Ayurveda and Immunity – By Dr.Mini Nair

The corona pandemic has turned the world’s attention to the immune system, which is the body’s defense mechanism against pathogens. Suddenly, the internet got flooded with so much similar content on how to increase immunity. But did you ever think, why do we think of immunity only, when we face disease and find Ayurveda best as the alternative of any other treatment? Let us tell you. 

Ayurveda helps to enhance the overall natural resistance of the body to disease-causing agents in the long run. It is a common misconception that one can boost immunity by taking a cocktail of herbs for a short period without a proper healthy lifestyle.

Vyadhikshamatva or resistance to disease has been very well explained in all classical texts of Ayurveda.

It is a well-known fact that Ayurveda gives priority to prevent disease for a long life. With Ayurveda, our body can resist the strength of the disease and also prevent the recurrence of the disease. There are few  factors that decrease our immunity, which can also result in co-morbidity of infections, such as:

  • Atistoola (obesity)
  • Atikrisha (extremely emaciated)
  • Anivista mamsa, asti, shonita(having defective musculature, bones, and blood)
  •  Durbala (weakness)
  •  Asthma – Aaharopachita (constant intake of junk food)
  •  Alpa – Aaharopachita (crash or wrong dieting)
  •  Alpa Satva (fragile and weak-minded)

In such individuals, it has been seen that Bala or body strength to resist infection is very low.

Bala is of three types, namely:

  • Sahaja (inherited) – This is received by birth and depends on the quality of the egg, sperm, and physiological status of the uterus of the mother, place of birth and time of birth.
  • Kaalaja (seasonal & age) – Bala of a person will be less in winter, spring, and summer whereas it is less in rainy, autumn, and winter. It also depends on age, for children and aged people it is less.
  •  Yuktikritra bala (acquired immunity) – This type of body strength can be attained by changing our diet, lifestyle, and in-cooperation of various therapies and Ayurveda medicines like Rasayana.

Ayurveda clearly says that impaired agni (metabolic fire) is the root cause of all imbalances in the body, thereby causing diseases. A poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle build up a lot of negative emotions like anger, anxiety, depression and these are further triggered by lack of sleep and exercise. All this leads to the accumulation of toxins (ama) that can disrupt immunity and hence health. This is how the various purification treatment of Ayurveda helps in balancing the body, mentally and physically both.

It is also seen that wrong body posture for a long period can decrease immunity where yoga effectively helps. Yoga is one of the most effective and time tested natural immunity boosters that lower stress hormones, strengthens the nervous system, and also stimulates the lymphatic system to remove the toxins from our body.

Hence for attaining good Vyadhikshamatva or immunity, one should work at all levels including spiritual, mental, and physical levels as described in the Ayurveda texts.