Miryaso Kasai (Pepper Decoction / Kashayam) Home Remedy for Cough & Cold

This is probably my third post where I am raving about the lovely weather here in Dubai. However, this chilly weather has its flipside. Everyone around me is under the spell of the season - cough, cold, fever, sore throat and what have you. This compelled me to try out some home remedies for us adults at home while I rushed my baby for a quick doctor's visit to deal with her impending cough. 

Kasai (in Konkani) or Kashaya (in Kannada) are medicinal concoctions usually prepared by tossing a few handy kitchen ingredients and herbs together to prepare a strong brew that can kick the butt of some common ailments ranging from colds to aches and pains. However, one must not ignore problems that persist beyond 3-4 days as things could aggravate. Home remedies are essentially prepared to tackle ailments in their initial stages and they are usually harmless, without any side effects (unless you are using unconventional ingredients).

My friend Jenifer had suggested this recipe long ago when I was battling with an incessant cold. I had quickly jotted down the ingredients and forgotten the chit of paper somewhere in my file. Luckily last week I was able to dig it out and make this in a jiffy. Pepper is known to be excellent for colds. It can really take care of your runny nose and put it to rest. Sugar candy also known as 'koday sakker' in Konkani, 'kallu sakkare' in Kannada and 'kadi shakker' in Hindi is a known expectorant - it is effective in expelling phlegm ('kapha'). 

Please note that this is a very strong decoction, you may reduce the amount of pepper used if you want to sip on it without milk. But if you go according to the below recipe then you need to drink it in very small quantities with a little milk added for flavour.

Last but not the least, this recipe worked for me. I am still new to home remedies but love to try those that look uncomplicated and with minimum use of handy kitchen ingredients. That said, I don't believe in self medication neither am I a qualified doctor or nutritionist so please use your discretion and visit your doctor if your problem persists for long. 

Miryaso Kasai (Pepper Decoction / Kashayam) Home Remedy for Cough & Cold
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time: 5 mins | Brewing time: 20 mins | Yield: approx 1/2 cup (concentrated)

1-1/2 teaspoons peppercorns * see notes1/2 teaspoon cumin1 inch piece dried ginger (saunth)1 piece (approx 20-25 grams or 1-1/2 tablespoons when coarsely powdered) sugar candy (kodey sakkar / kadi shakkar / kallu sakkare) adjust to taste * see notes1-1/2 cups water3-4 tulsi (holy basil leaves) *optional
Heat a skillet/tawa and dry roast the peppercorns and the cumin one by one on a low heat for a couple of minutes or till you get a nice aroma. Take care not to burn the contents. Remove and cool on a plate for a couple of minutes and then coarsely crush/powder them using a mortar and pestle. You may use a spice grinder too.Bring the water to a gentle boil and add the freshly ground spices, dry ginger and sugar candy and simmer for about 8-10 mins or till the concoction reduces to half. Remove from heat and sip it hot. If you wish you can add a little milk. The mixture when taken not more than three times a day is believed to cure a cold by reducing cough and expelling phlegm ('kapha')
This decoction is quite spicy so if you wish to have it without milk you may reduce the amount of peppercorns and make it mild.
If you do not have sugar candy skip it. After the decoction has cooled down add 1 teaspoon honey and consume it. Honey should never be heated or added to hot preparations.

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