Comforting Herbal Infusions For Self-Healing And Stronger Immunity

Whether it’s your grandparents or that distant aunt who claims that herbal is the way to go, there’s no denying the power of simple infusions and home remedies for better immunity. Here are some powerful herbal concoctions for all your woes!

By D Tejaswi
09 Nov 2022

Got a lingering cough that won’t go away? You’re not the only one, as cooler temperatures cause viruses and bacteria to spread. While it’s easier to pop a pill for every ache and pain, your body pays a price sooner or later for manic pill popping. Turns out, it's wiser to follow your grandmother’s advice and reach into your kitchen cabinet for home remedies to ease minor winter inconveniences like a cold or a cough.

Herbal remedies have been an integral part of multi-generational Indian homes, and whether it’s a spoon of ghee or a tulsi tonic, they do tend to work most of the time. There’s plenty of research on the benefits of turmeric, ginger and other Indian herbs, so it's safe to embrace our time-tested healing tonics.

Herbal infusions made with spices, herbs, leaves, roots or dried petals can build your immunity and longevity. From children to elderly, these very palatable immunity and health boosters keep seasonal infections at bay.


Here is what you should stock up on to have an easier winter:

1. Banish Common Colds with a Tulsi and Ginger Tonic

A healthy mix of tulsi and ginger is one of the ayurveda’s valuable resources. Ancient wisdom suggests that tulsi is helpful for the body, mind, and spirit that offers solutions to health problems including cough and cold. Tulsi tastes hot and bitter that normalises kapha and vata. On the other hand, ginger is known for its immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties that help treat symptoms of a cold.

This rich and harmonious blend of tulsi and ginger brings your tastebuds to life and functions as your natural immunity booster, breath freshener and alleviator of cold and cough.

For a perfect brew, bring 150 ml water to boil. Add 10-12 tulsi leaves, one teaspoon of grated ginger and a pinch of pepper powder to the hot water. Boil the ingredients for 5 minutes and let the solution cool down a bit before you have a flavourful cup of this immunity boosting herbal infusion.

Another healthy substitute for this herbal infusion is to add dry ginger instead of fresh ginger. Dry ginger is easier to digest than fresh ginger. Ayurvedic doctor Rekha Radhamony, a graduate of ayurvedic medicine (BAMS), recommends drinking this herbal tonic first thing in the morning to alleviate cold.


Rub Eucalyptus Oil For Coughs

Plant-based oils containing bioactive components help you to foundationally treat the ailment and build immunity in the long term. To relieve cough and cold, one of the tried and tested methods is to use eucalyptus oil. To use this, either add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to 30 ml of carrier oil and rub the composition onto the chest and throat or add diluted eucalyptus oil to the boiling water and inhale the steam. Note that while the oil is safe for adults, it should not be administered to children under 2 years.

You can also try to relieve your common cold through a steam inhalation with fresh pudina (mint) leaves or ajwain (caraway seeds) once a day. This bolsters your immunity against cold, says the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India.


Related Story: Grandma’s Remedy for Healing a Cold Quickly : Besan ka Sheera


2. Drink Triphala For Acid Reflux And Constipation

Triphala, a powerful digestive concoction made from 3 fruits namely amalaki (Indian gooseberry), bibhitaki (baheda) and haritaki (myrobalan), can be your go-to to tame gastrointestinal disorders. As per Ayurveda, triphala syrup has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that help treat acid reflux, constipation, and weak immunity. A 2011 study published in The Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences corroborates the gastro-positive effect of triphala syrup.

To treat constipation, take 1 teaspoon of triphala with lukewarm water before bed. To strengthen your immune system, take triphala syrup with honey in the morning after eating something simple. But taking it on a daily basis could be tough on your digestive system, and isn’t recommended for everyone.


Diffuse Ginger And Lavender Oil For Better Digestion

Various studies suggests that ginger and lavender essential oils may relieve heartburn. The scents of these oils are calming and relaxing making it easier to deal with symptoms of an agitated digestive system.

You should use a diffuser to use ginger or lavender oil. If you don't have a diffuser, dab a cotton ball with a few diluted drops of carrier oil (almond, coconut, jojoba) and inhale. Start by putting 15 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil for controlled inhalation. On the other hand, use 3 to 6 drops of essential oil per 6 teaspoons of carrier oil for children. Keep in mind that you should never take essential oils orally due to the high concentration of compounds in pure essential oils that cause significant poisoning.


3. Use Basil, Clove and Marshmallow Herbal Water For Skin Irritation

Even if you have good skin throughout the year, the colder months may cause you to get a winter rash. While the condition is common and can often recur year after year, you can control the rash by drinking herbal water flavoured with marshmallow root.

To prepare this water, boil 2 cups of water. Add 1/4 teaspoon marshmallow root, 2 pinches of Indian sarsaparilla, 2 leaves of basil, 1 piece of clove, and 1 black peppercorn. Marshmallow’s root has antibacterial properties that help treat all skin infections and rashes, finds Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 2015. Sarsaparilla contains saponin, a chemical that helps control skin itching. The extra flavourful and helpful combination of basil and clove brings in antioxidants to the tea. So, sip this water throughout your day to cleanse impurities from the body and get healthier skin.


Dab Tea Tree Oil To Soothe Skin Irritation

According to a 2006 research from the American Society of Microbiology, tea tree oil has antibacterial characteristics that may help heal irritated skin. When applying tea tree oil directly to the skin, you should always dilute it in the ratio of 1:12 with your moisturiser. You should preferably apply the mixture to the affected area after you take your shower or bath, however you should avoid the area around your eyes.


4. Sip Chamomile Tea For Headaches

The calming properties of chamomile tea ease tension headaches. Research, as per Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, 2018 says that lack of sleep and sleep disturbances are associated with an increased risk of chronic tension-type headaches. Chamomile promotes restful sleep and helps with insomnia. It contains apigenin, an antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain that may promote sleepiness and reduce insomnia.

To make a cup of chamomile tea, bring water to a boil. Once boiled, place the chamomile flowers in a glass/teapot and cover them with a lid. Allow it to steep for 4-5 minutes. Then strain the tea from the pot, and sweeten with some honey. Drinking 1-2 cups of chamomile tea every day is safe. Studies find that chamomile is a mild sedative that seems to be safe for children of all ages.


Apply Peppermint Oil For Migraines

One of the most popular essential oils for treating headaches and migraine attacks is peppermint oil. It contains menthol, which alleviates pain and relaxes muscles. A study conducted on 41 patients with tension-type headaches found a significant improvement when they used peppermint oil across the forehead and temples. “A 10 per cent peppermint oil in ethanol solution significantly reduced the clinical headache intensity just after 15 minutes of application,” finds Der Nervenartz, a German journal.

There are several ways to use peppermint oil to treat tension headaches some of which include putting a few drops in the bath, inhaling peppermint oil with steam, and adding it to your massage oil. To begin with, you should start out using peppermint oil in a diluted ratio of 1:4 with carrier oils such as sweet almond oil, argan oil, or jojoba oil.


5. Awaken With Orange or Cinnamon Tea

If you find yourself sleeping through multiple morning alarms or secretly snoozing midday, there’s a good chance you need healthy herbal teas to fatigue at bay. Orange tea, rich in vitamin C, combats both physical and mental fatigue.

Mix a cup of squeezed orange juice with a tablespoon of honey and hot water. Just sip-in when you feel tired.

Alternatively, try hot cinnamon tea. Cinnamon is a remarkable stimulant against tiredness. You can prepare this tea by simply dipping two cinnamon sticks in about 180 ml of water and bringing it to a boil. Next, turn off the heat and let the ingredients macerate for 15 minutes.


Treat Mental Fatigue With Lemon Essential Oil

The potassium in lemons allows more oxygen to reach the brain, finds Scientific Reports, 2019, thus uplifting your mood and refreshing your mind to provide relief from mental fatigue. You can safely use lemon essential oil by diffusing it. Simply place 3 or 4 drops of lemon oil in the diffuser of your choice. Make sure you limit your aromatherapy session to not more than 30 minutes after which you may suffer from olfactory fatigue (temporary, normal inability to distinguish a particular odor).


Related Story: 6 Scents That Have The Power To Heal









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