The sudden change in the weather - with snow, ice and cold winds - looks lovely from indoors when the sun shines on the snow.

But it is bad news for people suffering from asthma, chest problems, sinusitis, arthritis and heart disease.

Small children get runny noses with colds and catarrh, which often lead to headaches and fevers. Breathing cold air encourages more phlegm and wheezing.

Older folk are vulnerable to poor circulation or flu-like illness, particularly if they suffer from other illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease.

They should ensure they have adequate heating as hypothermia is a real danger. This is the time to eat those spicy, rich foods - they'll provide calories and warmth.

You will, of course, gain weight if you do not do regular exercise.

I woke up to my fresh root ginger and masala chai this morning. It clears the head and sinuses, helps you breathe better and warms up hands and feet by promoting better circulation.

You can drink it every two or three hours. To make some, steep crushed fresh root ginger or masala chai (which contains ginger, black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon - available at Planet Janet as ginger and nutmeg tea) in a mug of hot water and add an ordinary teabag or lemon and honey.

If you have a cold, cough, chest infection or flu-like symptoms, take sitopaladi in honey. Dose: Half a teaspoonful mixed with one of honey. Lick a little at a time as it is quite minty and tangy. It really soothes a sore throat, relieves an irritating dry cough and relieves phlegm.

Children over the age of three years can be given sitopaladi. For them, use only one eighth to a quarter teaspoon in one to two teaspoons of honey.

Sitopaladi is made from dry powders of long pepper (a species of black pepper used to treat asthma and bronchitis as a natural anti-inflammatory and broncho-dilator), cinnamon, cardamom and bamboo resin with a touch of sugar.

A well-established and safe herbal remedy for colds, coughs, catarrh, blocked sinuses, chest infections, it is taken by many of our patients.

The other simple remedy is trikatu - a dry powder combination of ginger, long pepper and black pepper.

Make a tea with a quarter teaspoon in hot water and add one teaspoon of honey. Add a quarter teaspoon of dry basil leaf powder - a natural antiseptic - to the tea.

For more chronic chest and sinus problems, take chyavanprash (the winter tonic made from Indian goosebery and winter cherry - available at Planet Janet as Energy Plus).

For blocked nose, do steam inhalation with lemon grass, eucalyptus and tea tree oil. Add two to three drops of each to a pint of boiled water in a vaporiser.

The ayurvedic herbal nose drops useful for this condition are called shadbindu or anu oil. They are free from steroids.

For headaches, colds and dizziness, massage the forehead, sinuses, throat and neck with warmed sesame seed oil to which you can add eucalyptus and frankincense.

Planet Janet is at 86 Church Road, Hove, opposite Hove Town Hall.

Dr Milind Jani works as a conventional and holistic GP and Dr Asmita Jani as Ayurvedic Consultant from 3 Eaton Gardens, Hove. Call them on: 01273 777448 or email: