Towards the end of the year Bangalore is deliciously foggy and cold(ish). Suddenly the filter coffee tastes better, and the post yoga breakfasts with the steaming sambhar are to die for. Everyone is motivated to fit into a little black dress and the energy is at an all time high. But this is also the time when many miss classes because of the common cold, sore throat or fever.
It finally happened to me too. The other night I got my yearly cold. My eyes watered, my nostrils got sensitive to the smallest speck of dust and I started sneezing up a storm. Regardless of how much I try and keep my immunity up, towards the end of the year the Sneaky Sniffles manage to get to me.
But since it’s an yearly affliction, I know what to do.
- Ginger. I drink ginger infused water in earnest. Water infused with herbs is a great, easy and cheap way to detox your system. During the winters I stick to warm water with ginger. I find all the other spices too ‘cold’ for my constitution. If I’m out of ginger (as busy girls with no time to stick their noses into the fridge are wont to be), I just stick to warm water.
- My special tea. I’m actually a filter coffee person. But when my immunity is compromised I turn to my trusted organic black tea. I brew all the spices I have with a vengeance. Some of these spices are: cinnamon, black pepper, ginger and ajwain (curcumin seeds). I’m not a big fan of honey, but I found one forgotten jar in the back of my cabinet. Honey is high in calories but feels great on a throat that feels like it’s lined with asphalt. I throw in a few tea leaves as well. Many ask which tea I use. I like to think I bring home only the rare and the fine. Currently I use the Korakundah Black Tea (100% Organic, single estate).
- Brandy with hot water. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them my parents used brandy as a tonic for my sisters and me. Instead of using chemical laden concoctions, they gave us a tiny dose of liquor and it worked like magic. We slept well and woke up healthy. This was also my weekly staple up in the hills. The chilly evenings are better with a soothing glass of hot brandy between your hands. Sometimes I spoon some honey into my glass, but usually the calorie count deters me. The other night I broke into my liquor cabinet and found bottles of whisky, but no brandy! There was an open bottle of Old Monk. Good enough, I thought as I fixed myself a glass of rum with hot water. And it worked the magic of my childhood.
- Spicy food! This is the time to have that really spicy curry/dal/sambhar. I know chicken soup is the usual. But not for me such remedies of the commoners! I add lots of ginger, garlic, turmeric, chilli, hing (asafatoeda) to whatever is cooking and viola! you have an awesome cure for the common cold. Like they say, let food be thy medicine.
- Jal Neti. When the sniffles come, nothing flushes away the irritants better than warm water with rock salt. If you’re not doing Jal Neti, you don’t know what you’re missing. Do yourself a favour and drain those sinuses. You’ll end up preventing wrinkles too in the process.
- Sleep. I broke into my liquor cabinet, brewed the different decoctions, imbibed everything … all by 8 pm. I didn’t have the mind space to read or watch something. All I wanted to do was snuggle under my warm blanket and wake up to a clear tomorrow.
…. and wake up to a clear tomorrow I did. The hour was deliciously early. Not even the birds were stirring. I brewed another cup of tea, and rolled out my mat. And all was well with the world again.