The following article has been written to educate people on the reasons and conditions under which they can suffer an attack of flu or cold. Also, an article has been taken from a website to give you details of Swine Flu as viewed by modern science.
A detailed understanding of the reasons and symptoms of flu and colds have been given from an Ayurvedic perspective giving details of how to ward of these symptoms and prevent them from affecting your system. Lastly, a few effective home remedy formulations along with the names of Asanas and pranayamas have been mentioned that will help in warding off any possibility of flu or cold in your system.
It is very important to understand the symptoms to understand the cause that can cause this ailment. The source of the information about Swine Flu is taken from Web WD.com (http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-guide/20061101/swine-flu-faq)
THE OPINION OF MODERN SCIENCE
What are swine flu symptoms?
Symptoms of swine flu are like regular flu symptoms and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Many people with swine flu have had diarrhea and vomiting. Nearly everyone with flu has at least two of these symptoms.
What are the Flu Symptoms?
Flu — whether seasonal flu or swine flu — is an acute respiratory infection caused by a variety of flu viruses. At least so far, the symptoms of swine flu have been quite similar to the signs of the average seasonal flu. Like seasonal flu, pandemic swine flu can cause neurologic symptoms in children. These events are rare, but, as cases associated with seasonal flu have shown, they can be very severe and often fatal. Symptoms include seizures or changes in mental status (confusion or sudden cognitive or behavioral changes). It’s not clear why these symptoms occur, although they may be caused by Reye’s syndrome. Reye’s syndrome usually occurs in children with a viral illness who have taken aspirin — something that should always be avoided.
How are flu symptoms different from symptoms with colds?
Unlike symptoms of a common cold, flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. Whether seasonal flu or swine flu, it usually starts with the abrupt onset of fever, headache, fatigue, and body aches. Here’s a list of flu symptoms you might feel:
- fever (usually high)
- severe aches and pains in the joints and muscles and around the eyes
- generalized weakness
- ill appearance with warm, flushed skin and red, watery eyes
- dry cough
- sore throat and watery discharge from your nose
Seasonal influenza is not normally associated with gastrointestinal symptoms, like diarrhea and vomiting, at least not in adults. However, these symptoms appear to be more common with swine flu.
What are common flu symptoms in children?
Typical signs of seasonal or swine flu in children include high-grade fever up to 104 degrees F (40 degrees C), chills, muscle aches, headaches, sore throat, dry cough, and just plain feeling sick. Swine flu may also cause vomiting and diarrhea. These flu symptoms usually last for 3 to 4 days, but cough and tiredness may linger for up to 2 weeks after the fever has gone away. Other family members or close contacts often have a similar illness.
It has been suggested that a drug called OSELTAMIVIR Generic Name: oseltamivir (os el TAM ih veer), Brand Names: Tamiflu, to combat the ailment. Please go through the following link to get the details of the drug as well as its side effects;
ALLERGIES, COLDS AND FLU – AN AYURVEDIC PERSPECTIVE
Before you begin to understand the Ayurvedic perspective, its important understand that the science of Ayurveda believes in the process of following the Biological clock as a discipline. So, please do not resort to replacing modern medicine with Ayurvedic medicines without changing your lifestyle and other habits as mentioned below. Ayurveda has powerful remedies for virtually every other ailment or disease as it effectively controls energy patterns and increases the immunity of the body.
Ayurveda, the most ancient and trusted system of natural medicine understands that although allergens such as pollen, dust, and dander trigger symptoms in susceptible people, they are definitely not the primary cause of allergies. Instead it is the accumulation of ama (toxic) and low immunity.
CONTROL OVER WHAT YOU EAT
The improperly digested foods (ama), and impurities, along with the chemical additives such as preservatives, permitted and non-permitted colours, artificial sweetners, strong masalas that may not be necessarily palatable which are absorbed into the body, travel through the circulation and lodge in the respiratory tissues, skin and other tissues prone to allergy. These accumulated wastes and toxins block the channels, trapping the toxins inside the tissues, and activating the immune system.
When this toxics material (or toxins) when interacting with the Skin, can cause rashes, itching, burning sensations and discoloration. If the respiratory tract is involved, sneezing, inflammation and excessive mucous drainage occurs and if the tissue of the digestive tract are involved, diarrhea can be the result.
AN IMBALANCE IN ENERGY PATTERNS
Depending on the aggravation of the doshas or the aggravated doshas already present at the time of this aggravation, the quality and type of allergy can be ascertained along with the origin of the cause of the allergy. This will vary from individual to individual as well as depending on the nature and extent of aggravation of the doshas. Determining the specific aggravated dosha and the affected organs as a result will help in accurately determining the treatment plan.
An understanding of the aggravated dosha and the resultant symptom as a result of its imbalance is mentioned hereunder. The list is exhaustive but a reference is made for gaining a better understanding of the subject.
HOW DOSHAS INDEPENDENTLY EXPRESS THEIR OWN SYMPTOMS
Aggravated Vata dosha and its corresponding allergic reactions may present with symptoms like dry cough with dry phlegm, Constriction of the Diaphragm along with breathing difficulty, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, Joints ans muscular pain, tightness and spasms, cramps in the stomach and muscles, Irregular digestion and elimination of Bowels, Constipation, Dandruff.
Aggravated Pitta Dosha and its corresponding allergic reactions may present with symptoms like Inflammation of the lung, Bleeding in the lungs, Excessive formation of Green to yellow mucus, Yellowing of Reddening of eyes, burning eyes, rashes with inflammation and bleeding under the skin, Excessive formation of Bile, Migraines caused due to excessive formation of bile, Pus formation, Bleeding through the nose, Deep pain in the muscles, Burning pain in the nerves (Which causes herpes if the symptoms goes untreated for a prolonged period due to the damage of nerve tissues), Pain along the shoulders going along the back or inside of the arms, Yellow to yellowish Green loose stool, Bleeding through the rectum, piles, and irritation with itching. This can get worse when the temperature becomes hotter, especially in summer.
Aggravated Kapha Dosha and its corresponding allergic reactions may present with symptoms like feeling of Dullness and lethargy, feeling bloated and heavy, Heaviness in the head leading to excessive sleepiness, Slow digestion, excessive generation of mucus in the stomach and intestines leading to malabsorption of nutrition,These symptoms will worsen as the rainy season begins or when winter begins fade away.
In Ayurveda, allergies accompanied with any of the associated symptoms depending on the specific type of Doshic imbalance are specific to the individual’s constitution as prevailing at the time of diagnosis through Nadi Pariksha. But the treatment by far involves 4 very important steps common to all of these symptoms and doshic imbalances. these are:
1. Increasing the Digestive fire to burn up the toxins (ama)
2. Detoxify the body and increase the immune system.
3. Reprogramme the Dietary regimen to support the burning up of food and to aid in the proper assimilation of nutrients thereby giving strength to the body. This also helps in one way to balance the energies through food.
WHERE AND HOW WE BECOME RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR INFECTIONS
We weaken our immune system because of our own action performed either in ignorance or as a result of our indulging in satisfying our sense pleasures.
Our actions like Eating at odd times, Emotional eating, Eating wrong food combinations, Working late hours into the night, Sleeping late, and Weak emotional capabilities leading to expressions of Anger, Continuous exposure to stressful situations, Hate, Fear, Lust, Greed etc weaken the body’s immune system.
All the actions that one indulges in rob one of the vital essence of our energy called “Ojas” the primary fluid or life energy. This helps in energizing all the cells in our body, maintains healthy cellular intelligence and keeps our whole being in good shape, both physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Ojas is formed as a result of the well digested and assimilated food in a well maintained metabolic heat in the body. Along with the formation of the Rasa Dhatu (nutrition derived from the assimilated food that helps in forming healthy Plasma to form blood, Ojas helps in maintaining healthy balance of energies in the body and also builds up immunity.
By indulging in unhealthy activities of both Body and Mind, both Ojas and the Rasa dhatu get depleted as they are in short supply. The net result is the body succumbing to ailments. By regulating our lifestyle, our fod habits and following certain essential guidelines of Ayurveda common to all constitution types, we can be assured of Good health and a long and Blissful Life.
It is very essential for us to frequently detoxify ourselves to eliminate toxins from the body, maintain the health and life our tissues and also to enjoy good emotionally balanced states of mind. This goes to make us successful human beings.
Regular exercise, Staying away from stressful situations, not indulging in emotionally and physically draining situations like gossiping, continuous chatter, and not indulging in uncontrolled lustfully driven passions, we can become a very effective and a powerful battery that conserves energy and also maintains our health.
RESPONSIBLE “ACTIONS” THAT HELP IN MAINTAINING GOOD HEALTH AND PREVENT COLDS, FLU AND OTHER ALLERGIC REACTIONS IN THE BODY.
- Wake with the sun (or before sunrise) – By getting up early, you tune in to nature’s Biological clock. Also, at the right time, you absorb the ultra violet rays of the sun that help in energizing the cells of your body as well as balance and energizing your chakras.
- Jala Neti (Sinus cleansing with warm salt water) – This helps in de-clogging the sinus passages. The kriya also helps in preventing the onset of any infection and helps in proper breathing.
- Ensure proper bowel movement at the right time – Its important to have proper bowel movement at the right time rather than at any time during the day. Ideally, bowel movement should happen before 7 in the morning. This helps in properly eliminating all toxins from the system INCLUDING EXCESS MUCUS and allows for consuming a good breakfast. (Drink 2 glasses of warm salt water mixed with 1-2 pinches of Salt to help in proper elimination of bowels). It’s also important to chew and eat your food to form a homogeneous paste that is later on excreted after all the nutrition is absorbed from the chime.
- Perform Yoga asanas and Pranayamas – These are healthy psycho-physiological practices that help in balancing the body-mind complex and also help in energizing our cells with Prana (life force) and open up energy channels thereby making our organs, our tissues work well. Also, they help in improving circulation, tone up our digestive system, improve metabolism and increase our Ojas tremendously.
- Include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables daily in your Diet – .Depending on your constitution, eat lots of fruits and freshly cooked vegetables. Fruits are pre-digested food and carry a lot of prana in them that is directly absorbed by the body. The body therefore does not have to spend extra energy in digesting food. Fresh vegetables, well cooked help in the absorption of all the nutrition it can provide. Together, both these foods help in enhancing the nutrition that goes to our body and increases our immunity.
- Eat at regular intervals and have the last meal (supper early) – Its important to maintain fixed times to have your food. This discipline helps in releasing the right quantity of enzymes for digesting food. The body also gets accustomed to expecting food at fixed times thereby allowing us to eat the optimum quantity of food thereby preventing us from over eating.
- Do not eat stale or refrigerated foods – Stale food is devoid of all nutrition. Moreover, the cells in the food have begun to deteriorate and will produce toxins in the system. Thus this kind of food only helps in adding on toxins in your system rather than providing nutrition.
- Do not drink water or eat sweets with food – Drinking water with food reduces the metabolic heat in your body. Also, the enzymes get diluted leading to lack of proper digestion of food. Sweets are alkaline in nature and prevent the acids from working on the food you have consumed. Thus food is not broken down into nutrition and gets converted to toxins. Moreover, excess mucus is released as a result of the acids getting into the intestines and irritating its walls. This excess mucus occupies the lungs and sinus pockets thereby providing the right environments for colds and flu to set in.
- Get regular exercises – This helps in increasing body’s circulation and also helps in effectively fighting ailments in the system. Also all muscles and joints get properly used and lubricated thereby proper distribution of energy takes place.
- Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of plain water daily – .Drinking water hydrates tissues, helps in maintaining the consistency of blood, helps in maintaining the metabolic heat, helps in transporting nutrition effectively all over the body and also helps in elimination toxins out of the body.
- Remain Calm and Composed – its important maintain a mental equilibrium to enjoy sustained and balanced energy levels. Try to detach yourself from your emotions and perceptions. Look at things as they are rather than the way you would want to look at them. This will definitely help you to gain new perspectives on both existing as well as new situations and circumstances.
- Go to bed by 10 or 11 pm – This practice is the most important as it helps in allowing the body to recover its energies effectively and allows all the agitated energies to settle down. The organs of digestion and assimilation also get enough rest thereby allowing working to their most optimum levels every day
ARE YOU GETTING A COLD OR FLU?
These are following safe home remedies “apart from the procedures mentioned above” that can help in preventing or aggravating your symptoms.
- Gargle your throat with a mixture of 1/3rd tsp of Turmeric + 1-2 pinches of Salt. Do this early in the morning on empty stomach and also a couple of times during the day.
- Enjoy a hot cup of Tulsi + Pudina tea in the morning. This will act as an immunity booster as well as detoxify your body. For specific constitutions, additions can be suggested depending on your current constitution and nature of your currently prevailing symptoms for the tea to have maximum effect.
- Drink 3 tablespoons of the decoction of Pudina (Mint) leaves mixed with 2 pinches of Yeshtimadhu (Licorice) powder 2 times a day, before meals. Alternately, you can also consume 3 tablespoons of Aloe Vera juice mixed with 10 – 15 drops of freshly extracted Ginger juice + 1/3rd teaspoon of Yeshtimadhu (Licorice) powder.
- To evacuate your bowels and also help in eliminate mucus and other toxins out of your system, mix 1 tsp of Triphala powder mixed with 1/5th teaspoon of Haritaki powder in 150 ml of warm to slightly hot water. Consume it at night 20 minutes before you go to bed.
YOGIC KRIYAS TO WARD OFF COLD AND FLU
Its important to perform a couple of Kriyas early in the morning to keep your body absolutely healthy and disease free.
Please note that neither Yoga nor Ayurveda can work in exclusion. They need to be adopted as a part of an existing discipline or should be modified as suggested above. If not done this way, their results will be short lived till the time you perform them.
- Prepare 1 ½ to 2 litres of water by adding 2 – 2 ½ pinches of common salt into it. Warm the water. Drink the water by squatting on the floor on sitting on a very low stool. Soon after you have consumed the water, stand up, bend forward, place a palm just below your navel (under the lower abdomen) and gently nudge upwards. Simultaneously, put one to two finger indide your throat and tickle it. You will automatically start vomiting water. This will help in eliminating all the toxins, excess mucus and excel bile along with undigested food from your stomach
- Perform Jal Neti ( as described earlier – above)
Either get into an asana routine that caters more to increasing the functioning and opening up of the diaphragm and improving the capacity of the lungs like Bhujangasana (vary your breathe to accommodate to the posture if you have a sensitive lower back), Matsyasana, Sarpasana, Ushtrasana (only if you do not have a weak lower back), Dhanurasana, Trikonasana,
- Before you start practicing asanas, its very important to increase the diapraghmic function by practicing the Full Yogic Breathe.
- Practice Kapala bhati (under supervision if you are a new student). , Surya Bheda, Suryaloma, Chandra Bheda, Chandraloma, Anuloma Viloma etc. (Kapala bhati should not be practiced if you are a patient of either High blood pressure, Excessive stress, High anxiety, Hypertension, Heart problems), etc.
- Bhastrika pranayama should be practiced under supervision only and should be avoided if all the above mentioned symptoms are present.
Note: In a lot of cases, Kapalabhati pranayama is practiced wrongly leading to the weakening of the diaphragmic movement, weakening of the lungs and the build up of mucus and blocking of energies in the lungs and chest area. Please practice with a good Yoga teacher or a Yoga therapist.