When we think of immunity, we may think of a nebulous set of factors that contribute to our resistance against illness and infection. It’s a fact that the immunity, or protective mechanism of our bodies, is affected by many factors, some of which stand out among the rest as being especially influential.
One of these, according to Ayurveda is, not surprisingly, the strength and health of the digestive system. Eighty percent of the immune system lies in the half inch between the intestinal villi and the lymphatic drainage that surrounds the gut. That means that any digestive disturbance or discomfort may be impacting the villi, which in turn may impact the efficiency of the lymphatic drainage system on the other side of that half inch.
Remember that, from an Ayurvedic perspective, the detox and digestive channels are one and the same, meaning that a compromised digestive tract will necessarily lead to inefficiency at ridding the body of toxins and other pollutants, thereby challenging the immune system.
One of the best things you can do for both is detox regularly, using a cleanse that is intelligently designed to not only flush out toxins but to reset that digestive and detox pathway so that the body can resume detoxing for itself the way it naturally does when we are in a state of balance.
Another salient factor in the strength of the immune system is sun exposure. For over 60 million years, the sun has been our trigger for optimal health and immunity. The vitamin D procured from sun exposure provided an attachment mechanism for the T cells of our immune system, without which the T cells simply do not engage.
Nowadays, so many of us lack adequate sun exposure that a high-quality vitamin D supplement becomes a necessity, especially in the wintertime when natural exposure is even more curtailed.
Lastly, one of the greatest boons we can give to our immune system is to manage our stress. Stress is believed to be public enemy #1 for our health, mostly because of its immune compromising impact. When we are under stress, the adrenals are forced to produce an excess of stress-fighting hormones. These hormones are degenerative and take a great toll on the immune system. This is just what the doctor orders if you want to get sick at the national average of 6-8 times a year.
To safeguard immunity, Ayurveda proposes a stress-less lifestyle achieved by living “downstream,” which is basically living in harmony with the cycles of nature. Eating seasonally and having a supportive daily routine are two of the biggest steps in accomplishing this.
Herbs are also used to support and bolster the immunity, often through the path of helping the digestion, moving lymph, and boosting the body’s resilience against stress.
- Have Dr. Douillard design an herbal program for you with a phone consultation.
- Get started healing with the 28-Day Ayurveda Challenge eCourse
- Shop by Health Topics in the LifeSpa Store
Need Supplements? We can help!
Create-Your-Own Winter Immune Boosting Kit: Don’t let your immunity slip during the winter! These power-packed supplements have shown year after year to be the best support possible for keeping both my family and my patients strong and healthy during the winter making a great Winter Immune Boosting Kit.
Chyawanprash is a classic Ayurvedic superfood with a supporting cast of over 40 organic herbs for anyone who needs support to avoid vata imbalances during seasonal changes and stressful life transitions. The base and key ingredient of this formula is Amalaki, or Indian Gooseberry, a powerful antioxidant fruit that is considered a superfood in India for its potent free radical-scavenging properties. Chyawanprash helps support the body’s natural ability to remove toxins or “ama” and boost “ojas” which, in Ayurveda, supports optimal vigor and vitality.
Liquid Sun Vitamin D3 is cholecalciferol derived from lanolin and provided in a liquid base of sunflower oil and purified water. In this liquid formula, vitamin D and sunflower oil are combined using a special micro-emulsification process designed to create a natural micellized matrix which, when coated by the stomach bile, will encourage absorption.*
Turmeric Plus is a proprietary blend of whole turmeric root and black pepper for enhanced bioavailability and absorption. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has become popular as a supplement, both as a whole herb and in its extracted form as curcumin. It is perhaps best known for supporting healthy liver function and for managing inflammation due to changes in diet and exercise appropriately. It also supports balanced mood, optimal cognitive function, healthy lymphatic drainage, normal gallbladder function and respiratory health, as well as overall vitality and well-being.*
Ashwagandha is a warm, heavy and sweet root that is harvested in the fall to be eaten throughout the winter. Traditionally, it was added to soups and stews to support immunity, stamina, and vitality during the harsh winter months. It is also a specific rasayana, or rejuvenative, for the mamsa dhatu or muscle tissues. As such, it is useful for promoting the optimal strength and vitality of the heart, uterus, and the respiratory system.*