It is safe to say that all of us have heard of the Vedas, after-all they are considered to be the most sacred books of India. They are also serving as the earliest record of our civilization. And what a rich and detailed record it is! These scriptures contain vast knowledge about all aspects of life in clear individual segments.
Ayurveda is the segment that sheds light on medicine and health. Ayurveda is composed of the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Thus, Ayurveda translates to knowledge of life. It contains information relating not just to medicine but also to the ideal way of life for healthy existence.
The word ‘Kalpa’ is used extensively in the texts of Ayurveda. Kalpa translates closely to ‘competent’ or ‘able’. While Ayurveda deals with both preventive and curative forms of medicine, it emphasizes more on enhancing and strengthening our body’s natural defense mechanisms. Detailed texts on maintaining natural immunity and strengthening acquired immunity are available in Ayurveda.
The important takeaway here is that a weak immune system can be repaired by making lifestyle changes. Ayurvedic texts vividly describe simple daily routines (Dinacharya) and seasonal routines (Rutucharya) are the means to align with the forces of nature and preserve health and immunity.
According to the Ayurveda, persons who maintain equilibrium in life are less prone to illnesses. The body should be well balanced and the immune system should be at its optimal so that disease-causing germs and viruses do not manifest. As per Ayurveda, the five elements that make up the Universe and our body (Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Ether) must be balanced. This equilibrium can be attained by following specific rules related to food consumption, physical activity, proper sleep and mental wellbeing.
A good immune system is important to keep infections at bay. Especially as our contemporary lifestyle and food choices compromise it greatly, we must take adequate measures to stay healthy. Ayurveda, both a preventive and curative alternative medicine system, recommends some excellent techniques, herbs and spices to boost immunity. But for that we need to understand the concept of immunity better:
“The immunity, vyadhi-kshamatva, is a strength within all of us that resists the causes of diseases and their aggressive tendencies.”
Vyadhi-kshmatva is composed of two words – Vyadhi + Kshamatva where Vyadhi means ‘Disease’ or ‘Illness’ and Kshamatva means ‘to resist’. Vyadhikshamatva denotes the resistance power of the body or defense of the body against ﬁrst occurrence of any disease. The second term also denotes that, if the body has once encountered some disease, it will not allow the disease to be manifested because of possessing a speciﬁc resistance power.
Ayurveda defines 3 types of immunity:
Sehaja Vyadhi-kshmatva– Inherited by birth and is genetic.
Vyadhija Vyadhi-kshmatva– Develops when the body is threatened.
Yuktikrit Vyadhi-kshmatva: Acquired through a healthy diet and lifestyle
Factors that either build our immunity or cause it to decline are:
- Our Prakruti i.e. our constitution
- Our Ojas i.e., our body matter
- Our Agnibala i.e. digestive power
- Equilibrium of Doshas
- State of Mind
Persons who adopt the Ayurvedic principles in life could ensure greater resistance to diseases in the long run and in turn live longer healthier lives.