During this pandemic, your phones must have be flooded with messages and tips on how to survive the deadly coronavirus that has rapidly become a global concern. In order to be less vulnerable towards this disease, it is essential to have a strong immune system. I am being asked times on how to strengthen our immune system and build a positive ‘Ojas’ (aura). To answer this question, let’s look at this threatening issue from an Ayurvedic perspective – a world’s ancient medicinal system that has been around for 5,000 years (originally from India).
Throughout the Spring season (Vasant Ritu) falls between mid-March to mid-May, the ‘kapha dosha’ is high – meaning there is a high chance you will catch the common seasonal cold, sinusitis and many people have other allergies during this period of time. The pollen is released into the atmosphere as the trees start to grow and the people who are allergic to this start suffering from the usual sniffing and sneezing. Each year, millions of people fall prey to this seasonal allergy, commonly known as hay fever – as a result making their lives difficult and limiting what they can do, e.g. being able to enjoy the outside nature freely.
According to Ayurveda, our body is able to produce a substance that can protect us against infection and disease, maintaining balance in our bodily system and boosting our vital energy at the same time. This substance is known as "Ojas" and it provides us with the vitality and resistance needed to keep the body healthy and strengthen our immune system. Ojas can also bring us happiness and inner peace. In Ayurveda, it is described as the soul of a healthy body.
With the objective of strengthening your immune system, it is crucial to have a regular routine for each season. In Ayurveda, this is referred to as ‘Ritucharya’ meaning seasonal routine.
To help you with this, let’s explore some of our simple routines that will help build a strong immunity and maintain a healthy lifestyle which will prove essential to fight against these diseases.
Light Exercise, Yoga & Routine
Seeing this, you may be thinking how you already know this which is good, however knowing is one thing and implementing is another which is important. Starting your day with light exercise gives you a kickstart to the day, filling your body with energy needed for the day. Simple stretches and a routine workout can warm your bodily system and activate your immune system.
In addition to that, yoga is also extremely important. Nowadays, yoga is becoming increasingly popular globally, however, it is only effective when done properly.
Even though yoga may not always seem important, it is actually extremely helpful. Yoga poses and postures are highly beneficial for the immune system since it increases the circulation of blood cells in the body – leading to a decrease in stress hormones, stimulating the lymphatic system. It helps create a positive aura (e.g. Ojas) around us and our body. Some examples of popular aasanas (yoga poses) are: Trikonasana (triangle pose), Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), Ushtrasana (camel pose) and etc.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to adopt an extensive diet or go through any special measure to fight against your Dosha (Kapha, Pitta and Vata). In Ayurveda, keeping a diet during the spring season simply means ensuring your food is easily digestible and is low in calories like fruits and plant-based food (unprocessed). This is extremely important during Vasant Ritu (spring) since our digestive system works slowly. Ayurveda believes that all diseases are primarily due to faulty digestion. To achieve this, avoid eating extremely oily, cold, sweet and sour food – keeping everything within limits.
Furthermore, it is also very important to start your morning with a glass pf warm water which supports digestion throughout the day and helps in reducing Kapha which is mainly present in your body during the morning.
Here are some tips for your daily routine that will boost your immune system
Turmeric Tea: In a cup - 1tsp organic Turmeric, ½ tsp fresh grated ginger, 1 pinch of black pepper then add boiling water and let it set for 5 minutes. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice and drink whilst warm. Have this tea at least twice in a day – once in the morning at during the afternoon.
Warm Water: Keep drinking throughout the day, in order to add flavour, you can also add lemon and honey from time to time.
Golden Milk/Turmeric Latte: In a saucepan - heat 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy), add ½ tsp dry ginger powder, 1tsp Organic turmeric powder, pinch of black pepper, pinch of cinnamon powder. Heat until bubbles start to form. Drink milk whilst warm.
Please only eat hot food and meals in your diet and I cannot emphasise enough to avoid cold drinks, refined sugar and any other kind of cold food.
Some Ayurvedic Herbs that will help boost your immunity
It is also known as the Indian Gooseberry and is a powerhouse of many benefits. According to Ayurveda, a regular intake of amla balances all three Doshas (Kapha, Pitta and Vata) in the body. During the ancient Indian days, amla was used for promoting digestion, enhancing concentration and alleviating respiratory problems.
Amla is rich in vitamin C making it a powerful herbal medicine against the cold and cough. The consumption of amla is known to boost your immunity, reducing flu and chances of a throat infecton. It also helps deal with chronic cough, tuberculosis and chest problems.
Turmeric is commonly used against the common cold since it is useful for dealing with a cough caused by a cold and is helpful when addressing other symptoms of the cold. This is because one of turmeric’s is ‘Curcumin’
Ginger has properties which can help reduce fevers, soothe sore through and helps you cough removing the mucus build up in your chest. The chemicals within ginger – shogaols and gingerols – is what gives ginger that spicy kick which stimulates blood circulation and helps your sinuses open up. An improved circulation means more oxygen gets to your tissues, helping the removal of toxins and viruses.
Garlic is very well known for its characteristics of helping us fight against bacterial and viral infections by stimulating the activities of our immune system, a perfect example being our current season of spring and the extraordinary fight against deadly viruses. Allicin is one of the immune stimulating nutrients in garlic that is released when you cut, chop or crush the cloves.
Tulsi also known as basil leaves, is a fairly common plant in Indian households. Considered holy by many religions, the Tulsi plant is revered for its divine properties.
Tulsi helps control the immune system and restrains the cough centre. It reduces the amount of cough accumulating in the chest. It also helps relieve coughs, colds and other respiratory disorders like bronchitis etc.
I am working on few more blogs on how to keep healthy and build up strong immune system including some food recipes, however, I hope you enjoyed this blog.
I’ll will keep you posted, see you later!