Ayurvedic medicine for immunity and strength General Health/Immunity
Ayurvedic medicine for immunity and strength.
AUGUST 31, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide on the Immune System in Ayurveda

Due to various reasons, including heredity, allergies, improper nutrition, etc., a person’s immunity can become weak. This makes the person more likely to fall ill, a serious concern. It is possible to help enhance immunity so that a person becomes more resistant to diseases and illnesses. These immune-boosting measures are very much required to help manage diseases successfully. Through this blog, we are trying to introduce our readers to immunity and its types, with tips on strengthening it.

Understanding Immunity in Ayurveda

Ayurveda is not just science that deals with diseases and their treatment. It is a way of life that describes staying healthy and improving longevity. For the same reason, most of the classical texts in Ayurveda dedicate themselves to preventing diseases, ways to stay healthy and improving immunity before digging into diseases and their treatment. Acharya Charaka says, “Swasthasya SwasthyaRakshanam”, that the primary focus of Ayurveda is preserving the health of healthy persons. Now, this gains more importance during this modern era, when we are encountered new viruses and pathogens daily and have to survive such odds.

Vyadhiksmatva in Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, Vyadhiksmatva is the natural defence mechanism of the body to help the body fight ongoing diseases and help guard the body against any future diseases. The effective working of the digestive system helps create Ojas, a substance that is the end-product of digestion. Ojas is a substance that helps provide immunity to our body. A strong Ojas helps make us immune to various diseases and enhances the body’s natural ability to fight diseases. It helps in maintaining vigour and vitality.

Concept of BALAM in Ayurveda

The Sanskrit word Balam means strength, and in health, it denotes the strength of the mind, the body, and its components. In Ayurveda, the term Balam invariably means immunity and the immune system in a normal state.

तत्र बलेन स्थिरोपचितमांसता सर्वचेष्टास्वप्रतिघातः स्वरवर्णप्रसादो बाह्यानामाभ्यन्तराणां च करणानामात्मकार्यप्रतिपत्तिर्भवति || (Susrutha Samhitha Sutra sthana 15/24)

Acharya Susrutha in the above verse states that Balam is that factor due to which one achieves the stability and nourishment of Mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue), ability to carry out different tasks efficiently, get good complexion, clearness, and pleasantness of voice, along with the clear, efficient working of sense organs, motor functions, mind, and intellect. How captivating is that the great sage describes the whole concept of immunity in Ayurveda in just one verse, and that is too precise and well-defined!

Ayurveda gives great importance to Balam of an individual while dealing with the prevention and treatment of diseases. The assessment of Balam of a person is important in Ayurveda because the clinical management, including the treatment procedures, diet, and dose of medicines, are always decided in due consideration with the Balam of the individual. Bala helps strengthen and lubricate the body by providing nourishment to the body's muscular tissues. Some scholars opine that Bala and Ojas are the same.

Understanding Ama (toxins) and its impact on immunity

In the wisdom of Ayurvedic medicine, the concept of good health is not relegated to just ‘not being unwell.’ An individual's entire constitution is in complete balance and is thoroughly invigorated when they experience good health. Aside from balancing the doshas–Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, as well as making sure the digestive fire, called Agni, is working to its best, an individual can make efforts that will help boost immunity. According to Ayurveda, strong immunity is a product of good digestion, strong Agni (the metabolic fire), balanced doshas (biological humour), good liver function and a balanced endocrine system (which includes appropriately balanced hormones).

In Ayurveda, a concept called 'Ojas' in Sanskrit literally translates to 'vigor'. It is the positive subtle essence of Kapha, the dosha, which gives the body strength, vigour, vitality, and immunity. Healthy Ojas fosters a state of bliss, whereas if Ojas become diminished and dried up, an individual becomes prone to illness and disease.

Lifestyle and diet can go a long way in balancing this ‘fighting response’ or the immune system within the body. By absorbing the proper nutrients and eliminating the toxins accumulated in the body, the immune system can operate at its peak and keep away external threats. Immunity is heavily influenced by the power of Agni, i.e. the ability to digest, assimilate, and absorb nutrients in the body. If Agni is impaired by an imbalance within the Tridosha, metabolism is affected, and the immune response and natural resistance become compromised. When an individual consumes food and drinks that harm the digestive fire, this leads to a toxin build-up within the body, also known as Ama formation. This interferes with the natural intelligence of each cell, encoded with a will to live, be healthy, and work together as a whole, communicating with the other cells of the body. Ayurveda always strives to restore this intelligence; even a simple thing like sipping ginger tea throughout the day can boost Agni.

Types of Immunity & How it Works

It is fascinating to know how our body fights against those enemies that try to invade it. According to Ayurveda, various factors are responsible for the immunity or Balam of an individual. Taking this into consideration, Acharya Charaka mentioned three types of Balam as follows:

  • Sahajam - may be considered as innate immunity in Ayurveda present since birth, where there is an equilibrium of Tridoshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha)
  • Kalajam - dependent on seasonal variations and the individual’s age. The depleting strength during aadanakalam (summer season) and progressive gaining of strength during visargakaalam (winter season) may be attributed to the Kalaja balam. It also emphasises that the balam is at its peak during one’s middle age.
  • Yukthikritham - may be considered acquired immunity attained by proper diet, rest, exercise and Rasayana (rejuvenation therapies).

According to modern science, our body holds two types of immune system — Innate (non-specific) and adaptive (specific) immunity. When there is an exposure to an antigen, these two types of immunity trigger an immune response in the body.

Innate immunity is always the first line of defence and includes the skin, mucous membrane, phagocytes, and natural killer cells. Yes, we all are born with it. But they can only initiate a general response against a foreign body and hence are considered as a non-specific immune system.

Now, what happens if the pathogen/ foreign body is a bit more strong and able to dodge our innate immunity? That is when the adaptive or acquired immunity, which is specific, kicks in as the second line of defence. This type of immunity is acquired during our lifetime, either by exposure to specific diseases or through vaccines. This is where the lymphocytes play their role. When exposed to an antigen, the B lymphocytes remember the previous exposure, produce antibodies and mark it for the T lymphocytes to kill them. This explains why a person once affected by chickenpox has lifelong immunity against the same.

What are the signs of a strong immune system?

  • You fall sick rarely
  • Even if you fall sick, you suffer from less severe symptoms and have a faster recovery
  • An improved gut health, good digestion and elimination
  • A healthy sleep pattern
  • High energy levels throughout the day
  • Better mood and a general sense of well being

How to Improve Immunity

When people are looking for every way out to deal with rapidly spreading diseases, making lifestyle changes comes as an effective solution to improve immunity and provide resistance to fight diseases.

  • Taking natural immunity booster herbs helps to strengthen digestion and immunity. It helps to maintain the balance of Doshas (primary functional energies). Healthy food helps ensure the body gets the nutrients needed to help improve Bala or strength. This helps to boost immunity. The food should be appropriate for the weather and the person’s body constitution.
  • It is essential six to eight hours of sound sleep daily is essential. It is believed that sleep naturally helps rejuvenate the body, helping to boost immunity. If you work out in the gym or engage in athletic activities, you must sleep at least 8 hours daily. If you are having trouble falling asleep because of hyper brain activity or stress, try meditating 30 minutes before your scheduled time to sleep.
  • Stress can weaken immunity because of the release of hormones. One must try to avoid stress and practice meditation and breathing exercises like Pranayama to prevent stress. Stress often arises from the fear of losing something, inviting humiliation, or not being able to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. It’s human to feel that way; sometimes, stress can also be a great motivator. But it is futile to feel stressed beyond the point where it bothers you and affects your peace of mind. Reading a self-help book, spending time with optimistic people and simply walking in the park without your mobile phone can help reduce your stress levels and give you a fresh perspective on your situation.
  • Physical exercise is essential to help strengthen the body and boost immunity. Yoga is a powerful way by which a person can help improve immunity. You can also engage in moderate exercising to sweat out toxins and manage stress. But always remember that training produces results, but straining does the opposite. Therefore, it is essential to know your limits and avoid pushing yourself beyond them, even if your so-called ‘personal trainer’ tells you otherwise.
  • Following a daily routine of waking up on time, going to bed early, and having meals on time can help improve immunity. Ayurvedic therapies like Pratimarsh Nasya and oil pulling can be done at home to help maintain the respiratory system. With very weak immunity, procedures like Panchakarma can help strengthen immunity by helping to rejuvenate the body.
  • Practice Sadvritta and Achara rasayana - emphasise on good personal and social behaviour as it affects mental and physical aspects of health.
  • Resort to rejuvenating therapies and balya oushadhi sevanam - Various Rasayana formulations and medicines help improve immunity, which is unique to Ayurveda. Administering the same with a physician’s advice is highly recommended.
  • Protect your Agni - Digestive fire is the base of your health and longevity, hence giving due importance to it by taking care of your diet and lifestyle habits.
  • Perform ‘Kaale samshodhanam’ - Ayurveda advocates purificatory therapies according to seasons and Balam of the individuals.
  • Avoid Vegadharana and gain reasonable control over Dharaneeya vegas–do not suppress natural urges like sneezing, yawning, etc. and practice self-control over negative emotions by resorting to meditation and yoga.

Ayurvedic Immunity Booster Foods and Herbs

Ayurvedic Immunity Booster Foods and Herbs

  • Amla- Also known as Indian gooseberry, amla is a rich source of the immune-boosting vitamin C. It is used in various Ayurvedic immunity boosters, including Chyavanprash. Consuming raw amla every day can help relieve indigestion and promote bowel movements. Amla has a sour tang with a bitter connotation that gradually becomes a lingering sweet taste. However, Amla can be preserved in sugar syrup or pickles to improve the taste.
  • Ashwagandha- One of the most revered immunity-boosting herbs in Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is used in various Ayurvedic remedies to boost the immune system and improve muscle strength. It provides necessary nourishment to the body, increases energy levels, reduces stress and depression, improves sleep, and balances hormones–all of which boost immunity. Ashwagandha powder can be consumed with lukewarm water or milk. Although it’s a great Ayurvedic immunity booster, ensure you do not exceed the prescribed dosage, as it can lead to side effects, such as diarrhoea, vomiting or upset stomach.
  • Turmeric- Turmeric is among the best Ayurvedic medicines for strengthening the immune system as it fights inflammation in the body. As part of your Ayurvedic treatment for immunity, turmeric can be used in your meals or with warm milk before bedtime. When taken in the right dosage and duration, turmeric extracts can benefit individuals with heart conditions, metabolic syndrome, and other degenerative conditions.
  • Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), also known as Giloy, is another powerful immune-boosting Ayurvedic herb. It helps to maintain all three Doshas. It can help improve digestion, thus helping to strengthen the digestive fire. It helps manage respiratory conditions.
  • Draksha (Vitis vinifera), or grape, is a common fruit with powerful wellness benefits. It helps to calm the mind. It helps manage respiratory problems. It helps in improving digestive strength. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is well-known and helpful in improving metabolism and boosting immunity. It helps ensure the nourishment of tissues to strengthen the body.
  • Moringa- You can’t compare apples and oranges, but if you compare Moringa and oranges, you will find out that Moringa is a richer source of Vitamin C, which helps build immunity and keep bacterial infections at bay. You can buy Moringa products online or process raw Moringa into a powder or paste form. Moringa also possesses healing properties that help replenish cells and tissues and repair muscle wear and tear. As much as it is a rich source of Vitamin C, people consume Moringa for its high potassium, iron and calcium content as well.
  • Neem- Neem is a revered herb that is widely used in Ayurvedic formulations or consumed raw for its antimicrobial properties. Neem is known to purify the blood and help with skin conditions like acne. Eating raw neem leaves can also keep your blood sugar levels under control. And ‌it is a great immunity booster for individuals of all ages.

Formulations and recipes for immune support

Let’s have a look at various immunity medicines in Ayurveda that give your body the strength to fight pathogens and prevent illnesses.

  • Kerala Ayurveda’s Chyavanprash is derived from the 5000 year old original recipe as suggested in ancient text- Ashtanga Hridayam. One of its benefits is better immune strength, along with improved strength and longevity. It is powered with the goodness of 50 original ingredients. Wild variety of Amla high in Vitamin C from forests of Chhattisgarh, Raisins from Afghanistan, Pippali from Bengal and Assam and other herbs are sweetened with ethically sourced, multifloral raw honey and jaggery.
  • Kerala Ayurveda Limited Immunity Build Kit- Kerala Ayurveda Limited, keeping in mind the ancient teachings of Ayurveda and the current spread of infectious diseases among the world population, has devised an Immunity Build Kit, which is an effective combination of our three excellent immunomodulatory drug combinations:
    • Resigest Tablets: It is a potentiated form of the classical ‘Padthyashadangam kwath’ enriched with Kalmegh (Andrographis paniculata), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) and Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa). These phyto-ingredients synergistically exhibit anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activities, which help in increasing your immunity naturally.
    • Imugest Tablets: It is the best ayurvedic medicine for immunity because it is a safe and effective combination with proven immunomodulatory anti-oxidant and free radical scavenging properties. It improves the disease-fighting abilities of the body by the anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory properties of its phyto ingredients.
    • Indukantham Kwath Tablets: In Sanskrit Indu means ‘Moon’ and Kanta’ means ‘Lustre’, thus Indukanta means glow and lustre of the Moon. This potent formulation mentioned in the text of Sahasrayoga helps to correct metabolism and re-establishes lost immunity.

These formulations are a great natural source of antioxidants, and acting synergistically, the combination of these three will support your body’s natural immunity to fight infections and prevent illnesses.

Suggested use

  • First 20 days Resigest and Imugest 1 tablet each twice a day, before food
  • Next 21 days Indukantham kwath tablet two tablets each twice a day, before food

The intake of Kerala Ayurveda limited Immunity build kit, along with following proper diet and hygiene measures, will improve your overall health, digestion, and immunity. Strong immunity will naturally lead to good health, and your body will flourish with proper nutrition while living in alignment with nature. Consult an Ayurvedic physician before intake if you have any underlying health issues.

How to increase immunity naturally with Ayurveda

How to increase immunity naturally with Ayurveda

While Ayurvedic medicine for the immune system has proven effective for a majority of people, the effects can be amplified with certain lifestyle changes and adopting new eating habits. If you are wondering how immunity is developed naturally, here are a few tips to do that.

  • Practice Gratitude

    Stress is one of the leading causes of weak immunity. Expressing gratitude towards life has a positive effect on your mind, which eventually lowers your stress levels.

  • Yoga and Meditation

    Gentle yoga and meditation promote blood circulation and enable your organs to perform at 100%. Studies have shown that Yoga improves concentration, memory and creativity, and it also treats conditions like insomnia, which is often linked to poor immunity.

  • Eating Habits

    Avoid deep-fried food and include fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet to build your immunity against bacterial and viral infections.

Ayurvedic Detoxification for Immune Health

As Ayurveda believes that good health and immunity is a result of balanced Tridoshas and good Agni, along with consuming immune system booster foods and herbs, detoxification of the body plays an important role. Ayurveda Detoxification or Panchakarma therapies help clear the body's metabolic toxins or ama. This helps in achieving better gut health, improved metabolism and a boost in the immune response. You can undergo immune-boosting therapy packages from any reputed Ayurvedic centres to experience personalised Ayurvedic procedures.

Seasonal Immunity and Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, the accumulation of toxins (ama) in the body's channels (srotas) can lead to long-standing and complex diseases that might not respond well to medicines. These toxins can cause channel blockages, reduced bio-fire, and even fatal conditions. Seasonal purification practices (sodhana) following scientific guidelines can help maintain balance periodically and promote well-being.

During the monsoon season in Kerala, marked by heavy downpours and sprouting of vegetation, the body's stamina may decrease. Hence, Ayurveda recommends palliative and rejuvenation therapies during this time.

Some common Panchakarma therapies suitable for this season include Abhyanga (massage with medicated oils), Shirodhara (pouring warm oil on the forehead), Swedanam (steaming with herbs), Pizhichil (oil pouring on the body), and Virechana (cleansing of toxins).

Ayurvedic principles suggest that Kapha should be eliminated at the beginning of spring, Vata at the beginning of the monsoon, and Pitta at the beginning of autumn. Thus, performing seasonal purification three times a year is recommended, with Karkataka being the time for eliminating Vata. The ideal purification procedure for this season is enema (vasti), followed by rejuvenation therapy to stabilize and strengthen the body.

Conclusion

A proper immune system is a complex yet sophisticated balancing act. Maintaining the equilibrium of doshas and boosting immunity by resorting to Ayurveda ensures an optimally functioning immune system, which ‌helps in disease prevention. Love your body in every way and experience how it loves you back by maintaining optimal immunity and ensuring freedom from diseases.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Boosting our immune strength is crucial to battle certain diseases and health concerns.
  • All types of immunity, including passive, innate and acquired immunity, are critical to keeping yourself healthy.
  • Ayurveda is not just about curing; it’s a comprehensive holistic approach, which recommends a preventive approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Good immunity means ensuring all components of your immune system are optimum. Ayurveda is a traditional medicine system with a special mention of immunity, along with various tips on improving it to lead a healthy, balanced life. Your immune system does not function in isolation. Your immunity power depends on your digestive health and your state of mind. According to Ayurveda, one must eat the right food at the right time and quantity to keep their digestive system in perfect order. Ayurveda also recommends meditation, yoga and other activities that relieve mental stress, which is one of the leading causes of weak immunity.

Kerala Ayurveda provides a wide range of immunity boosters that are safe to consume and show positive effects on immunity. Remember that these medicines are designed to strengthen your immunity and destroy harmful pathogens that attack it. Some of the best immunity boosters available at Kerala Ayurveda are Resigest Tablets: These tablets promote optimal respiratory system functioning and help prevent viral infection. It can also help you find relief from that lingering cough after seasonal flu. If you feel dizzy or frustrated due to nasal blockage or discharge, these tablets can help you find relief. Imugest Tablets: These tablets contain Ashwagandha and Guduchi as primary ingredients. Both herbs act as immunity boosters and prevent recurrent bacterial and viral infections. These tablets can help flush out free radicals from your body and ensure all three doshas at their optimum levels.

There’s no better feeling than waking up every morning full of energy and ready to conquer the day. However, in today’s fast-paced world, good health has become a prerogative of a few. While it’s possible to improve your immunity naturally by following specific diet regimens and habits, no magic pill can make you immune to infections overnight. However, Ayurveda recommends specific ways to enhance immunity naturally. Sleep at least 7 hours each night and avoid afternoon naps. Take a plant-based diet and eat fresh fruits and vegetables to obtain Vitamin C, fibre, antioxidants and other essential nutrients Consume healthy fats like Olive Oil and Ayurvedic Ghee Keep your gut healthy by consuming probiotics, which ‌will enhance immunity Avoid sugar. Consume honey instead. Exercise daily to at least break a sweat Stay hydrated throughout the day and drink plenty of fluids to flush out toxins Learn to manage your stress and focus on improving your productivity so that you don’t have to work overtime Choose your immunity boosters wisely. It is recommended to consume herbal supplements as they are effective and leave no side effects.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps boost immunity. You can either take Ashwagandha as powder, capsule or Ashwagandhadi lehyam.

Consume food that improves WBC, like lean protein, sprouts, nuts, seeds and food rich in Vitamin C. Avoid fried and junk foods.

Yes. Citrus fruits are rich in Vitamin C, which helps in the production of WBC. Along with citrus fruits, consume a balanced diet and exercise regularly.




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