The key to a healthy life is to have a very strong immune system!
And as per Ayurveda, Agni (Digestive fire), Ojas (the end essence of complete digestion that forms good health) and Ama (toxins) play an important role in strengthening immunity. When digestion or Agni is strong, food we eat is converted into abundant energy & healthy tissues and body effectively burns away the impurities resulting in Ojas, which in-turn leads to a strong immune system. Whereas if Agni is weak resulting in improper digestion, formation of Ama or toxins is ensued which causes several health complications.
Ayurveda recommends the following herbs to bolster immunity –
Stress is one of the major causes of weak immunity, chronic stress leads to a multitude of big and small illnesses, from common cold to heart diseases. Ashwagandha reduces stress and calms the nervous system by pacifying vitiated Vata dosha. Drink lukewarm water mixed with Ashwagandha powder to modulate stress hormone levels and improve the immune system.
The roots of the herb Mulethi or Licorice is very extensively used in Ayurveda as a pitta pacifying diet. It is known to increase the levels of interferon, a chemical substance that interfere with the proliferation of any kind of pathogens. The herb prohibits the growth of bacteria, slows down aging and relieves fatigue. Prepare Licorice root tea by shredding 1 teaspoon of licorice root to one cup of boiling water and consume thrice daily to boost immunity.
Tulsi is acclaimed as ‘the queen of herbs’ in Ayurveda since all of its parts comprise medicinal properties. Its antiviral and anti-bacterial properties contribute to a strong immune system. Tulsi is widely recognized for its ability to treat respiratory diseases like asthma, common cold and cough, to treat diabetes by regulating the blood sugar levels and to prevent cancer by making the body less susceptible to develop cancer cells. Take tulsi decoction daily with honey and ginger or chew tulsi leaves daily to boost your immune system.
Amla or Gooseberry is one of the major ingredients in Chyavanprash, an Ayurvedic preparation to boost immune system. It builds Ojas and youthfulness in addition to pacifying all the 3 Doshas in the body. Amla contributes to better digestion enabling the assimilation of food that is ingested more effective. It is also known for its support of functioning of liver, the primary detoxing organ of the body. To use it for improving immunity, include fresh Amla in your daily diet or mix ¼ cup of Amla juice in ½ cup of warm water and drink daily in empty stomach.
Neem, sometimes referred to as ‘the miracle herb’ is yet another antimicrobial herb whose every part is therapeutic in nature. Neem purifies blood and detoxifies the body, it has the ability to directly fight against fungus, bacteria and viruses and is also known for its anticancer properties. Chew 8-10 Neem leaves daily or drink Neem tea prepared by boiling water with fresh/ dried Neem leaves to improve body’s strength.
Turmeric is a substance that has extensive applications in Ayurvedic treatments as it is abundant in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric comes from the presence of a chemical substance called Curcumin. Apart from including turmeric in your daily diet, drink a cup of warm milk mixed with 1 teaspoon honey daily to boost immunity. Ginger Turmeric Honey bomb is another remedy for building immunity. Mix thoroughly ½ cup fresh honey, 2-4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, 2 teaspoon freshly grated turmeric, freshly grated zest of 1 lemon and 2 pinches of black pepper and store it in a glass container. This mix can be added to lukewarm water or tea in small amounts and consumed daily.