Stopping Sickness with Ayurveda

Cold and flu season is in full swing. There are a lot of things we have all most likely resorted to doing in the fall and winter to prevent sickness like taking vitamins, getting enough sleep, and getting the flu shot. However, have you ever thought about how ayurveda, a practice we know and love, can help prevent getting a cold or the flu? Read up on the six tips in this article and try them yourself!

The key to true mind-body balance? Understanding your body’s natural needs—how to eat, cook, cleanse, and heal—through each season. In our upcoming online course Ayurveda 101, Larissa Carlson, former dean of Kripalu’s School of Ayurveda, and John Douillard, founder of LifeSpa.com and best-selling author, demystify yoga’s elemental sister science. Sign up now—winter session begins Dec. 5th!

Cold and flu season is here, but in addition to eating a balancing, seasonal diet, there are many Ayurvedic practices that can help you stay healthy throughout the winter months, says John Douillard, founder of LifeSpa.com and the co-leader of Yoga Journal’s upcoming online course, Ayurveda 101. The best part? Several of these quick and easy techniques can be done in the shower, so they don’t make a big mess. Here are his 6 best tips for avoiding bugs and feeling your best this winter.

1. Make a turmeric paste.

Turmeric, which is harvested in the fall for the winter, is an immune-boosting spice. Just take equal parts organic turmeric powder and raw honey and mix it into a paste. At the first hint of a cold, take 1 tsp of the paste every two hours until you’re feeling better. To make the formula more potent, mix 16 parts turmeric to 1 part black pepper and make a paste with equal parts ghee and honey, and you’ve got a pretty amazing cold remedy.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that has many studies showing its immune-boosting properties. Adaptogens help people cope with stress, and since holiday stress can be immune-compromising, [taking Ashwagandha] is a good strategy for staving off colds and flu. Take 500 mg of the whole organic root three times a day after meals when under stress or to prevent winter colds and flu, Douillard recommends. (Editor’s note: consult your doctor before taking any supplements.)

3. Give yourself an Ayurvedic self-massage every day.

The skin has millions of sensory neurons on it, so the nervous system is exposed. You can calm and de-stress the nervous system by using your skin as therapeutic access to the nervous system. Self-massage with immunity-boosting oils like sesame oil dampens and calms the nervous system on your skin and allows you to handle stress better, which directly relates to immunity. Plus, the oil helps prevent eczema and rashes, and it’s great for skin health and radiance. Learn how to do abhyanga.

4. Start a neti + nasya routine.

Using a neti pot with a saline or saltwater solution cleans out the sinuses, but the saltwater can leave the skin on the dry side. When the skin gets dry, it reacts by producing mucus, which is a breeding ground for bad bacteria. Doing nasya can help. Nasya is a nasal-lubricating technique that involves sniffing herbalized oils in the nose to moisturize the sinuses and thus prevent dryness and any reactive mucus production. Two to four drops sniffed into each nostril 2–3 times a day during the winter works wonders. I recommend doing both—neti should always be followed by nasya—but if you’re going to do one or the other, nasya is the better choice. Learn how to do nasya.

5. Put oil in your ear.

Putting a few drops of warm oil in your ear at night—sesame oil, mustard seed oil, or ear oil—lubricates the upper Eustachian tube and the cervical lymph nodes in the neck. Your lymphatic system carries your immune system. If the cervical lymph nodes get dry, you get swollen glands, which means the immune system is stuck in traffic. You want to keep the nodes lubricated so the glands are more effective at getting rid of any bad bacteria that might accumulate.

6. Start oil pulling or swishing.

Your mouth is your first line of defense against a cold. Oil pulling or swishing with herbalized oils takes away bad bacteria and boosts good immune-boosting bacteria in your mouth. Learn more about oil pulling.

Source: http://www.yogajournal.com/health/ayurveda-101-6-ways-to-prevent-colds-and-flu/

A Possible Aid in Asthma Treatment

It is likely that you know someone who suffers from asthma. If you personally do, you know how uncomfortable you can be during an attack. Besides inhalers, there are not many other options for treating asthma. This is where essential oils have stepped in. Essential oils bring many benefits for a wide variety of health-related problems. This article highlights how they might be the next best holistic method to help people breathe more clearly.

Asthma is a long-term lung disease. The airways in the lungs become inflamed and swollen, causing the airways to tighten. This makes it difficult for air to pass through and for the person to breath.

According to The American Lung Association, nearly 26 million Americans have asthma, including more than 7 million children. It is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children.

There is no cure for asthma at present, but there are many treatment plans that can help people lead normal lives. Although there is a variety of asthma medicines on the market, some people prefer more natural treatment options.

Many people looking for a natural and more cost-effective treatment option have turned to essential oils. This article will look at the use of essential oils to treat asthma, along with other treatments for the condition.

What is asthma?

Asthma makes breathing difficult, which can lead to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. This sequence of events is referred to as an asthma flare-up or an asthma attack.

It is not known what causes asthma, but some people are more at risk of developing the disease than others. It is not uncommon for asthma to run in families and for environmental factors to play a role.

Exposure to dust, chemicals, or irritants in the workplace can increase the risk for asthma. Damage from respiratory infections during infancy or early childhood as well as bad allergies can lead to asthma.

An asthma attack can happen at any time and anywhere. There are certain situations where people are more likely to have an asthma attack, however. These cause the following types of asthma:

Exposure to any type of irritant can cause allergies to flare up or simply irritate the respiratory system, triggering an asthma attack.

Natural essential oils for asthma

The therapeutic capabilities of essential oils are nothing new and may be helpful for some people with asthma. The following oils have some evidence to suggest a health benefit for people with asthma:

  • Peppermint: One of the common causes of asthma attacks is exposure to allergens that trigger the release of a compound called histamine. Peppermint can help to stop the release of histamine in the body. A substance called methanol is present in peppermint and can relieve stuffy or blocked noses, which can help people with asthma to breathe better.
  • Lavender: This essential oil is used for a variety of things. It has natural sedative and anti-inflammatory characteristics that may help people with asthma fight inflammation.
  • Eucalyptus: Research suggests that eucalyptus oil may have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Tea tree oil: This essential oil helps by reducing inflammation. In doing so, tea tree oil can help reduce the body’s allergic response.
  • Roman chamomile: Another essential oil with anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help part of the lungs called the bronchus to relax as well as relieve coughing.

Using essential oils

There are three common ways that people with asthma can use essential oils.

  • Aromatically: Some essential oils such as lavender and eucalyptus can bring relief through inhalation. Diffusing essential oils into the air could also help to purify the air and get rid of potential allergens.
  • Topically: Essential oils can be absorbed through the skin. People should be sure to research the oils properly as some must be mixed together to avoid skin irritation.
  • Internally: Some essential oils are available as supplements and can be taken internally.
    Not only are essential oils a natural way for people to treat asthma symptoms but they can also help patients avoid side effects from allergy shots or other medications.

Risks and considerations

People should always be careful when using essential oils. They may not be a good fit for every person with asthma. Some oils can give off a strong odor that can trigger asthma symptoms and attacks.

Essential oils are not recommended for people with asthma who are very sensitive to smells and whose symptoms are easily triggered by them.

People should make sure that the fragrance does not cause a problem before using any essential oil. Some essential oils can also irritate the skin, so people should test a few drops on the skin first.

Oils should always be diluted because they can cause skin rashes when pure. Essential oils should not be given to children without a consulting a doctor. They can cause skin irritation, and some of them contain some strong ingredients that are not child-friendly.

Though some people with asthma have had success with essential oils, they are not a replacement for medical care. Research studies are being carried out, but there is no firm evidence that proves essential oils are a reliable treatment option.

Asthma patients should take any medicine prescribed by their doctor and go for regular checkups. If anyone experiences any asthma symptoms that do not seem to go away or get worse, they should see a doctor. There is no cure for asthma and, left untreated, it can be very dangerous.

Other treatments for asthma

To diagnose asthma, a medical doctor will perform a series of tests. They will carry out a complete physical exam and obtain the patient’s medical history. Other possible tests to diagnose asthma include:

  • Lung function tests
  • Allergy testing
  • Imaging tests

After a doctor diagnoses asthma, they will prescribe medication to help control the problem. There are several medicines commonly prescribed including:

  • Bronchodilators: These relax the muscles around the airways
  • Anti-inflammatories: Commonly referred to as corticosteroids or steroids, these reduce the swelling and mucus inside the airways
  • Antibiotics: These can treat attacks caused by bacterial infections

Some people have well-controlled asthma that does not cause many problems. Others may experience attacks that can be severe and even life-threatening. Asthma medicines do not cure asthma but they do help to improve symptoms. As a result, it is important to follow a doctor’s orders.

Though effective, some of these medicines can cause some unpleasant side effects and can be expensive.

Preventing asthma from getting worse

People cannot always prevent asthma but there are things they can do to keep it from getting worse. It is vital to follow a doctor’s prescribed treatment plan.

Essentials oils may be a helpful treatment but people should always consult a doctor before using them. They are not recommended for some patients such as pregnant women.

People should also stay up to date with influenza and pneumonia vaccinations. These illnesses can trigger attacks. Identifying and avoiding things that can possibly trigger asthma attacks is also important. These can include certain foods, pets, and chemicals.

Those with asthma who have been approved to use essential oils can use them to supplement their current treatment. They can be helpful in relieving some asthma symptoms but should be used with caution and extreme care.

People with asthma should always pay attention to their breathing to learn to recognize their asthma attack warning signs. If an attack comes on, they should be sure to treat it immediately. Asthma is dangerous and quick response and treatment could be the difference between life and death.

Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314245.php