Boosting Immunity Through Ayurveda
Published on Nov 06, 2022
Immunity is the ability of the body to overcome and resist diseases. In today’s age of viruses, bacteria, fungi etc which are constantly emerging and are highly detrimental to the human body, staying healthy is becoming more and more challenging. In this scenario keeping our immunity boosted is of prime importance.
The Ayurvedic view of immunity is based on the concept of inherited reserve and acquired reserve.
Our immunity depends of various factors
- Health of Ojas
- Our Digestive power or Agni
- Balance of tridoshas within our body
- Balance of our manasik doshas.
- Keeping our channels (strotas open)
To bring one’s health to the optimum levels, one must achieve a complete balance of tridoshas i.e. vata, pitta and kapha and keep channels and tissues and healthy.
We cannot build our immunity overnight. We must constantly work on immunity-building measures like eating a proper diet, a happy mental state, daily regimen, seasonal regimen, non-suppression of natural urges, timely purification of dosha etc
To achieve good health some day-to-day routines like Dinacharya has been explained in detail in Ayurveda which can be followed so that our body is well connected with the circadian rhythm or body clock.
Daily dosha cycles according to ayurveda:
- 6 am to 10 am – Kapha kala
- 10 am to 2 pm – Pitta kala
- 2 pm to 6 pm – Vata kala
- 6 pm to 10 pm – Kapha kala
- 10 pm to 2 am – Pitta kala
- 2 am to 6 am – Vata kala
Waking up at brahmamuhurta has been of the utmost importance as there is an abundance of satva in the mind as well as in the atmosphere at this time.
Dantadhavana, after cleansing the system cleaning of teeth with twigs of karanja or khadira. A twig which is astringent, pungent or bitter in taste can be used.
Anjana is to be applied to drain out secretions from the eye.
Nasya or instillation of drops of herbal decoctions or herbal oils in the nostrils.
Gandusha Gargling with warm water or herbal decoction or oil should be done.
Abhyanga or an oil massage should be done daily as it delays ageing, relieves tiredness, and balances excess vata, nourishes body tissues, improves skin tone and complexion.
Exercise: It brings about lightness, improves work capacity, improves digestion, and burns fat.
Also, Vyayama has to be done according to one’s own strength.
Dinacharya brings about balance between our body and our natural environment thereby keeping our dosha balanced.
Also, various regimens should be followed so that changes in seasonal dosha imbalances don’t happen and in turn, body does not get susceptible to diseases. Therefore, seasonal adaptations are very important.
There are different tastes and kinds of foods and clothing which must be appropriately used according to the seasons.
Purification or detoxification therapies like vamana in vasant ritu, basti in varsha ritu and virechana in sharad ritu, if followed accordingly bring about dosha balance and pacifies the seasonal aggravation of doshas.
Another entity called Agni or fire is also an integral part of maintaining optimal immunity. Immunity boosters generally aim at keeping the digestive fire optimal. If the digestion and metabolism are incomplete it creates toxic material. These improperly digested toxic materials or ama cause defects in the channels and in turn may lead to diseases.
Our gut fire or jataragni, dhatwagni or tissue level fire and bhutagni or elemental fire must function optimally to keep good health and nourish our tissues in the body.
When the Agni of an individual is sama or balanced then that person would be healthy and would lead a long, happy, healthy life. But, if the Agni of a person is vitiated, the whole metabolism in his/her body would be disturbed, resulting in ill health and disease.
Ojas is another entity which must be kept optimal to have good immunity. The qualities of ojas are sweet, heavy, unctuous, cool, and smooth. Ojas is compared to the nectar of all the tissues in our body.
Ojas get depleted by excessive anger, travelling, fear, grief, suppression of hunger, excessive consumption of bitter and dry food, and excessive thinking, Foods to avoid that deplete Ojas include excessively dry, raw, and undercooked foods; canned, frozen, fried, or stale foods, alcohol, refined sugar, refined flour and heavily processed foods.
Ojas are the final product of good nutrition and digestion. So, the first step is to ensure you are eating good quality, fresh wholesome and seasonal food.
Falling prey to fads and mono-diet, in the long run, may lead to ill health. Foods that are highest in Ojas building qualities include dates, bananas, almonds, ghee, saffron, cow’s milk, honey, whole grains , and green gram to name a few.
Consumption of an Impure diet, incompatible diet, unjustified dose of diet, taking food in a condition of indigestion, mixing wholesome and unwholesome together, taking food before the previous meal is digested, and taking in improper time is to be avoided totally.
Ojas can be increased by the use of Rasayana or restorative herbs. These help in the formation of healthy rasadi dhatus. Rasayana is the term given to special herbs, fruits or any other form of medication that are known to promote positive health and longevity.
Rasayana could be based on our diet, herbs that we intake and achar rasayana our conduct.
Some immunomodulator herbs:
- Guduchi or Giloy can come in capsules or as Giloy Juice.
- Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that helps manage stress and relieve insomnia. This is available avaleha form or as Ashwagandha capsules.
- Tulsi helps protect against infections and has antioxidants. Tulsi leaves can be just had around 5 to 6 leaves every day, else can have tulsi in the form of tea along with honey.
- Shatavari can be had as a leha.
- Amalaki contains nutrients such as vitamin C, amino acids, pectin, and is rich in antioxidants. This herb has healing properties like anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, and antioxidant properties and helps strengthen the body's immune system. You can try Amla Juice to enjoy these benefits.
Some kitchen spices that can be used to increase immunity:
- Garlic can be added to everyday cooking,
- Haldi can be had with warm milk.
- Jeera can be used in seasoning.
- Draksha can be soaked in water and can be had in the morning every day.
- Black pepper a pinch of its powder can be had with honey.
- Cinnamon can be had with Tulsi in the form of tea.
Therefore, nutritionally balanced food according to one’s prakruti, healthy lifestyle, happy mental state, good digestive fire, healthy metabolism, daily and seasonal regimen along with good quality Ojas is what one requires to keep immunity at its best.