Human system is a unique creation of God that is resistant to most of the calamities . The beauty of this resistance lies behind the wonderful defence system that our body is composed of. Our defence system consists of an entire force of cells and proteins that are capable of fighting against foreign pathogens on their invasion .This is how our immune system works. It is our defence against an external offence. It not only wards the pathogen off but also keeps it in its memory, recognises and destroys it quickly if the pathogen enters the body again. But with time, as a result of various ailments our immune system gets weak and makes our body prone to various allergic diseases, autoimmune diseases, immunodeficiency’s etc. Hence it becomes very essential to boost and strengthen this system via the choices of foods of various kinds, exercises, medications etc. This article discusses the importance of the immune system in combating various kinds of diseases, and ways to boost it.
The immune system is composed of Antibodies, white blood cells, Complementary system, the spleen, the thymus, the bone marrow etc. White blood cells are the main players of the immune system. They are the major components of lymphatic systems .They go to the invaded site (via diapedesis) and eat the pathogen (phagocytosis). Major WBCs are lymphocytes (T cells, B cells) and natural killer cells. WBCs produce antibodies which target the antigen on the surface of the pathogen and destroy it.
To complement the action of WBCs there exists an entire system of proteins that provides defence to our system. The lymphatic system is made up of lymph nodes (also known lymph glands) – this traps microbes, lymph vessels- these are the tubes that carry lymph (colourless fluid full of lymphocytes that bathes body’s tissues)
There are many body organs that are the immune system for real. Spleen is one of them. It is known for its action over dead and decayed cells, microbes etc. Bone marrow and Thymus too are the site for the production of WBCs. Many bodily secretions such as saliva, tears, acid in stomach, mucus in lungs etc prevents the pathogenic invasions. Skin acts as a big barrier against the external microbes, germs, bacteria, etc.
Sign and Symptoms
- Fever is the major sign indicating that the body has undergone an external invasion. A lot of microbes, cells etc. can be killed via a rise in temperature. Fever indicates repair and conflict (between antigen and antibodies) undergoing in the body.
- Allergic symptoms ( hay fever, dermatitis, asthma, urticaria, eczema, anaphylaxis) are a sign of weakened immune system
- Falling ill recurrently.
- Lack of strength ,stamina, vigor
There are various factors which are responsible for the compromised immunity such as
- Mutations give rise to a lot of autoimmune diseases (Multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis) are the diseases in which the body’s immune response goes against one’s own body.
- As a result of medical treatment such as chemotherapy the immune system gets considerably compromised.
- Viral diseases such as AIDS makes an individual immunocompromised.
- Lack of non nutritious food intake
- Consumption of alcohol, smoking etc.
Immunocompromised patients can still be managed by various ways such as-
Modern management has considered methods such as Immunoglobulin Therapy (Immunization) – In this the immunoglobulins made from an external source kept in vitro is given via Intravenous, or Subcutaneous route.
According to Ayurveda
Ayurveda considers the concept of “Ojha” with immunity (“Rog Pratirodhak Shakti or Vyaadhi Kshamitv). According to Ayurveda Ojha is something that provides being to an organism. It is something that sustains since conception and after the birth holds hridya as its seat. It is something which degeneration ends life. It is the most vital and supremest of all.
The properties of Ojhas are – Guru (heavy), Sheeta (cool), Mridu (soft), Shlakshna (smooth), Bahal(dense), Madhur(sweet), Stheera(immobile), Prashnana(clear), Pitchhila(slimy) and snigdha (oily). Ayurveda believes in the concept of “Samanya vridhi karanam” that is like an increase. Hence the adoption of properties similar to Ojhas can likewise increase it.
Factors promoting immunity are
- Avoid alcohol – Ayurveda has mentioned the properties of madhya (alcohol) entirely opposite to that of Ojha.
- Avoid Stress, Anger, Fear – Ayurveda has considered bhaya( fear), chinta (anger), krodh ( anger) as “Bal har” ( Strength hindering factors).
- Get an adequate Sleep – This pacifies the vitiated Vata and boosts strength.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Include holistic practises such as Yoga, Pranayaam, and exercise into the regimen.
There are certain herbs that have been known for their natural immunity boosting qualities such as
- Amalki ( Emblica officinale)– Amla is composed of tannins, saponins,flavonoids due to which is serves as an effective antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, radio-protective, hepatoprotective, antitussive, etc. Thereby it increases the immunity of the body.
- Bhumi amla (Phyllanthus niruri) – This is composed of Hypophyllanthin, phyllanthin, glycosides, flavonoids which makes it an effective anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-viral in nature.
- Grape seed (Vitis vinifera)-It contains enough of Linoleic acid, tocotrienol,tocopherol which makes it an effective antioxidant.
- Bovine colostrum ( Initial milking from cow)– Colostrum contains bioactive components such as Immunoglobulins IgA, lactoferrin, lysozyme, lactoperoxidase, α-lactalbumin, β-lactoglobulin, or fat that carries important vitamins and polyunsaturated fatty acids that contains immune enhancing properties
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) – This has a lot of immunomodulating properties which makes it very effective against neurodegeneration, inflammation, cancer etc.
- Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) – This has enough of sarsasapogenin, steroidal saponins which makes it an effective antioxylitic, antibacterial and antihepatotoxic.
- Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) – This herb has orientin and vicenin which makes it very effective against virals, inflammations etc.
- Giloy ( Tinospora cordifolia)– This is considered as a “Rasayan” in ayurveda anh hence due to its Giloin, Tinosporan acetate, Tinosporal acetate, Tinosporidine,is a very potent immunomodulator
Our own unhealthy lifestyle becomes a cause of our compromised immunity. This however must not be ignored at any cost. One must follow the “Sadvritta” (etiquettes of living), Dincharya (day regimen) concept of Ayurveda and avoid any such thing that is becoming toxic for one’s survival whether physically or mentally. This can considerably give us a stronger “Rug Pratirodhak Shakti”.