By Dr. Sarita Shreshta
Ayurveda has been practiced in the U.S. for only about 30 years, yet it is one of the systems of medicine native to India and is thousands of years old. Readers are invited to submit questions for “Ayurveda Q & A” to email@example.com.
Question: What types of practices are used in Ayurveda to help strengthen the immune system?
Answer: The science of Ayurveda emphasizes preventive measures called swasthavritta, or the Way of Healthy Living.
The main focus of sawsthavritta is to maintain and enhance immunity by conserving ojas. Ojas is the subtle yet material substance identified in Ayurveda as the foundation for immunity, vitality, strength, and even conception.
All human beings are born with sahaj (natural) immunity. As we grow and develop we can acquire stronger immunity through food, activities, and behaviors. Although we strengthen our immunity as we grow, we can still lose much of our sahaj immunity through illness or different modern stimulations. Unfortunately, we are more likely to lose our sahaj as the years go by than we are to gain or enhance it.
In order to boost our immunity, consider the following:
1. Save ojas by avoiding activities that can deplete ojas. These include: overindulgence in sex, eating dry food all the time, eating leftover food, excessive television watching, playing video games in a stimulating environment, smoking, and drinking alcohol.
2. Support the physical and energetic bodies by practicing Yoga, Pranayama, and Meditation regularly.
3. Get enough proper rest every day. In addition to a full night’s sleep, each day, for 30 minutes to one hour , spend time in nature, kick back in a comfortable chair, incorporate savasana (deep relaxation), Yoga Nidra or other meditative practices—or simply walk, even for only ten to fifteen minutes.
4. Express emotions in a positive way; this can be done by talking to nature, singing, dancing, creating, writing, or even just a few slow and deep breaths.
5. Introduce healthy fats into your diet and use oil to massage the body. These healthy fats include olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, mustard oil, and more.
6. Practice Achar Rasayan. The word rasayana means rejuvenation, so this behavioral technique involves cultivating the states of mind that actually serve as tonics. These including cultivating love, compassion, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, honor, and gratitude.
Ojas Drink for any season
Drink once this a day either in the morning or evening after food after adding 1/2 teaspoon full of ghee
- 1 cup of warm milk
Boil the milk with the following ingredients:
-1 mashed or chopped fresh date
-4 grated almonds (soaked in water and peeled)
-1/4 teaspoonful total of equal parts of cinnamon and cardamom
Let cool and then add one-half teaspoon ghee before drinking one a day either in the morning or the evening.
For people who can’t digest milk:
- 1 teaspoon shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
-1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seed, powdered
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves
- 1/4 tea spoon each coriander seed, cumin, and salt.
-1/2 teaspoon amalaki (Emblica officinalis) powder
-1/8 teaspoon trikatu powder (equal amount of black pepper, ginger, and long pepper)
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and cardamom (equal amounts of each herb)
- 1/8 teaspoon rock salt
-1/2 teaspoon honey or rock candy
-1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ghee(or coconut oil if vegan)
Once daily mix all ingredients in 1 cup of hot water and drink as the tea or just make the paste with honey and ghee and take like the sweet and sour immune-boosting jam chyvanprash.
Dr. Sarita Shrestha BAMS, MD (Ayurveda) has taught and consulted for twenty years in government institutes, hospitals, and international clinics and has presented at many international conferences. Dr. Shresta has received awards and special recognition as the first woman Ayurvedic physician and obstetrics-gynecology specialist in Nepal. She is the founder-director of Devi Ma Kunja Hospital in Sidapole, Nepal. Proceeds from her programs support this hospital which provides traditional Ayurvedic care to all according to their means: saritashrestha.org.
Dr. Shrestha will be offering private consultations in San Diego from July 14 – 18. Thursday, July 14, 7:00 – 9:30 P.M., she will be teaching a workshop on the Ayurvedic Perspective on Vitality and Immunity, Iyengar Yoga Center of North County, 2210 Encinitas Blvd, Suite U, Encinitas, CA 92024. Call Carla Levy for more information (760) 268 – 0560 or visit: saritashrestha.org.