If you’re feeling a bit under the weather with colds, flu or coughs, take a look around your kitchen pantry because chances are, you already have a few ingredients to naturally remedy your problems.
Vaidyas, or practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, typically combine ginger (Zingiber officinale), holy basil (Ocimum sanctum), smooth angelica (Angelica archangelica), Malabar nut (Adhatoda vasica), horse gram (Macrotyloma uniflorum), turmeric (Curcuma domestica) and cumin (Cuminum cyminum) to treat coughs and colds. It is one of the thousands of Ayurvedic herbal formulations that have been documented in books such as Rigveda, the classic Hindu text, which according to legend was written in the years 4500-1600 BCE. Other important Ayurvedic medical texts include the Charak Samhita (1000-800 BCE) and Susruta Samhita (800-700 BCE). Unsurprisingly, several of the herbs in the Ayurvedic coughs/colds formulation has been recently shown to have either antibacterial or antiviral effects against common pathogens that can cause respiratory problems, such as human respiratory syncytial virus, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Aspergillus flavus. The formulation also has other beneficial effects such as stimulating the immune system and acting as a natural painkiller from the holy basil, antioxidant activity from the horse gram and turmeric, and antitussive/anticoughing effect by cumin. Turmeric, in particular, has chemical compounds called curcuminoids, which has been shown to inhibit influenza A viruses such as H1N1 and H9N2.