Herbs & Ayurveda to cure cough.

Herbs & Ayurveda to cure cough.

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Hello, people! How have you been? I was MIA on my blog for the past week or so. My winged babies chewed off the wire of my WiFi router…Yeah, that’s their favourite pastime–chewing wires–and, now that I have learned my lesson, I am going to get all the wires covered. Anyway, so, after we got a new wire and my wifi started working smoothly, I fell ill. Severe menstrual cramps, a UTI and fever…uff! I have never in my life suffered any such cramps, so I really felt like I was dying!

Thanks, though, for my gynaec friend who prescribed some meds and today I feel fresh as a lily! It helps to have doctor friends, isn’t it? Just one phone call and your issue gets sorted. So grateful for some really wonderful friends!

Anyway, today, I am sharing with you all some remedies for cough that I have tried and tested during the few times I have suffered from a terrible throat infection. And, no, this is not a sponsored post because of the syrup and Ayurvedic medicines I will be talking about (which, I am sure, many of you must have heard of, already).

First of, I would like to share the herbal drink I made for myself a couple years ago, when I had had a really bad cough. And, miraculously, my cough was cured in just a few days! So, do try it out, if you haven’t already. It works like a charm and is extremely soothing.

REMEDIES FOR COUGH:

HERBAL DRINK:

As you must be aware, our kitchen cabinets hold in them spices that not only add flavour to our food, but also have medicinal properties that help in curing some ailments. So, using a few of those spices we are going to prepare the herbal drink for our sore throat.

INGREDIENTS:

A glassful of water

Half a teaspoon of fennel seeds

2 – 3 pepper corns

2 cloves

A tiny piece of cinnamon

Half an inch of grated ginger

A few Tulsi leaves

1 spoonful of honey

Keep the water to boil. Then, add the spices and ginger and let boil for a few minutes. Switch off the gas once the water changes its colour and you get the aroma of all the spices. Strain in a glass, add a spoonful of honey, stir well and consume it when hot. Take your time, though, lest your tongue gets scalded!

Having this drink twice a day –first thing in the morning and last thing at night–will definitely cure that cough in a matter of a few days. You won’t need to visit a doctor who will prescribe some cough syrup and medicines that will only make you drowsy and cost you a lot of money.

Gargling with warm salt water, or turmeric water, helps, too. It does provide relief from the itchiness in the throat.

 

TURMERIC+SUGAR:

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and is an antioxidant used for its medicinal purposes.

Gargling with hot water mixed with half a spoonful of turmeric gives great relief to the sore throat.

Another way to use it to cure cough is to consume quarter spoonful turmeric and half a spoon of sugar before bed time. Chew thoroughly and then have half a sip of water. This will ensure an uninterrupted sleep. It’s something my MIL always believed in and now, so do I.

AYURVEDIC MIXTURE:

India is the birthplace of Ayurveda, as you must know. It has been used since ages to cure ailments without any side-effects, provided prescribed by a knowledgable practitioner. However, the mixture I am telling you about is something that has been passed down to me by my mother. It’s something she always prepared for us when we developed a sore throat during childhood. And, this, too, works…trust me.

AYURVEDIC MEDICINES:

1/2 a spoonful of Yashtimadhu (Licorice) powder

1/2 a spoonful of Sitopaladi Churna

1 spoon Honey

1 spoon Ghee

The Ayurvedic medicines are easily available at your local chemist.

Mix well all the ingredients in a bowl and have quarter of a spoonful (of half a tiny spoonful) every half hour or so. Also, drink the herbal drink twice a day and you will feel better soon.

ADULSA:

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Adulsa is a medicinal plant found in Asia and is used in Ayurvedic medicine, specially for cough and cold. You will find it at your local chemist. All you need to do is, add 2 spoonfuls of this syrup to a glass of warm water, add some honey and drink this twice of thrice a day. It not only tastes good, but will give you quick relief from cough and cold, and will not make you drowsy.

BENEFITS OF HOME REMEDIES OVER OTC COUGH SYRUPS:

The ingredients used in the herbal drink are all used in our everyday cooking. These are spices that are also medicinal in nature and have zero side-effects.

Ghee contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help cure not only dry cough but various other ailments. Did you know that adding a spoonful of ghee to warm milk and drinking this before going to bed can relieve you of constipation?

Honey, too, is antibacterial and helps in curing a throat infection.

Ginger has antibacterial properties that help fight infection and treat a sore throat effectively.

Tulsi leaves help fight infections and allergies.

Yashtimadhu, or Licorice, also has anti-inflammatory properties that help cure throat infections.

Sitopaladi Churna–an Ayurvedic medicine–is a commonly used cough remedy that has no side-effects. When added with Yashtimadhu, honey and ghee–all of which have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties–it’s the best cure for a sore throat.

The over-the-counter cough syrups and other drugs that people generally opt for when suffering from a sore throat or a runny nose, offer nothing except temporary relief and that, too, with side-effects. You feel drowsy all day and hardly find any relief despite consuming bottles of the syrups.

This being the season of coughs and colds, I thought of doing this post so that if any of you are suffering from a bad throat, do give these cough remedies a try. it’s all a matter of faith, really, which I am sure you will develop once you experience the benefits of these remedies as opposed to the OTC cough syrups.

The Ayurvedic products are all available online, so, if you fail to find these in the area you reside in, you can always shop online.

Do let me know if you found any difference after using the above tried and tested remedies.

Take care…

LOVE,

SHILPA…

 

Treat cough with herbal medicines.

The 7 day detox – Smart Nights Challenge.

The 7 day detox – Smart Nights Challenge.

In September, I wrote a post on changing a habit that was taking up a lot of my precious time and energy–usage of the smartphone for nothing but passing time. It was taking a toll on my eye-health apart from wasting my time, which was leaving me irritated with myself.

I did a follow-up post after a month where I wrote about how I had worked on changing the habit and succeeded to quite an extent and benefitted from the experience. Of course, my love affair with the smartphone hasn’t completely ended, which is the reason I am participating in this Challenge along with my blogger friend Ashvini Naik

The 7 day detox — Smart Nights Challenge!

As part of this challenge, I will have to follow my own rules about phone use for 7 days. After that, I will have to make a conscious effort to stay true to my rules and make sure it becomes a habit. Thankfully, because of my earlier post, I could make some changes due to which my affair with the gadget isn’t a “torrid” one, anymore. I don’t need it by my side all day or night.

 

5 CHANGES I MADE IN MY SMARTPHONE USAGE:

 

1. I switch off the Wi-Fi of my phone by 9/9:30 pm and switch it on only in the morning, by 9 am, after completing some of my morning chores, my Yoga and breakfast.

2.  I never take the phone to bed with me, the reason being it is dangerous placing your phone on the bed, or under your pillow as you sleep.

3. I keep the phone’s volume to its lowest, and place it on a stool by my bedside in case mom or someone from the family calls up at night.

4. I carry the newspaper to bed, to solve puzzles before I sleep. Actually, it is solving the puzzle that puts me to sleep. Either that, or a book. Reading induces sleep faster.

The blue light that our phones emit keeps our brain awake and alert. And, to fall asleep at night, you need something that will calm the brain, not keep it on high alert! Not just the light, but the action on our screen awakens our brain.

5. During the day, I take frequent breaks from the phone by switching off the Wi-Fi every couple of hours. For example, while writing, reading, helping my nephew with his studies and in the evening, when I step outside for a walk.

 

 

I often see walkers peeping into their phones even during their walk. They hardly pay any attention to the world around or to their breathing! What’s the point of the walk if you can’t leave the virtual world aside for sometime and enjoy nature?

So, these frequent breaks from the phone do me a world of good. The constant pings of the numerous notifications, the constant need to check what’s going on out there, the staring at the images as I scroll aimlessly–the absence of it all gives me immense peace.

There are times, though, especially when hubby is to return home late and I have no book to read or movie to watch and still have to stay awake till he arrives, when I do scroll through the Facebook News feed, or Instagram. But, because it strains my eyes and bores me after a point, I put it away soon.

Now that I have taken up this 7 day challenge, I will get an opportunity, and some motivation, to work harder at keeping the phone away. I know I need to do this– for my eyes and for my peace of mind.

As part of the challenge, I will continue doing what I have been doing these past couple of months and some more, and then do another follow-up post next year on how helpful the detox has been for me. Why don’t you join me, too, dear readers?

If I haven’t been able to convince you to make some changes in your phone habits by all that I shared above, let me highlight the reasons why you need to give yourself a break from your phones at night.

 

5 reasons why you need to put the phone away at night

 

1. Our brain is used to sleeping at night. It needs some rest, too, you know? But the blue light that the our gadgets emit can awaken the brain.

2..Falling asleep after scrolling through can get difficult because not only did the light awaken the brain, but the moving scenery in front of your eyes leaves the brain asking for more such excitement. Have you noticed how you get pulled into the whirlpool once you begin mindlessly scrolling through your newsfeed? How the time flies and before you know it, you have been staring at your phone screen for an hour!

3. Due to the above reasons, the brain finds it almost impossible to calm down and fall asleep and you tend to stay awake longer even as the world around dozes peacefully.

4. This sleep deprivation leads to a dull and dazed you who wakes up with a heavy head and an irritable mood.

5. The strain on the eyes caused by all the staring at the blue screen in the darkness shows its effects in the form of dry eyes, blurred vision and a pain around the eyes. To learn how staring at the screen constantly leads to pain, move your eyes in a circular motion and you will know.

 

Our wellbeing is our responsibility. If we don’t understand how our habits affect our health, who will? If we don’t take precautions now, we will be the ones to suffer from the ill-effects at a latter stage, when rectifying the issue might not be possible.

Let’s make a pact to take control of our lives, make changes in our lifestyles and lead healthier lives. After all, this is the only life we have!

 

Love,

SHILPA…

 

Using the smartphones for long, can have an effect on your health.

 

 

Healthcare for bloggers.

Healthcare for bloggers.

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Okay, this post is not only meant for bloggers, but all those who work on computers all day, which is quite a lot of people slouched in front of their computers/laptops for more than 9 hours, or so. So, it is that many people experiencing aches and pains, day after day, and doing nothing about it, because, well, there’s work to be done, blogs to be visited, articles to be written and read! Right?

This post might seem longish, but, do read it to the end.

So, to begin with, how do you sit when you sit down to work? In a chair, or on your sofa or your bed with your laptop placed on your lap? I hope you sit in a chair with the laptop placed on the table, with your back erect all the time. But, I am sure we all sit that way only for a while. Eventually, we slouch, our backs bent, necks almost craning to peep into the screens. Tell me this is how you sit and I will tell you how very wrong that is for your body.

By the end of the day, you develop a pain in your lower back and your legs, a pain in your neck, pain and stiffness in your shoulders and tired and dry eyes. Isn’t it?

But, worry not, for there are just somethings that, if you follow, will help you drive the pain away. Provided you do it everyday, and not just today and tomorrow! So, let’s begin!

 

Things to remember while working on your computer:

1.SIT WITH YOUR BACK ERECT and feet flat on the floor, or placed on a footrest, thighs parallel to the ground and wrists in line with your forearms. If you wish to sit on your bed, at least do not sit in a reclining position, with your back resting against pillows. Sit erect, place the laptop on a laptop table.

2. DO NOT SIT FOR LONG. Time yourself. Sit for about 45 – 50 minutes and then just switch off the computer and go for a walk. Complete some chores around the house, or walk around your house/ work place. But do take a 5-10 minute break and WALK. Exercise your legs.

3. MAKE SURE YOUR NECK IS NOT BENT OVER THE KEYBOARD and keep your shoulders relaxed. Some people have the habit of flicking their neck side to side in quick movements when they sense some stiffness in their neck. Please do not do that!

Instead, do a few neck exercises: Sit cross legged on the floor, or in a chair, but sit with your spine erect. Turn your face upwards and then slowly bend down as if to touch your chin to your chest(5 times). Then, look from side to side (5 times), again do it slowly. Next, bend your head as if trying to touch the ear to the shoulder. Don’t actually touch your shoulder, just bend, as slowly as you can– 5 times on both the sides–right to left.

4. EYE CARE: We tend to stare at our screens and forget to blink. Blinking cleans the eyes and keeps them moist. So, blink, consciously. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and stare at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Remember this 20-20-20 rule. Or. Look out of your window.

When you take your hourly breaks and after you have had a walk, sit straight in your chair and do these two eye exercises:

Blinking- Squeeze shut your eyes tight and open them wide , instantly. Squeeze them shut, again, and open them wide. Follow it 10 times.

Palming: Rub your palms together till they feel warm and then place them lightly on your eyes. Slowly count till 100 and feel your eyes relax. Wash your eyes as many times as you can with cool water. I use Refresh Tear Drops, thrice a day, to keep my eyes feeling fresh.

5. SHOULDER EXERCISES for stiff muscles give your shoulders a chance to relax and unwind (you might sit erect and all, but you won’t even notice when you slouch!). You could do these exercises after the neck exercises.

Lift your shoulders and move them backwards, as if trying to touch the shoulder blades to each other. Then, bring them down and then move them in the front, making a complete circle with your shoulders. Go slow. Do this a few times- clockwise and anticlockwise. Then, once your shoulders are relaxed, lift them up to your ears and ‘drop’ them down in their original position. Again, do it slowly, for a few times. Breathe easy.

Each time you take a break, follow it up with the ‘Blinking’ and ‘Palming’ exercises, and the shoulder exercises. Push your shoulder blades towards each other to stretch those muscles to relax them, every now and then. The pain that you are bound to experience from stiff shoulders when you wake up every morning, will only increase every day if you don’t take care now.

6. WORKOUT FOR WRISTS: Your wrists could also stiffen from being in the same position continuously. Rotate your wrists a few times, slowly, clockwise and anticlockwise. Your fingers, too, need to be exercised regularly. Open your palms, spread out your fingers and then close them into a fist. Do it a few times, slowly.

The eye, neck and shoulder exercises don’t take more than 15 minutes, so, I would suggest doing these every morning, as soon as you wake up. Here are a few more eye exercises you could do before moving on to the neck exercises.

Try and go for a walk everyday–morning or evening–for at least 30 minutes. Pay attention to your breathing when you walk and enjoy the fresh outdoor air. After being cooped up inside the house, or office, all day long, you need the workout.

I have stressed on going “slow” while doing every exercise because you need to be slow and not in a hurry to finish it off and get back to your work, or tense your muscles or joints, unnecessarily. Be gentle and caring towards yourself, while exercising, for the simple reason that it’s your body, not a machine that won’t feel pain or get hurt.

Follow these simple exercises regularly and watch the pain recede. Of course, it won’t vanish completely in a matter of days, but eventually, it will subside. If the pain continues, do visit a physiologist or consult a doctor, but please, do take care of yourself.

That’s it for today, for my hour is up and it’s time for me to go for my walk.

Take care, you all!

Love,

SHILPA…

 

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Caring for your health will help you work better over the years.

 

 

Sources and management of Vitamin E. #EVION

Sources and management of Vitamin E. #EVION

I remember reading about the importance of Vitamin E as a young collegian. Talks about beauty and skin/ hair care being more popular than health care, I would gather every piece of information about which magic potions would bless me with a flawless skin. Little did I know then that including foods rich in the vitamin would benefit me far more than using only the creams and lotions!

Over the years, an increased awareness about food and diet helped me realise how necessary it is to include foods from every food group so as to avail the benefits of  every nutrient that is necessary for a healthy mind and a healthy body.

Benefits of Vitamin E:

We often give importance to a particular nutrient, ignoring, or even overlooking, some others that play an equally important part in keeping us functioning at our best.   Take vitamin E, for example. We all know that it  gives us  healthy skin and hair, but not many of us are aware of its importance in protection against eye disorders, diabetes, premenstrual syndromes as well as arthritis.

  1. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, a fat-soluble vitamin that protects the tissues of the skin, eyes, liver, testes and breast.
  2. It reduces cardiovascular diseases and improves stamina.
  3. It also fights free radicals that cause heart disease and cancers.
  4. it improves moisture and elasticity of the skin and acts as the anti-ageing nutrient within the body.

I really wasn’t aware of it all until some time ago when I was researching the reasons behind the changes my body was undergoing;  I had put it all down as ageing!

Sources of Vitamin E:

Vitamin E is found in plant food as well as animal food. But being a vegetarian, I looked at the plant sources  of this nutrient as veggies is what I prefer over sea-food, or meat. All I needed to do was tweak my diet a bit, include foods that weren’t present in my daily diet and improve my overall health.

Cold pressed oils-

Sunflower oil

Safflower oil

Olive oil

Wheat germ oil

Palm oil

Nuts and seeds-

Almonds

Hazelnuts

Peanuts

Dried Apricots

Sunflower seeds

Vegetables-

Spinach

Broccoli

Tomatoes

Red or green bell peppers

Parsley

Fruits-

Mango

Papaya

Kiwi

Avocados

Animal foods-

Milk fat

Butter

Egg yolk

Liver

Ghee

How do you include these in your diet?

Eating locally available and seasonal fruits and vegetables is the best way to improve one’s diet. Including the above veggies and fruits in your daily diet as and when they are available will ensure sufficient consumption of Vitamin E.

Breakfast:

Begin the day with a fruit, say papaya, instead of a cup of tea. I know how difficult it can be for regular tea/coffee drinkers, but, maybe you could enjoy that cuppa later!

Peanuts  fried in a little oil can be added to the poha that you have for your breakfast.

Peanut butter applied to a multi-grain bread, or a paratha to enhance the taste as well as its nutritional value

Boiled egg sprinkled with a little salt and pepper powder, or fried eggs eaten along with the bread/paratha.

Sunflower seeds – a spoonful of the dried seeds before breakfast ensures you begin your day on a healthy note.

Snacks: 

Almonds/Peanut/Dried apricots chikki, makes for an ideal 4 p.m. snack instead of the vada pav/samosa !

Spinach and cheese sandwich using multi-grain bread to go with the tea or coffee.

Lunch/Dinner:

Soups- Tomato or spinach soup

Salad prepared using tomatoes, bell peppers, spinach, roasted peanuts and seasoned with paprika, oregano and an olive oil dressing makes for a perfect start to the regular meals. (Paprika and oregano also contain Vitamin E apart from the flavour they give to our recipes).

Veggie dishes like palak paneer, tomato chutney, stuffed capsicum, or a  simple capsicum sabji  along with chapati or rice. The possibilities are aplenty.

Using sunflower oil for cooking, olive oil for salad dressing, and yes, including home made ghee in your daily meals will ensure you  receive your daily dose of Vitamin E. Ghee is something most of us prefer to stay away from, but trust our grandmothers and mothers and their wisdom, ghee is a boon to the human body! A spoonful everyday will not only provide you with enough Vitamin E, but also keep your joints well lubricated, your skin healthy and your gut functioning perfectly.

Skin care-

Using moisturisers or creams containing natural ingredients like aloe vera is much more beneficial than using those with a hundred chemicals and which can actually damage your skin in the long run. Aloe vera, as we all know, has natural healing properties. So, when used in combination with Vitamin E, it  not just keeps your skin beautiful, but flawless, healthy and well moisturised.

#Evion ,  (Evion Supplements ) uses the above two ingredients – aloe vera (10%) and vitamin E (1%) – in a cream that can be used daily, without any harmful side-effects. Just apply it after bath and at night to get the well-moisturised and pampered skin we all dream of. As we age, our skin tends to lose its elasticity and becomes drier by the day. Using good quality creams to keep your skin moisturised becomes a necessity.

Finally, a balanced diet rich in Vitamin E along with  the right products  for skin care will help you stay active and healthy and your skin beautiful and well-moisturised!

Stay healthy, stay blessed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Care for your eyes.

Care for your eyes.

The use of computers and smartphones has put a lot of strain on our eyes. It requires us to focus our eyes at a single distance near our face. Seldom do we remember to blink (an action that cleans our eyes and  keeps them moist), or give our eyes the rest they require. Our eyes were not made for such kind of work and as a result bear the brunt of all that they are subjected to.

Our eyes need care, the kind of care we give our bodies through workouts and diets. So, today, I am sharing with you some  easy-to-do exercises that require just 5 to 10 minutes of your time,  have long-lasting benefits  and  could restore the health of your eyes! Do consult with your optometrist before commencing this routine. And,  I would suggest doing these first thing in the morning, before the rush hour.

Find a spot where you won’t be disturbed for these few minutes. Sit  cross-legged on the floor with your spine erect and your hands on your knees, close your eyes and give yourself some time to settle down. Breathe and try to relax those frazzled nerves and try to calm your wandering mind. Become aware of yourself, your breathing, your body. The exercises you will be doing need you to concentrate on yourself.

 

  EXERCISES FOR YOUR EYES:

 

1.  Workout for your eye muscles: 

Open your eyes once you know you can focus on your exercises. Then, slowly, without moving your neck, move your eyes towards the ceiling. Stop for a second and then, slowly, move them down to look at the floor. This up and downward movement of the eyes should be carried out as slowly and with awareness.  Do this routine five times and then close your eyes to give them a short break.

Next, look left to right, as slowly as you did the above exercise, without moving your neck. Do it for five times, and then again, close your eyes for a break.

Next, focus at the ceiling and then, slowly, move the eyes in a clockwise direction, for five times and then anti-clockwise for five times. And, remember to go slow. If you concentrate on the eye muscles as you do these exercises, you will be able to find the places where you feel a slight stiffness and/or pain. These are the muscles that have borne the strain of having to stare constantly at the screen.

 

2. Blinking:  

Open your eyes wide and  then close them tight  and immediately open them wide. Again, shut them tight and  open them. Repeat this 10 times. The quick shutting and opening of the eyes is a good workout for the muscles around the eyes. It increases blood flow to the eyes and relaxes them by the end of it.  After 10 times of blinking, close your eyes and relax.

 

3. Palming: 

This exercise is to relax the eyes at the end of the routine. So, rub your palms for 10 to 15 seconds till you feel them warm and then place the palms on closed eyes, with the fingers resting on the forehead and the base of the palms on your cheeks.  Count to 100 (or 200)  in your mind and relax, let your eyes bask in the warmth. Once done, slowly remove your palms and open your eyes.

 

4. Staring: 

A)

Hold your hand straight in front of you with your fist closed and thumb up. Stare at your thumb. Slowly, move your hand to the right without bending it at the elbow and without moving your neck. Keep gazing at your thumb as it goes to your far right. Bring your hand back in front of you, and then use your left hand in the same manner to stare at your thumb on the left side. Do it once to the right and to the left.

B)

Stretch out your arm straight in front of you. Make a fist and stick the thumb out.  Your thumb has to be at eye level. Slowly, move your hand closer to your nose. Stare at the tip of your thumb as you do this. Then, move your hand away, back to its original position. Stare at your thumb even when you move it away. Repeat this twice.

 

5. Things to remember when working at the computer:

1. While working at the computer,  always remember to blink regularly.  This will keep your eyes from drying. Or, close your eyes and roll them clockwise and anti-clockwise, slowly, and feel your eyes getting a massage!

 

2. You could also do palming every once in a while when your eyes feel the strain.

 

3.  Remember the 20-20-20 rule.  Every 20 minutes, look away at a distance of approximately 20 feet for 20 seconds and give your eyes the respite they need after staring at the screen  so close to your face. I know, it’s difficult keeping track of time once we immerse ourselves in our work. So, you could set an alarm for 20 minutes in your phone and let it remind you to take the much-needed break.

Follow the above rules even while reading a book. Remember to  look out of your window or look at something at a distance. Reduce the pressure you put on your eyes.  You will instantly notice  how relaxed your eyes feel.

 

 

Following this routine regularly will help in keeping your eyes agile and the eye muscles flexible. It’s akin to feeling your body becoming flexible after a regular workout.  Do try it out for the sake of your eyes. And, do remember, that these exercises in no way help in improving your eyesight, but, they will definitely maintain your eye health.

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Exercises to keep your eyes healthy