As we come near the end of Winter, it is time for us to do some spring cleaning. Not only in our homes but in our bodies. During the winter months our bodies accumulate more heavy, moist qualities from our diet, lifestyle and outdoor environment. This can build up more mucous in our bodies which can lead to hay fever, sinusitis, colds and allergies, as we enter Spring. Let’s say it is time we clean out the pipes. There are several at home regimens we can do to ease our bodies into this transition.
First, we want to avoid heavy, dense, oily foods that contribute to more mucus in the body. It is best to avoid dairy for now and meat, which takes a very long time to digest. Try to limit heavy grains such as pasta, rice and bread. Avoid cold drinks and save the icecream for the Summer. We want to limit sour, sweet and salty foods, while increasing more bitter, pungent and astringent tastes. Foods and herbs with these qualities help to clean out the gut, detoxify the liver and promote circulation back into the body, after the cold winter months. It would be most beneficial to do a once a week or several day cleanse, starting with consuming only fruit juices, apple and pomegranate are great choices (unsweetened, not mixed, alternating types), followed by juiced and/or raw vegetables, especially dark leafy greens. Upon waking have 1 tsp of raw honey in warm lemon water to counteract excess mucus. Give the body an invigorating massage or take nice warm baths to promote blood circulation, revitalize and stimulate the tissues. Drink warming herbal teas of ginger, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. A great mild diuretic to promote digestion and eliminate toxins is brewing a tea of cumin, fennel and coriander seeds. Use occasional pungent herbs of onion, garlic, ginger and chiles to help speed up circulation and bring cleansing blood to the organs. Start incorporating active exercise into your routine to burn off excess accumulation of fat in the tissues from the sedentary months. Neti pots with salt water are very useful to cleanse the sinuses, always use distilled water. You can add herbal tea rinses of goldenseal (kills bacteria), triphala (shrink swollen membranes) and eucalyptus (thins mucus). For inflamed sinuses add 1 tsp of ghee. If you are bold, salt water enemas will really help to clear the mucus in the large intestine and colon from past undigested food. What works below, works above, this is very beneficial for sinus infections. Below is a list of spring foods to include in your diet and remedies to try.
Vegetables: artichokes, beets, asparagus, broccoli, radishes, spinach, okra, lettuce, leafy greens, carrots
Fruits: grapes, apples, mangoes, pears, peaches, pomegranates, cherries, apricots
Grains: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, tapioca
Animal: chicken, turkey, eggs, venison, fish (except tuna, crab, lobster)
Legumes: split peas, red lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans
To treat mucus: Mix equal parts dry ginger black pepper and ground anise seeds with to form a paste. Take 1 tsp 2-3x daily
Rapid Acting Expectorant: Make a cold, tea infusion of 5g triphala powder in 8 oz water. Let sit overnight in fridge, consume first in the morning upon waking.
Post Nasal Drip: Sage Tea
Detoxify Sinuses: Boil 10 peppercorns in milk and drink
Sinusitis: Make a paste with dry ginger powder, eucalyptus essential oil and sesame oil. Apply to the sinuses.
Acute Allergy: Fresh juiced cilantro 2oz or juiced onion
Sinus Inflammation: Chrysanthemum flower tea, cooling to the head.
Licorice Root Tea: acts as cortisol having strong anti-inflammatory action.
Ajwain Seed Tea: immune enhancing, antimicrobial, promotes respiratory function
Chest massage with mustard oil or an onion poultice. Contains Sulphur, kills any bacteria.
Eat raw garlic cloves. Thins mucus, great preventative care, antibacterial not antiviral.