What is Cough ?

Cough is also usually a Kapha (water) disorder. It is caused by accumulation of mucus, or by irritation to the mucus membranes of the respiratory tract.
The modern science do not regard cough as a disease but the rather consider it as only a symptom of an impending respiratory disease or disorder or a manifestation of some cardiopulmonary distress.

What are the symptoms ?

The common symptoms of colds and coughs are a running or blocked nose, sneezing repeatedly specially when exposed to cold air or when drinking ic cold drinks, a sore throat, cough, congestion, headache and sometimes a low fever with body pains. Anorexia, laziness and difficulty in sleeping are also seen when the symptoms become servere.

What are the causes ?

Colds and coughs are a very common problem and are caused by aggravation of Kapha Dosha. It may sometimes be caused by a weak digestion. When the food we eat is not fully digested it changes into mucus, which in Ayurvedic language is known as ama. This mucus or ama mixed with various circulation reaches the respiratory system and causes colds or coughs.
Other causes are exposure to cold or humid condition and cold air. Exposure to hot and cold condition alternatively within a short period and exposing the body to extreme temperature condition also aggravates the condition. The most common instance of this is drinking ice cold drinks when we are hot and perspiring. Eating hot and cold food at the same time e.g. ice cream with hot cofee is also not adviced.
It is also generally caused at the time of change of season. Eating foods that increase Kapha like milk products, foods heavily fried in oil or ghee (clarified butter) will accelerate the problem.

What is the treatment ?

Kapha cough involves expectorating thick or slimy mucus of clear or white color and an infrequent cough. A distaste for food, feeling of heaviness, and sweet taste in the mouth with excess saliva or feeling of nausea will be symptoms. The patient will complain of cold, and the lungs may be full of phlegm.
Treatment involves anti-Kapha diet, avoiding dairy and other mucus-forming foods. Ice, cold water and fruit juices should not be taken. Hot spicy herbs, particularly long pepper, dry ginger or chitrak as a milk decoction, are helpful as is Trikatu compound.
Pitta type cough involves expectorating yellow phlegm, sometimes streaked with blood. There will be a burning sensation in the throat and chest, along with fever, thirst and dryness of the mouth. The mouth will taste bitter or pungent.
Treatment is much like that for Pitta type colds. Ghee can be used to soothe the throat. Powdered lotus seed with honey is helpful. Licorice combination can be used.
Vata type cough is usually a dry cough with little expectoration. Cough will be frequent, painful and with a particular sound. Pain in the chest and heart, or a headache is typical. There will be dryness in the mouth, hoarseness and perhaps nervousness, anxiety or insomnia. .
Treatment involves anti-Vata diet. Anti-cough and demulcent herbs are prescribed, licorice, marshmallow, comfrey root, shatavari and ash-wagandha. Formulas include Cardamom combination and Draksha, plus formulas indicated under the common cold.

Diet and routine

  1. Cold foods, cold drinks, ice cream, sweets, fried foods, milk products like cheese, creams, yoghurt etc. should not be taken.
  2. Hot milk without fat can be taken if boiled with a pice of crushed ginger.

  3. Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder mixed with the milk is effective.
  4. Sweet fruit juice should also be avoided, Breads, meats, nuts and pastries are not advisable.
  5. It is good to take a light warm diet like boiled or steamed vegetables; vegetable soups and fruits, which areok
  6. not juicy, like papaya and apple.
  7. Spiced teas, herbal teas and other hot drinks are beneficial.
  8. Sleeping during the daytime should be avoided.
  9. Taking cold showers, exposure to cold winds, fans, air conditioners etc. should be avoided

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