Prevention Always Better

Words: Drs Ranjita NAHARIA & Anand Prakash VERMA 

Sankramaka roga and aupsargika rogas are certain terminologies of Ayurveda associated with communicable diseases. According to the tenets of Ayurveda, the pandemic could be described as janapadodhwansa, depending upon jala, kala and desha. Jwara and shosha are major features of sankramaka roga, as observed in the current pandemic panorama.

Air, water, surface and direct contact, etc., are various means of transmission of sankramaka roga. In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is referred to, in Ayurveda, as agantuja vyadhi, which is, in turn, associated with sannipata jwara, along with the aggravation of kapha dosha. Agantuja vyadhi could spread from one person to the other and when a large population gets affected the diseases propel into janapadodhwamsa.

Ayurveda suggests that agantuja affects the host cells when bala gets diminished. This translates to vulnerability, owing to altered immune response vis-à-vis the COVID-19 virus. Janapadodhwamsa is considered maraca. Modern medicine describes this as fatal in certain cases — in reference to the pandemic. Janapadodhwamsa is due to the invasion of bhuta — in other words, the viral invasion that led to the pandemic outbreak. The symptoms of janapadodhwamsa vikara are common in pandemic conditions — they include cough, common cold, body ache, fever and respiratory manifestation.

Modern medicine highlights various pathological stages of infectious diseases — this includes accumulation, aggravation, dissemination, localisation, manifestation and chronicity. Ayurveda, likewise, mentions that in sankramaka roga, the bhuta affected doshas, dhatus, agni and srotas are most likely heightened. This culminates in pathological manifestations, viz., jwara and shosha, among others. Ayurveda also describes specific measures to prevent and treat infectious disease. They are as follows: nidaana parivarjana, use of microbial medicine, enhancement of immunity, and shodhana of aggravated doshas. 

Ayurveda Management Of Infectious Diseases

Ayurveda describes specific drugs that possess katu, tikta, kashaaya, kshraia and ushna properties and are, therefore, useful to treat microbial diseases. Ayurveda formulations, such as rasanjanadi churna, laghu gangadhar churna, jambvadi patra swaras, satavari kalk and sudhasara rasa, etc., may be used for microbial infections. They help to pacify kapha dosha and, thus, relieve kasa and jwara, which are major symptoms of infectious diseases. Agastya rasayanam improves respiratory strength and boosts immunity. Haridrakhanda cures allergy and rasa sindoor enhances immunity and controls chronic respiratory distress.

Similarly, plants or herbs, and their parts, are utilised for the management of infectious diseases. Neem, guggulu, amla, guduchi, punarnava, haridra, tulasi and vasa, etc., are considered useful for the management of sankramaka roga. Their medicinal properties offer the following health benefits in sankramaka roga:

  • They nourish the body and improve immune response
  • They stimulate the process of phagocytosis and migration of antibodies
  • Their antiseptic and analgesic action relieves symptoms of pain
  • The anti-inflammatory properties of haridra cures fever and inflammatory response associated with infectious diseases
  • They remove microbial toxins and suppress the growth of microorganisms due to their anti-microbial action
  • They restore bala and synchronise appropriate physiological functioning of the body during the recovery phase.

Role Of Ahara

Improper eating habits lead to indigestion, malnutrition, reduced metabolism, lack of immunity and diminished disease resistance power. Good eating habits, on the other hand, help to combat infectious diseases. It is recommended that one eats nutritious and cooked food; it is also advised that the use turmeric, cumin, garlic, curry leaves and coriander, etc., in food, while cooking enhances the medicinal value of ahara.

Ahara To Pacify Vitiated Vata In Infectious Disease

Apricot, coconut, red cabbage, white cabbage, bananas, grapes, brown rice, cherries, oranges, asparagus, dates, cauliflower, mustard greens, okra, onion, cucumber, spinach, peas, etc.

Ahara To Pacify Vitiated Pitta In Infectious Disease

Oranges, pears, plums, mangoes, sprouts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, artichoke, bitter gourd, green salad, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cucumber, fennel, green beans, cauliflower, onions, potatoes, etc. 

Ahara To Pacify Vitiated Kapha In Infectious Disease 

Apricots, pomegranates, peaches, apples, sprouts, green gram, parched rice, wheat, barley, etc.

Role Of Vihara  

Sankramaka roga primarily transmits from one to another through various means of transmission. This includes prasanagat, gatra samsparshat, nihswasat, sahasayya and sahabhojnata, etc. It is, therefore, advised that one maintains distance from a diseased person, uses mask as suggested, because the disease spreads through coughing and sneezing. Maintenance of personal hygiene is also recommended along with medical advice.

Mild to moderate physical activity, including yoga and meditation, are helpful to cure physical as well as well as mental issues. Steam inhalation is useful in case of respiratory distress as observed in the current pandemic scenario, although it ought to be used with discretion. Salt water gargling and rest help to relieve symptoms of respiratory problems occurring due to the infectious organism.

The Ayurveda concept of dinacharya, ratricharya, ritucharya and sadvritta also help us to keep diseases at bay and prevent frequent manifestation of infectious diseases. The use of naimittika rasayana is suggested for preventing and treating the consequences of sankramaka roga. Ritual activities, such as japa, homa and ijya, offer mental strength and prevent psychological consequences of such diseases. One should not share clothes, bed and other materials with infected persons. Bathing is advised as a mode of physical and personal hygiene whenever one comes from the outside — as was and is being followed during the current pandemic.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic situation, according to Ayurveda, may be considered as janapadodhwamsa, associated with sannipata agantuja jwara, in which vata-kapha predominance was observed. Jwara, kasa and svasa are symptoms due to the involvement of pranavaha sroto. The Ayurveda approach helps to improve immunity, boost disease resistance power, maintain nourishment of the body and reduce microbial growth. It also underlines the credo that ancient methods could play a vital role in preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic spectre.

Some formulations, viz., sitopaladi churna, samshamanivati, mahasudarshana ghanavati and agastya haritaki, etc., may be given in case of sankramaka roga. The use of panchakarma, rasayana chikitsa and sattvik food is advocated to control the spread of the infectious organism.

The concept of sadvritta, dinacharya and ritucharya not only provide optimal health, but they also improve disease resistance power. This bids fair to the fact that Ayurveda approaches could be utilised for managing COVID-19-related health problems.

Dr RANJITA NAHARIA, BAMS, MD [Samhita], PhD, is Assistant Professor, Government Ashtang Ayurveda Medical College, Indore, India. Dr ANAND PRAKASH VERMA, MD [Ayurveda], is Assistant Professor, Department of Samhita, Pandit Shivshaktilal Sharma Ayurvedic Medical College, Ratlam, India. This article was first published [Ayurveda Considerations on Infectious Diseases and their Preventive Measures with Special Reference to Current Pandemic Situation] in Himalayan Journal of Health Sciences, 2021; 6[2]: 29-32, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.

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