The biggest impact that COVID 19 has on Ayurveda is how consumers have made a bee-line towards this science for its therapeutic, immunity enhancing and proactive holistic health benefits. Not just in India but also globally, Ayurveda is being increasingly seen as a potent alternative to curing long-term or chronic illnesses. It is an immortal time tested repository of the healthcare system in the world and while there effective & curative medicines are indispensable in fighting aggressive viruses like the COVID 19, our best defence lies in our bodies. The importance of a resilient immune system is now much more pronounced and therefore the need to make Ayurveda a part of the mainstream both in curative & preventive and in holistic self-care. Considering the vagaries of the pandemic situation and while the vaccines by each countries would still take some time and also keeping in mind that a solution to COVID 19 is not the ultimate solution, because there would be many such infectious diseases & their ensuing health impacts, that would be attacking humanity time and again. Ayurveda / phytomedicines / herbal nutraceutical and all natural therapies and curatives would therefore start becoming that much important. Some top trends that we envisage that would dot the 2021 skyscape are as follows:
Ayurveda for immunity
Ayurveda helps in activating the protective mechanism of our innate immune system and helps the body create a wide spectrum of antibodies that help ward off various pathogens, both viral and bacterial. A large part of our immunity is linked to vast network or an ecosystem of microbiota present in our gut. The microbiota (essentially a complex world of thousands of species of bacteria) is like a fingerprint, uniquely differing in individuals comprising of good, neutral and toxic bacteria; each having its role to play and thereby managing the fine balance of health & vitality in us. Guduchi or Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) is such a potent natural herb that works as the right food for the gut microbiata and helps accelerate the process of immunity building. In addition, Ayurveda identifies the power of adaptogenic herbs, like Ashwagandha and Amla, with extraordinary immune boosting and balancing powers. Medicines like the Somavit are available in the market. They have natural prebiotic and immunomodulating action. Having the key ingredient of ‘Arabinogalactan’ derived from the root of Guduchi / Giloy, these nourish and repopulate good gut bacteria. Synergise Ayurveda with exercising regularly, eating healthy sleeping adequately, and alleviating stress through Yoga and Pranayam and you will have an exceedingly strong immune system that would alleviate much of your fears of infectious diseases.
Ayurveda for strengthening your respiratory system
COVID 19 hits the respiratory organs the hardest. Considering that India is the asthma capital of the world (42% of all global asthma deaths happens in India), we need to be doubly careful. While lockdown saw a deep decline in paediatric asthma cases, but doctors caution about a surge in asthma & other respiratory diseases now that the lockdowns have been lifted and more and more people are coming out. 2021, therefore, would be a year to watch out for and aryurvedic remedies for respiratory diseases would see an upward trend. Vasaka (also known as Malabar Nut) is a powerful herb that effectively manages respiratory diseases such as cough, cold & asthma. It balances the Kapha & Pitta (among the three doshas) and aids the lungs ability to receive more prana & oxygen. One should avoid food that are believed to be Kapha aggravators (certain foods like yogurt, cheese, avocados, bananas, etc…generate mucus and makes cold worse). Respiratory care medicines like ENCOF from Millennium Herbal are an ideal combination of time tested, clinically proven standardized herbal extracts with potent mucolytic, expectorant, bronchodilatory, anti-histaminic, anti-tussive and antioxidant actions such as Yashtimadhu, Vasaka, Tulasi, Haridra and Amalaki for fast relief of productive cough without being habit forming.
Ayurveda for bone health
Bone health is being considered increasingly as a major health crisis, what with the new norm being working from home, resulting in less intake of Vitamin D which is primarily from the Sun. While Osteoporosis onsets with age among men & women, women face the brunt a little earlier, like from their thirties. And now with COVID-19, it becomes all the more important to stay on top of the all rounded care of your bone health – both medical and non-medical. One should include herbs like Hadjod (Cissus quadrangularis) and the bark of Arjun tree (Terminalia arjuna) in your diet to strengthen your bones. In fact, Arjuna provides organic calcium and has high antioxidant properties. Herbs like turmeric and salai guggul reduce pain & inflammation and hasten the bone healing process. Guduchi, on the other hand, helps regulate the Vata dosha which is also a major reason for deteriorating bone health in an individual. Soft messaging with herbal oils or ointments, having the goodness of the mutli-action herbs, like Antarth, could bring fast relief to some long standing joint and bone health issues. The best approach to bone health is to focus on creating health through knowledge of proper lifestyle and removing the root imbalances like those of digestion, metabolism, circulation, tissue development and nervous system activity. Ayurveda helps in detoxification of your body, balancing of the vital forces, removal of free radicals and increase the body’s natural healing abilities. It is best to use natural or phyto-medicines for long term and sustained benefits for the holistic wellness of your bone health.
Ayurveda to combat stress and fortify mental health
Adapting to lifestyle changes like working from home, home schooling of children, lack of physical contact with family members, friends and colleagues and add to that a good measure of job uncertainties, salary cuts and the looming danger of contracting the disease can all lead to a lot of stress. A vulnerable mind can often fall victim to the challenges of relationships, societal stress, anxiety, fear and worry. And since it is all about mind, one never knows what could trigger a mental disease. The best way to cope is de-stress, have a healthy diet and take a hard look at our lifestyle which amplifies these triggers. Further In addition to helpful lifestyle and diet changes, Ayurvedic and traditional herbal supplements can be used to treat various ailments including depression. There are many plants mentioned in Ayurveda that supports mental health. Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Shankhapushpi (Convolvulus microphyllus), Mandukaparni (Centella asiatica), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), and Jatamansi (Celastrus paniculatus) are herbs that have been traditionally used to boost various function of the brain, enhancing its capacity to deal with stress, while allaying anxiety. These herbs are adaptogenic and have been independently researched to show anti-stress, anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties.
Research based evidence suggest that through traditional forms of dietary management and interventions of Ayurveda risks of NCDs (non-communicable and chronic diseases) can be reduced. We as Indians are blessed to have such powerful sciences in our heritage and hence must take opportunistic advantage of these. Stay safe and don’t forget to practice the new lifestyle of hygiene and protection.