supple. Increase your water intake during winter to keep your lips look fresh. For chapped lips rub aloe vera juice, cucumber juice, neem extract on your dry lips. You can also try applying clarified butter or milk cream at night.
Crush rose petals in glycerin or in milk. Make a paste and apply this on your lips. This helps to retain the pink color of the lips and also the lost moisture.
Put some honey on your lips let it dry for a few seconds. Then apply some Vaseline or petroleum jelly on top of the lips and leave for 10-15 minutes. Finally, use some warm water to remove the honey and Vaseline. Do this for a week once in a day and you will get rid of chapped lips.
Apply a small amount of coconut oil to the lips many times in a day, particularly when the weather is cold and dry.

For hair care allow your hair to dry naturally in winter. Do not go out with wet hair. This encourages splitting of hair. Limit the use of blow driers and curling iron. Cover your hair with a scarf or cap or hat. Take care not to wear too tight scarf, hat or cap. This restricts circulation to scalp. Always wash your hair with warm or cool water. Hot water shower damages skin and hair. Massage your hair with aloe Vera juice. This replenishes moisture. Aloe Vera hair style gels are best choice
 
     
 
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