“Ayurveda is the most sacred science of life beneficial to humans both in this world and beyond the world.” – Charaka
India is among the nations struggling against morbidity and mortality caused due to COVID-19 pandemic. The another fact that exacerbates COVID-19 effects is lack of strong immune system. Today almost every individual lives hectic and multitasking life aggravated by pollution and improper diet. India is country where rich science of Ayurveda was originated and it is said Ayurveda can equally contribute in making of stronger immune system. So it becomes foremost to gradually inculcate these Ayurvedic principles in ourselves.
Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word which means “The Science of Life”. Ayurveda is a medicinal science which is considered among oldest healing sciences. Ayurveda, being the science of life propagate the gift of nature in maintaining healthy and happy living. Ayurveda’s extensive knowledge based on preventive care derived from concept of “Dincharya”– daily regime and “Ritucharya”– seasonal regime to maintain healthy life. It is a plant-based science and includes simplicity of awareness about oneself and the harmony each individual can achieve by uplifting and maintaining his or her immunity from Ayurveda classical scriptures.
Ayurveda was originally shared through Shruti (oral tradition). It was recorded more than 5000 years ago in Sanskrit. It was mentioned in four Vedic Text viz. Rigveda, Yazurveda, Samveda and Atharvaveda. Ayurvedic principles forms major part of Atharvaveda. Some important Ayurvedic text include Charaka Samhita (by Charaka), Sushruta Samhita (by Sushruta), Ashtanga Sangraha and Ashtanga Hridaya (by Vagbhata), Sarangadhar Samhita (by Sharngadhara), Bhav Prakasan Niganthu(Bhavamisra), Madhava Nidan (by Madhava kara) and Agnivesh Samhita and Chikitsasthana. Many scholars and researches believes that these books contain very important concepts, precautions and cure, which can help every individual. Ayurveda is not hidden and its application regarding healthy body and strong immunity is known internationally.
According to Ayurveda, body is made up of five basic elements called as Ayurvedic Doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Vata Dosha is comprised of space and air, Pitta Dosha is comprised of Fire and Water and Kapha is comprised of Earth. These are often termed as Psycho-Physiological functions. It is essential to maintain all these Doshas. As Vata is responsible for all movements in body and mind, Pitta controls all metabolic processes in the body and Kapha is important for stability of body, compactness of joint, lubrication and intelligence. A healthy body with strong immunity needs to balance all these five elements compositions.
The modern definition of immune system is only based on functions of cells, enzymes and antibodies that attack pathogens and prevent from various contagious diseases but the remedy should not be limited to vaccines only. Old Ayurvedic concept of immunity include Bala (Strength), Vyadhi Kshamathwa (resistance to illness) and Ojas (Supreme resilience). These three concept helped individuals in ancient time to enhance ability of body to repair and nourish itself. The average age in Vedic period was more than hundred, because people knew the rich science of Ayurveda. It is also evident in Ayurvedic books which describes how people lead a long and disease free life by having Samogya– balance between soul, mind and body.
Ayurveda also advocates abolition of some negative practices that have detrimental effects on our body. The fact which cause a sign of danger is that each and every person is involved in these practices directly or indirectly. To make our body strong and resistive to various disease like COVID-19, we need to avoid some adverse practices like imbalanced diet, excessive alcohol intake, high stress, dehydration, no meditation, obesity and irregular sleep. Imbalanced diet does not support Doshas (5 elements). If processed sugar, adultrised food, artificial flavours and junk food are taken in huge amount then they decrease immune system’s ability to fight diseases. Excessive alcohol intake leads to multiple cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and hence makes body more prone to contagious microbes. High stress triggers depression, anxiety, mental disorders and mental fatigue which negatively impact our nervous as well as physiological system. Water (Jal) is essential component of Ayurvedic science. The proper digestion, regulation of body temperature, formation of saliva and mucus and so on is totally dependent on proper water consumption. Meditation helps to balance both mind and body by rescuing us from frustration caused by day-to-day exertion. Obesity and irregular sleep can cause many non communicable diseases like cancer, stroke, chronic lung diseases and simultaneously decrease our body’s immunity.
Ayurveda can help augment immunity. The day should be started by Tulsi-Ginger tea to cleanse the upper respiratory tract. Intake of well balanced diet (with all six taste and proper quality). We need to eat variety of spices in our daily routine which include Tulsi (basil), Dalchini (Cinnamon), Long (cloves) and Haldi (Turmeric). Regular detox plans like fasting or Panchakarma (five step Ayurveda treatment that includes herbal oil massage, steam bath, cleansing enemas, healing khichdi and other purifying methods) should be done once a year. Consumption of essential herbs like Ashwagandha and Amla once in a week. Turmeric and black pepper should be used in daily meals to boost immunity and reduce toxins (amas). Chyavanprash should be eaten daily to supply extra antioxidants and strengthen the immunity. It is very essential to remain hydrated throughout the day hence it is vital to drink plenty of water (warm if possible).
Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India recently released guidelines to boost immunity and small procedures for prevention of COVID- 19. The measures includes drinking of warm water throughout the day, daily practice of Yogasana, Pranayama and meditation for atleast 30 minutes, spices like Haldi(Turmeric), Jeera (Cumin) and Lahsun (Garlic) are recommended in cooking, Chyavanprash 10 gm(1 tbsp) in morning and diabetics could take sugar free Chyavanprash, to drink Decoction (Kadha) made from Tulsi, Shunthi(dry ginger), Munakka (Raisins), Kalimirch (Black pepper) and Guna (Jaggery) can be added for flavour, drink Golden milk– haldi and milk(hot) once or twice a day. Some simple procedure also includes Nasal Application – application of sesame oil/coconut oil/ghee in both nostrils, it is also called as Partimarsh Nasya), in morning and evening. Oil pulling therapy is recommended to make throat infection free. It includes swishing of 1 tablespoon sesame oil or cocount oil for 2 to 3 minutes followed by warm water rinse. People should be aware of these guidelines and instructions should be followed thoroughly.
As per overall conclusion Ayurveda simplest medicinal science which can be applied in our day to day life. India shares a huge demographic dividend where majority of population is youth and it is imperative to make each and every individual fit and fine. This Ayurvedic principles would certainly increase immunity and subsequently make body resistive to various pathogen causing pandemic like COVID-19.
By Simran Bhati, 18 years old, Indore