A weak immune system not only leaves us vulnerable to disease but undermines the body’s ability to fight disease. These include bacteria and virus causing diseases. In fact, when the body’s immunity system is weak, the micro channels are easily clogged, overloading the immune system. Ayurveda believes that strengthening the immune system is not only part of therapy, but also helps prevention. In fact, many of its treatments are geared towards strengthening the immune system.
Nature actually provides us the means to build up immunity and maintain good health. For instance, in winter, she gives us fruits and vegetables that are beneficial to the body in cold weather, like citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables. Citrus fruits and amla are rich in Vitamin C, which helps to build up the immunity, especially against colds and coughs. Oranges, keenu and mousambi, rich in Vitamin C, actually help to strengthen our immune system and protect us from colds, cough and respiratory ailments.
In Ayurveda, ginger is known as Sarva Roga Nivarini – ie a universal remedy because it has so many benefits. Teas and pills are made from ginger alone. Ginger tea can be taken after meals for digestion and for coughs and colds in winter. Ginger has to be boiled in water to make ginger tea.
As everyone knows, ginger can also be added to a cup of tea. You can add other spices to tea during winter, like cardamom (elaichi), cinnamon (dalchini) and pepper. In fact, cinnamon is known to have several beneficial properties. It builds up the immunity during winter and helps to prevent viral ailments.
Nuts and dry fruits also strengthen immunity as do peas. They provide proteins and maintain strength. They also contain vitamins and omega 3 fatty acids.Green leafy vegetables like lettuce, palak, methi and sarson ka saag are also rich in vitamins and minerals. So, have plenty of orange vegetables and fruits like papayas and carrots. Amla, available in winter, is the best source of Vitamin C. Have amla chutney or add the juice of one amla in a glass of warm water and have it first thing in the morning.
Many Ayurvedic ingredients like neem, saffron, turmeric, tulsi, mint, chirata, amla, harara, behara and babul are known for their influence on the immune system. Saffron, for instance, is a natural anti-allergen, especially for respiratory problems. It has been used in the treatment of asthma, bronchial diseases, pneumonia and spasmodic coughs. Trifala, made up of amla, harara and behara, has been known for its strengthening effect on the body. Neem and Tulsi are nature’s own antibiotics – they strengthen the body’s resistance to disease, including those caused by bacteria and virus. They are known to prevent virus and bacteria from taking root in the body.
Tulsi helps to purify the body and is a common remedy in colds, coughs and bronchial ailments. Some of these are powerful germicidals, while others cleanse the body of toxins deposited by infections. This actually boosts the body’s natural healing ability. The combination of these various extracts helps those who suffer from respiratory ailments during change of season, or due to exposure to chemical pollutants, by increasing immunity and preventing problems.
According to experts, “Rven if a person tests positive for the virus, progression of the disease is determined by his/ her natural immunological status.” So, building up immunity is the way to fight such diseases.