Got Snot? Top 3 Reasons (And Solutions) From Ayurveda
Snot may be kind of gross, but it’s trying to help your body out. The snot could be lubricating your dried-out sinuses, it might be localizing the “bad guy” viruses or bacteria stuck in your head, or it may be trying to move out the overload of sticky gunk in your stomach. Those three functions correspond to Vata, Pitta, and Kapha type snot.
Despite snot's being gross, but deeply functional, we have the opportunity to live a snot-free existence by learning to manage the underlying dryness, infection, or damp belly conditions causing snot.
If we don’t manage our snot, we can attract sickness and court low immune function. Snot can make the underlying condition worse. We can get stuck in the chicken-or-the-egg loop with snot. Snot can beget infection. Snot can make the belly fire more damp. Snot can clog up nutrient and fat absorption, further contributing to underlying dryness. This downward spiral accelerates the likelihood of a cold or flu.
What to do about snot?
There is one thing you can do for all three types of snot: Make and take turmeric honey. I call it “Boo Candy” around my house. The turmeric is an antiseptic tridoshic herb, which means that if vata dryness is the underlying issue, the turmeric can soothe mucousal membranes. If pitta inflammation or infection is the underlying issue, turmeric will act as an anti-inflammatory and disinfectant. If soggy belly goo from having too much wheat, dairy, or cold foods in winter is the underlying issue, turmeric honey will absorb dampness and stimulate your stomach lining into digestive action.
It sounds too good to be true, that a yellow spice, available in every grocery store and online for less than $10 per pound organic, can help us no matter what the cause. Turmeric has an added benefit for yogis: It helps your muscles stretch safety and strengthens your ligaments. No wonder all the food in India is yellow.
Eat "Boo Candy" if you got snot
We call turmeric honey “Boo Candy” at our house because when my daughter, Indy, was two, I called her Boo. I called it “candy” because the honey made the turmeric sweet, and what kid doesn’t like candy? In a way, I brainwashed her into thinking turmeric honey was something special she could have after meals. Clever, huh? I’ve stuck with the name to remind my students to start taking Boo Candy around Halloween, and keep it up until Easter.
Boo Candy is the easiest way to get turmeric into kids... and yourself. You must use raw honey. Cooked honey -- the runny kind -- is considered ama in Ayurveda.
How to make Boo Candy:
1/2 c. raw honey (paste)
1/3 c. turmeric powder
optional: 1tsp. black pepper or ginger powder
Dump your ingredients on a cutting board. Use a dull knife or metal spatula to combine the ingredients into a paste. Store in a small jar. Put on the kitchen table, and have a teaspoon after meals.
More Ayurvedic tips for snotty kids
If your child has a chronic runny nose, you need to make some diet and lifestyle changes. It’s not fair to the child, who doesn’t know what is creating the snot.
A few things I notice with my daughter (age five) when she has snot:
- Her skin is also dry, which means her lymphatics are compromised.
- Her tongue is coated, which means her stomach lining is more like a bog than a lake.
Based on these observations I have her do a few things. We make sure to do a long oil massage session after her bath. She lies on a towel, and both of us rub almond oil into her skin. We wipe off any excess oil and she puts on her pajamas.
I have her use a rhino horn to clear out any mucus. The rhino horn is a plastic version of a neti pot. It’s easier for kids and doesn’t break. She scrapes her tongue. This teaches her the relationship between tongue coating, the state of what she can digest, and snot.
If you follow these simple tips and you’re still not snot free and healthy, Ayurveda suggests you clean up your digestion and build your immune system. As Western yogis we need to learn how the doshas work with digestion, lymphatics, and our immune system. The simplest step? Eat some Boo Candy! And put the Ayurveda guidelines for winter on your fridge. Let’s help kids and parents learn that snot is optional, but not optimal.