Summary: Ayurveda provides a range of simple, low-cost strategies to help improve our immune system. With links to detailed resources on building better immunity through the Ayurvedic use of herbs and spices, lifestyle and diet choices, strengthening Ojas, detoxification programmes and the practice of meditation, yoga and pranayama.
Key strategies used by Ayurveda to help us build a strong immune system
- Ayurvedic herbs to boost immunity
- Increasing Ojas to improve immunity
- Better immunity through meditation
- Strengthening our digestive fire to help prevent disease
- Ayurvedic lifestyle to strengthen our immune system
- Ayurvedic diet to increase our resistance to disease
- Detoxification to strengthen our immune system
- Yoga and Pranayama to build immunity
Boosting Immunity with Ayurveda – Overview
In the West we have become used to ‘quick-fixes’ to solve our health problems. If we have a headache we take a pill to quickly get rid of it. If we have an infection we take antibiotics. Modern Western medical science offers quick-fix and convenient solutions to many common health problems. However, when a new viral or multiple-antibiotic resistant bacterial disease surfaces, Western medicine is left searching for a solution. Finding new antibiotics, or developing a vaccine, can take many years to test and effectively deploy. The good news is that the ancient science of Ayurveda offers simple, unique advice on how we can boost our immune system and therefore prevent many diseases – without any intervention from modern medicine.
Ayurveda is empowering too. Instead of waiting for ‘them’ to develop a new generation of antibiotics or vaccines, we can take steps today to start improving the strength of our immune system.
In the West we use many ‘battle’ analogies when it comes to tackling disease. For example, we often talk about ‘fighting off’ a disease, ‘doing battle’ with cancer, etc. Ayurveda does not see these descriptions as being helpful. Rather, it views health promoting strategies in terms of purification, and rebalancing of our natural systems. It uses the analogy of a field – if the field is well tended the seeds of disease cannot even germinate!
In order to understand the principles and origins of Ayurveda it is going to require a paradigm shift for those of us familiar with the Western allopathic medical system. Fortunately however, there is absolutely no need to understand any of it in order to experience the numerous extraordinary benefits!
Ayurveda – Much More Than Herbal Medicine
Many people view Ayurveda simply as a form of traditional herbal medicine. Ayurveda does indeed offer a range of herbal supplements – many of which can greatly improve our immune system. So, taking an Ayurvedic product rather than a pharmacological product has a certain appeal. In the correct dosage, Ayurvedic products have minimum side effects, maximum ‘side benefits’ and provide a quick, convenient and low cost way of boosting our immunity. Ayurvedic herbs can also help with simple detoxification strategies, further improving our resistance to disease.
However, Ayurveda offers a far greater range of techniques and advice for boosting our immunity than just using herbal products. If we can combine some of these strategies we can develop a ‘super effective’ immune system. Furthermore, Ayurveda does not see ‘health’ as just an absence of disease; it views it as a positive state of wellbeing resulting in feelings of joy and enthusiasm for life!
Ayurveda offers an integrated solution to building an exceptionally powerful immune system through a number of different approaches.
It recognises the combined value of meditation, use of herbs, improving digestion, strengthening Ojas, diet and lifestyle choices, detoxification regimes, together with yoga and pranayama to build a better immune system.
Any one of these different facets can be followed with positive results. Taken together they work synergistically to provide almost invincible immunity! However, in order to achieve this ‘super state of wellbeing’, we are going to have to follow some elements of an Ayurvedic lifestyle and dietary recommendations.
Ayurvedic Lifestyle and Diet
What exactly does an ‘Ayurvedic Lifestyle’ involve? Well, it certainly means being aware of the rhythms of nature, so it gives advice on daily and seasonal routines. This means we are ‘going with the flow’, rather than facing ‘an uphill struggle’ against nature. Being ‘in tune’ with nature results in better health, wellbeing and a stronger immune system. We don’t need to follow these guidelines obsessively, but just go in their general direction. Part of these daily routines also contain tips for getting better sleep.
Incorporating some elements of meditation, yoga and pranayama on a regular basis into our daily routines will also help us remove the ongoing stresses we accumulate from our modern world. This will further boost our immunity.
Ayurveda offers really practical advice on diet, such as tips for improving digestion at meal times, together with strenthening our digestive fire (Agni), etc. We will also need to follow (again not obsessively) an Ayurvedic diet tailored to our particular mind-body type (as categorised in the Vata-Pitta-Kapha system).
An Ayurvedic lifestyle implies we need to pay attention to the ‘three key pillars’ that support our well-being and health – Nutrition, Lifestyle and Sleep!
Feeling Great with Ayurveda – a Positive ‘Spin-off’ from Good Immunity
So, using a range of Ayurvedic principles to boost our immune system is going to involve some effort and a willingness to make a few changes. However, if we use this ancient wisdom to improve our immune system there are many positive ‘spin offs’ in addition to a achieving a strong immune system! People who follow Ayurveda report experiencing a much greater ‘feel good factor’, more enthusiasm for life and a deep, unshakeable sense of well-being. The experience of pure joy also grows in our awareness – wow!
Even adopting a few Ayurvedic principles can help us begin our journey towards a strong immune system and a great ‘feel good’ factor. We don’t have to follow everything all at once, but we do need to make a start somewhere! Try any one of them for a couple of months and see how you feel.
Related Articles on Boosting Immunity – from Respected Websites
- Ayurveda’s immunity-boosting measures for self-care during COVID 19 crisis: The Indian Government’s Ministry of Ayush (Ministry of “Traditional Medical Health”) recommends self-care guidelines based on Ayurvedic literature and scientific publications
- Advice from the well-respected Art of Living Foundation on Ayurvedic Tips for Managing Immunity During the Covid-19 Outbreak
- Deepak Chopra’s website has tips on boosting Immunity
- Vasant Lad shares his knowledge on the Ayurvedic perspective on Coronavirus COVID-19 (this article is a bit more advanced than the material covered above)
- Although they are promoting their own products, there is a usefull article on anti-viral and immune support from the Maharishi Ayurveda blog
Additional Information on Ayurveda
Introduction to Ayurveda. A range of articles for people new to this subject, including: Introductions, FAQs, Vata–Pitta–Kapha Explained and Origins of Ayurveda.
Top Tips from Ayurveda. Articles giving practical advice from Ayurveda on: Getting Better Sleep and Achieving Good Digestion.
Vedic Meditation. Articles looking at the techniques, health benefits and unique features of mantra-based Vedic Meditation.