Maharishi Ayurveda and the Immune System
Everyone talks about the immune system. Health-related advertising is especially focused on the immune system in autumn. But what is it anyway, the immune system?
The immune system comprises the parts of our body that maintain our integrity by fighting off anything that could harm us. It protects us from toxic substances from the environment and from harmful substances caused by our own body's malfunctions. One of its most important tasks is to protect us from pathogens by rendering them harmless and eliminating them from the body.
The immune system is our innate protective shield, active from birth. In the first months of life, we still benefit from protective immune substances from the mother's body. In the course of life, the immune system constantly adapts to new tasks. This "acquired immune system" is constantly on guard to ensure that the body's tissues and organs are healthy and efficient. Modern medicine distinguishes between "cellular immunity", which is the defence by immune cells, and "humoral immunity", which is the elimination of harmful influences by messenger substances. Both parts of the immune system benefit from our "immune memory". This means that certain immune cells know about harmful influences from the past and can immediately provide suitable defence substances.
When coming into contact with new germs (such as Corona), the immune system must first find ways to stand up to the unknown enemy. During the pandemic, we were told that vaccination was the only way to train the immune system. However, it has been shown that other measures to strengthen the immune system are also effective.
Strengthening the immune system
A weak immune system is easily taken by surprise by new challenges. This means that germs can cause a lot of damage in the body.
A strong immune system reacts quickly to an attack of viruses or bacteria. One sign that the immune system is working efficiently is the ability to quickly develop a high fever in the event of an infection. Fever is one of our body's most important defence mechanisms. Bacteria and viruses are sensitive to temperature and die at a temperature above 40 degrees. At 38.5 - 39.5 degrees, they are already weakened and the immune cells can more easily render them harmless. That is why it is important not to suppress fever with antipyretics, at least during the first three days. Instead of medicinal fever reduction, we recommend local compresses and/or a bowel enema.
Immune system from an Ayurvedic point of view
The Ayurvedic texts describe that a healthy digestive system can prepare a substance from the daily food that keeps the body in balance, wards off infections and makes the mind happy. This substance is called "ojas". Ojas permeates the whole body and nourishes all the cells of the body. Those who produce a lot of ojas from their food live long and remain physically healthy and mentally clear until the end of their lives.
What do we need to produce enough ojas?
The prerequisite for this is a strong digestive fire Agni. Sufficient rest, moderate physical activity, breathing exercises, overnight fasting, nutritious food without overtaxing the digestive power, digestive spices and regular cleansing regimens are important ingredients for strong Agni.
If we chew good quality food that we eat at regular meal times, then we support Agni in materialising Ojas. If we follow the Ayurvedic dietary rules, we feel lightness and well-being after each meal as a sign that ojas is being produced by the digestive system.
Our body is constantly changing. Parts of cells and tissues that are worn out are constantly being broken down and replaced. In the process, fragments and substances accumulate that have to be eliminated by Agni. To be able to do this, the body needs longer and shorter intervals without food supply. All the digestive power can then be used for the repair and regeneration of the body.
Disease germs, which are called "krimi" in Ayurveda, lead to increased waste products in the body. If there is sufficient ojas, the body recognises these "enemies" and can eliminate them through digestive processes.
The value of cleansing cures and dietary supplements
Ayurvedic cleansing cures, such as our Winterfit webinar or Pancha Karma, eliminate the waste between cells, allowing ojas to spread to all parts of the body. This restores a high level of defence and immunity. Especially in times of high susceptibility to infections (beginning of winter and beginning of spring) it is important to be well prepared. This is why the Ayurvedic classics recommend carrying out a cleansing treatment before the onset of winter and spring.
After each purification cure, the body should be nourished and strengthened through Rasayanas. The tried and tested classical Rasayanas, Maharishi Amrit Kalash, Ayur Immune and Ayur Defence are just as helpful as the modern supplements vitamin D, zinc and selenium.
Quality of Ojas
The quality of ojas determines a person's health and longevity. It is also a reflection of lifestyle and health consciousness. Mindful behaviour at times of infection, giving us some distance from direct contact with pathogens, should be part of this health consciousness.
Modern medicine and Ayurveda agree that the immune system is essentially based on the intestines and digestive system. Seasonal diet, regular purification, daily effortless exercise and a moderate lifestyle are important contributions to a strong immune system. These factors strengthen the digestive fire Agni, which with this support can produce abundant Ojas - the body's fluid for immunity and happiness.