A good way to prevent yourself from catching the Coronavirus (or just getting a mild case) is by keeping your immune system strong. According to Ayurvedic wisdom (the ancient healing science out of India that pre-dates Chinese medicine), there are some especially helpful ways you can boost your immunity and keep your risk of infection at bay.
Eat Healthy, Be Healthy
Eating mostly whole foods that are sourced-locally and in season (shop at your farmers market!) is the best way to support your body. Things to avoid that stress out your system and make you more vulnerable to getting sick are: alcohol, lots of coffee, lots of processed, non-organic food, dairy in the Spring, and factory-farmed meat. Foods like cheese (in small amounts in the Spring), yogurt, and sauerkraut support the gut microbial immunity and help keep you healthy. Black pepper, cumin and coriander seeds, garlic, ginger, broccoli, sprouts, lemons, and oranges also help boost your immune system. Daily doses of elderberry syrup and vitamin D-3 are also especially beneficially during cold and flu season.
Self-massage, also called abhyagna in Ayurveda, calms down the nervous system, reduces stress, and supports your immunity. You can use sesame oil to do the massage if you don’t know your dosha/constitution. To learn more about the benefits of self-massage and how to do it, I love this resource at Banyan Botanicals.
Do Some Inversions (yoga)
Inverted yoga poses increase the circulation of the lymph and drains germs from your body. When your head is below your heart – Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) or Sarvangasana (Shoulder stand), the lymph moves into the respiratory organs, where germs often enter the body. When you come back to an upright position, gravity drains the lymph and sends it through your lymph nodes for cleansing.
Avoid Cold, Sweet and Fried
Drinking or eating cold foods reduces your digestive fire (called agni in Ayurveda) making it harder for your body to fully digest your food and sometimes resulting in toxic buildup. Drinking ice water with your meals is especially disruptive to your digestive system. Heavy and fried foods are difficult for your body to process, so avoid them during cold and flu season, when you’re feeling stressed, or when you’re a little under the weather. Alternatively, bone broths and soups are easy-to-digest powerhouses and help your body return to balance. Avoid processed sugars in favor of sweet-tooth alternatives like sweet root vegetables and raisins in your oatmeal.
Take Warm Baths
Take warm baths in the evening with Epsom salts and warming essential oils like ginger, cardamom, eucalyptus, rosemary, cinnamon, cedar, pine, basil and juniper.
Maintain Good Sleep Hygiene
Undersleeping or oversleeping is especially harmful to your body/mind. Sleeping between 7 and 9 hours, and getting enough REM sleep, allows your body to produce essential immuno-proteins called cytokines, which act as infection-fighting antibodies necessary to keep the body healthy.
Meditation to the Rescue
Meditation doesn’t just help calm the mind and center your chakras, it also reduces several risk factors associated with a compromised immune system. From reduced blood pressure, activating your “rest and digest” response in your nervous system, and strengthening immunity, regular practice of mindful meditation can help the mind send the body messages that it is safe and can heal anything that is out of balance. It also helps fight oxidative stress, which again, dampens your immune system.
Add Basil to Your Diet
Holy basil or tulsi is a traditional Indian herb which has amazing medicinal and therapeutic benefits. I love to drink it as a tea. Basil contains strong expectorant and antitussive properties, which work from the root to get rid of phlegm, irritants and suppress the cough, thereby treating chronic respiratory problems. Tulsi water also contains several anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties which can take care of cold and related infections.
About The Author
Cheryl Schirillo is a Certified Wellness Mentor in the Feminine-Form Lineage of Ayurveda through the Shakti School. This Lineage was originally an ancient oral tradition passed on through the Grandmothers of India. Cheryl’s Master Teacher, Katie Silcox, infuses Tantric Yoga, Herbalism, Body Work, and East Indian Shamanism into the Shakti School’s teachings. Cheryl is also trained in Mindfulness and Shamanic Sound Healing and she takes groups on retreat every Spring to swim with wild dolphins.