Ican’t emphasize enough how critical the situation is right now. COVID19 is literally like fighting WW-III, where the enemy is far more dangerous and invisible; and we need to fight it with everything we have got.
One of the hidden power in our ammunition could be the power of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is considered by many scholars to be the oldest healing science that originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is often called the “Mother of All Healing.” So the first thought that came to my mind was — what does it have to offer? How could we use it to fight this war?
I sat with my sister, who is an Ayurvedic Doctor and is doing her MD in Ayurvedic Pharmaceutics (Rasa Shastra), to understand the details. I am summarizing things in a way that is way more comprehendible to each one of us, so we could use it to fight this pandemic.
Let’s start with the base of Ayurvedic medicine.
(If you don’t want to understand the basics and logic behind the prescribed things, feel free to move to the last section — Link)
In Ayurveda, doshas are the energies that form our bodies. Vedas believe everything that manifested in this cosmos is prapancham (something which is made up of 5 elemental energies — water, fire, earth, air, and ether; also referred to as panchmahabhootas). Now, these elements or forces interact with each other to create three doshas that eventually create the human body.
They have been classified into
- Vata — the energy of Water and Air
- Pitta — the energy of Fire and Water
- Kapha — the energy of Water and Earth
Vata is the energy of movement; Pitta is the energy of digestion or metabolism and Kapha, the energy of lubrication and structure. All people have the qualities of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, but one is usually primary, one secondary and the third is usually least prominent. It's important to know your prominent dosha/prakriti because it determines what remedies will work on you more. Think of this as personalization of medication
How do you know you have what is your prominent dosha/Prakriti?
You can take this simple test — here.
Or basic identifiers are :
- Vata dosha — Less sleep, dry, body pains, constipation, etc
- Pitta dosha — Digestive problems, acidity, skin problems, sweat heavily.
- Kapha dosha — Lazy, lethargic, Heavy, Obesity etc.
Now, The cause of disease or Vyadis in Ayurveda is viewed as a lack of proper body function due to an excess or deficiency of Vata, Pitta or Kapha. Ayurveda places great emphasis on prevention and encourages the maintenance of health through close attention to balance in one’s life, right thinking, diet, lifestyle and the use of herbs.
In Ayurveda, body, mind, and consciousness work together in maintaining balance.
Cause of disbalance :
The disbalance in these energies (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) however could be because of
- Internal issues -> Nija or
- External issues — Aagantuja (Polluted air, bacteria, viruses, etc)
Another important concept in Ayurveda we need to understand is Ojas, which is the body’s immunity to fight infections.
Now that we understand the basic of Ayurveda, Let's move to COVID details and then how can we use this knowledge to fight COVID
Corona — COVID-19
COVID -19 is an illness caused due to novel coronavirus 2, now called as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus -2 (SARS CoV 2).
Referring to the details available from the places where the COVID-19 has maximally affected, many patients were reported with fever, dry cough, fatigue, and minimal respiratory distress. Later the fever subsided, but the respiratory distress became severe and many died.
Considering all these factors, COVID-19 can be considered as a Kapha-Vata jwaram (Fever caused by disbalance in Kapha and Vata), with pitta association, in the beginning. But it acquires the status of a full sannipata jwaram (Disbalance in all three doshas Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) in a certain subset of the patient population, as the condition progresses.
Patients who are having no presence of chronic ailments are having an overall case fatality rate of 0.9%. The case fatality rates of those above 60 years, however, are as follows :
a) 60–69: 3.6%
b) 70–79: 08%
c) >80: 14.8%
The case fatality rates of those with other issues are as follows:
Cardiovascular diseases — 10.5%, Diabetes mellitus — 7%, Respiratory diseases, hypertension, malignancies — 6%
These factors such as the old age and chronic ailments are causes of deteriorated immunity (ojus) and hence more fatality.
Stages of COVID disease
Now as the disease progresses so does the management of this disease in Ayurveda. This is how the disease has progressed in most of the people observed in affected countries :
→ No Symptomes(Stage 0) to mild symptoms of dry cough
→ mild fever, Fatigue (Stage 1)
→ Pneumonia(Stage 2)
→ Severe pneumonia (Stage 3)
→ Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) (Stage 4)
→ Sepsis (Stage 5)→ Septic shock.
Stage — 0
No to mild symptoms (dry cough, mild fever)
This is the stage where almost all the people with No Symptoms or Mild symptoms fall. This section talks in detail about the things that could be done as a part of our daily routine to prevent COVID-19 from happening or even if we contract the virus, be better able to fight it out.
Like we learned in the above section, COVID-19 can be considered as a Kapha-Vata Jwaram (Fever caused by disbalance in Kapha and Vata), with pitta association, in the beginning. Thus in this stage, we need to make sure that Vata and Kapha are balanced while maintaining Pitta. Also, we need to make sure that we increase our Ojas (Immunity)
Foods that balance Vata and Kapha :
Holy Basil (Tulsi), Ginger, Black pepper
- Tulsi tea made by these three ingredients and can be taken three to four times a day
Other eating habits that can benefit —
Easily digestible light food, Chatni made up of Gooseberry(Amla), Onion, Curry leaf, Ginger and Turmeric; Cooked vegetables; Soup made up of Green gram. Use warm water for drinking.
If you have a mild cough, fatigue, slight body temperature:
- Steam inhalation — With Tulsi(holy basil)/ with Haridra(Turmeric)
- Gargling — water boiled with Haridra(Turmeric)/ Thriphala/Liquorice(Yashtimadhu)/ Rock Salt (Lavana)
Ojas / Immunity Boosting —
- Giloy, Amla, and Turmeric* — Kadha or decoction (Boil all these in water and concentrate the resulting substance ) of Giloy and Tulasi with black pepper, Turmeric, and ginger will boost immunity. People identified as Pitta dominant in the test, need to limit the consumption of Turmeric as it increases the pitta.
- Sit in the morning sun 7–8 am for some time. It helps in the production of vitamin D which also helps build immunity.
Yoga and Meditation*
Strictly advised not to do yoga or any physical activity if you have mild symptoms as it reduces the Ojus or immunity of the body Postures to balance Vata and Kapha in the body (Linked appropriate videos with each of these) —
- After your warm-up, you can start with twelve moderately paced cycles of the Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation).
- This can be followed with asanas like the Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand), Halasana (Plow pose), Salabhasana (Locust pose), Tadasana (Palm Tree), Vrksasana (Tree pose), Trikonasana (Triangle pose), Adho Mukha (Downward-Dacing Dog pose), and Utkatasana (Chair pose).
Things to be avoided if you have mild symptoms :
- Heavy, Spicy, oily or fried foods; Junk foods,
- Cool drinks,
- Head bath;
- Exercise — if you are showing symptoms
- Mental stress;
- Exposure to fan/AC
I hope you will practice these things to better equip yourselves in this fight against COVID-19.
Note — Above mentioned guidelines will help to prevent or fight COVID in a better way. This in no way is a complete treatment but could be supplemented with your Allopathic treatment.