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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 and antihistamines.

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 Barre Syndrome.

Factors that boost immunity

  • Whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds, and nuts
  • 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 levels.
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 immunity.

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.

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