Coronavirus - Ayurvedic Perspective
Author: Linda Sinden Date Posted:2 March 2020
The news about the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been unsettling, to say the least, and the news from the media at times confusing and alarmist. It may be that the world wide ability we now have to get news from all around the world is causing a hyper-aware state of this new virus.
To give a wider perspective every year approximately 5-6million people become sick from the Flu virus and 10% die as a result of the virus. The death rate from Coronavirus has not been as high as this todate. Similarly to the Coronavirus the elderly or sick are most affected by a flu virus.
The quick response of the national and international health teams when a new virus is found is heartening for us all. It's about adopting a balanced perspective when reading media releases, online articles or watching news, and going to the source of accurate information such as the World Health Organisation and the national health organisations within your country.
World Health Organisation Statement
"COVID-19 is still affecting mostly people in China with some outbreaks in other countries. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others... Older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes) appear to be more vulnerable.
If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or if you have not travelled from one of those areas or have not been in close contact with someone who has and is feeling unwell, your chances of getting it are currently low. To read more from the World Health Organisation go here>
The presence of viruses that challenge human health and wellbeing is well known in Ayurveda. The approach taken in the ancient texts is explained by an analogy about seeds and land - beej-bhumi theory.
In this theory, the body is considered to be the land and virus or bacterial infection the seeds. If the body is filled with impurities or toxins (known as ama) and thus is lacking in ojas (the basis of immune strength) then a virus or bacteria will find the body a fertile place in which to sprout. On the other hand, if the body is vibrant and well then the seeds can not take root, it is as if the body is infertile to the viruses and bacteria. One can also consider the impact of an environment that is toxic that overtime is likely to bombard and weaken even a healthy person.
Ayurveda explains that there is a connection between our digestive strength and immunity. Ojas which helps to promote immune health is produced when we digest fully what we eat or experience.
If you are thinking to yourself how can I help my body to protect itself from a virus or bacteria, especially with autumn just around the corner then consider adopting the following tips daily. The key is to keep your body strong and resilient by optimising your levels of Ojas and minimising your levels of Ama.
Reduce stress with a healthy daily routine
Stress and over-activity deplete Ojas so firstly build your resilience to stress and balance your work and activity with a healthy daily routine. In particular, ensure you have ample rest with a minimum of 7.5 - 8 hours of sleep per night with early to bed (by 10 PM) and early rising with the sun. Consider learning Transcendental Meditation. Consider taking 1-2 Stress Relief tablets prior evening meal and at bedtime and drink the Ojas creating drink below each night for 30 days. Have a regular schedule of eating and drinking with attention to maintaining a healthy gut and digestive system.
Maintain healthy gut and digestion
Did you know... inside your gut are approximately 100 trillion live microorganisms that promote normal digestion and metabolism, protect your body from infection, and regulate metabolism and the mucosal immune system, compromising more than 75% of your immune system. Amazing huh! Plus 95% of your body’s serotonin and most of your neurotransmitters are manufactured and stored in the gut, so ensuring you have a healthy gut and digestive system is super important when wanting to support your body's ability to resist viruses.
- Avoid very cold food and drinks.
- Avoid packaged foods, canned, frozen or processed foods - favour fresh and seasonal foods instead.
- Avoid eating leftovers as Ayurveda explains they are hard to process and can clog your intestines and overwork your immune system as it works to clean up the ama or toxins.
- Be in step with nature and eat your largest quantity of food at lunchtime when digestion is strongest. This is the time to take heavier proteins like meat, cheese, seafood, fish or eggs if you like to include these in your diet.
- Favour a smaller and lighter evening meal using vegetarian forms of protein such as lentils or beans.
- Eat when hungry and aim to be hungry at regular intervals such as breakfast, lunch and evening meal.
- Ensure you drink adequately - taking sips of warm water or herbal tea every 30-60 minutes through the day.
Take Digest Tone 1-2 tablets before the evening meal and at bedtime. Also, take 1-2 tablets of Aller-GI after breakfast and evening meals. Aller-GI enhances secretions of digestive enzymes, offers probiotic support for better digestion and promotes the growth of healthy digestive micro-organisms.
Take herbs to support your Respiratory Area
Consider taking Tulsi (familiar name Holy Basil and Sanskrit name Tulsi or Tulasi), to support your respiratory health.
It is considered traditionally to purify the body, mind and spirit and is used
- to help with colds and flu
- to help purity and cleanse the respiratory tract of toxins
- to help relieve digestive gas and bloating
- when antioxidant support would be useful especially when under stress or feeling low
- to support the body providing anti-inflammatory support
- in the treatment of pain and joint discomfort
- to support healthy blood sugar levels
- to support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- to enhance immune support
As you can see from the list of traditional uses it is useful in many ways. Consider taking 1-2 after breakfast and evening meals through autumn and winter.
Love, laughter and service
You may have heard that laughter and love are good for you as they help to replenish and build ojas. Giving and serving others also helps build Ojas as does doing things that you feel passionate about every day. For some of my clients, this passion is found in their family life and the growing of their children, while others may find it in their work, interests or hobbies. Where do you find passion in your life?
30 Day Challenge to build your Ojas
Here is a recipe for a night tonic drink which I suggest you take each night for 30 days. This is a recipe that combines key foods, spices and herbs to build and maintain your Ojas levels:
Place 1 cup of organic whole milk (you may substitute with non-dairy milk, such as coconut, almond or hemp along with the ingredients below) into a pot and slowly bring it to the boil.
- Chopped dates (1 tbsp)
- Chopped almonds (2 tsp)
- Coconut meat or flakes (1 tbsp)
- Saffron (1/2 tsp)
- Ghee (1-2 tsp) or replace with 1-2 tsp of Coconut Butter
- Cardamom (1/8 tsp)
- Add 1 tablet of Shatavari and 1 tablet of Ashwagandha or 1/8th of a tsp of each.
Once boiled, drink at a comfortable temperature before bed.
Seasonal Cleanse when the season is changing
One tip Ayurveda has that is incredibly effective at helping keep one well, is the practice of a gentle season cleanse at the end of one season and in the juncture where the new season is just beginning to be felt. This helps to remove accumulated ama (impurities or toxins) and is particularly important when wanting to protect both immunity and respiratory health. Look out for the Autumn Seasonal Cleanse Programme in next weeks insight.
Wishing you the bliss of balance with a vibrant and healthy immunity and a resilient respiratory system that helps to keep you healthy and happy, well into your 90’s and beyond!