Ayurveda & Immunity: All You Need To Know
Modern-day medicine has come a long way from its humble beginnings. In centuries past, the understanding of the human body and medications has drastically changed for the better.
With all that medical advancement came new and exciting treatment options for long-term diseases and health issues. Medical professionals also learned that there is more to preventive medicine than once thought. The best way to stay healthy is to avoid chronic illnesses instead of treating them after the fact.
While there is nothing wrong with traditional forms of medicine, other forms such as holistic care often take a back seat. In some circumstances, that may be necessary. However, in many others, natural medicine can improve a person's health just as effectively without taking drugs that may cause other issues within the body.
One such natural form of therapy is known as Ayurveda. But what exactly is Ayurvedic medicine, and what is the connection between Ayurvedic and immunity?
What Is Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is an ancient medical system used mainly in India. While the medical system itself is centuries old, the practice is still India's first-line, traditional way of improving the health of its people. The medical system is based on ancient writings that believe natural and holistic approaches are best when addressing health concerns.
The treatments produced by Ayurvedic medical professionals combine products made from natural things such as plants, animal products, metals and minerals. They also focus heavily on lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, how a person approaches life, stress and vices. This combinational therapy focuses on the person as a whole and the natural medicine the earth has to offer.
Many people may look at natural or holistic medicine and think it isn't nearly as effective as traditional treatments, but that's not always the case. Medical science is beginning to understand and research the benefits of Ayurvedic medicine in a meaningful way, finding that there's much more to it than meets the eye!
What Are The Benefits Of Ayurvedic Medicine?
There are many benefits associated with Ayurvedic medicine – one of the most notable is its ability to prevent disease. With the cost of healthcare rising continuously, preventing the onset of diseases has never been more critical.
One Ayurvedic treatment, Panchakarma, is designed to "remove disease before its manifestation." That means that the natural elements of this particular treatment don't just address health issues once they arise, but rather stop them in their tracks.
Natural herbs, spices and other earthly ingredients in Ayurvedic medicine provide medicinal benefits. For example, ashwagandha is often used to help people cope with stress, anxiety and poor sleep. Since these are often co-existing complaints, this plant can address all three at once.
Boswellia is another popular ingredient used in Ayurvedic medicine designed to address inflammation. Studies show that Boswellia may work as well as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Other possible benefits associated with Ayurveda include:
- Pain reduction
- Improved mobility and range of motion
- A reduction in the risk of cancer growth in the body
- Better cognitive function
- Improved gastrointestinal health
- Protection against chronic diseases such as diabetes
- Reduction in the risk of infections
- Reduction of oxidative stress because many ingredients act as antioxidants
- Improved blood flow
- Protecting against heart disease
- Reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease
- Treat or reduce skin rashes or other skin ailments
- Faster recovery from health injuries such as a stroke
- Reduction in blood pressure
These benefits are all achieved through different natural ingredients commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine.
What Is Immunity According To Ayurveda?
The concept of immunity is described in Ayurvedic medicine, but it is called Vyadhikshamatva. The word combines two words: disease (Vyadhi) and suppress/overcome (Kshamatva). Together, the word means to stop or overcome illness.
How Is Ayurvedic Immunity Different?
While it is similar to the current Western knowledge of immunity, Ayurvedic immunity is slightly different. People get sick, according to Ayurveda, because there are issues with the Doshas which are the vata, kapha and pitta. These three doshas are responsible for the overall health of the body, mind and emotions. For a person to be healthy, the doshas must be balanced.
Subtypes Of Ayurvedic Immunity
There are also subtypes of the Ayurvedic version of immunity known as Vyadhi-balavirodhitvam and Vyadhi-utpadakapratibandhakatva. The first identifies the strength to resist disease and the second means the power to prevent disease. There are nine points of poor immunity Ayurveda pays attention to:
- Ati-Sthoola, meaning a person with excessive obesity
- Ati-Krisha, meaning a person with excessive emaciation
- Anivista-Mamsa, meaning a person with improper musculature
- Antivista-Asthi, meaning a person with defective bone tissue
- Antivista-Shonita, meaning a person with defective blood
- Durbala, meaning a person with fatigue or constant weakness
- Asatmya-Aaharopachita, meaning a person with malnourishment or eating food that is not good for the body
- Alpa-Aaharopachita, meaning a person who is not eating enough
- Alpa-Sattva, meaning a feeble mind
To determine why a person may fall into one of the previously mentioned categories, other factors are considered, such as:
- Where a person is born and raised
- What time they were born
- The quality of their fitness and diet
- The health of their mind
- How much love they have in their lives
Ayurvedic Medicine For Immune Health
The therapy used most often in Ayurvedic medicine for immune health is Rasayana. It is a type of rejuvenation therapy and focuses on "attaining excellence in all body tissue through special measures and medicines." It is one of the top eight specialties provided by Ayurvedic medicine. The therapy strengthens Ojas and Bala, which translates to parts of the body and the strength of these parts, respectively.
The benefits attached to Rasayana therapy include:
- A long and healthy life
- Good memory and intelligence
- Good skin
- Strength of the body and organs
- Sexual power
The methods used in therapy are a combination of remedies and lifestyle changes designed to feed the body with nutrition and other substances which help improve the body's overall health and immunity. These changes are:
- Poshaka Rasa, which means to increase nutrition
- Agni, which means to increase the digestion and assimilation of food
- Srotas, which means to increase the absorption of food and nutrients into the body
Ayurvedic medicine essentially returns to basics and fuels the body with natural substances that help the immune system overcome disease and prevent new diseases.