Ayurveda and yoga may strengthen immunity, study says


Though there is currently no treatment, preventative measure, or cure for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), researchers in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine describe how Ayurveda and yoga may help strengthen host immunity and provide an effective, accessible, and affordable means of prophylaxis of COVID-19 infection.

Researchers include co-authors Girish Tillu, PhD, and Bhushan Patwardhan, PhD, Sarika Chaturvedi, PhD, DrDY, Patil University, and Arvind Chopra, MD. Patwardhan was named by the Indian Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and Naturopathy as chair of the 18-member Interdisciplinary Ayush Research and Development Taskforce for initiating, coordinating, and monitoring efforts against COVID-19.

Ayurveda focuses on the host response and includes herbal preparations as well as measures for a healthy lifestyle to better cope with various stressors, including infection. The concept of stimulating immune function is a cornerstone of Ayurvedic practice.

In the study, the authors discuss local prophylaxis, including use of Ayurvedic practices to help block virus entry to the body and passage to the lungs. This may include consumption of hot water, hot food and herbal drinks, gargling with medicated water, and steam inhalation, according to the study,

 Systemic prophylaxis focuses on overall health and includes factors such as diet, sleep, mental relaxation, lifestyle behaviors, and yoga, the researchers said. The authors describe the science supporting Rasayana therapies, a specialty of Ayurveda that deals with rejuvenation and can stimulate immunity. They also note botanicals that have been found to be effective in immunomodulation and restoration of immune homeostasis.

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