Ayurveda and Swine Flu
Ayurveda is an ancient, holistic system of medicine. It believes that diseases occur when there is an imbalance in mental elements in the body and its Vata, Pitta and Kapha energies or ‘doshas’ that classify a person’s body constitution. Ayurvedic texts have highlighted the importance of correcting the imbalances in the body and strengthening the defense mechanisms so that the body gains resistance to diseases. To achieve the objective of good health and well-being, Ayurveda practitioners recommend the use of herbal formulations, along with changes in diet and lifestyle.
The symptoms of Swine Flu are quite similar to the symptoms of regular flu. Some of these symptoms are fever, headache, joint pain, chills, sore throat, runny nose, coughing, fatigue, nausea, body aches, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Swine Flu: Ayurvedic Perspective
From the Ayurvedic perspective, the Swine Flu infection is categorized under ‘Aupsargik roga’ (Infectious diseases) class of diseases. These diseases are transmitted through direct contact of the sputum, sneezing, etc. of an infected person. The causes of these infections have been discussed in detail in Ayurvedic texts in the ‘Sushrut samhita.’
As per Ayurveda, Swine Flu is an infection which generally spreads during the period of change of season or ‘Ritu Sandhi.’ At this time, both cold and hot conditions prevail during the day. The uncertain weather conditions can bring down the ‘bal’ (immunity) of the body, and aggravate the Vata and Kapha. Hence, in Ayurveda, the clinical presentation of Swine Flu is co-related with Vata-Kaphaj Jwar, and the focus is on the prevention, treatment, and control of the infection.
The treatment of Swine Flu in Western medicine involves the use of Antibiotics and Antivirus medicines and other drugs. However, the treatment of the disease with the help of Ayurveda involves the following five steps:
- Nidana Parivarjana
- Samana chikitsa
- Shodhana chikitsa
- Rasayana prayoga
- Pranayam, yoga or meditation.
Swine Flu: Ayurvedic Remedies
Some simple Ayurvedic remedies which can be very beneficial in preventing and managing Swine Flu are:
- Herbal Tea
The use of herbal tea can be very effective in treating Swine Flu. To prepare the tea, some potent herbs should be powdered in equal proportions and used for preparing tea. These herbs include Tulsi ((Ocimum sanctum), Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia), Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Mulethi (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Kapoor (Camphor), Elaichi (Cardamom or Elettaria cardamomum), garlic, and lemon.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a widely used spice and medicinal herb. It has proven antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties because of the presence of a biologically active or medicinal compound called Curcumin. The use of Curcumin is especially beneficial in managing viral infections. To fight Swine Flu, as well as other types of flu, colds, or coughs, Ayurveda recommends the intake of a cup of warm milk with one teaspoon of turmeric powder for a few days.
- Holy Basil (Tulsi)
The use of Holy Basil or Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is also considered an excellent Ayurvedic remedy for managing the symptoms of Swine Flu. Tulsi is a ‘wonder herb’ which has immense medicinal value and healing properties. As an anti-flu medication, Tulsi has the ability to fight viral diseases and strengthen the body’s immune system. Tulsi can also speed up the recovery process for Swine Flu patients. To fight the infection, five Tulsi leaves should be washed properly and chewed daily in the morning.
Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) is a remarkable herb, with antiseptic and analgesic properties. It has become an important part of Ayurvedic treatment for Swine Flu because it can pacify the three doshas. Patients suffering from the disease should prepare an herbal drink using the juice of a Giloy branch and seven Tulsi leaves boiled in water. This concoction can increase the body’s resistance to diseases by nearly three times.
- Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera or gwarpatha is used in several herbal medicines because it contains several minerals that are essential for good health and can support the functioning of the body’s system. Aloe Vera aids the absorption of minerals and vitamins by the body and enhances immunity. The intake of Aloe Vera in high concentrated dosages can be helpful in managing influenza viruses and other diseases by stimulating the production of white blood cells.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a useful spice which has a number of medicinal benefits. The use of ginger is particularly beneficial in relieving colds, flu, nausea, and gastrointestinal irritation. The anti-inflammatory actions of ginger make it a remarkable remedy for the treatment of numerous inflammatory conditions.
- Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
The Indian gooseberry or Amla (Emblica officinalis) is known for its favourable actions in treating Swine Flu and other infections affecting the respiratory system. Amla is an excellent source of Vitamin C, which has the capability for strengthening the lungs and boosting the immunity of the body.
Lemon is abundant in antioxidants, which can be helpful in cleansing the kidneys. Lemon is also one of the main ingredients for most home remedies for treating different types of flu and colds. The consumption of one cup of lemon tea with a teaspoon of honey can relieve throat pain linked to the occurrence of flu or cold.
Conclusion: Along with the above-mentioned Ayurvedic remedies, it is also important to do Pranayam and light exercises — like walking — daily, to keep the nose, throat, and lungs healthy, and build a defence mechanism against Swine Flu. In addition, the occurrence of Swine Flu can also be prevented by eating healthy, freshly-cooked food, and avoiding cold drinks and beverages. It is also advisable to eat meals at proper times, use a handkerchief when outdoors to avoid droplet infection, avoid going to huge public gatherings or going out in windy weather, and avoid physical/mental stress. However, to get the best results with Ayurvedic treatment of Swine Flu, it is recommended that Ayurvedic remedies should be followed in consultation with an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner.