Ayurveda is an alternative medicine system with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent stretching back over 3000 years. Derived from the Sanskrit words āyus (Life) and veda (Knowledge), Ayurveda teaches us how to keep our body in balance, both within itself and with the outside world. As we enter our third calendar year of the COVID-19 pandemic, people the world over can use the insights of Ayurveda to keep our immune systems strong and spirits high.
Ayurveda possesses and extensive knowledge of preventative care – through the concepts of Dinacharya (daily regimes) and Ritucharya (seasonal regimes), there are plenty of simple, wholesome ways one can work to maintain a healthy life.
Practice Yoga, Pranayama, & Meditation
It is a well-established medical fact that yoga is an excellent way to keep the body fit and the mind sharp. Just 30 minutes of yoga a day can give you increased flexibility, greater muscle strength, improved cardio health, better sleep, and a more balanced metabolism. Combined with pranayama, the ancient Indian practice of controlled breathwork, and mindful meditation, you can maintain a robust mind/body system in our challenging mid-pandemic world.
It should be noted that different types of exercises are prescribed to people based on their doshas, the three basic Ayurvedic substances that make up the human body – vāta (air), pitta (bile), and kapha (phlegm). For example, kapha-dominant people are said to be strong, caring, stable, and conduct themselves in a deliberate manner. They are also said to be sleepy, sluggish, prone to gaining weight, and susceptible to depression. As such, they should focus on vigorous and intense exercises that counteract their naturally lethargic constitutions.
Consume Immunity-Boosting Spices
Regulating one’s diet is a key component of Ayurveda, and with good reason; even back then, the Vedic sages understood that we are what we eat, and that if we want to keep our bodies healthy, we must ensure that what we consume contributes to balancing and fortifying our bodies. To give your immune system a much-needed boost, Try adding the following spices to your meals:
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its characteristic yellow color. Curcumin, its main compound, is a powerful antioxidant that may help reduce inflammation and improve heart and brain health.
Cumin is an Ayurvedic spice and is commonly used to flavor meals. It may decrease symptoms of IBS, improve risk factors for heart disease, and perhaps even offer protection against foodborne infection.
Coriander is a versatile spice with many uses. In Ayurvedic terms, the leaves are said to have a cooling effect and can be made into juice or a poultice used to ease mild skin irritation, while the seeds are said to be warming, which may help to stimulate the appetite, ease digestion, and aid in the elimination of bodily toxins.
Garlic has traditionally served as a blood purifier, aids digestion, and can reduce the severity of flu symptoms. But despite its health benefits, be careful not to have too much garlic – Ayurveda specialists suggest that garlic is highly Rajasic (one of the three Guṇas, or qualities, food can have), and overconsumption results in negative feelings and emotions like anger, aggression, ignorance, lethargy, and anxiety.
Drink Wholesome Tea
A common Ayurvedic recommendation for those suffering a cold or other flu-like illnesses is to drink Kadha. Kadha is a traditional Indian decoction of various herbs and spices that are said to hold medicinal properties, similar to a spiced tea like chai. Consider using ingredients such as basil, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper. Use a teaspoon of honey or fresh lemon juice if necessary to sweeten the drink.