The Covid 19 pandemic has swept this world, and government reactions have been harsh. Isolation, social distancing, and quarantine play their roles. But is it sustainable? What else can we do to protect ourselves and our families? The short answer is that we can work towards building our own bodily immunity.
Ayurveda has an age-old tried and trusted solution called “Vyadhikshamatva “. The word Vyadhikshamatva is made up of two words, Vyadhi – means to harm, to injure, to damage, or to hurt, and Kshamatva means to resist. Vyadhikshamatva denotes the power of resistance, our bodily defence against first contact with any disease.
“Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam‚ Aturasya vikar prashamanamcha.” This is a principle of Ayurveda, meaning to focus on prolonging life and promoting perfect health, and as a result adding years to life and life to years. And if disease occurs, Ayurveda has described methods of eradication to maintain health.
Here are a few simple ways to build immunity...
Ayurveda believes that impaired digestion is an important cause for recurrence of a number of diseases. It is observed that during an Epidemic/Pandemic, those who have a weak digestive fire (weak Agni) are more prone to infections and chances of the infection getting severe are also higher.
How can we improve our digestion?
- Take easily digestible, warm and light food
- Practice intermittent fasting
- Drink warm water, adding Cumin seeds and use throughout the day
- Use different types of Ayurvedic herbs designed to improve digestive capacity - Shunthi (Zingiber Officinale), Vidanga (Embelia Ribes), Pippali (Piper longum), Chitrak (Plumbago Zeylanica)
Ayurveda recommends seasonal Panchakarma procedures to detoxify our body. These timely detoxifications help us to remove accumulated toxins created because of indigestion, wrong eating habits, and bad lifestyles.
Panchakarma has five detoxification procedures namely Vaman (induced medicated emesis), Virechan (induced medicated purgation), Nasyam (nasal cleansing), Basti (medicated, herbal enemas), Raktamokshan (bloodletting).
Benefits of Panchakarma:
- Helps restore metabolic fire (AGNI)
- Eliminates AMA (toxins) strengthens tissue functions
- Assists balance all three doshas
- Helps implement a healthy diet and lifestyle
- Reduces stress, improves relaxation & tolerance
- Slows the ageing process
- Boosts the immunity levels
- Improves strength, endurance and vitality
When it comes to your health, sleep plays a really important role. Aahar (Balanced diet), Nidra (quality sleep) and Brahmacharya (regulated sex) are described as the pillars of human body.
Sleep carries out important functions such as modulation of immune responses, energy conservation, and brain waste clearance that improves concentration and memory.
Our body works on the biological clock and it is important that we follow everyday routines so that this biological clock is not disturbed. Numerous studies on sleep and the immune system have proved that quality night sleep is important for a strong immune system.
Ayurvedic science discourages individuals from sleeping during the day (except in certain conditions) as it is a cause of many health disorders.
Here are some methods to improve sleep quality:
- Prefer light and easily digestible food at night, 3-4 hours bed time as this will allow our body to process the food
- Opt for warm dim lighting instead of heavy bright lights in the bedroom
- Avoid drinking caffeine in the evenings
- Avoid use of bright screen like laptops, computers, mobile phones at least 60 minutes before bedtime
- Indulge in a soft head massage or massage your feet with oils
- Listen to soft relaxing instrumental music
- Drink water infused with Jatamansi (Nardostachys Jatamansi) which helps to improve the quality of sleep
- Take Ayurvedic Herbs like Brahmi, Ashwagandha, Tagara, Jatamansi also show effective results when taken for at least 45 to 90 days in cases of chronic sleeplessness
Exercise – Yoga - Pranayam
It is well known that exercise promotes strength and stamina. But regular exercise helps us to build strength which has a positive effect on building our immune system.
It is seen that exercise increases blood and lymph flow as your muscles contract, it also increases the circulation of immune cells, making them roam the body at a higher rate and in higher numbers. In order to improve immunity, one should exercise regularly. Every day 30 to 45 minutes of walking and light stretching may be done. Cycling and running are equally good.
Yoga is yet another time-tested immunity booster. Yoga helps to deal with stress in a most natural way. Psychological stress can impact many systems in the body, including weakening the immune system and increasing chronic inflammation.
Some of the Yoga postures which help to strengthen the immune system are:
- Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
- Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
- Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
- Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
And especially when it comes to respiratory diseases, regular Pranayama shows marvellous results, because it helps to manage stress effectively. Anuloma and Viloma exercises help to improve functioning of the respiratory system and clean the respiratory tract.
Along with sleep, a proper diet is also responsible for strengthening your immune system. A healthy and nourishing diet helps to build strength, stamina and immunity. Ayurveda has described diet in detail according to Prakruti (Ayurvedic body type) and as per different seasons in Ritucharya (seasonal regimen).
Some Ayurvedic diet tips to boost immunity. Choose fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and light dairy products in your diet. As far as possible avoid using foods which are processed, prepared from artificial colours, artificial flavours, and artificial sweeteners. Avoid food which is frozen to increase the shelf life or canned food or which is stored using lots of artificial preservatives.
Such foods lead to weakened digestion and create digestive toxins, that is Ama, which in turn is a cause of numerous diseases.
Use immune boosting spices which give good flavour to food and additionally strengthen your immune system. Indian food recipes are always enriched with healthy spices.
Spices used in cooking have lots of medicinal properties. Some of the spices used to boost immunity are as follows:
- Cinnamon is one of the best spices well known for immune system boosting. It possesses very good anti-inflammatory properties
- Black Pepper increases the bio- availability of other herbs and thus improves their absorption and actions
- Cumin Seeds which are a popular Indian spice, Cumin seeds are known for anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and the Vitamin C present in Cumin seeds helps to boost its immune strengthening properties
- Turmeric is a potent immune boosting spice, an effective anti-allergic, and this combination makes it an even stronger preventative of frequent cold, sore throat, cough, and respiratory ailments during seasonal changes
Ayurvedic Choornas, Avaleha and Rasayan
As we have seen earlier Ayurveda’s primary focus is on prevention of disease rather than cure. A prime example is building immunity and strength in a natural way free of side effects.
These three Ayurvedic preparations are rich in herbs which not only support the immune system but also nourish the body, improve strength, vigour and vitality. Such preparations help to rejuvenate us and to provide us with anti-ageing properties.
If you feel you need guidance or you want a personalized plan for building your immunity, then do come talk to one of our Ayurvedic consultants through our Health and Wellbeing services. We offer Lifestyle and wellbeing consultations to improve immunity. Go ahead and click on the following link https://ayurvedafamily.com/pages/health-and-well-being-services