AYURVEDA AND IMMUNITY IN THE WAKE OF SARS-CoV VARIANTS

202208Jan

 

                                          

The world now wakes to alarming updates about new variants of the Corona Virus emerging from different parts across the globe.

People have become so accustomed to the fear- mongering that they have stopped giving importance to basic preventive measures thus contributing to the upsurge in infection rates.With the New variants like Omicron showing multiple gene mutations even on the protein structures which helped our body's immune cells to identify them have changed drastically, it has raised concern over the efficacy of immunity offered by vaccines.

The Western power nations have their reasons to emphasise on the importance of Vaccination as it is the only plausible solution when infective diseases are learnt by the reductionist approach.

However, we Indians with the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda need not worry about any mutations that the virus undergoes as our method of protecting the body against pathogens does not depend on the genetic make-up of the incoming pathogen but Prakruthi (the constitutional make-up of one's body), Bala and Vyadhikshamatva (immunity).

Various pharmacological giants have come up with products that claims to boosts or increase immunity and help in fighting diseases. The common man in desperate need to find light during the dark phase of pandemic resorted to any means to attain the proclaimed immunity through external means overnight.

The reality one has accept first hand is that immunity cannot be increased overnight with the help of a few drugs. Our immune system is the next complex system after human brain which has awed the scientific community since the advent of studies to understand the human body and it's functions. The immune system has an immune library which contains a protector cell to every pathogen which has and will spread through the earthly atmosphere. Then why are we not naturally immune to every disease? The scientists are still battling to arrive at a conclusion on that. Until then, all we know is we can tap into this power of our immune system by a mechanism called immunomodulation.

"Immunomodulators are biological or synthetic substances that can stimulate, supress or modulate any aspect of the immune system including both adaptive and innate arms of the immune system."This is where Ayurveda holds an upper hand over modern system of medicine.

A number of medical plants have been claimed to possess immunomodulatory activity by virtue of numerous phytochemicals present in them. Bioactive molecules of Ayurvedic herbal formulations significantly modulate neutrophil functions.

One additional benefit of using natural products is that they might also contain pre-biotics, whose interactions with host microbiome can significantly give positive impact to health preservation. In that way, Ayurvedic medicines offer multi- pharmacological activity.

Ayurvedic alternative medicines though effective finds it difficult to establish its scientific validity due to difficulty in conducting their molecular study in a laboratory set-up due to the fact that herbal extracts are multi - component drugs which work in concert with action at multiple levels.

Some of the widely studied drugs for their immunomodulatory activity are given below:

1. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Its active ingredients include Withanolides, Glycowithanolides which places huge role in its antiviral, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

It's root powder (3-6g) can be taken at night along with milk to get it's therapeutic effects.

2. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Its major active ingredient is curcumin which has proven role in turmeric's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-cancerous and immunobooster activities.

It effectively suppresses virulence of any virus by inhibiting its protease activity.

It can be taken as Golden milk which is prepared by boiling turmeric powder (2 g) in a glass of milk seasoned with a pinch of pepper powder and a teaspoon of ghee.

Pepper and ghee help in easy assimilation of curcumin and also ensure it reaches the correct site of action in the body.

Ayurveda gives equal importance to regimens in maintaining healthy status of body and mind. Some of the practices which can be adopted involve -

1. Oil pulling- It is a practice of Dinacarya (Daily regimen) which helps in expelling toxins from the body thereby initiating a cascade of activities which ultimately provide enhanced immune function.

2. Exercise - by enhancing macro and micro- circulation, exercise improves immune function. It also helps to flush out pathogens from lungs and airways thereby preventing further spread of infections.

3. Fumigation- Fumigation of the interior of residence with Aparajitha churnam helps in killing harmful pathogens. It helps in controlling the spread of diseases as well.

Conclusion

It is high time we realise the advantage of resorting to natural methods to improve one’s immune system as a whole rather than waiting for a vaccine to be developed every time we encounter a new virus. The latter seems more scientific and less practical whereas it's the other way round.

The world itself is battling to combat the new age challenges in the form of Viruses and we can't demand the authorities to provide individual attention and care when a larger portion of population is struggling harder than us so it's wiser to take care of oneself in the easiest way adaptable. This not only provides you with safety over your life but also saves the government to focus its attention on the less fortunate.

Dr.Gaurang Joshi

Dr.Bhavna Joshi

International Ayurveda Physicians

For Consultation appointment Contact +919054823881

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