Tag Archives: immunity

Boosting Immunity with Ayurveda – Overview

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

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

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.

Ayurvedic Lifestyle to Strengthen our Immune System

Summary: Practical lifestyle advice from Ayurveda for building a strong immune system. Covering the Ayurvedic daily routines (Dinacharya) that help us achieve balance in our system and contribute to our general well-being.

An Ayurvedic lifestyle can be a major contributor to health, well-being and a strong immune system.

Ayurveda gives simple, practical advice for daily and seasonal routines that can help us feel more energised, with greater enthusiasm to face life and all its challenges.

The concept is very simple. By following the daily and seasonal rhythms of nature we are more ‘in tune’ with our environment and, as a result, more healthy. In Ayurveda, different periods of the day are assigned the predominant qualities of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. So, by tuning our activities to suit the qualities of the time we are ‘going with the flow’ rather than doing battle with nature.

We don’t have to follow these guidelines too obsessively either. We just keep in mind the general principles and regard the ideal routine as something to aim for. To start with, we can pick a few of these health promoting tips and see if we feel better as a result.

The following are Ayurveda’s top tips for a lifestyle that promotes balance, health and well-being. This advice is general and applies to everyone regardless of dosha.

Although this may seem to take a lot of time and effort to follow, we really gain far more than we lose. As a result, our time in activity is much more efficient and productive; we find ourselves being full of energy, enthusiasm and focus. And we naturally develop a stronger immune system simply as a by-product of these daily routines.

Daily Routines (Dinacharya) for a Strong Immune System

First thing in the morning: 6 to 8 am

    • Best to wake up naturally (no alarm) somewhere between 6 am and 8 am [1]
    • Maybe scrape tongue if it is coated in toxins
    • Drink a glass of warm water to stimulate a poo
    • Have a sesame oil self massage (Abhyanga) [2]
    • Take a warm shower
    • Yoga exercises; do a set of simple yoga postures [3] taking between 10 and 15 minutes to complete
    • Meditation; 20 minutes of mantra based Vedic meditation is ideal
    • Breakfast; a light breakfast is fine


    • A good time to take a brisk 20-30 minute walk

Lunch: around Mid-day

    • Lunch should be our biggest meal of the day – taken around mid-day (12.00 to 13.00). This is because our internal digestive fire or Agni is greatest at this time. A strong digestion means no toxic by-products clog up our system from poorly digested food.
    • Follow Ayurveda’s top tips for mealtimes
    • Sit for a few minutes after eating
    • Go for a short walk, say 10 minutes, to help digestion

Late Afternoon

    • Meditation; 20 minutes of mantra based Vedic meditation is ideal

Dinner: best to finish by 7 pm

    • Eat smaller portions than for lunch
    • A lighter dinner without heavy food is good
    • Sit for a few minutes after eating
    • Go for a short walk, say 10 minutes, to help digestion

Bedtime: best around 10pm

    • Make sure we have left at least 3 hours after dinner before going to bed to ensure we have properly digested our evening meal
    • Don’t go to bed too late (say after 10.30) as we then start getting into a Pitta period that promotes wakefulness rather than sleep!
    • It has been said that ‘an hour before midnight is worth two after it’
    • Follow Ayurveda’s top tips for getting better sleep

General Advice for a Strong Immune System

Following simple Ayurvedic advice for meal times helps improve our digestion. This in turn fights off disease. For example, just having our main meal at mid-day, without any cold drinks, promotes excellent digestion. Very simple!

An Ayurvedic lifestyle will also incorporate dietary advice about which foods to eat, but the ideal diet will be very different for each predominant dosha type. So a diet for a Vata type will be completely different from the dietary advice for a Kapha type. Our ideal diet will also change with the seasons [4]

Getting the right amount of good quality sleep is also important for health. Ayurveda has some top tips for getting good quality sleep. For example, going to bed around 10 pm enables us to be in tune with the changes in the natural daily rhythm. If we leave it too late the Pitta period of the night begins and we find ourselves awake and alert when we should be sleeping.

Ayurvedic recommendations for an ideal lifestyle actually fall into two categories: general advice (as stated above) that applies to everyone and specific advice that depends on our individual Prakriti (mind/body type or dosha). For example, exercise falls into the ‘specific’ advice category. The ideal amount is not the same for everyone. It varies greatly with our predominant dosha. Vata types require far less exercise than that recommended for Kapha types. But Kapha types can get by on much less sleep than Vata types. As we become more familiar with Ayurveda we can ‘fine tune’ our lifestyle to suit our predominant doshas. But this requires a bit more advanced understanding.


[1] Most Ayurvedic advice tells us to ‘get up before dawn’. This is perfectly sensible for a country like India where the length of daylight does not vary greatly with the seasons. Countries further away from the equator can have very early sunrises in summer and very late ones in winter. So the general advice of between 6 am and 8 am seems a reasonable compromise for everywhere.

[2] For most mind-body types this will be with sesame oil (first ‘cured’ by heating once to around 120 C, then cooled – take great care when doing this! Always use a cooking thermometer). If sesame oil too heating for pure Pitta types then use coconut oil. If we can’t do a whole body massage, then a mini-massage of just head and feet is helpful. If we can’t do a full massage daily then doing it at least a couple of times a week promotes health and pacifies the Vata element (an out of balance Vata is the driving force behind many diseases). There are lots of web based resources for abhyanga and good instructional videos on YouTube

[3] Any simple ‘set’, or sequence of yoga postures will do. A properly designed sequence is better than a random selection because one asana can provide the ‘warm up’ for the next and all ‘flexural modes’ (spinal twists, extensions, backwards and forwards bends, side bends), of the spine are considered. The Art of Living organization has an excellent yoga sequence shown in their YouTube video.

[4]  An Ayurvedic diet is not the same throughout the whole year. There are seasonal changes that reflect the changes in the external environment.  For example, it is good to eat heavier, more warming foods in the winter and lighter foods such as salads in the summer. Our natural inclinations favour these changes in diet with season – we just need to follow them.

Other Key Strategies to Boost Immunity

Or, return to Boosting Immunity with Ayurveda – Overview article

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.