The Immune system is responsible for defense against all the microorganisms and toxic cells to which individuals are exposed. There are many factors which directly or indirectly affect our Immunity e.g. Genetics, Age, Health, Nutrition, Stress, Hormones, pollution, etc.
Building immunity not only helps us fight against the cold and flu season but also against deadly diseases such as H1N1 flu and cancer.
According to Ayurveda immunity is connected to “Ojas” (Vigor). Ojas is one of the three vital essences that together promotes and sustains our physical vitality, mental clarity, and overall health. Ojas plays a vital role in maintenance of health as well as production of illness. When Ojas is in normal state it brings health and it’s depletion leads to many pathological conditions. Ojas - the prime source of vital energy is the core extract of these 7 body tissues they are the 7 dhatus believed to make up our body. They are Rasa(Juice), Rakta(Blood), Mamsa(Muscle), Medha(Fat), Asthi(Bone), Majja(Bone Marrow) and Shukra(Semen).
Ayurveda strongly councils that we take care of the Ojas or the ‘vital energy’ for good health and longevity. Ojas is described as the Fluid of Life, it’s one of the most essential things for maintaining a healthy body. It’s your inner light, your luster, vitality, energy and strength.This vital sap is necessary for a complete and full life, without it the immune system weakens, spirits sinks and basic abilities alter.
A person with good Ojas is in serene health and has a youthful appearance. The person who is deficient, timid, weak, anxious, lacks vitality, poor complexion has low immunity.
According to Ayurveda Agni happens to be the entity that is responsible for all digestive and metabolic processes in the human beings.
In essence the food we eat should quickly get digested and turn in to Ojas. If this digestive fire is not sufficient to process the food consumed it leads to accumulation of AMA (toxins). AMA is a toxic, sticky, cloudy, smelly substance that spreads from digestive tract to other parts of the body.
Ayurveda emphasizes more on food that can transform quickly in to Ojas. Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, ghee is good for healthy Ojas and therefore for Immunity.
Foods which are heavy, processed, unhealthy are hard to digest and create AMA which takes a toll on our Immunity and our health.
In addition to above mentioned healthy foods some important Herbs to support Ojas and immunity are:
One of the best ways to bathe our tissue system is to practice pranayam like Anulom Vilom, Kapalbathi etc. Yoga also moves Prana - energy that drives life in the body and encourages fluidity throughout the tissues.
The above are general guidelines to maintain healthy Ojas. In order to understand how Ojas can be improved for your particular body type an Ayurvedic Vaidya can give you personalized recommendations based around Dinacharya (daily regimen), Aahar (food), Vayama (exercise), Nidra (sleeping routines) which has a significant positive effect on our Immune system.
- Written by Vaidya Anjum Nadaf (B.A.M.S Ayurveda)