AYURVEDA, THE NATURAL WAY TO BOOST IMMUNITY
Do you frequently fall ill and take days off from work?
There are high chances you may have a weak immune system. The
immune system is an important part of the body that fights off organisms
that cause diseases and infections. It is primary defence system of the body and
protects it from bacterial, parasitic, fungal and viral infections. In addition,
a strong immune system also restricts tumours and cancerous growths in the body.
When the immune system is weakened, it may lead to serious health conditions as
the body is unable to deal with the germs and bacteria that we are constantly exposed
to. It is important to maintain a strong immune system.
Causes of low immunity
The health of the immune system is greatly influenced by the emotional state of
an individual, stress levels, lifestyle, diet and nutritional status. Nutrient deficiency
is the most common cause of
a weak immune system.
Let’s look at some more causes for lowered immunity.
Stress: Stress has a major influence on the immune system. Chronic stress
may lead to recurrent colds and flu, and also serious health problems.
Diet: Excessive consumption of processed foods and refined sugars contain
harmful preservatives that lower immunity and make an individual vulnerable to disease.
Alcohol: The more the proportion of alcohol consumed, greater is the damage
to the immune system. Alcohol impedes the functioning of the immune system and makes
people prone to infections.
Lack of sleep: If sleep is not adequate, the immune system is unable to rebuild.
It has been reported that individuals who do not get adequate sleep are more likely
to fall sick.
Obesity: Obesity is known to weaken the immune system. It also reduces the
ability of the body to fight influenza.
Lack of exercise: Exercise is known to increase blood flow and expel toxic
waste out of the body. Inactive people are known to take sick leave more often than
physically active people.
Excessive medication: The immune system weakens with continued use of antibiotics
Poor hygiene: Poor hygiene exposes the body to various germs and pathogens, thus
reducing the immunity of the body.
Smoking: A very important cause of weakening of the immune system is smoking.
Cigarettes comprise over 4000 toxic chemicals that affect the immune system.
Radiation: Exposure to radiation damages the immune system.
Disorders of the Immune System
A weak or deficient immune system can lead to dysfunctions such as autoimmune diseases
(including allergies) and tumour growth. Some conditions that suggest a weakened
immune system include infections such as shingles (herpes zoster infection), candidiasis,
AIDS, blastocystosis, pneumonia, boils, abscesses, warts, low adrenal function and
cysts in the breasts.
Other autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus,
inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes mellitus and Guillain
Factors that boost immunity
- Whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and
- Diet low in fats and refined sugars
- Adequate amounts of protein
- Foods with high antioxidant levels
- Five or six 8-ounce glasses of water per day
- High potency multivitamin-mineral supplement
- Regular 30-minute exercise program
- At least 6 to 8 hours of sleep daily
- Avoiding worry and stress
- Practicing stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation and laughter
- Avoiding alcohol, smoking and drugs
- Avoiding use of excessive medication
- Maintaining personal hygiene
Treating lowered immune states with Ayurveda
Ayurveda has long been recognized as an
effective treatment to improve immune states.
Immunity is known to be influenced by the power of Agni, the digestive fire that
determines the ability to digest and absorb nutrients in the body. If Agni is impaired
by an imbalance within the tridosha, body metabolism is affected and the immune
system response and natural resistance are lowered.
Let’s look at some common Ayurvedic preparations that are taken to build up immunity
Chawanprash: A composition of Amla, Ashwagandha, asparagus, cardamom, cinnamon
bark, clove, Indian rose chestnut, ghee, honey and raisins, Chawanprash has anti-oxidant
properties and strengthens the body's internal defence mechanism, the immune
system, thereby protecting you from infections. It is derived from a 2,500 year-old
Ayurvedic formula, and is totally chemical-free, natural and safe. It reinforces
the immune system and helps fight disease. It is an immunity booster for all age
groups and diabetics, and is available in various flavours.
Gripe water: This composition of Sarjikakshara and Mishreya tail is very
useful in protecting babies against common stomach problems such as indigestion
and acidity. Regular use of gripe water will keep digestive problems at bay and
the immunity of growing children intact.
Shwaasamrit provides strength to the respiratory system and increases immunity.
It is an Ayurvedic formulation for breathlessness, chronic cough, cold and bronchitis.
It increases airflow to the lungs. A composition of Anjeer, Kishmish, Ajwain, Palas
Beej, Bidang, Vach, Aamaltas and Sanai is good for digestive problems in children,
and retains immunity. In infants, Anjeer is good for the liver; it acts as a cooling
and soothing agent for the stomach and has high nutritive value. Draksha or Kishmish
contains essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron in an easy-to-absorb
form. It is an expectorant, blood purifier and laxative, and is useful in fevers
and colds arising due to thrush in children. Ajwain is known to prevent flatulence,
indigestion, colic dyspepsia and diarrhoea. Palas Beej & Bidang expel intestinal
worms, while Vach prevents flatulence and promotes appetite. It is useful in dyspepsia
and choleric diarrhoea. Aamaltas acts as a laxative, and is beneficial in treating
habitual constipation. Sanai is a mild laxative, and it also contains Saunf, Unnab
and Gulab Jal.
A composition of ingredients namely Suddha Shilajit, Swarna Bhasma, Safed Musali
(Chlorophytum tuberosum), Kunkuma or Saffron (Crocus sativus), Ashwagandha (Withania
somnifera), Atmagupta (Mucuna prurita) and Goksura (Tribulus terrestris) is a completely
natural mixture of minerals with organic and inorganic compounds obtained from rock
surfaces in the Himalayas. It acts as a general rejuvenator. It boosts the immune
system and optimizes physical performance.
A composition of Kumuda, Ushira Mool, Gambhari Tvak, Neelotpala, Manjishth, Ela,
Bala, Jatamansi, Mastaka and Shweta Savira improves digestive disorders in children
and promotes growth.
Ashwagandha is known to boost immunity and improve stress tolerance. It has strong
anti-oxidant properties and increases energy and stamina. It is an anti-oxidant
known to control everyday stress, improve physical stamina, mental alertness and
For throat infections, throat hoarseness and cough, a composition of Khadira Sar,
Pushkar Mool, Karkat Shringi, Katphala, Brahamdandi, Haritaki, Lavanga, Syzigium
aromaticum , Shunthi, maricha, Pippali, Ativisha, Krishna Jeerak, Javasaka, Alhagi
pseudalhagi, Guduchi, Brihati, Kantakari, Vibheetaka, Khadira Sar and Acacia catechu
is very effective. 10 ml of this composition contains extracts derived from Shirees
Chaal (Albizzia lebback) 820 mg, Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum) 630 mg, Gokshur
(Tribulus terrestris) 630 mg, Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra) 450 mg, Karkatshringi
(Pistacia integrima) 180 mg, and Vasaka leaves (Adhatoda vasica) 180 mg. It is very
effective for cough associated with breathlessness and/or allergic cough.
Immunity can also be improved by consuming natural immunity boosting foods regularly. Visit our immunity blog to know more.