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Tackling the big P: Home tips to counter the effects of pollution

With Delhi facing one of the worst spells of pollution in years this winter, its adverse effects on health is a growing cause of concern among people. Although the smog that has engulfed the capital and adjoining areas does not seem to settle down anytime soon, Dr. Shikha Sharma, Founder, Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth, suggests some preventive measures to manage and tackle pollution.

 

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Dr. Shikha Sharma, Founder, Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth

Delhi and its adjoining areas are engulfed in one of the worst spells of pollution and haze in recent times and the capital is facing a public health crisis. It is an obvious fact and experts also opine that this haze and smog is not only dangerous for our lungs but also for our overall health. People are extremely worried about their health and that of their loved ones. According to the World Health Organisation, Delhi has emerged as the most polluted city across the world. Although Beijing has been notorious for poor air quality, experts warn that it is not as dangerous as the air quality of India’s capital.

For those with breathing problems, this air can spell disaster. Polluted air can interfere with lung function. If the lung function is harmed, the bronchi or alveoli are also going to be damaged. Lungs are responsible for oxidation and any issues there can mean trouble for the whole of your body. Pollution can cause a spectrum of health problems including allergies and respiratory conditions, malformations, growth restrictions, and even cancer!

There are many preventive measures that one can take to manage and tackle pollution in the city. Many of these measures can be taken in the comfort of our homes. The Indian kitchen is also a storehouse of medicinal herbs and plants which can help tackle pollution and its effects very well.

1) Neem

Many herbal preparations can be made with Neem. These adsorb pollutants and have detoxification properties. It is good to put some neem leaves in hot water before taking a bath. This will help in clearing the pollutants that are stuck to our skin and mucosal membrane. Eating three to four neem leaves twice a week can also help in purifying the blood and lymphatic tissue.

2) Tulsi

Tulsi (basil) is the most revered of all plants in India. Every household has a tulsi plant, and if not, should plant one. It helps in absorbing harmful pollutants. Drinking tulsi juice every day helps in clearing pollutants from the respiratory tract.

3) Water

It may sound very basic but the effectiveness of drinking water to get rid of pollution in the body cannot be underestimated. Water helps in diluting the pollutants in the body which get easily excreted by the kidneys.

4) Ghee

Putting two drops of cow ghee in each nostril daily, once in the morning and once at night, helps in clearing the pollutants. Consuming ghee every day also helps to chelate the toxic effects of lead and mercury, which are the byproducts of air pollution. Ghee prevents the accumulation of these chemicals in the bones, kidneys, and liver.

5) Pippali

Known as a super herb, Pippali helps in purifying the lungs and in easy breathing. It has rejuvenating properties which can help during a lung infection. Consume 1/8 teaspoon Pippali powder with ¼ teaspoon Ginger and ¼ teaspoon turmeric, mixed in 1 tbsp honey, accompanied by warm water.

6) Triphala

One of the main reasons for an imbalance in tridoshas is pollution. This can be restored with the help of triphala. It also boosts immunity. The ideal dosage is one tablespoon of triphala with 1 teaspoon of honey at night.

7) Pomegranate Juice

It purifies blood and protects the heart.

8) Massage

Abhayangam, or a daily full-body warm oil massage, is a powerful way to recharge the body and mind.

9) Steam

You can take steam for about five minutes twice a day. Add 5 to 10 drops of eucalyptus oil or a drop of peppermint oil for better effect.

In addition to all the above, one must also avoid smoking, tobacco, and the use of sprays and room fresheners as these can aggravate the effects of pollution further. Make sure to eat warm, home cooked food incorporating turmeric, cayenne pepper, carom seeds, ginger, and basil leaves. Practicing simple yoga techniques like pranayam, kapalbhaati, and jalneeti can also help tackle the ill effects of pollution.

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