Ayurvedic analysis of immunity
Ayurveda relates the body’s immunity to Ojas— that is the essence of the seven tissues that make up the body. The ancient Indian therapeutic science strongly counsels that we take care of the Ojas or the vital energy for good health and wellbeing.
The seven tissues or dhatus are believed to make up the human body. These are Rasa [juice], Rakta [blood], Mansa [muscle], Medha [body fat], Asthi [bones], Majja [bone marrow] and Shukra [semen]. Ojas, the prime source of natural immunity, is the core extract of these seven body tissues and is highly vital to life and existence.
Herbs that augment immunity
Herbs such as amla, mulethi, ashwagandha, ginger, basil, harad, turmeric, brahmi and large cardamom are beneficial for your immune system. Also, unctuous foods like honey, cow’s milk and desi ghee work as natural rejuvenators. Let’s see in detail what each of these herbs can do.
Amla, known as Indian gooseberry, is the richest and best source of vitamin C. It also contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, albumin, cellulose, fibre, carbohydrate, sugar and water.
According to ayurveda, the fruit of amla helps reduce all the three body humours—vatta, pitta and kapha, or the air, fire and phlegm; which, when aggravated above their normal limits, cause a disease. The special properties of rejuvenation and revitalising of the entire body systems makes amla highly beneficial for increasing the body’s resistance power.
Eating amla in raw form may not be easy for all, but you need not fret. You could feast on amla murabba, chutneys or jams. The powder of dried amla [which is readily available] can also be taken mixed with honey, twice a day.
You can even extract fresh juice from the amla fruit and add it to salads or mix with other juices to balance the sourness.
Chyawanprash, which contains amla along with other herbs, is a well-known formulation that can be taken for long periods as a tonic to do away mental and physical fatigue.
Turmeric is used widely in India both for cooking and for medicinal purposes. It is believed to destroy all the three basic humours of the body. Therefore, turmeric is recommended in a large variety of ailments and also as a potent immunity-boosting herb. Tturmeric can be used to relieve ailments such common cold, dry itchy skin, joint pains and swelling during winter. The best part is that it can easily be included in your daily diet to equip your body to fight maladies.
About 1 – 3g powder of raw turmeric is recommended and can be supplemented with warm water or milk. The powder can also be mixed with oil and massaged on the skin. Haridra Khanda is an effective Ayurveda formulation of turmeric.
According to Ayurvedic texts, as ginger is hot in action, it helps in decreasing the aggravated vatta and kapha doshas. Ginger helps fight infections, and boost immunity levels.
Ginger can be used for hot fomentation in arthritis, gout, oedema and other forms of joint and muscle pain. A powder of dry ginger mixed with sesame oil and massaged on the joint provides good relief.
Ginger helps find relief in almost all types of respiratory disorders like cough, cold, pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis. Moreover, it can be consumed in any form—fresh, dried, powdered or juiced.
Tulsi or holy basil contains specific anti-asthmatic and anti-infective properties. Ayurveda recommends holy basil to empower respiratory resistance. To find relief, consume fresh tulsi juice made by pounding leaves of the herb, twice a day. Add a few drops of ginger and some honey to this to increase its efficiency to build resistance.
Roots of the herb of Liquorice or yashtimadhu are an excellent home remedy for relieving a number of disorders. According to ayurvedic texts, mulethi, being heavy, slimy and sweet helps in decreasing the aggravated vatta or air body humour. Therefore, liquorice is helpful in treating the diseases relating to vitiation in air body humour.
Mulethi is a natural revitalising herb. A number of liquorice formulations are available on the market that can be taken for strengthening the body systems and increasing immunity. The powder of this root, when taken with honey and ghee, is sufficient to revive your immunity levels. Not only this, mulethi also acts as a general as well as brain tonic and prevents early ageing.
Ashwagandha is a natural herb that is beneficial in boosting immunity and restoring energy levels. It also delays the process of ageing. In the Ayurvedic texts, the herb of ashwagandha is regarded as a natural stimulator and rejuvenator.
A powder prepared by pounding the root of ashwagandha can be taken in a dose of 3 – 6g along with a glass of warm and sweetened cow’s milk.
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