4-minute read. Posted by Dr. Aruna Iyengar (B.A.M.S, M Sc Biochemistry)
We are going through strange times. With this post, I want to help you understand how your body immunity works and how to boost immunity the ayurvedic way during this covid-19 period.
According to Ashtanga Hridaya – the ancient textbook that builds the principles of Ayurveda – the body-mind-soul combination is an exceptional doctor that maintains the continuity of life, combating all the external and internal stress factors of health. In other words, our body is designed to self preserve.
Immunity starts with what we eat.
Here is the metabolic routine: the food you ingest transforms into the first tissues, which are the plasma, immune system and the lymphatic tissues. Therefore, the quality of food directly plays a major role in deciding the quality of our immune system. So, the step one is to eat healthy. Here are some tips for healthy diet according to Ayurveda.
Good liver is critical for boosting immunity.
Liver plays a major role in providing immunosurveillance – the process of the immune system looking for and recognizing foreign pathogens like bacteria and viruses – for pathogenic infections.
In addition, liver is also the first organ to absorb the nutrients and medicines from the intestines. Panchakarma or ayurvedic purification therapies and medicines can enhance liver-functions which helps in improving the immunity.
Clear your bowels every morning. Intestine with fecal matter can lead to infection and inflammation in the body. Consequently, the liver can get stressed which in turn affects the immune system.
Therefore, healthy food & clear bowels are key to healthy liver and in turn better immunity.
Our immune system is sophisticated. Work on maintaining it.
Microbes are all around us. We breathe in many pathogenic microbes. The immune system is very watchful and active all the time. At a high level there are 3 lines of defense,
- The first: Physical barriers like skin, mucous membranes, etc.
- The second: Non-specific immune cells like macrophages, dendritic cells.
- The third: Specific immune system made of lymphocytes like B and T-cells. The liver comes under the specific immune system. The liver possesses the natural killer cells, which plays an important role in the adaptive immune system.
In summary, so we have a sophisticated system designed to deal with pathogenic microbes like viruses provided we responsibly maintain our immune system.
Let’s talk about Covid-19
You probably heard this a million times but it is still worth repeating:
- COVID-19, it is a new strain of the Coronaviridae family of viruses known to cause mild symptoms of running nose, sore throat, cough and fever to severe symptoms like pneumonia and shortness of breath.
- This spreads via droplet infection majorly.
- You should avoid crowds. Cover your nose and mouth with a clean cloth/ tissue/a mask. Wash your hands using an antiseptic soap for at least 20 seconds. In case you notice these symptoms, immediately contact your nearest doctor.
However, with a well maintained immune system, you’re better prepared for such a pandemic in the future.
Covid-19: Boost Immunity The Ayurvedic Way
While you work on the long term wellness, here are 5 precautionary measures against the new COVID-19 or any upper respiratory tract infection:
#1 Please be thoughtful about what you eat. Watch some tips.
#2 Want an easy way to reduce phlegm accumulating in the lungs and regions above the neck? Wake up before sunrise or try this simple exercise.
#3 Clear your bowels in the morning. If you have trouble, get advice from an expert to resolve.
#4 Want to sterilize the air around you? Light incense sticks of cow dung / neem twigs / tulsi or Holy Basil / camphor.
#5 Pump up your Vitamin C intake. Natural sources are amla or Indian gooseberry, sweet lime, orange, big-sized lemon (Citrus medica), kokum (Garcinia indica), raisins and agasthya leaves (Sesbania grandiflora). Consume cow’s ghee, turmeric, black pepper and ginger in the diet daily.
Hope you found this useful and took away some of your concerns. Got more questions? Leave your questions in Satva’s discussion forum and you will receive answers from certified Ayurveda & Yoga experts.
Stay safe, stay healthy.