Ancient Wisdom for Immune Health!
As the virus is spreading, affecting 85 countries and with now over 95,000 cases, I was thinking about how Ayurvedic Medicine can best support our immune health.
Ayurveda addresses the root of a problem and has great wisdom to offer regarding how to strengthen our immune health.
But most importantly, this is a reminder that we need to care for our immune health long term.
There’s an old saying in Chinese Medicine: the man who waits until he’s sick to take care of his health is like the man who waits until his house is on fire to build a well…
Let’s build a well
In addition to washing your hands and being cognizant of how the virus is spread, here are 3 major Ayurvedic Guidelines to protect ourselves from the coronavirus and other pathogens.
1- Regulate Agni
2- Remove Ama
3- Build Ojas
I call these the 3 Pillars of Support and if you’ve ever taken one of my workshops then you’re very familiar with them!
Agni, Ama and Ojas are Sanskrit words. Sanskrit is the language of Ayurveda, the oldest Indo-European language and one so sophisticated that NASA studies it for its AI programs.
1- Regulate Agni
Agni is a word that implies a metabolic process, whether it’s our digestive metabolism or our cellular metabolism.
In other words, it means you need to improve your digestion and maintain a healthy gut.
In an article in the John Hopkins Medicine online magazine, Helen Fields writes, “There’s a lot of interaction between the body’s immune system and bacteria in the gut.” “A huge proportion of your immune system is actually in your GI tract,” says Dan Peterson, assistant professor of pathology at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Here’s 1 recommendation to improve your digestion and gut health.
1- Eat a constitution-appropriate diet
You’re more likely to properly digest the foods that are right for you! Additionally, make sure that you have sufficient whole plant foods that are fresh, organic and/or local and seasonal. And decrease the amount of processed and refined foods, as well as limit the consumption of alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
2- Remove Ama
In Ayurvedic Medicine , Ama is a term that refers to waste, impurities and toxins that accumulate faster than the body is able to eliminate!
Herbalist and acupuncturist David Crow defines Ama as “a pathogenic by-product of improper metabolism and its origin is in the digestive tract. But it can relocate anywhere in the body.
Obviously, as we improve our digestion, our bodies will be better able to discard Ama.
Here’s 1 Ayurvedic practice to support the body’s removal of Ama and strengthen your immune system so it can better withstand pathogens like the coronavirus:
A daily lymphatic massage
Our lymphatic system is the sewage system of the body. It removes toxic substances in the body. The lymph however does not move on its own. That’s why a regular lymphatic massage, called Garshana massage, is an eminent part of the Ayurvedic daily lifestyle routine or dinacharya.
3- Build Ojas
Ojas is the result of a healthy Agni, in a body where Ama doesn’t accumulate.
It’s what supports our immune health, that’s why it’s referred to as the raincoat in the rain. When Ojas is strong, the immune system is strong.
The first step to strengthen Ojas in an Ayurvedic lifestyle is to learn how to manage stressors and decrease stress. Stress is the single most important factor in immune weakness. Vital exhaustion is at the root of unhappiness and illness!
Here’s 1 Ayurvedic strategy to reduce stress and build Ojas:
Support your lungs ability to fight infections with yogic breathing techniques
Deep, calm and regular breathing supports our immune health, brings more oxygen to our lungs. Add antibacterial and antiviral essential oils like tea tree, lemon balm, thyme, eucalyptus and cinnamon for a deep healing experience. My favorite is Legends, a blend of essential oils from David Crow’s floracopeia.com. Legends is a historically accurate version of an EO blend known as “Thieves Vinegar” used as protection from epidemics in the Middle Ages.
Ayurvedic Herbal Recommendations
Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine, Dr. Marc Halpern recommends that at the first signs of feeling run down, you use herbal antimicrobial and antiviral agents like turmeric, echinacea, neem and goldenseal. One of my favorite immune strengthening teas is to steep in hot water equal parts of turmeric root, echinacea and licorice bark. Also he recommends that you take high doses of Vitamin C (Esther-C 6000 mg daily), as well as zinc picolinate, you can read the benefits of zinc here, and then of course rest!
If you have concerns, call your Medical Doctor. Ask them what you should do and if you should come in.
What the coronavirus can teach us…
Two things come to mind as I reflect upon this pandemic.
First, how dependent and unaware we are about where our foods come from and whether or not they are good for our health. The cheaper the food, the more it’s been compromised! Buy organic, local, seasonal whole foods and cook them at home!
But our dependence doesn’t stop at our food supply. 84% of the world’s supply of acetaminophen comes from outside the U.S.. And so do most drug ingredients like antibiotics! So much so that U.S. Officials are concerned about shortages. Read the concerns here. I highly encourage you to read China Rx by Rosemary Gibson.
So we have to ask ourselves, are we doing our part? Are we taking responsibility for our health by addressing environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle?
Ignorance is not bliss, it’s dangerous and avoidance is irresponsible
We can no longer hide our heads in the sand! We have to realize how absolutely necessary it is that we take responsibility for our own health, whether we like it or not! Meaning, we have to build a strong health foundation by addressing diet and lifestyle to prevent the coronavirus as Ayurvedic practices demonstrate.
This may be the wake up call we need personally and nationally to shift from a costly disease-care system to a health-care system that is holistic, deep reaching and long-term in its benefits.
We have a choice, we can either experience short term discomfort as we implement diet and lifestyle changes for long term benefits and peace of mind. Or we can stay in our comfort zone and pay the price of long term pain down the road.
It may take 6 weeks before you notice the difference, but the dividends will yield years in prevention and maintenance and save a lot of money!
The recommendations I’ve shared apply to most people. And what I love about Ayurveda is that it’s customizable according to your unique lifestyle and diet habits, making it deeply personal.
Click here to take my short Ayurvedic Wellness Assessment and get started on your Ayurvedic Lifestyle journey
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