By now we are very well accustomed to lockdown life. While we were adapting to this phase of social distancing, society too has undergone changes demanding long term behavioral shifts in all of us. Advice, in the form of the new ‘, do’s and don’ts’, are being indiscriminately ‘forwarded’ from various verified and unverified sources, including ‘grandma recipes to beat the coronavirus’.
Obviously, the most valued advices are issued by the Government of India and its Health departments. They articulate a number of suggestions to remain healthy. One of the most important suggestions promotes the use of AYUSH based treatments as a preventive measure. It is a powerful recognition of the fact that AYUSH medicine has the right knowledge to play a role during this pandemic and emphatically establishing the old adage, “prevention is better than cure”.
Another stark reality we need to accept is that our ultimate victory over COVID-19 will be possible only once we achieve herd immunity. This can happen either after a major percent of the world population gets infected or by vaccination. While efforts are underway across the world to speedily develop safe and effective vaccines, these can be used for mass immunization only if clinical trials prove so, which requires its own process and time. Hence, vaccines specific to COVID-19 are likely to remain unavailable for mass immunization during this specific outbreak.
In the meantime, it is not surprising that there are also several attempts being made to understand if other live vaccines, like the BCG and Polio, can be used as stop gap measures to lessen the impact of SARS-CoV-2. Coincidentally, this approach is similar at a fundamental level to the prophylactic treatments of AYUSH medicines – they focus on stimulating the innate immunity of an individual. Activating the protective mechanism of the innate immune system helps the body create a wide spectrum of antibodies that help fight off various pathogens, bacterial or viral. Both approaches reemphasize that there has never been a more important time than now to look at boosting and balancing our immune system, especially since there is an indication that this immune system is suppressed by SARS-CoV-2.
So how do we stimulate our innate immunity? Well, beyond our genes, a large part of our immunity is interlinked to our microbiome. The microbiome comprises of thousands of various species of bacteria, more accurately defined as microbiota. Each individual’s composition of microbiota differs from one another, almost like a fingerprint. The microbiota comprises of beneficial (good), not so beneficial (neutral) and toxic (bad) bacteria. It is a delicately balanced ecosystem of body. Every kind of bacterial has a responsible role to play for proper functioning of the body. This ecosystem is also a source for our innate immunity. It is estimated that of all microbiomes almost two-thirds reside in our gut. Therefore, the importance of gut health cannot be over emphasized when considering optimal immune function.
Specific foods and dietary patterns can all influence the abundance of different types of bacteria in the gut, which in turn can affect health. Fibrous foods help augment good bacteria in the gut and along with foods rich in vitamins A and C, can help stimulate the innate immune function. Nature gives us several plants and herbs that work as the right food for the gut microbiota, especially the starch of Gulvel (Tinospora cordifolia). Other herbs have potent phyto-nutrients that help as catalysts in this process of immunity building. In addition, Ayurveda identifies the power of adaptogenic herbs, like Ashwagandha and Tulsi, with extraordinary immune boosting and balancing powers. An AYUSH physician can be your best guide in your search for ideal prophylactic and immune building efforts. These can be synergistic to exercising regularly, sleeping adequately, and alleviating stress through Yoga and Pranayam.
A recent online survey conducted by our company, Millennium Herbal Care, took responses from over 500 individuals between ages 35 and 55 across the country, revealing that 35% were not taking any proactive actions to boost their immunity either in form of homemade recipes or pre-formulated AYUSH medicines. This is worrying. We need to treat the COVID-19 outbreak seriously and as dutifully as we have adhered to the lockdown requests by taking ample and timely action to enhance our immunity through all possible means. We as Indians are blessed to have such powerful sciences in our heritage and hence must take opportunistic advantage of these. Stay safe and don’t forget to practice the new lifestyle of hygiene and protection.
About Millennium Herbal Care:
Millennium Herbal Care offers a range of 70+, all-natural Phyto-therapy formulations, developed over 60 years of dedicated research, development, and expertise. Each formulation blends ancient Ayurvedic wisdom and modern science and is highly effective. No wonder then, that Millennium Herbal Care products have found wide acceptance all over the world.
Authored by: Mr. Chintan Gandhi (Director & CEO, Millennium Herbal Care)