Here where I sit in Amsterdam, the coronavirus progression is heating up. What does Ayurveda have to offer to help you prepare for exposure?
This article is not meant to give advice to treat the coronavirus, but to discuss what we can do to give ourselves the best chance to prepare ourselves for the inevitable exposure from a place of strengthened immunity.
The most important thing to do is to follow the hygiene actions recommended by your public health officials.
That being clearly stated if we study the way the infection gets transmitted it will give us clues how to improve our resistance. While there are still a lot of unknowns about the nuances that will be uncovered when we look back on this pandemic, here is how coronavirus is spread according to the latest information available from the Dutch government’s public health policy page
“By coughing and sneezing, a person transmits the virus through his nose, throat or lungs. The virus gets into the air through small droplets. If other people inhale these droplets or transfer them via their hands in their mouth, nose or eyes, for example, they can become infected with the virus.”
So from my observation, there are a few main objectives we should consider that are easily accomplished with Ayurveda advices:
Strengthen and keep clean the mucus membranes of the nose, sinuses, throat, mouth
Keep the congestion from accumulating in the lungs, etc
Avoid anything that weakens the appetite
Keep your Ojas strong so you can better withstand fever, etc
Specific Hygiene for the Sensory Organs
Nose, Sinuses, and Throat
Nasya (applying herbal oil or ghee into the sinuses via nose drops) is extremely effective at keeping the sinuses cleared out and mucus membranes of the nose, sinuses, and throat. Herbs prepared in oil mildly irritate the mucus membranes, causing them to liquify mucus and flush the system. Nasya will even indirectly strengthen the eyes. Do this daily in the morning on an empty stomach. The usefulness of this technique should not be underestimated! Schedule an appointment to ask for a formulation specifically for your needs.
Mouth and Throat
Gandusha (holding sesame oil in the mouth) is helpful to scrape bacteria from the teeth and activate the saliva, the body’s natural tool for cleansing the oral cavity. Do this with plain (untoasted) sesame oil daily, at night before brushing your teeth.
Ghee drops in the eyes keeps the eyes healthy and clean. Simply pour melted ghee into a sterilized eye dropper bottle. Each night before sleep (and with contacts removed) warm and place 2 drops in each eye.
Of course, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to clear out any excess mucus or ama (undigested food), and make healthy improvements by exercising, not smoking or drinking, eating clean, easily digested food in moderation.
Eat light, warm, liquid foods like soups, steamed vegetables and cooked grains. It’s a great time to try a kitchari recipe. PROTECT YOUR DIGESTIVE FIRE! Eat only when you have a true hunger sensation at your stomach. Skip a single dinner if you are not hungry for it. Follow these Ayurvedic food rules to protect your agni.
Avoid eating difficult-to-digest foods. That causes congestion to accumulate and continuously diverts the body’s efforts to digestion rather than immunity. Even ‘healthy’ foods can be difficult to digest, so watch out for nuts, raw foods like salads, and superfoods. Difficult-to-digest foods also include dairy (milk, cheeses, ice creams) meats from heavy animals (pork, beef), runny eggs, processed foods, wheat-based foods particularly yeasted breads and cakes, etc, and food combinations contraindicated by Ayurveda.