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Improving Immunity with Ayurveda

Immunity is the body’s ability to fight against pathogens or disease-causing organisms like bacteria and viruses. While each person is born with innate immunity that forms a protective barrier for our health like our skin and the stomach acid, our exposure to diseases and immunizations provide us with an adaptive immunity or protection against pathogens. 

Factors That Negatively Affect Our Immunity

The performance of the immune system is compromised by numerous factors. This can cause a person to fall ill, inflammation may last longer or be recurrent, and recovery is slowed down.The most common factors affecting immunity are:

  • Metabolic abnormalities – Due to an imbalance in the hormones in the person’s body, his / her immunity may be affected. 
  • Nutritional imbalance in food – Undernutrition (and being underweight as a result of malnutrition) can lead to immunosuppression which makes the body more susceptible to infection. On the other hand, overnutrition can lead to the excess being stored as fat and leading to obesity, which is also linked to lowered immunity. 
  • Increased Cortisol levels – Hectic work schedules, lack of proper sleep, and busy lifestyles can increase the stress hormone (cortisol) and can make it difficult for the immune system to function at its optimum. 
  • Lack of general cleanliness – We are exposed to various germs in our daily life while interacting with others or when we are in contact with things like money, a pet, or even forgetting to wash our hands at intervals.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Immunity

Ayurveda adopts a holistic approach to keeping the body healthy, preventing illnesses, and treating diseases. The traditional medicinal system builds immunity in the body, providing it strength and vitality which helps it to fight against infections and diseases. Ayurvedic medicine for immunity is in the form of herbal decoctions, supplements to boost the immune system, immunity booster tablets, as well as practicing a holistic lifestyle with a good diet and regular exercise and meditation.

Factors that help augment Immunity in Ayurveda

As per Ayurveda, a clean (inside and outside) body, balanced diet, and disciplined lifestyle are the best immunity boosters for the body. 

  • A balanced diet should be consumed based on your dominant dosha (Kapha, Pitta, or Vata) and the season. The diet should include traditional spices as they possess the capacity to absorb toxins and clear them out of the body. These herbs and spices act as a natural medicine for gastric problems, bloated stomach or stomach gas, treatment for diarrhea and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), improve kidney function, and keep the body clean.
  • Rasayana or Ayurvedic Rejuvenation Therapy to strengthen, repair, and revitalize the body and increase its immunity
  • Regular detoxification of the toxins in the body with natural detoxifying agents like fresh fruits, vegetables, and juices which have antioxidant properties, and cleansing through panchakarma therapies
  • Regular meditation, yoga, or other forms of exercise to calm the body and mind

Rasayanas In Ayurveda

Rasayana therapy is an Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapy that replenishes the vital fluids of the body, increases its vitality, and strengthens the immune system. It helps the body to slow down the effects of aging, improves mental prowess, revitalizes the sense organs, and increases the flow of energy in the body. When applied to your skin, and taken through your diet, these Rasayanas are as good as any medicine for immunity.

Immunity-Boosting Herbs In Ayurveda & Their Benefits

Ayurveda states that healthy digestion and a strong digestive fire (Agni) are needed to build strong immunity. In order to enhance the body’s Agni, it is important to cook your food with ayurvedic herbs and spices. Foods like Ginger, Indian Gooseberry (Amla), Holy Basil (Tulsi), Ghee, Garlic and Turmeric and immunity-boosting herbs like Guduchi (Tinospora Cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis), Yasthimadhu (Licorice), Shatavari (Asparagus Recemosus), and Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) and Ayurvedic formulations like Chyavanaprasa Kashaya should be consumed as part of a regular diet in order to nourish the body, prevent inflammation, aid digestion and increase appetite, thus building immunity in the body. Amrutharishtam is a herbal formulation that helps the body in fighting off infection and disease by breaking down aggravated ‘Kapha’ and ‘Pitta’ elements that make the body prone to metabolic dysfunction, fever, cold, and infection. Anutailam is a classical combination prescribed for regular Nasya in healthy individuals for the upkeep of health and beauty, preventing nasal congestion, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, and as a protective measure during episodes of seasonal flu, cough, and cold. 

Immunity-Boosting Herbs to beat Covid-19

With many countries still grappling with the dangers posed by the Coronavirus, it is important that each individual take some basic measures to keep the body healthy and build immunity. There are immunity-boosting ayurvedic medicines that contain natural herbs as well as specific medication offering remedies for cough and throat infection and treatment for breathing difficulty. Vyoshadi Vatakam is a traditional recipe with Kapha balancing herbs that are beneficial in acute and chronic cases of sinusitis, recurrent cough, and cold, sore throat, and respiratory congestion Vasarishtam is recommended for the treatment of recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, cough, cold and wheezing, congestion in the chest, lack of appetite, etc It is important to keep a keen watch on bodily changes and to seek the help of a medical professional if Covid 19 is suspected.