The Ayurvedic Approach to Immunity
and the Coronavirus
By Dr. Hemant Gupta DaYM, BAMS and Amita Nathwani, MA*

In many parts of the world, experts recommend if you really must go out, for whatever reason, cover your mouth and nose. This measure was given to begin the first step to protecting one’s self from the virus.

As we study the impact of stopping the virus’ outbreak trajectory, the question remains; what can we, as ordinary citizens do to stay healthy in the midst of the exposure?

Enhancing the body’s natural defense system plays an important role in maintaining optimum health and while there is no medicine for COVID-19 as of now, taking preventive measures to boost our immunity is what is called for in these times.

Ayurvedic Medicine, a 5,000 year-old approach to health, which addresses both pathology and prevention, says it starts in the gut. Without a strong and healthy digestive system, with balanced flora and the necessary enzymes to help break down pathogens, our first line of defense is compromised.

We must stress the importance of starting with supporting a weak digestion. Without this step, the efficacy of the remedies will remain low, and the body will not be able to fully breakdown the needed nutrients.

One of the methods of diagnosis by Ayurveda is to determine its weakness by looking at the tongue. If there is a white coating or film, we recommend the following preemptive steps:
Sip hot water frequently throughout the day
Lemon-honey (no honey under 1 year of age) water in the morning
Use of digestive spices, like Ginger, black pepper, cumin and turmeric while cooking.
Ginger-lime pickle before meals
Digestive tea: Boil one quart of water with 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, and 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, two pinches of black pepper and two pinches of rock salt (if available)
A 2nd Digestive tea recipe not in original article but approved by Amita Nathwani: 4 cups of water, 3 bay leaves, 4 cloves, 1 stick of cinnamon, 3 cardamom pods, 1/2 inch fresh ginger cut in small slices, l or 2 bags of peppermint tea, boil it, drink it hot with lemon

These actions over a period of a couple of days will help to increase digestion and help the body begin its ability to receive therapeutic remedies for building the immune system and fighting pathogens. Without this step, the efficacy of the remedies will remain low, and the body will not be able to fully breakdown the needed nutrients.

The second stage of building immunity is to ensure that you are avoiding all causative factors. Studies show that reducing stress through meditation, staying active, yoga and breathing exercises can significantly reduce inflammation in the body and therefore increase the body’s resistance to pathogens and disease. Healthy eating and getting an adequate amount of sleep is also imperative for the body’s natural resistance to be sustained.
In addition to the recommended CDC guidelines for minimizing exposure, Ayurveda offers help in protecting the nose, mouth or eyes, the first entry point of the COVID-19 virus. It is recommended to follow these simple procedures that can be practiced on a daily basis.

Nasal – Coat the interior of both nostrils with a dab of sesame oil/coconut oil or Ghee in the morning and evening.
Oral – 1 tablespoon sesame or coconut oil in the mouth. DO NOT DRINK Swish in the mouth for 2 to 3 minutes and spit out in trash followed by warm or regular water rinse. This can be done once or twice a day. (Please ensure your child is able to swish and spit without swallowing.)
Larynx – Steam inhalation with fresh Mint leaves. Also, equal proportions of clove, cinnamon and cardamom powder mixed with honey or maple syrup (no honey or maple syrup under 1 year of age) can be taken 2-3 times a day in case of cough or throat irritation.
And finally, once the digestion is strong, causative factors are eliminated and preventative measures are in place, we can start recommending herbal formulas. Ideally, based on your individual constitution.

Founding professor of John Hopkins University, Sir William Oslar said it best, “Let us not treat the disease, but let us treat the patient who has the disease.”

*Dr. Hemant Gupta is a renowned scholar, researcher and practitioner of Ayurvedic Medicine. Along with a Doctorate in Natural Medicine, Dr. Gupta completed his Masters in Kayachikitsa (Internal Medicine) from National Institute of Ayurveda in Jaipur.
Amita Nathwani is a practitioner and professor with a Masters in Ayurvedic Medicine. She is an adjunct faculty member with the Dr. Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine and a Public Voices Fellow with the OpEd Project.

The above article has been slighted edited with Amita Nathwani’s permission. If you’d like to read the full article please see:

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