Our bodies do an amazing job of keeping us healthy—most of the time. And when they don’t, we run to the pharmacy or doctor for medications. But what if we could avoid sickness more often than not using ancient Indian wisdom? What if we could find ways to boost our immunity in Ayurveda?
Just imagine not waiting until you get sick to get healthy!
The post will explain how. Keep reading.
What is Ayurveda?
It’s a natural system of medicine created in India more than 5,000 years ago. In Sanskrit, ayur means life + veda is science or knowledge = the knowledge (or science) of life.
This ancient wisdom’s basic principle is to prevent and treat ailments by maintaining balance and harmony in your body and mind.
What is Immunity in Ayurveda?
Ayurveda promotes balance within the body.
You’re more likely to get sick and run down when your body isn’t balanced. A robust immune system is due to a few key factors like good digestion, a swift metabolism, a healthy liver, and a stable endocrine system. They all must be aligned to keep you healthy.
There is another concept of a strong immune system in Ayurveda known as ojas, which means “vigor” in Sanskrit. Ojas is the essence of all bodily tissues, which give you strength and vitality, leading to strong immunity. When you have healthy and balanced habits, you build healthy ojas.
Now, let’s address some factors which affect our total body wellness.
What Factors Negatively Affect Our Immunity in Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda, your immune system is not decided at birth. Instead, it is how we treat our bodies as we grow.
Some of the factors negatively affecting our system are:
- Stress, overthinking, and anxiety – high cortisol (aka the stress hormone) levels in the blood will derail your body’s primary functions, including your digestive and immune systems.
- Imbalanced diet – processed sugars and food with additives
- Not enough exercise
- Alcohol and smoking
- Inconsistent sleeping habits
- Chronic medication use
Methods to Boost Immunity with Ayurveda
The entire basis of Ayurveda is not to suppress sickness symptoms but to get to the root of the imbalance. A lot of western medicine is based on handing out prescriptions for some chemicals in the form of a pill. On the contrary, Ayurvedic medicines are usually naturally sourced ingredients.
Therefore, the main goal of Ayurveda in boosting your immune system is to do it the healthy way. Not with chemicals and medicines.
If your digestion is up to snuff, it nourishes the tissues, which feed the immune system. However, when your metabolism is impaired, your body doesn’t get the nutrition you put into it, resulting in the depletion of your ojas. Even worse, your body accumulates toxins clogging the system.
Boost your immunity with an Ayurvedic detox. You can do it when the seasons change or more often but make it a part of your health routine.
A biannual liver detox can help with lowering blood pressure, and creating better circulation. It can also help with improving digestion, give you more energy, clarity, and great for your overall wellness. There’s 5 day liver detox where you are also cleansing your colon as well as a quick 24 hour liver detox.
In the 5 day detox, you prep your body for 4 days and then on the 5th day you take a teaspoon of epson salt (this, in my opinion is the hardest part). Make sure it doesn’t have any scent to it. And then 2 hours later, drink 6 oz of olive oil. Yes, drink. I have found that drinking it mixed with orange juice and putting it in the fridge for a few hours before you have to drink it makes it much easier.
If you want to do the 24 hour version, then you skip the 4 days of prep (which we recommend) and you go and just do the actual epson salt and olive oil portion.
Watch Founder and CEO of Modern Aging Risa below as she does a liver cleanse.
Interested in trying it out yourself? Here are the items Risa used in her liver cleanse.
Daily Rituals and Lifestyle:
While a balanced digestive system is vital, it’s also essential to look at lifestyle and daily rituals. Consider adding things like yoga and pranayama (yogic breathing) as well as regular exercise.
Even better if you can exercise outside. Studies have shown that being in nature and getting Vitamin D are instrumental for a vigorous immune system.
Do some outdoor yoga or find a peaceful spot filled with natural light and fresh air and be mindful of your time there.
But if you’re not into yoga, that is ok. Any physical activity that gets your blood moving strengthens immunity.
Other ideas to add to your daily routine are:
- Drink warm water, honey, and turmeric, or other Ayurvedic herbs.
- Use a neti-pot to flush out your sinuses and keep them lubricated.
- Oil pulling – swishing coconut or sesame oil in your mouth for 15 minutes to pull toxins from within your mouth.
- Fasting regularly
State of Mind:
When your mind is in the right emotional place, everything seems to run smoothly, right? You can tackle the day’s challenges in a totally different frame of mind. Everything rolls off your back. But when you are feeling off and emotionally unbalanced, it’s an entirely different story.
Get outside and get some sun on your body. According to Ayurveda, being one with nature will increase the power of your immune system tenfold. The power of nature can heal us.
In Ayurveda, a sapped digestive system is the root of all evil. Seriously.
A formidable digestive system can kill toxins and harmful materials that get in the way.
If your digestive system is weak, you’ll have pain, gas, diarrhea or constipation, or all of them.
To get your system on the right track, eat a healthy, well-balanced, whole food diet. No more refined sugars, processed, or fried foods. And avoid coffee and alcohol.
If you can eat all organic foods, even better. But it’s more important to eat the right foods than they be organic.
Try to eat foods loaded with:
- Antioxidants — dark berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, beans, avocados
- vitamins A, B, C, E — leafy greens, citrus fruits, amla, lean meats, seeds, nuts
- iodine — fish, shellfish, seaweed, chicken
- zinc — oysters, red meat, beans, whole grains, dark chocolate
- chlorophyll — dark green veggies like spinach, parsley, broccoli, collard greens
- beta-carotene — yellow and orange veggies like carrots, squash, pumpkin
A whole balanced diet is crucial for your immune system to be healthy and strong. But Ayurveda takes it one step further by adding specific herbs and spices to your daily menu.
Here are some herbs in the Ayurvedic pharmacy to nourish your ojas:
Curcumin, the primary element in turmeric, has incredible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also is a powerful detoxifier of the blood and lymph systems, which in turn supports the immune system. It’s also why it’s a staple in Indian cooking.
Because it has a mild flavor, you can add it to a lot of dishes. But be warned, it stains everything it touches. You can also buy it in capsules.
Also known as Holy Basil, it is full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Additionally, it is adaptogenic, which helps equalize the body to better adapt to stress.
Cook with it, sprinkle it in salads. It’s even delicious juiced.
Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng
This Ayurvedic superstar improves the quality of our tissues, boosting the immune system. It also has hormonal balancing powers and it’s used to help manage the symptoms of menopause.
It’s most often found in capsule and powder form.
In Sanskrit, guduchi means the root of immortality, so you know it’s got to be good for your immune system. It also has antiviral and antibacterial properties that stop pathogens from developing.
You can find it in powder form or in caplets.
It’s an anti-microbial super-power that helps fight infection (hello, immune booster). Aids in digestion (hello, ojas) and is good for respiratory sicknesses.
Upset stomach? Try dropping fresh ginger in some warm water to make tea. Otherwise, cook with it, make stir-fries, use in sauces, and bake cakes. You can use ginger in so many ways.
It’s not just exotic spices that are beneficial. Black pepper increases the creation of T-cells which fight infections. Additionally, it has antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Sprinkle it liberally on everything.
As the seasons change and we head into the colder months, we all need a little lift. Of course, getting sick every once in a while is nothing new, but now you know how to boost your immunity with Ayurvedic methods.
It’s not complicated to live a well-balanced life by Ayurvedic standards (that doesn’t mean it’s easy). However, the practice began in a much simpler time, without all the trappings of a modern society that can cause us to be out of tune with ourselves.
So, when you strip it down and get back to basics, keeping your mind, body, and soul in harmony will keep you healthy and happy.
There is a lot to be said for a methodology that has stood the test of time, as Ayurveda has.