Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: November 8, 2023

Ayurveda works by fortifying the body’s defenses against external threats, thus keeping away diseases. Within Ayurveda, it is believed that cough and cold – as all disease and bodily discomfort – are brought about by an imbalance of the three doshas ( Vata, Pitta and Kapha). The treatment objective is pacification of the doshas through the utilization of herbs and a proper diet. Here is a look at some Ayurveda home remedies for the natural treatment of the common cold and cough:

Basil (tulasi) leaves with Tea

The most common Ayurvedic home remedy for common cold and cough is a decoction. By balancing Kapha and Vata, tulasi (holy basil) helps to relieve the pain in the flanks, side of the chest and abdomen. Boil about two cups of water with your favorite tea. Take about 20 fresh leaves of basil, and a slice of fresh ginger (ideally diced into small pieces) and add to the boiling water. Grind a few peppercorns and if available, add fresh neem leaves or neem extract, to this boiling mix. Basil contains essential oils like camphene, eugenol and cineole, which can help relieve feelings chest congestion and loosen mucus. It also possesses potent antibacterial properties. Neem enhances the action by helping boost the body’s response to protect itself. Pepper can provide relief from nasal congestion. It is also a mucolytic that breaks down and expels the mucus and phlegm.

Keep boiling until the mixture becomes half the original quantity and allow it to cool until drinkable. Drink 3-4 times a day to help relieve feelings of congestion and a sore throat. (You can also make a larger batch at the outset and warm as needed). Add a spoon of honey to sweeten it if you find the taste to be bitter. Powdered organic neem, ginger or basil can be substitutes for fresh leaves (or grated ginger).

Basil with Cloves

Ayurveda identifies laung, or cloves, as a Lavanga Kaphapittahara, or one that balances the Kapha and Pitta doshas. Take 10 leaves of Basil and 6 cloves. Grind them in a mortar and pestle before adding them to 100 ml of boiling water. Keep boiling until this mixture is reduced to a half. Add a pinch of rock salt and sip while hot. Drink twice a day for three days. This is believed to relieve nasal and sinus pressure.

Turmeric with Milk

Turmeric is an Ayurvedic go-to, with many therapeutic benefits. A potent antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, turmeric has been used extensively in Ayurveda, especially in the management of cold and cough symptoms. Ayurvedic physicians use turmeric to pacify Vata and Kapha doshas that can cause cold and cough symptoms. Grate fresh turmeric (you can also use a teaspoon of organic turmeric powder) and add to 200 ml of milk. Bring it to a boil and then allow it to cool for a few minutes. Strain the milk (not necessary if you are using turmeric powder) from the turmeric and add a spoon of honey. Sip while hot. The best time to have this is just before bedtime. Drinking this concoction is believed to boost immunity and relieve chest congestion. You can also drink this every day, even when not experiencing cold and cough symptoms, as the combination is loaded with antioxidants and is great for the body.

Honey and Cinnamon

Cinnamon is believed to eliminate the kapha from the respiratory tract by liquefying it. It also balances the Vata and Pitta. In Ayurveda it is classified as a Peenasahara and Kaphakasahara– one that relieves allergic rhinitis and running nose and eliminates phlegm. Take 1.25 grams of cinnamon powder with a tablespoon of honey. Follow this with a glass of warm water. Honey is loaded with vitamins and iron. Combining it with cinnamon is believed to boost the immune system within Ayurveda.

Carom Seeds, Onion and Garlic

This is a combination specifically beneficial for children. Take a couple cloves of garlic, half an onion and a spoon of carom seeds. Grind them together with water until you get a paste of medium thickness. Slightly warm the paste on a pan and apply to the back or chest, and forehead. This balances Kapha and Vata, and increases Pitta. In Ayurveda, this spice is called a Jvaraghna (traditionally useful in managing aches associated with fevers) and Balya (improves strength and immunity).

Eucalyptus essential oil

(DO NOT INGEST – Eucalyptus oil can be mildly toxic when ingested in larger doses)

In the case of severe congestion, eucalyptus oil can come in handy. Take a bowl of boiling water and add 8-10 drops of eucalyptus oil. Cover the bowl with a towel so that you can inhale the steam; inhale ten times through one nostril and exhale through the other and then repeat the process with the other nostril. Eucalyptus increases the Pitta dosha, while pacifying the Vata and Kapha doshas. It is also an excellent mucolytic that breaks down the thick phlegm and facilitates its smooth excretion. You can also dilute eucalyptus oil in a carrier oil like grapeseed, or ghee, warm gently, and apply to the chest with a gentle massage.