Ayurveda and COVID-19: Invoking India’s ancient wisdom
As the world grapples with this unprecedented healthcare challenge that has impacted millions of lives across countries and affected nearly all economic and social spheres - governments, medical professionals and businesses are working towards mitigating the situation and preventing its spread.
While scientists across the globe work hard on finding an antidote to the virus, Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in India has come out with recommendations with special references to respiratory health. These are supported by Ayurvedic literature and scientific publications.
Ayurveda, being the science of life, propagates the gifts of nature in maintaining healthy and happy living. Ayurveda’s extensive knowledge based on preventive care derives from the concepts of Dinacharya - daily regimes and Ritucharya - seasonal regimes to maintain healthy life. It is a plant-based science. The simplicity of awareness about oneself and the harmony each individual can achieve by uplifting and maintaining his or her immunity is emphasized across Ayurveda’s classical scriptures.
Following are the measures for self-care that the Ministry has recommended –
1. Drink warm water throughout the day.
2. Daily practice of Yogasana, Pranayama and meditation for at least 30 minutes as advised by Ministry of AYUSH (#YOGAatHome #StayHome #StaySafe)
3. Spices like Haldi (Turmeric), Jeera (Cumin), Dhaniya (Coriander) and Lahsun (Garlic) are recommended in cooking.
Ayurvedic immunity promoting measures:
1. Take Chyavanprash (Ayurvedic Jam) 10gm (1tsp) in the morning. Diabetics should take sugar-free Chyavanprash.
2. Drink herbal tea / decoction (Kadha) made from Tulsi (Basil), Dalchini (Cinnamon), Kalimirch (Black pepper), Shunthi (Dry Ginger) and Munakka (Raisin) - once or twice a day. Add jaggery (natural sugar) and / or fresh lemon juice to your taste, if needed.
3. Golden Milk- Half teaspoon Haldi (turmeric) powder in 150 ml hot milk - once or twice a day.
Simple Ayurvedic procedures:
1. Nasal application - Apply sesame oil / coconut oil or Ghee in both the nostrils (PratimarshNasya) in morning and evening.
2. Oil pulling therapy- Take one tablespoon sesame or coconut oil in mouth. Do not drink, swish in the mouth for 2 to 3 minutes and spit it off followed by warm water rinse. This can be done once or twice a day.
During dry cough / sore throat:
1. Steam inhalation with fresh Pudina (Mint) leaves or Ajwain (Caraway seeds) can be practiced once in a day.
2. Lavang (Clove) powder mixed with natural sugar / honey can be taken 2-3 times a day in case of cough or throat irritation.
3. These measures generally treat normal dry cough and sore throat. However, it is best to consult doctors if these symptoms persist.
The above measures can be followed to the extent possible as per an individual’s convenience. Further, the Ministry has also initiated action on the Prime Minister’s advice to work for scientific evidence-based solutions from the AYUSH systems to restrain the spread of the pandemic by setting up a channel to enlist various suggestions and proposals from AYUSH practitioners and institutions and having them examined for viability through a Group of Scientists.