During spring, the weather is unstable, hot during the day but cold during the night, lots of wind, and many people are using AC. It is common for me to meet patients with common cold, sinusitis, or seasonal allergies at this time of the year. These conditions involve phlegm, mucus and snot, all signs of Kapha excess, or in Chinese Medicine terms, Yang deficiency and accumulated stagnant dampness.

A safe and useful home remedy that can aid all the above conditions is a decoction of several spices: fresh turmeric (Haridra in Sanskrit), cinnamon bark (Twak), cumin seeds (Jeera), fresh ginger (Shunti), black peppercorns (Marich) and a handful of black raisins. Besides the raisins, which are added to slightly soften the dryness of the decoction, and help stagnant mucus “slide” off the mucus membranes, all these herbs are drying, stimulating blood circulation, and clearing (digesting) phlegm, targeting different internal organs:

Turmeric clears the Liver and Gall Bladder, cinnamon clears the Lungs, cumin clears the Intestines and ginger clears the Stomach.

Take 3 cm of fresh turmeric and 3 cm of fresh ginger (peel them to moderate their effect if needed), a big bark of cinnamon, 1 Tbsp. of Cumin, 1 Tsp. black pepper and raisins according to phlegm condition: if it is very dry and stuck, add more raisins. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Drink warm. Use the simmering time to give your nose and sinuses a steam bath, for a complete antiviral effect…

This is also an excellent morning tea for keeping Kapha under control on a daily basis, if you have an inclination towards excess Kapha conditions.

If you don’t have the fresh roots or the whole spices, it would be helpful also in powder form, but not as potent as in the above recipe. Mix all the powders in more or less equal proportions, take 1 Tsp. in a mug, add boiling water, stir well, and drink warm. Add honey instead of raisins in this variation.


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