COVID-19 Pandemic- What Ayurveda can offer?

The novel Corona virus since its first outbreak reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019 has created global crisis. Each day thousands of people are being infected and till date thousands have lost their life. COVID-19 has created panic in almost each corner of the world. But it is also evident that not all infected people with corona lose their life, there are also good number of people who are recovering. Number of scientist across the globe are into the study of features of COVID-19, its pathogenesis and measures to prevent, control and cure it, yet specific vaccination and medicines are to be discovered. Data till date suggest that elderly people above age of 60 years, children and people with co morbidities or weak immune system are at greater risk and young people have higher chance of recovery.

COVID-19 as declared pandemic has become a global challenge; we can combat this crisis by adopting various preventive measures to check the spread of virus and by boosting our immune system to fight against it.

Immunity interpreted as Vyadhikshmatwa in Ayurveda plays an important role in maintaining good health. Vyadhikshmatwa is the power of the body which prevents the development of disease or resists the onset of developed disease. Ayurveda defines number of methods to enhance and maintain Vyadhi kshamatwa. Some measures are initiated before birth, some we can adopt on daily basis and some at regular intervals.

  • Garbhadaana poorvaka shodhana to couple. (Preconception purification)
  • Masanumasik garbhini paricharya by mother (Antenatal regimes)
  • Shodasha sishu samskara (16 Vedic rituals for child)
  • Nitya shadrasopeta aahara (Intake of all six taste)
  • Regular use of Shaali (Easily digestible rice), Mudga (Green gram lentil), Maasha (Black gram lentil), Draksha (Raisins), Amalaki (Embelica officinalis), Pippali (Long pepper), Saindhava (Rock salt), Ghrita (Ghee), Ksheera (Milk), Dadhi (Yoghurt).
  • Regular Vyayama (Yoga and excercise), non suppression of Adharneeya vegas (natural urges)
  • Following Dinacharya (Daily regime), Ritucharya (Seasonal regime), Sadvritta (Behavioural regime)
  • Periodic Sodhana (Purification) and Nitya rasayana (Daily rejuvenation)

Daily regimes to enhance immunity:

Avoid stress

One of the component of health in Ayurveda is state of Prasanna atma, mana and indriya, which reflects the balanced state of spiritual, mental and sensorial health. Psychological and physiological stress releases different stress hormones that suppresses the immune system. Increased stress levels decreases immunity.

At the current situation COVID-19 is one of the stressor. Releasing our fear, understanding the situation, adopting appropriate preventive measures can help us lower the stress related to COVID-19. Being positive, culturing positive attitudes and emotions (Sadvritta and Sadachara), laughing, sharing and dancing are also effective measures to reduce stress and thereby maintain immune system.

Healthy Diet

Ayurveda advocate use of Shada rasa (Six taste viz: Sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, astringent) in our meals to attain health.

Prefer more of balanced diet and nourishing food that are easy to digest like:

  • Grains like rice, wheat, couscous, buckwheat, barley, millet.
  • Vegetable and fruits rich in Vitamin C like Amalaki (Indian gooseberry), Oranges, Squashes, courgettes and asparagus, sweet, juicy fruits such as cooked apples or pear.
  • Light, easily digestible proteins such as Paneer (a freshly made curd cheese), Lassi (a yoghurt drink diluted with water that aids digestion).
  • Vegetable proteins such as Mung dal and other pulses.
  • Daily use of Ghrita (Clarified butter), Ksheera (Milk), Dadhi (Yoghurt).
  • Avoid fast food, junk food, fried foods, cold drinks, food with added preservatives.
  • Drink plenty of water and keep yourself hydrated.
  • Watch your appetite and digestive power and eat food at regular intervals.

Daily Routine (Dinacharya)

A healthy daily regime as mentioned are simple yet powerful measures to help our body optimize our immune system:

  • Regular Yoga and Pranayama
  • Ayurveda oil massage by self
  • Warm bath
  • Proper and timely sleep
  • Regular elimination and evacuation of faeces and urine.

Herbs

Number of herbs and spices with natural antioxidants, antiviral and immune modulators are described in Ayurveda:

  • A simple homemade tea can be prepared from either single or combination of these spices for daily use.
  • Turmeric, Ajwain, Black pepper, Long pepper, Dry ginger, Garlic, Feenugreek, Cumin, Cinnamon.
  • Herbs as Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Shirisha (Albizia lebbeck), Ghodtapre (Centella asiatica), Tulasi (Ocimum sanctum), Puskarmula (Inula racemosa), Sati (Curcuma zedoria), Kustha (Saussurea costa), Rudhilo (Pogostemon benghalensis), Chiraita (Swertia chairata), Kutaki (Picrorhiza kurroa) helps to improve immunity and enhance respiratory health.
  • The formulation containing these herbs and spices can be used on daily basis as immune tea to boost our immune system.

Maintain personal hygiene

  • Following the measures of personal hygiene (Saucha) help us to prevent various infectious disease.