How to Boost Immunity with Ayurveda
How to Boost Immunity with Ayurveda
Our Immune system is our body’s first defense mechanism which fights against all external factors responsible to create disease; external factors include all types of virus, bacteria, fungal infections etc.
In this current scenario of COVID 19, many people are eager to know how to boost immunity because building your body’s own defense mechanism is always best to avoid any disease.
What is Immunity?
According to science direct journal - Immunity is a state of resistance of an organism to invading biotic or abiotic pathogens and their harmful effects that prevents the development of infection and maintains organism's integrity by counteracting, neutralizing, and clearing pathogens. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/immunology-and-microbiology/immunity
In short immune system is our body system which is responsible to protect us from invading pathogenic microorganisms like bacteria, virus, fungus and cancer. Immunity – the state of protection from infectious disease – has two components 1.a less specific or INNATE and 2. a more specific or ADAPTIVE component.
Why to boost immunity?
It’s known by everyone that prevention is always better than cure. A good immune system can keep you free from many diseases and can make you healthier, happy & work efficient. In recent COVID 19 outbreaks when there are no proven medicines to cure corona virus disease, It is our immunity which will keep you safe as well as good immunity can cure such viral infection by fighting against it. So, good immunity is the key for healthy & happy life.
Immunity Ayurveda way-
Ayurveda is the science of life which propagates the gifts of nature in maintaining healthy and happy living. Ayurvedic classics mainly focus on preventive care which comes from the following “Dinacharya” - daily regimes and “Ritucharya” - seasonal regimes to maintain healthy life. Ayurveda is based on its basic concepts & use of plant based medicines.
Modern Medicines says that Immunity is the function of some specific body cells, enzymes and immune-modulator chemicals that attack pathogens like bacteria, virus etc. and stop them from creating diseases. This idea of invasion from microorganisms and a biological defense system against it led to invention and use of the range of antibiotics and vaccines within the 20th century.
Many developments within the last decade, just like the emergence of auto-immune issues, widespread antibiotic resistance in microbes, and wider understanding of friendly bacteria and its functions, especially inside our gut, have forced us to rethink the unidirectional concept of the immunity.
Ayurvedic classic scripture broadly classifies diseases as Nija and Aganthu. Those diseases which are caused by an imbalance that has originated within one’s body which can be mostly prevented from occurring by understanding one’s natural tendencies are called as Nija diseases. Aganthu is caused by an external factor, which can include various injuries, both physical and mental trauma, and lack of focused health and hygiene policies within a specific society.
Ayurvedic concepts of immunity
Immunity is a concept explicated in Ayurvedic books under multiple topics. The foremost important ones are Bala or the concept of strength, Vyadhi Kshamathwa or the concept of resistance to illness development, and Ojas or the concept of supreme resilience.
The concept of Bala explains the capability of the system to repair and nourish itself and be effective in disease prevention, whereas Vyadhi Kshamatwa is the capability of the system to fight against the disease-causing pathogens. Here Bala is the product of the balance of body functions, tissues, digestion, and elimination, and the Vyadhikshamatva is the function of our immunity and recovery after invasion of pathogenic organisms.
The preventive aspect of our immunity function is majorly associated with our Jatharagni i.e. digestive power or gastrointestinal system. Balanced doshas or bio-energies are essential for resistance to illness. Ojas is directly related to digestion and immunity. Ojas in Ayurveda is final product of physiological transformation happening in our body as a part of tissue nourishment.
The seven layers of tissues ie.saptadhatus are nourished one by one and Ojas is a result of properly functioning metabolic pathways.
Ojas is only the essence of the food we consume, and a healthy level of Ojas indicates proper tissue nourishment. The function of Ojas isn't just explained as resistance to disease but it's resilience to any kind of unfavorable physical, mental or environmental change which might normally create an imbalance, resulting in disease, but is otherwise addressed effectively because the presence of Ojas.
Even though the knowledge and research about microbes came much recently, Ayurvedic classic scriptures do acknowledge the presence of widespread communicable diseases in societies with improper nutritional guidance and lack of sanitation facilities, created by local governing bodies referred to as Janapadaudhwamsa. this idea of a pandemic caused in a community because of common external factor was mentioned within the text of Charaka Samhita in 2nd century AD.
Charaka, the author, mentions the important sources of microbe spread as air, water, and land.
this is often most relevant in the current era, not simply because of the infections which spread through these means, but the general impact of soil, water and air because of human exploitation, global climate change and excessive usage of antibiotics and other chemicals.
Boosting the function of cells of your immune system is very complicated due to different kinds of cells in the immune system which respond to so many different microbes in so many ways. It is known that the body is continually generating immune cells. Certainly, it produces many more lymphocytes than it can possibly use.
The extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death called apoptosis — some before they see any action, some after the battle is won. No one knows how many cells or what the best mix of cells the immune system needs to function at its optimum level.
Ayurveda way to boosting immunity-
AYUSH ministry of Government of India has recommended the following self-care guidelines for preventive health measures and boosting immunity with special reference to respiratory health.
Measure mentioned here is supported by Ayurvedic literature and scientific publications.
I. General Measures
a. Drinking of warm water throughout the day.
b. Ministry of AYUSH advised daily practice of Yogasana, Pranayama and meditation for at least 30 minute
c. Using spices like Haldi (Turmeric), Jeera (Cumin), Dhaniya (Coriander) and Lahsun (Garlic) are recommended in cooking.
II Ayurvedic Immunity Boosting Measures
source - www.ayush.gov.in
a. Consume Chyawanprash daily in dose of 10gm (1tsf) in the morning. Diabetic patients should avoid regular chyawanprash and can take sugar free Chyawanprash.
b. Drink herbal tea / decoction (Kadha) made from Tulsi (Basil), Dalchini (Cinnamon), Kalimirch (Black pepper), Shunthi (Dry Ginger) and Munakka (Raisin) - once or twice a day. Add jaggery (natural sugar) and / or fresh lemon juice to your taste, if needed.
c. Golden Milk- Half tea spoon Haldi (turmeric) powder in 150 ml hot milk - once or twice a day.
III Simple Ayurvedic Procedures
a. Nasal application -
Apply sesame oil / coconut oil or Ghee in both the nostrils (Pratimarsh Nasya) in morning and evening.
b. Oil pulling therapy-
Take 1 table spoon sesame or coconut oil in mouth. Do not drink, Swish in the mouth for 2 to 3 minutes and spit it off followed by warm water rinse. This can be done once or twice a day. IV During dry cough / sore throat
1. Steam inhalation with fresh Pudina (Mint) leaves or Ajwain (Caraway seeds) can be practiced once in a day.
2. Lavang (Clove) powder mixed with natural sugar / honey can be taken 2-3 times a day in case of cough or throat irritation.
3. These measures generally treat normal dry cough and sore throat. However, it is best to consult doctors if these symptoms persist.
The above measures can be followed to the extent possible as per an individual’s convenience. These measures are recommended by AYUSH Ministry government of INDIA as they may possibly boost an individual’s immunity against infections & also in current pandemic of COVID 19.
The influence of mind and emotion on our immunity is being studied since last 40 years and termed as Psychoneuroimmunology. This branch studies the reaction of central nervous system to various immune reactions. Ojas in Ayurveda explains the impact of immunity caused by excessive anger, craving, worry, sadness, and exertion.
Interconnection between digestion, mind, and immunity in Ayurveda helps us develop natural remedies that influence all three positively. Capability of accepting change can only be developed by maintaining a state of equilibrium within the body, mind and soul.
Is Exercise Good for immunity?
Regular exercise is improves cardiovascular health, keeps blood pressure normal, helps to maintain body weight, and protects against a various diseases. Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It also promote good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
Immunity suppressing factors -
1.Improper Ahar (Imbalanced diet) –
Diet with high nutritional value supports and helps in maintaining balance in doshas. Excessive use of processed sugars and additives for artificial flavoring always responsible for weakening immunity. Eating disorders like anorexia also can cause nutritional imbalance and weak immunity.
2.Madyapan (Excessive alcohol intake) –
Regular intake of alcohol in excess amount can also weaken immune systems ability to fight against microbes. So drinking alcohol in excess amount is always contraindicated by ayurveda.
3.Nidra Ayog (Irregular sleep) –
Irregular sleep or lack of sleep can increase body stress level which is responsible to elevate cortisol hormone level in body. Increased cortisol level prepares body to fight stress and suppress nourishment of immune system.
4.Sthaulya (Obesity) –
Sthaulya or obesity can indicate abnormal metabolic activity in body and also an indicator of abnormal hormonal functions. Hence obesity is directly responsible to lower or weakne immunity.
Various studies have shown that not having enough liquid intake can reduce our effectiveness of the body’s resistance mechanism.
Immunity boosting with Ayurveda -
1.Take a well-balanced and proper diet with all qualities and six tastes which brings harmony in three doshas.
2. Regular practice of Yogasana and Pranayama also keep immune system nourished and healthy. 3. Use of some kitchen herbs/ spices in daily diet in proper quantity can also improve immunity.
4. Almost all kitchen herbs/ spices are high in their oxygen radical absorbance capacity, and reduce cell damage and maintain integrity
5. Regular Panchakarma and body detox procedure cleanse your all body system and boost them to work better. Hence Panchakarma procedures like Vaman (medicated emesis), Virechan (Medicated purgation), basti (medicated enema) are recommended once in a year.
6. Consumption of antioxidant herbal medicines i.e. Rasayana herbs like amla, turmeric, dalchini ashwagandha, chyawanprash etc. are also proven immunity booster.
Ayush Kwath/ Kadha to boost immunity -
AYUSH Ministry has recommended consuming AYUSHA kadha daily to build immunity to fight against current pandemic COVID19.
Ingredients of AYUSH KWATH :
1.Tulsi Leaves (Basil Leaves) - 4 Parts
2.Dalchini (Cinnamon) - 2 Parts
3.Shunthi (Ginger)- 2 Parts
4. Kali Marich (Black Pepper)- 1 Parts
Preparation of AYUSH KWATH -
Take all ingredients in dry form & make coarse powder.
Make sachets or tea bags of 3 grams each.
Take 300 ml water & add 1 sachet of powder and boil till it becomes half i.e. 150ml.
Add lemon juice or honey or jaggery as per need.
Consume daily for better immunity to fight any pandemic including COVID 19.
AYUSH ministry of Government of INDIA has recommended this tea for preventive measure against COVID 19.
Fruits to boost immunity –
Most people know that turning towards vitamins C after catching gold can help to cure it, because it helps build up your immune system.
Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are tool to fighting infections.
Almost all citrus are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.
Popular citrus fruits include:
• Amla (India gooseberry)
Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. The recommended daily amount for most adults is:
• 75 mg for women
• 90 mg for men
If you opt for supplements, avoid taking more than 2,000 milligrams (mg) a day.
Also keep in mind that while vitamin C might help you recover from a cold quicker, there’s no evidence yet that it’s effective against the new corona virus (COVID19), SARS-CoV-2.