In today’s podcast Vaidya Jay and Lilly discuss the functioning of the immune system and how Ayurveda perceives immunity and its correlation to the physical and psychological processes in our body.
Immune system is a collective effort of the cells and organs in the body to fight an infection. It recognizes what is and isn’t a part of the body. The cells responsible for this function are the white blood cells which are divided into neutrophils, lymphocytes B-cells etc.
These cells in coordination with the glands, devise an orchestrated attack on the foreign body which can be a virus, bacteria, protozoa or any other type of organism..
While this is a rather straightforward definition to understanding immunity. Ayurveda considers it as a mind body mechanism. Meaning that the body and mind work in coordination to get rid of the pathogen . For this there are a series of well-articulated body functions that look after the immune system.
First, is what Ayurveda describes as Bala or the strength that is essential for resisting and protecting the body from any imbalance. The strength comes from the bodily tissues when they’re optimally nourished and are in homeostasis or in balance, The resistance power of the body that is produced by the healthy tissues is called ojus. It is the physical entity representing the body’s immune strength.
Ojus is further categorized into Para and Apara. The former is said to develop in the embryonic stage and is extremely important for the immune system since it cannot be replenished once lost. It recognizes the foreign organisms and directs the attack towards them via the aparna-ojus, which is located in the peripheral parts of the body. It is the apara ojus that can be replenished by following a healthy routine, eating fresh foods and adhering to a healthy sleep schedule. Some foods and spices that help with replenishing of aparna-ojus are turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, Ashwagandha, herbal teas like licorice and ginger and fruits that also nourish the circulatory system like grapes, berries and pomegranates can also be beneficiary .
The ojus is also affected by the person’s body type as elaborated by Vaidya Jay. For example, Vata body types are hyperactive and can have deficiencies in the lower part of the gut or last parts of the small intestine. And if the ojus doesn’t function well in the Vata types it can cause inflammatory imbalances in these parts of the gut and then spread to other parts of the body. Similar imbalances can result in Pitta and Kapha body types as well.
Inflammation is the immunities’ non resolving approach to get rid of the foreign body. Often uncontrolled and leading to a self-destructive mode harming the body.
Ojus makes for the physical forms of our body’s immune system. The last part that connects these tangible aspects to our intangible consciousness is prana. It’s the force that looks after everything that happens in the body. It reciprocates with our state of mind and connects feelings to physical health.
There are several ways to strengthen prana. One of the most effective one is meditation and breathing exercises. If that doesn’t work too well for someone they can always try singing or eating some fresh fruits or nuts which in today’s words we call, raising our spirits.
In conclusion a healthy diet, sleep, exercising routine and distance from all sorts of negative emotions is the key to not just a happier life but also a stronger immunity.
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