Ayurveda is an ancient system of self-care and health care. It works to restore or maintain balance to the body with a combination of diet and lifestyle changes and herbal remedies. Ayurvedic methods are not a substitute for traditional medical care when you suspect an infection. Some Ayurvedic treatments, however, may be effective against sore throats and throat infections. Ask your doctor whether Ayurvedic support is appropriate for your condition and safe for your body.
The three doshas, or physical and energetic types, are the basis of the Ayurvedic concept of disease and wellness. These doshas – vata, pitta and kapha – correspond to the elements or humors: earth, air, fire, water and space. Vata is the dosha of space and air, and vata dominance is characterized by dry skin and hair, thinness and small bones, and an intellectual or spiritual nature. Kapha is the dosha of earth and water. Kapha-dominated people have oily skin and thick hair, and a peaceful, calm temperament. The pitta dosha is related to air and fire, and pitta-dominant people have a medium, muscular build, easily inflamed skin and fiery temperaments. Although everyone has a dominant dosha, illness can arise from too severe an imbalance between or within the three doshas.
Causes of Throat Infection
Most sore throats are caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Common symptoms include pain and irritation in the throat that gets worse when you swallow. Although uncomfortable, many sore throats are the relatively harmless result of the common cold or simple environmental irritants like dry air or cold weather. They can also be a sign of more serious conditions. Before beginning any course of treatment, speak with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. If needed, he will conduct a throat culture to determine the cause of your problem.
Ayurvedic Approach to Throat Infection
The Ayurvedic approach to throat infection involves calming your symptoms and making the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary to allow the tissues to heal. Avoid sour and fried foods, very cold foods and liquids, and cooling fruits such as melons, papaya and cucumber. Add spices such as ginger, garlic and black pepper to your food to stimulate healing. Infusions of herbs such as fenugreek, henna, licorice, cardamom and betel leaves are used to make soothing gargles. A qualified Ayurvedic practitioner can determine the cause of your sore throat and recommend a treatment plan that addresses the infection, as well as its underlying causes.
Although many sore throats will resolve on their own with no lasting damage, they can also be the sign of a more serious illness such as the flu, mono, measles, streptococcus, tonsillitis, whooping cough, HIV, gastrointestinal reflux disease and allergic reactions. Ayurvedic treatments may not be as effective as conventional medical treatments like antibiotics against these problems. Always visit your medical doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Some herbs can interact with or impede the absorption of other medications. If you are considering treating your throat infection with Ayurvedic methods, tell your doctor about your plans to make sure the methods are safe for you.
Lucy Burns has been writing and editing professionally for more than 15 years. She earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in American literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she teaches writing. Burns is a certified yoga teacher and is also licensed to teach the Gyrokinesis movement system.