There is a lot that one can do to boost their immune health with Ayurveda. This is especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic that the world is experiencing right now.  There are foods, herbs, lifestyle changes and yoga practices that will enhance our immunity.

Immunity is intimately associated with digestive power and Ojas. Ojas is our deepest vital sap, our immunity. Ayurveda says that we need strong, healthy digestive power to produce ojas.   This is because ojas is produced after the other 7 dhatus (loosely translated as tissues) of the body. The food we eat cascades down a series of steps in which part of the food we eat is used to create each tissue. After that tissue is created, then the leftover portion of the food plus our digestive power is used to create the next tissue in the chain.  If the digestive power is not strong enough then the subsequent tissues cannot be formed properly and ultimately ojas is not formed properly resulting in poor immunity. 

The balance of gut bacteria or gut flora influences the balance of our immune system. Unbalanced gut flora can shift the immune system into an increased inflammatory response and an overtaxed immune system and even auto-immune diseases. Eating a proper diet is essential for keeping the gut flora healthy and balanced.

Lifestyle Recommendations

  • Sleep – Get 7-8 hrs of sleep each night.  Cytokines are produced and released during sleep. These cytokines are proteins that target infections (like viruses) and inflammation. Sleep is one of the best ways to increase your ojas.  So if you want to give your immune system a boost get proper sleep.  Use your time wisely in this unique period of having to stay put to improve your sleep hygiene.
  • Exercise – Endorphins are the regulators of the immune system. The immune system needs endorphins to function properly.
  • Sunshine – Getting some sun exposure to help your immune system.  UVB rays from sunshine act on the cholesterol in the skin to cause Vit D synthesis. Insufficient Vit D can lead to increased susceptibility to infection.
  • Nature – take more walks in nature, connect with nature to increase your ojas

Diet Recommendations

Yoga Recommendations

  • silence
  • Meditation – inhale “SO”, exhale “HUM”
  • Yoga – twists, forward bends, yoga nidra, Uddiyana Bandha, nauli, agni sara
  • Pranayama – equal length inhales and exhales promotes stability, longer exhales promote calmness
  • Use the extra time now to deepen your practice

Herb Recommendations

  • Mary’s Flu and virus healing tea –
    • Vacha or Calamus –                      1 tsp
    • Echinacea –                                   1 tsp
    • Black pepper –                  2 t
    • Dry ginger –                                  3 t
    • Pippali –                            4t
    • Vamshlochana –                5t
    • Cardamom –                                 ½ t – 1 tsp (to taste)
    • Cinnamon –                                   ½ t – 1 tsp (to taste)
    • Sugar –                              32 t
    • Mix together and drink daily at the 1st sign of symptoms, dose: 1 t 2x-3x/day
  • Mary’s Immune tincture – Ashwagandha, purnarnava, guduchi, kapikacchu, tulsi, turmeric, lotus root, rose, licorice, pippali , Auslese wine

Consider using this time to dedicate yourself to health and well-being.  Do you notice things that maybe feel easier and less stressful?  Spending less time commuting in busy traffic, more time at home with family, more time for home cooking.  This can be a great opportunity to shift into new patterns to support immunity and general health.  We are in this together.

By Mary Bruck, Ayurvedic Doctoral Practitioner practicing Ayurveda and Yoga in the Boulder and Denver Areas in Colorado

Mary Bruck

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