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Ayurvedic View On Immunity And Tips To Boost It Naturally

Ayurveda talks about ojas and bala as synonyms for immunity. It is closely tied to your prakriti and doshas. Immunity is what we get at birth(sahaja), based on age and seasons(kalaja) and derived from from a diet and physical activity (yuktikrutajabala). Ayurveda recommends a wholesome diet, ample sleep, herbs and medical formulations to keep your immunity shield fortified against evolving infections.

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Do you tend to catch common illnesses like colds or other infections at the drop of a hat? We are constantly exposed to harmful germs but our immune system protects us from them and keeps us healthy. The ancient science of Ayurveda has long recognized the importance of immunity or “vyadhikshamatva” in keeping us healthy.

What Is Immunity According to Ayurveda?

Ayurveda describes the capacity to resist diseases as ‘vyadhiksamatwa’. Ayurveda also talks about ‘ojas’ (vigor) and ‘bala’ (strength) which are almost used as synonyms for immunity.[1]Singh, Karam, and Bhavna Verma. “The concept of vyadhikshamatva (immunity) in Ayurveda.” Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci 1, no. 5 (2012): 99-108. Ojas is considered to be the essence of your body tissues or dhatus (such as, bone, muscle, fat, blood, reproductive fluid etc.) while bala stands for your physical and mental strength. It is of three kinds

  • Sahaja (constitutional): this is constitutional strength which is present from birth.
  • Kalaja (seasonal): Temporal strength depends on the age of the individual as well as the seasons. For instance, in spring, summer, and late winter (adana kala) bala will be less while during autumn, rainy season and winter (visarga kala) it will be more. Similarly, young people will have more bala while children and old people will have less bala.
  • Yuktikrutajabala (acquired): Acquired bala is obtained by a combination of physical activities and diet.[2]Masram, Pravin, Suhas Chaudhary, K. S. Patel, V. K. Kori, and S. Rajagopala. “A brief review on Ayurvedic concept of immunity and immunization.” Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci 3, no. 8 … Continue reading

Factors That Affect Your Immunity

According to Ayurveda, if your physiological parameters such are doshas (the body humors- vatta, pitta, and kapha), agni (force associated with digestion and metabolism), dhatus (tissues) etc. are in a balanced state or in equilibrium then that contributes to a healthy immune system. Meanwhile, many factors can also weaken your capacity to resist diseases. For instance,

  • Being obese
  • Being emaciated, that is, being very thin
  • Some weakness in your muscles, bone tissues, or blood
  • Being physically weak or debilitated
  • Having unwholesome food
  • Having insufficient food
  • Having weak mental faculties[3]Masram, Pravin, Suhas Chaudhary, K. S. Patel, V. K. Kori, and S. Rajagopala. “A brief review on Ayurvedic concept of immunity and immunization.” Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci 3, no. 8 … Continue reading

How Does Your Prakriti Define Your Immunity?

Ayurveda takes into account your prakriti or body constitution while looking at your immune system. Your prakriti is determined by the relative proportion of the 3 doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha – that you exhibit. For instance,

  • people with vata prakriti might be more predisposed to neurological disorders,
  • while those with pitta prakriti might be predisposed to digestive disorders, and
  • those with kapha prakriti might be predisposed to respiratory disorders.

In fact, research indicates that your prakriti can have a bearing on your immune system, with one study observing that people with kapha constitution had better immunity than those with vata constitution.[4]Rotti, Harish, Kanive Parashiva Guruprasad, Jayakrishna Nayak, Shama Prasada Kabekkodu, Harpreet Kukreja, Sandeep Mallya, Jyothi Nayak et al. “Immunophenotyping of normal individuals classified … Continue reading

The Ayurvedic Way To Boost Your Immunity

Ayurveda emphasizes following a beneficial daily regimen (dinacharya) and seasonal regimen (rutucharya) to strengthen your immune system. Therapeutic cleansing procedures (panchakarma) and the use of rasayanas (immunomodulators) may also be advocated in certain cases.[5][Ayurveda for Immunity](https://blog.mygov.in/ayurveda-for-immunity/ “Ayurveda for Immunity”). Ministry of Ayush. The daily regimen advocated by Ayurveda to strengthen immunity takes into account factors such as:

1. Follow A Healthy Diet

Ayurveda advocates

  • Eating only when you’re hungry, and only as much as is comfortable for your digestive system. A diet that is suitable for your prakriti is considered to be beneficial.
  • Having warm, freshly cooked, easily digestible food (laghu-supachyaahara).
  • Limiting consumption of sweets and foods that are hard to digest. Also avoid fried, chilled, and oily foods.
  • Foods such as shigru (drumstick or Moringa Oleifera Lam), patola (pointed gourd or Tricosanthes dioica. Roxb), karvellaka (bitter melon or Momordica Charantia Linn), mudga (mung bean or Vignaradiata (L.) R. Wilczek), tanduliyak (spiny amaranth or Amaranthus spinosus L.), kapittha (wood apple or Feronia limonia (Linn.)), lashuna (garlic or Allium sativum L.), dadima (pomegranate or Punica granatum Linn) etc. which are considered to be beneficial.
  • Having dinner at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.[6][Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19](https://www.ayush.gov.in/docs/ayurved-guidlines.pdf “Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19”).Ministry of Ayush.
2. Use Of Rasayana Herbs And Spices

Rasāyana herbs are thought to promote longevity, have anti-aging effects, and improve immunity against diseases. Some spices and herbs that are commonly used come in this category. Try and incorporate them into your daily diet.[7][Rasayana]( https://www.nhp.gov.in/rasayana_mtl “Rasayana”).National Health Portal.

  • Turmeric (Curcuma Longa): Commonly used in Indian cooking, this spice has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been found to enhance immunity.[8]Emadi, M., and Hassan Kermanshahi. “Effect of turmeric rhizome powder on immunity responses of broiler chickens.” Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances (2007).
  • Tulasi (Ocimum Tenuiflorum): Also known as the “Elixir of life”, tulasi is considered divine in many Indian households. It’s a popular remedy for respiratory problems and fever. Tulasi has been found to have not just immunomodulatory properties but also antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
  • Amla (Embelia Officinale): Studies have found that extracts of amalaka have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. Ayurveda considers it to be balya (that which gives strength to the body). Amla is a rich source of vitamin C, and supplementation with this vitamin is known to be helpful in preventing respiratory infections.
  • Maricha (Piper Nigrum): Maricha or pepper has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It increases your white blood cell count. White blood cells form a part of your immune system and help fight infections. However, maricha has ‘hot’ potency, and those with pitta prakruti or stomach ulcers should be cautious.
  • Garlic (Allium sativum): Garlic has antioxidant properties and stimulates your immune system. It is also great for your heart – it can lower cholesterol as well as blood pressure. Garlic also has ‘hot’ potency, and those with stomach ulcers or having a pitta prakruti should be cautious.[9] Adaki, Shridevi, Raghavendra Adaki, Kaushal Shah, and Amol Karagir. “Garlic: Review of literature.” Indian journal of cancer 51, no. 4 (2014): 577. [10]Pathania, Monika, Praag Bhardwaj, Nitish Pathania, and Vyas K. Rathaur. “A review on exploring evidence-based approach to harnessing the immune system in times of corona virus pandemic: Best of … Continue reading
3. Drinking Enough Fluids

Ayurveda considers it a good practice to drink 1 to 3 glasses of warm water early in the morning. Warm or hot water is thought to improve digestion and support agni (the force associated with digestion and metabolism). And when agni is functioning properly it gives immunity. It is also considered beneficial to drink water stored in a copper vessel as it helps to balance the three doshas of vata, pitta, and kapha.[11]Pathania, Monika, Praag Bhardwaj, Nitish Pathania, and Vyas K. Rathaur. “A review on exploring evidence-based approach to harnessing the immune system in times of corona virus pandemic: Best of … Continue reading (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7586565/) [12][Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19](https://www.ayush.gov.in/docs/ayurved-guidlines.pdf “Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19”).Ministry of Ayush.

4. Getting Enough Sleep

Research shows that sleep exerts a strong regulatory influence on your immune system. So, what does Ayurveda say about sleep? According to this ancient science, it is best to get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. It’s considered ideal to wake up 45 minutes before sunrise and sleeping during the day is discouraged.[13]Besedovsky, Luciana, Tanja Lange, and Jan Born. “Sleep and immune function.” Pflügers Archiv-European Journal of Physiology 463, no. 1 (2012): 121-137. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/ ][14][Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19](https://www.ayush.gov.in/docs/ayurved-guidlines.pdf “Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19”).Ministry of Ayush.

5. Maintaining Hygiene

The daily routine prescribed by Ayurveda lays a lot of emphasis on maintaining hygiene. You’re supposed to start by oil pulling (kavala) a teaspoon of coconut or sesame oil and follow that up with a warm water rise. You can gargle with a pinch of salt and turmeric, triphala, or yashtimadhu for oral hygiene while nasya (instilling 2 drops of coconut or sesame oil in each nostril) is recommended for nasal hygiene. Daily warm baths are also encouraged.[15][Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19](https://www.ayush.gov.in/docs/ayurved-guidlines.pdf “Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19”).Ministry of Ayush.

6. Practicing Yoga

Yoga is a mind–body practice that can offer many health benefits. Research indicates that it can impact your immune system positively as well. Inflammation is a natural response by your immune system that helps heal injuries and infections. However, chronic inflammation can be harmful to your health. In fact, it has been found to contribute to a range of diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, asthma, psoriasis, eczema etc.[16][All about inflammation](https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/all-about-inflammation “All about inflammation”). Harvard Health Publishing. Studies show that yoga can reduce proinflammatory markers and therefore, it can help tackle chronic inflammation. But do keep in mind that you need to practice yoga consistently to reap its benefits.[17]Falkenberg, R. I., C. Eising, and M. L. Peters. “Yoga and immune system functioning: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.” Journal of behavioral medicine 41, no. 4 (2018): … Continue reading Yogic poses such as matsya-asana (fish pose), hala-asana (plough pose), and sarvangasana (shoulder stand pose), are thought to help strengthen immunity as they can activate your thymus gland which makes white blood cells. Yoga can also reduce stress which can dampen your immune system.[18]Pathania, Monika, Praag Bhardwaj, Nitish Pathania, and Vyas K. Rathaur. “A review on exploring evidence-based approach to harnessing the immune system in times of corona virus pandemic: Best of … Continue reading Practicing yogasana, pranayama (yogic breathing technique) and meditation for a minimum of 30 minutes daily is considered to be beneficial.

7. Use Ayurvedic Medicinal Formulations

Many ayurvedic medicinal preparations can strengthen your immune system:

  • Guduchi: 250 to 500 mg of aqueous extract can be consumed
  • Ashwagandha root powder: 3 to 5 grams twice daily with warm milk or water
  • Chyawanprash Avaleha: 10 – 12 gm or 1 spoon can be consumed
  • Drakshavaleha: 10 – 12 gm or 1 spoon can be consumed
  • Indukantam Grutham: 10 – 12 gm twice a day before food
  • Aravindasava – 15 – 20 ml can be taken with an equal quantity of warm water after having food
  • Do keep in mind that the dosage of these preparations can vary based on individual characteristics. Always check with an ayurvedic doctor to determine if a medicinal formulation is appropriate for you.

Immunity Boosters For Children And Pregnant Women

Children and pregnant women may be particularly vulnerable to diseases. Let’s take a look at some rasayana drugs which work as immunity boosters for them:

For Children

  • Indukanta Ghritam: can be taken with warm milk
  • Kalyanaka Ghrita: can be taken with warm milk
  • Aravindasavam: can be taken with warm water after food
  • Balachaturbhadra Churna: can be taken with honey
  • Do keep in mind that the dosage of these preparations can vary based on individual characteristics like the age of your child. Always check with an ayurvedic doctor to determine if a medicinal formulation is appropriate for you.

For Pregnant And Lactating Women

Some ayurvedic formulations that can be helpful for pregnant and lactating women include:

  • Phala Sarpis: 10 – 12gms can be taken in two doses with warm water
  • Kalyanaka Ghrita: 10 – 12gms can be taken in two doses with warm water
  • Ashwagandha Rasayana: 3 – 6gms can be taken twice daily with warm milk
  • Soubhagya Shunti Leha: 10 – 12gms can be taken twice daily with warm milk on an empty stomach
  • Milk with ghee: a teaspoon of ghee can be added to a cup of milk and taken daily

Do keep in mind that the dosage of these preparations can vary based on individual characteristics. Always check with an ayurvedic doctor to determine if a medicinal formulation is appropriate for you. During pregnancy, the rasayana medicines should be taken only after consulting a doctor if you’re recovering from fever.[19][Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19](https://www.ayush.gov.in/docs/ayurved-guidlines.pdf “Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19”).Ministry of Ayush.

References

References
1 Singh, Karam, and Bhavna Verma. “The concept of vyadhikshamatva (immunity) in Ayurveda.” Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci 1, no. 5 (2012): 99-108.
2, 3 Masram, Pravin, Suhas Chaudhary, K. S. Patel, V. K. Kori, and S. Rajagopala. “A brief review on Ayurvedic concept of immunity and immunization.” Ayurpharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci 3, no. 8 (2014): 230-240.
4 Rotti, Harish, Kanive Parashiva Guruprasad, Jayakrishna Nayak, Shama Prasada Kabekkodu, Harpreet Kukreja, Sandeep Mallya, Jyothi Nayak et al. “Immunophenotyping of normal individuals classified on the basis of human dosha prakriti.” Journal of Ayurveda and integrative Medicine 5, no. 1 (2014): 43.
5 [Ayurveda for Immunity](https://blog.mygov.in/ayurveda-for-immunity/ “Ayurveda for Immunity”). Ministry of Ayush.
6, 12, 14, 15, 19 [Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19](https://www.ayush.gov.in/docs/ayurved-guidlines.pdf “Guidelines for Ayurveda Practitioners for COVID 19”).Ministry of Ayush.
7 [Rasayana]( https://www.nhp.gov.in/rasayana_mtl “Rasayana”).National Health Portal.
8 Emadi, M., and Hassan Kermanshahi. “Effect of turmeric rhizome powder on immunity responses of broiler chickens.” Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances (2007).
9 Adaki, Shridevi, Raghavendra Adaki, Kaushal Shah, and Amol Karagir. “Garlic: Review of literature.” Indian journal of cancer 51, no. 4 (2014): 577.
10 Pathania, Monika, Praag Bhardwaj, Nitish Pathania, and Vyas K. Rathaur. “A review on exploring evidence-based approach to harnessing the immune system in times of corona virus pandemic: Best of modern and traditional Indian system of medicine.” Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 9, no. 8 (2020): 3826.
11, 18 Pathania, Monika, Praag Bhardwaj, Nitish Pathania, and Vyas K. Rathaur. “A review on exploring evidence-based approach to harnessing the immune system in times of corona virus pandemic: Best of modern and traditional Indian system of medicine.” Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 9, no. 8 (2020): 3826.
13 Besedovsky, Luciana, Tanja Lange, and Jan Born. “Sleep and immune function.” Pflügers Archiv-European Journal of Physiology 463, no. 1 (2012): 121-137.
16 [All about inflammation](https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/all-about-inflammation “All about inflammation”). Harvard Health Publishing.
17 Falkenberg, R. I., C. Eising, and M. L. Peters. “Yoga and immune system functioning: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials.” Journal of behavioral medicine 41, no. 4 (2018): 467-482.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. For more information pertaining to your personal needs please see a qualified health practitioner.

About the Author

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Dr. Anand R Dwivedi (KAA Expert)

Dr. Anand R Dwivedi is an Ayurevedacharya from Mumbai University, 1987. He has been practicing Ayurveda since 1988. He has a special interest in the treatment of chronic illnesses with the help of Ayurveda. He has been associated with Kapiva since 2015 and helping people lead a well-balanced lifestyle through his deep knowledge of Ayurveda.

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