Ask Dr. Davis



Recently, after years of not experiencing a head cold, I came down with an exceptionally drippy, sneezy case. I tried an over-the-counter remedy and the symptoms were immediately relieved. Is there a purifying aspect to allowing the cold to throw off this abundance of liquid? Is it harmful to repress the symptoms?
~ D.T of Pennsylvania


In ayurveda, it's commonly considered harmful to suppress symptoms. They are the body's attempt to deal with the imbalance. Drugs can suppress the immune system and the body's efforts to correct the underlying problem.

Suppose the cold is due to excess dryness and a Vata imbalance. Then, the mucus is how the body lubricates the system to eliminate the dryness. So the advice is to work with the body to restore balance.

In general, the culprits behind colds are digestive impurities (Ama) and cold temperatures. Both factors can throw the body's digestive fire (Agni) out of balance. The digestive fire helps regulate moisture in the body. An imbalance allows mucus to accumulate in the upper body (Shleshaka Kapha), which throws the body's drying mechanism (Vyana Vata) into overdrive.

Diet and lifestyle tips

  • Take a bit of fresh ginger before meals. It helps stimulate the digestive fire (Agni) and reduce Ama.
  • Use turmeric in your cooking. It helps check the interaction between Ama and lubrication (Shleshaka Kapha).
  • Follow an Ama reducing diet. That means lighter, nutritious foods, such as soups. These foods are easy to digest and allow the body to direct more energy toward healing itself. Avoid heavier, fatty foods such as meats and dairy.
  • Take the Sniffle-Free® herbal supplement. It helps balance the digestive fires along with lubrication (Shleshaka Kapha) and the drying mechanism (Vyana Vata). It also strengthens the body's natural resistance to cold.
  • To help you stay healthy, you can take Sniffle-Free® for about six weeks at the start of the cold season. If you already have a cold, start taking it right away and continue for about six weeks after you've regained your health.

Please note: This ayurvedic information is education. It does not replace medical advice or treatments.

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