Virus Prevention and Ayurveda
Just the word is enough to instill panic and fear in many of us, unfortunately this panic or fear can make it much harder to make decisions to take care of ourselves and our loved ones when we most need it.
2020 has brought us an unprecedented experience of a virus that according to media, is spreading rapidly throughout the world. In a time like this, it's extremely important to have a strong immune system.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Spring is the time when our immune systems are the most challenged, it is the time that Kapha dosha, that has built up over the winter (yes even in warm climates), needs to melt. If it doesn't have the opportunity to do so Ama (toxins), build up and reduce the ability of the body to fight off disease and viruses.
What can we do to reduce Ama (toxins) and boost our immune system at the same time?
Free and Fairly Easy to Do
Eat light, well spiced, cooked food
Stay away from heavy foods such as, dairy, cheese, breads and pasta or cold foods that are harder to digest.
Eat 3 meals a day - this is not the right time for fasting
Many people like to do Spring cleanses at this time of year fasting on cold juices or not eating at all, both of these activities will diminish the body's ability to fight off a virus. Try to eat 3 healthy meals per day without overeating, which can tax the body.
Research article - Feeding a virus
Make sure to get a good nights sleep
You will get the best quality sleep if you go to bed between 9 and 10pm, if you stay up later the mind becomes very active and it becomes harder to go into a deep state of sleep. Make sure to not sleep more than 8 hours if you are healthy and an adult - and definitely no napping. Both of these will increase Kapha dosha in the body and make it more susceptible to the flu virus.
Get plenty of fresh air, sunlight and easy exercise
It's important to keep active, walking, hiking, biking, anything that gets your body moving and fresh air will be beneficial. Make sure you don't overdo at this time, excessive exercise is stressful for the body, so take it easy and make it fun.
Stay postive and enjoy fun activities
It can be hard to stay positive when it seems the news is always bad, but staying positive and light hearted is a very important factor in keeping your immune system healthy. Look for opportunities to enjoy your time, have fun and laugh. A good example of this is Italians under quarantine are using this time to connect to their neighbors with music and song, creating community in isolation.
Research Paper - Emotions and Immunity
Take hot showers or baths
If your Vata is not too out of balance take hotter showers or baths, to allow the body to sweat and cleanse. If Vata is out of balance, apply sesame oil to the body before bathing in hot water.
Make sure you don't get chilled
Stay out of the wind and cold, keep your head, ears and neck covered. Any kind of stress on the body weakens the immune system. This is not the time to be extreme in anything.
Ayurveda Maui does have some excellent herbal formulas for keeping the body healthy and strong, I've listed some here, as well as other herbs that can be found at your local health food store or online.
Items to Buy
Drink Agni tea formula before food
This formula is designed to reduce Ama in the body by creating a digestive fire that will turn the food you eat into nutrients the body can use. When the digestive fire is low, our food is undigested and creates Ama. When the body has too much Ama it has a much harder time fighting off disease/virus.
Take Astragalus and Licorice daily
Both of these herbal medicines have shown in multiple studies, the ability to help the body fight off viruses. "At an appropriate concentration (231.25μg/mL) APS can drastically reduce the proliferation of H9N2 virus."
Research Paper - Astragalus
Research Paper - Licorice
Take Neem bark daily
The Neem extracts absorb viruses, preventing them from spreading to unaffected cells. Neem has also been shown to be effective against herpes virus and the viral DNA polymers of the hepatitis B virus. Laboratory experiments have shown that Neem has antibacterial characteristics as well.
Take Triphala daily
You can either take Triphala in a capsule or take Triphala powder in warm water before bed. Research has found this formula to be potentially effective for several clinical uses such as, reduction of hyperacidity, anti-inflammation, immunomodulating, antibacterial, antimutagenic and adaptogenic. In Ayurvedic medicine Triphala is used to reduce Ama (toxins) in the elimination system.
Oil your nose daily
In the morning use Nasya oil in your nose. If you are going to be around people wipe the inside of your nose, around your eyes and lips with coconut oil (a small amount is fine). Apply coconut oil to your hands as well to create a protective coating or wear gloves.
Research Paper - Nasya oil
Research Paper - Coconut oil
If you develop a cough, use the formula Svasari Using Svasari helps clear congestion and imbalances in the lungs.
There are many different ways to boost the immune system, these are just a few that I have used for myself, my family and my clients, with excellent and consistent results.
As in all times of stress and confusion, the best things we can do are to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. As we focus on the things we can do to boost our immune systems, we make it harder for these types of diseases to exist.
* Dhatu - The saptadhatus (sapta = seven, dhatus = tissues) and their function are categorized as:
Rasa - Plasma - Nourishment
Rakta - Blood - Circulation
Mamsa - Muscle - Movement
Medha - Fat - Lubrication
Asthi - Bone - Support
Majja - Bone marrow - Generation of blood cells
Shukra - Sexual hormones - Reproduction
The tridoshas - Vata, Pitta and Kahpa - all regulate the dhatu. The seven dhatu draw energy from each other. Each dhatu influences the health of the others. The health of the body and mind is directly linked to the health conditions associated with these seven dhatu.