The significance of holistic health and its role in shielding people from any ailment is universal. Adding stimulus to this perception, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, in the course of fighting against COVID-19 pandemic and defeating it, has recently urged the people to follow a Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) protocol on ways to stay fit and enhance immunity and make it a part of their lives.
The protocols of the AYUSH Ministry document states that enhancing the body’s natural defence system (immunity) plays an important role in maintaining optimum health. Prevention is better than cure. While there is no medicine for COVID-19 so far, it will be wise to take preventive measures, which boost immunity in these times. It has also advised the usage of turmeric, cumin, coriander and garlic in cooking. Jaggery, fresh lemon juice too can be helpful in the resistance of COVID-19.
Ayurveda, being one of the world's oldest holistic healing systems is based on a belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between circulatory (Vata), metabolic (Pitta) and matter (Kapha) aspects and perfect coordination between the mind, body and spirit. It aims to promote good health, not just fight disease. And same mechanism is playing out in the COVID-19 infected cases as the people recovering are due to their strong immunity and not medicine.
Ayurveda’s extensive knowledge base on preventive care derives from the concepts of ‘Dinacharya’-daily regimes and ‘Ritucharya’-seasonal regimes, healthy diet as per one’s own body-type to maintain a healthy life. The awareness about oneself and harmony with nature can achieve stronger immunity, which has been emphasised across Ayurveda’s classical scriptures.
Anand Shrivastava, Chairman, Maharishi Ayurveda said, “In the wake of the COVID-19 infection, variations in the symptoms of the people infected have been observed. It has been also found that some people have mild symptoms and some have none, while others, mostly the old and sick have developed fatal pneumonia. But the larger question is why such variations are seen among the infected people, though the infectious virus is the same. There is a simple but very strong reason behind these variations i.e., the difference in ‘immune competence’ among the people and their ability to repulse and overcome the infection. The stronger the immunity, the safer you are — the weaker the immunity, the more vulnerable you are.”
Adding further, he said, “Physical distancing, handwashing, using sanitisers and other preventive measures to avoid the exposure of the virus — remain crucial to avoid terrible overthrow of healthcare. However, focusing exclusively on strengthening our immune and body-repair competences can not only slow contagion but completely eradicate too — the most powerful tool to combat this pandemic. Unfortunately, this powerful tool is a serious omission. Even at the post-infection stage administration of immunity-boosting, Rasayanas will help curb the upsurge and will provide a faster cure. Strong immunity is the shield that protects us from every infection — this is what Ayurveda teaches in general”.
Ayurvedic Viewpoint on COVID-19
Ayurveda defines health as a perfect balance amongst all the aspects of physiology; Dosha (Vata, Pitta, Kapha), Agni (13 digestive fires), Dhatu (7 body tissues), Malkriya (elimination of all types of waste) and bliss at the level of senses, mind and Atma. Ayurveda does not give much emphasis to the treatment of a disease but on enhancing a patient's ability to re-establish balance and bliss. And this is the basis of Ayurvedic treatment to deal with COVID-19. Present facts also support this. Even though there is no medicine for this viral infection, still, a big percentage of patients are recovering, and also the fact that only those with compromised immunity are unable to get rid of the infection. This clearly shows that if Ayurveda support is given to patients, the recovery could be faster and without much damage to the system.
When proper balance and bliss is established a very fine substance is produced called Ojas. As per Ayurveda, Ojas is one of the most important elements for maintaining and sustaining life. This helps in strengthening balance, purity in thoughts, health and positivity in feelings in every situation, better immunity, longevity, intelligence and memory. This is also known as Bala (strength) because it provides strength to the body in terms of physical, mental, immunological level and resistance to the body.
Summarily, if defence mechanism and self-repair mechanism is strengthened, and if the Ojas is maintained up to the mark, it can fight back any virus and the same mechanism of resistance will apply in the case of COVID-19 pandemic. And to make Ojas lively, one needs to follow the natural lifestyle, which means Ayurvedic way of living. i.e., ‘early to bed and early to rise’, physical exercise, Yoga, ‘Transcendental Meditation’ and proper diet.
Dr. Saurabh Sharma, Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital, said, “In line with the natural way of life, which is the Ayurveda way of life, it is essential that we must focus on strengthening our immune system and defence mechanism. In this direction, Maharishi Ayurveda abides by the Ayurvedic recommendations, which include diet, daily routine, various Rasayanas, medicines, mental technique, Yoga Asanas, Pranayama, and many more. It also focuses on the individual rather than on the disease. This is how the immune system, defence mechanism and self-repair mechanism is strengthened.”
He added further, “Understandably, if a person’s defence mechanism is strengthened, no external aggression like Coronavirus or any disease will dare to attack. However, in case of attack, it will subside soon without threatening life as is seen in COVID-19 pandemic, wherein, out of 16, 00,000 infected people, 3,60,000 have been recovered. So, the takeaway is — the recovered people have strong defence mechanisms and immunity — the unfailing armour against any disease.”