That promised blog about Clearing Snot was rather more eventful than I planned!
My daughter woke last night, unable to cough, because she couldn’t breathe through the tenacious phlegm in her throat. I was in a deep sleep where her choking barks barely penetrated my dreams and took a while to wake.
Both frightened me.
I felt my spirit guides shaking me as I came fully awake to realise my daughter was choking and in real distress.
About 20 minutes of very simple and gentle care saw her breathing clearly and able to get back into a bed with the head-end raised. While I kept a keen ear on her, I gave thanks for the pantry heroes of Ayurveda keeping us out of the ED in the middle of a stormy night.
A gentle approach
Some of my teachers may expect me to write about a salt-water vamana right now. I would have done that for myself or another adult. Honestly, by the time I woke properly, the poor little mite had been gagging and freaking out for 10 minutes. I was still fuggy headed and neither of us could do an upward purge at that time.
Instead, we began with warm water rinsing and fingers actively dragging that yucky-ness from her mouth. When she was able to get a good breath, we went straight to my ready-all-winter Sitophaladi with honey mixture. Sucking a little of that off a teaspoon was a sweet distraction which settled her. Sitophaladhi cuts through phlegm and soothes an excruciating throat. Those brilliant digestive herbs also help kill bacteria and reduce fever.
Meanwhile the kettle had boiled, so made a well known tea to help soothe inflammation and pain, settle nerves, support the immune system and cut through congestion.
Lemon, Ginger and Honey tea (or phanta):
- Pour -a small amount of hot water over a teaspoon of grated ginger,
- Add cool water before adding
- 1tsp quality honey and
- Squeeze of lemon juice (about 1 tablespoon)
While my baby sipped and settled, I rubbed some organic peppermint, thyme and eucalyptus balm onto her chest, throat and back to ease inflammatory pain, muscle spasm and work deeply into the lungs to break up congestion.
As I said earlier, it took only about 20 minutes until she was breathing clearly, relaxed and ready to lay in bed with the head end of the mattress bolstered. I gave her a dry heat pack on her chest to help the balm penetrate and ease pain. I did not use a hot water bottle as we wanted the opposite of wet phlegm in this instance. My daughter has some virus fighting and recovery still ahead but is much improved already.
Ongoing care for sinus issues
As she recovers, I may need to do some further treatments on my little one. She is prone to sinus infections. Interestingly, these have reduced since orthodontic treatment to widen her upper jaw. We also know to avoid dairy products whenever there is any sign of snot, and practise Nasya. This is such a simple wonder that I’m surprised more Westerners don’t know about it. Other factors in preventing sinus infections include Neti, dietary adjustment and gut health.
During Nasya (nasal treatment) a brisk facial massage is followed by equally brisk steam application to the face. Every action must be firm, fast and hot as we are trying to melt the kapha-like congestion out of the sinus cavities. After steam, medicated ghee or nasal oil is placed into the nostrils and sniffed up into the sinuses. Clients feel the mucus begin to break up almost immediately. Finally, dry medicated smoke is inhaled to kill off any remaining bacteria and dry up secretions. For someone with remnants of a nasty cold, one treatment may be the difference between a week of blocked sinus headaches and scented freedom.
For chronic allergic rhinitis, nasya karma is recommended. This is a week of graduated treatments, followed by maintenance treatment. Asthma sufferers, smokers, migraine sufferers and spring-time sneezers have been known to be experience complete alleviation of their troubles with this treatment as part of their Ayurvedic lifestyle regime. I like to empower my clients, so this is a treatment I offer to teach you to do at home.
The nasal passages are one of the finest pieces of filtration available to man and neti pots are an unsung hero for their preventative care. Not only does your nose pick up delicious, delicate and dangerous cues from the environment, it filters pathogens and pollution before the air can reach your lungs. So, rinsing the filters seems a good idea, don’t you agree? A simple, daily salt-water rinse with a neti pot can prevent allergic symptoms and even reduce snoring. Up one nostril and out the other sounds, and initially feels, a little like a gentle dunking at the beach. Think on this, how many surfers do you know with hay fever?
Finally, in dealing with snot, look at what you eat. Nothing produces mucus and sensitivities faster than an irritated gut trying to protect itself. Dairy is kapha-like, as is mucus – both are heavy, sticky, thick and slimy. Most of us simply don’t digest dairy very well and those with kapha aggravation will quickly show their sensitivity with oedema, pimples and catarrh. So, if sinus headaches are a regular thing for you, try almond milk, then take up surfing, neti or my September special on Nasya. You’ll be smelling the roses (without sneezing) in no time!