Ayurveda, one of the oldest healthcare tradition in the world, controls and regulates the three basic energies in the body — pitta, vata and kapha. In Sanskrit “ayur” means life and “veda” signifies the knowledge to live life. “As per ancient Ayurvedic texts, strong immunity is the foundation of healthy living. Immunity protects the body against all external and internal agents of diseases. But maintaining an ideal level of immunity (ojas) is not that easy. It can be achieved by following a healthy lifestyle. Ayurveda focuses on strengthening the immunity through a balanced lifestyle and recommends the consumption of a few herbs,” says Mohamad Yusuf N Shaikh, founder of Kudrati Ayurved Health Center.
Below, he shares a few Ayurvedic herbs that can help boost the body’s immunity.
1. Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is widely recognized for boosting the body’s immune system as it is rich in biologically active substances, amino acids, peptides, lipids, and the bases of nucleic acids. It also helps reduce blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the stress hormone.
2. Garlic: With its antiseptic, anti-fungal, and nutritive properties, garlic has been used as an immune booster for thousands of years by Ayurveda. It is a powerful natural antioxidant, which protects the body from bacterial and viral infections, without causing any side-effects. Garlic acts as a natural antibacterial agent when it is fresh and raw as it contains allicin that kills viruses and bacteria. It is a good medicine against coughs, colds and chest infection during the winter.
3. Ginger: An ingredient packed with immune-boosting benefits, ginger also helps prevent nausea and soothes an upset tummy. Ginger is also very effective in keeping your body warm and helps break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. Add ginger to a stir-fried dish or boil it to make a cup of ginger tea with some added lemon for a pleasant and a healing hot drink.
4. Amba haldi: Also known as raw turmeric, it is a vital Ayurvedic herb which is mostly found during the monsoon season. Amba haldi helps in revitalising the blood and purifies it by removing the toxic agents. It also helps in maintaining the health of the stomach and digestive system.
Apart from all these herbs amla, holy basil and triphala, used in the form of tea and tonics, also help in boosting the immunity.
Choose the right food
“Consuming fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, dairy and unprocessed products will provide your body with the desirable nutrition and ojas (immunity). However, packaged food items that are processed, canned, and frozen are harder to digest, and thus create ama (toxins), because they are old, denatured by processing, or even include harmful ingredients such as chemical preservatives. Organically grown foods are best because they are not only free from harsh chemicals but also contain all the essential minerals. Vegetarian proteins such as paneer (homemade cheese), milk, and pulses (split-moong dhal, lentils and other small, split beans) help to enhance immunity. But meat is not a recommended protein because it is difficult to digest and creates ama” adds Shaikh.
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