According to the principles of Ayurveda, “Ojas” is the vital essence of all body tissues and is believed to be responsible for the overall physical and mental health and well-being of humans. The principles of Immunity as stated in Ayurveda, emphasize that Vyadhikshamatva, also known as Bala or Ojas, the body’s defence mechanism, is important for disease prevention and the speedy recovery from illnesses.
Since ancient times, Acharyas promoted the use of certain rejuvenating agents called Rasayana to enhance the Ojas and ultimately improve overall physical and mental health. These agents that have been described in Ayurveda are medicinal plants and herbs and are known for their incredible health benefits. They not only have antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties, but they also aid in digestion and act as immunomodulators.
While the list of benefits is endless, one of the primary functions of the herbs we’re going to talk about is that they cleanse our bodies of toxins and help boost our immunity.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
The root of the ashwagandha plant is most commonly used for its medicinal properties even though every part of the plant, including leaves, roots, bark, fruit, and seeds is also consumed.
Ashwagandha has traditionally been prescribed to strengthen immunity after an illness and is recommended to be had with warm, sweetened milk. This herb has potent anti-inflammatory properties that are useful for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and several skin diseases. It has also been proven to work for certain nervous system disorders and improve brain cell function, nervous exhaustion, anxiety, and depression. Furthermore, it also refreshes the body by relieving fatigue. Currently, researchers are looking into the role of ashwagandha in degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Mulethi (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Liquorice, popularly known as yashtimadhu and mulethi is a highly effective home remedy for many disorders like cough and cold. Mulethi is known to have a sweet taste and a slimy texture and is very efficacious in treating vata disorders. Glycyrrhizin – a saponin found in mulethi has strong anti-microbial properties. The root is generally powdered and consumed with honey and ghee to boost immunity. Additionally, it is also known to be a natural revitalizer and an anti-aging property. A few studies have also shown positive effects of mulethi with regards to brain function.
Amla (Emblica officinalis)
Amla is one of the richest sources of vitamin C and very effective in improving overall immunity and revitalizing the body’s systems. Amla is recommended for afflictions of the gastro-intestinal tract and is also known to stimulate regeneration of red blood cells and help improve hemoglobin content in the body.
Amla’s cooling nature can help remove excess body heat and is recommended in pitta conditions. Its anti-inflammatory action also makes it beneficial in soothing joint pains. It is best to consume amla raw but it is also available as powder, tablets, and liquid extracts. To counter the sour taste, amla powder can be mixed with honey and taken twice a day. Chyawanprash, the well-known Ayurvedic formulation, also contains amla in it and can be consumed to reduce mental and physical fatigue and increase immunity.
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
Ginger is known to produce beat in the body and helps in decreasing the aggravated vata and kapha doshas. This versatile herb can be had fresh, powdered, in an oil form, or in dry candied/ juice form. Dry ginger powder added to sesame oil is used to alleviate joint and muscle pains. It is also used for hot fomentation in gout, edema, arthritis, and other joint conditions. The anti- microbial compounds in ginger help ward off infections and improve immunity levels. That’s why ginger is also suggested for respiratory ailments like cold, cough, pneumonia, asthma, and bronchitis.
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)
Ocimum sanctum is the main form of Tulsi used for its medicinal purposes. It is primarily used for
respiratory tract infections like cough, cold, sore throat, asthma etc, because of its anti-infective properties that help remove excess kapha from the lungs. This natural stimulant has been shown to energize the body, increase circulation, and alleviate skin diseases and ulcers. Drinking fresh tulsi juice every day with a few drops of ginger and honey can boost overall health and immunity.