Increasing work and lifestyle related stress, family and relationship tensions, depression, low quality of foods, junk foods, aerated drinks, alcohol, increasing pollution levels, certain allopathic medicines, smoking, etc. result in lowered immunity power. Lowering immune power has been a cause of concern in this modern age.
The function of our immune system is to protect us against the threat from micro-organisms. These micro – organisms include – bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. If these micro-organisms establish themselves inside our body, then they cause infection and cause diseases like – cholera, typhoid, malaria, influenza, etc.
White blood cells (WBCs) present in the blood act as tool for the defence mechanism. White blood cells are produced by the bone marrow. Bone marrow is an inner soft tissue present mainly in long bones like- femur (thigh bone), humerus (arm bone), etc. White blood cells are carried to the specified organs where they develop and communicate to launch immune response against infections just like military camps against invading foreign militants.
Some white blood cells like – macrophages kill the micro-organisms by eating and damaging them. The B – lymphocytes (B-type of white blood cells) produce anti-bodies which can kill or neutralize the bacteria/virus or other toxic substances in the blood/body fluids. Another type of white blood cells are T – lymphocytes can trace the micro-organisms that leave the body fluids to invade the cells. Each killer T- cell has receptor for one type of foreign substance which is known as “Antigen”. T- cells bind to the infected cells and kill them which prevent the spread of infection in the body.
As per Ayurveda, blood and its components, Ojus (a special Ayurvedic physiological entity), Dhatus, Kapha dosha are the contributing factors to immunity. Ayurveda describes immunity as the power to defend the body against any disease and also to fight the progress of the disease. Ojus (immunity) is a concept explained in Ayurveda at the intersection of physical, mental and spiritual health. It is responsible for – health maintenance, health promotion, fight and prevent disease. Though it can be quantified but it cannot be seen or compared to any elements in the body. Some compare Ojus to white blood cells but it can be said as partial comparison.
Definition of Ojus as per Master Charak
The one which dwells in the heart and is predominantly white, yellowish and reddish in colour is known as Ojus of the body. If the ojus is destroyed, human being will also perish. As the bees collect honey from the flowers and fruits, so the Ojus is collected in the body by the actions, qualities, habits and diet of the human being. (Reference: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 17/76)
The heart is an important organ for all the normal mental and physical activities. In the heart resides “Para Ojus”- the superior ojus that controls the mind. Thus, heart is considered as the seat of “Ojus”. (Reference: Charak Samhita Sutrasthana 30).
Qualities of Ojus
- Unctuous, oily
- Slight reddish yellow in colour
10 Qualities of Ojus
- Leisureliness (Reference: Charak Chikitsa Sutrasthana 24/31)
A person with good quantity of Ojus is lesser prone to cold, cough, fever, etc.
Symptoms of depletion of Ojus
- Multiple joint pain
- Lack of normal functioning of the body
- Stiffness and heaviness in the body
- Edema due to the increase in Vata dosha
- Skin discolouration
- Excess sleepiness
- Easily prone to infections
Top 7 Home Remedies to Boost your Immunity
1. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
It is an immune boosting herb as well as acts as an excellent anti-oxidant. It acts as an immune boosting herb by increasing the number of pathogen fighting agents like – White blood cells (WBCs) and platelets. It also fights chronic stress which debilitates the immune system. Cow’s ghee (800 ml) is taken in a wide mouthed vessel and heated for 20 seconds. Make a bolus of Ashwagandha powder with water and add it to ghee then add milk to ghee. Continue heating till the entire water portion evaporates and at the end, only ghee remains. Filter it and preserve the ghee part.
2. Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
Shatavari is quite a powerful herb which provides rejuvenation. It acts as an anti-oxidant and immune-stimulant. This herb strengthens the overall immune system of the body by enhancing each function associated with macrophages.
3. Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia)
It protects and guards body from diseases. It balances all the three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Giloy powder (500 mg) mixed along with a teaspoon of honey must be taken once or twice a day after food for increasing immunity.
The areal roots of this plant are so thin but so strong that, Sushruta used to use this for suturing the surgical wounds.
The chronic lung diseases like – tuberculosis, chronic asthma, chronic bronchitis, etc. are also caused due to depleted immunity. There is an easy home remedy to boost immunity and to get rid of chronic lung problems.
4. Jaggery,Ghee and long pepper Remedy
Take jaggery (25 grams) in a clean wide mouthed vessel. Add half a cup of water. Heat it to dissolve it. Add cow’s ghee (25 grams) and long pepper fruit (25 grams) fine powder to the vessel. Continue heating till the water content evaporates. In the initial phase of heating ghee, jaggery and long pepper powder, it will form a dirty mixed mass but after sometime, ghee will completely separate from rest of the ingredients. In the end, put a small piece of mass in the vessel to fire. If it does not make any sound, it indicates that there is no more moisture in the cow’s ghee. This is the time to stop heating and filter it when it is hot. In the initial phase, there will be no aroma but when heating comes to end, cow’s ghee and long pepper give out good aroma.
Half to one teaspoon of this ghee is taken once or twice a day followed by a cup of warm water before taking food for 2-3 months. It improves strength and immunity, also good for people undergoing lung cancer treatment, also good for people who have smoking habit as people with chronic respiratory disorders suffer from low immunity, depleted strength, loss of muscle mass and lack of digestion strength. This traditional ayurvedic remedy is tailor made for such patients. Cow’s ghee helps to re-energize and boost immunity and jaggery has high nutritive value. Long pepper is very good for respiratory and digestive systems.
In Ayurveda, honey is widely used for its numerous health benefits. It balances Kapha and Pitta. It helps in boosting immunity. As per Charak, it is one of those ingredients that can be taken on daily basis. (Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 5/12).
6. Amla (Indian gooseberry)
It is the richest source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body to fight against infections by boosting immunity. Amla can be taken in diet on regular basis.
7. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
It is one of the widely used herb in Ayurvedic practice because of its numerous health benefits and for increasing immunity. It can be taken along with milk as the coldness of milk will nullify its hot potency.