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Ayurveda Perspectives on Immunity and COVID-19

Apr 03, 2020

One of the guiding principles explored in the Contemplative Studies Program is that we have agency. In the face of adversity we can become empowered to consciously direct our evolution towards more favourable outcomes.

What follows is an instalment in a series of assignments taken on by CSP members. Students were asked to research pandemic related subjects including economics, health and lifestyle. The purpose of the task was to engage critical reasoning in the midst of a barrage of sensational headlines and form an action plan. In a crisis, having a plan and keeping moving is critical to mental health.

This information is provided to deliver you things you should know, and things can do during the pandemic.

As with most respiratory viruses, Ayurveda considers COVID-19 to be of Kapha-Vata nature. This means that it thrives in cold (especially internally) environments. The main preventive measure against the virus is to increase internal fire “Agni”, by stimulating the Pitta dosha, through heat-inducing natural remedies. This weakens the virus upon entering the body and boosts your immuno-response. The below indications are given on the assumption of a generally healthy individual, without any particular advanced health conditions.

Five Things to Know

  1. Covid-19 is a Kapha-Vata constitution: the virus requires cold internal/external environments to propagate itself. Symptoms exhibited by those with virus point to an increase in Kapha (phlegm, mucus, excess moisture) and aggravation of Vata (dry cough, difficulty breathing). The lungs are the “seat” of Kapha in the body, thus imbalances in Kapha cause respiratory complications.
  2. Kapha increasing foods and environments should be avoided: most dairy should be reduced (milk, cheese, creams & butter), at the exception of moderate quantities of yogurt & ghee. Use almond or soya based milk products (avoid coconut milk in large quantities). Sugars should be reduced: sweets, chocolate, cakes, etc., at the exception of honey, which is not Kapha upon elimination. Exposure to cold external environments should be avoided at all cost.
  3. Kapha-Vata pacifying remedies primarily rely on combatting the cold: cold is the overlapping common property of these two doshas. Although Kapha is moist in nature, and Vata is dry in nature, both possess a primary quality of a “cold” dosha. Excess moisture & extreme dryness should be addressed individually with a better understanding of each dosha individually.
  4. “Agni” is the sanskrit word for fire: it refers to internal heat necessary to regulate the body. The “seat” of Agni in the body is the stomach, and it mainly manifests itself in form of the gastric acid. Thus, it is imperative to keep your digestion healthy to sustain a healthy production of heat in the body.
  5. Ayurveda works in holistic ways: it supports the overall equilibrium of your health in a measured wholesome approach. Too much heat in the body can lead to an aggravated Pitta, which can manifest itself in a disruption of your digestion, heightened anger, and flaring up of heartburn disease. Pitta stimulating remedies should be considered in moderation.
Written by

Erica Saccente

Irina Viscun

Coming up... Ayurveda Perspectives on Five Things We Can Do: COVID-19 & Immunity


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