The word “cold” is a catch-all term that describes symptoms
such as sneezing, wet nose, running nose, scratchy throat, heaviness
in head, body ache, headache, indigestion, nausea, stomach ache,
vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.
"Trikatu" is a simple herbal preparation with which common cold
can be managed successfully taking prescribed precautions:
(1) Patients suffering from common cold should prevent direct exposure to cold wind, intake of heavy meals, drinking of cold water, suppression of natural urges of stools, urine and flatus, sleeping on the floor and during daytime.
(2) Light meals with spicy, sour and salty taste, curd, garlic, frequent drinking of warm water, fresh radish, brinjal (eggplant), and hot soup of green gram are helpful in common cold.
(3) Covering head with cap or any warm cloth, steam bath, head massage, gargles with warm water and avoidance of anger facilitate recovery from the common cold.
Trikatu powder - Trikatu powder is a simple formulation made by mixing fine powders of three commonly used herbal drugs in equal quantity namely dry ginger (Shunthi), black pepper (Maricha) and long pepper (Pippali). Trikatu, literally means ‘three pungents,’ because all the three ingredients are predominantly of pungent taste. All the three are spices used commonly in the kitchen and traded widely from India since ancient times.
Composition - Trikatu powder consists of fine powder of three pungent drugs viz. Shunthi, Maricha and Pippali in equal proportion. Shunthi is the dried rhizome of ginger. Maricha is the dried fruit of black pepper and Pippali is the dried fruit of long pepper
Main chemical constituents of Shunthi - Essential oil, pungent constituents (gingerol and shogoal), resinous matter and starch.
Main chemical constituents of Maricha - Alkaloids (piperine, chavicine, piperidine and piplartine) and essential oil.
Main chemical constituents of Pippali3 - Essential oil and alkaloids (piperine, sesamin and piplartine)
Indications and uses - Trikatu is used in combination with honey to alleviate diseases such as colds, rhinitis, cough, breathlessness, asthma, dyspepsia and obesity7. It also improves the digestive power.
Precautions and safety aspects -
(1) No side effect or toxic effect of Trikatu has been mentioned in the classical literature. Clinical studies have also shown no adverse effects in patients treated with recommended dose of Trikatu powder alone as well as in combination with other herbal preparations.
(2) Since Trikatu powder is hot in nature, large dose should be avoided as the patient may complain of burning sensation, burning micturition, etc. In such conditions, the use should be stopped immediately and the patient should be advised to take cooling agents and milk in plenty till the complaints subside completely.
(3) Take simple diet with warm, light, soft and liquid foods. Avoid cold drinks, cold juices, ice cream, spicy, oily and too dry foodstuff. Stay in a warm and well ventilated room.
(4) Warm saline gargles, steam inhalation and fomentation help in relieving cold symptoms.
(5) Medication with Trikatu is not advisable for pregnant women. However, it is safe for the baby if a nursing mother is taking this medication.