What is Immunity?

Immunity refers to the body’s ability to prevent or defence against the invasion of pathogens or in simple terms disease causing organism. We come in contact with such Pathogens everyday. Pathogens are foreign disease-causing substances, such as bacteria and viruses. Antigens are attached to the surface of pathogens and stimulate an immune response i.e., antibody response in the body. This response is the body’s defence system to fight against antigens and protect the body.

The main action of the immune system are

  • • To fight disease causing pathogens and remove them from the body..
  • • To neutralize harmful substances from the environment, and
  • • To fight disease-causing pathogens that alter the immune system such as cancer, auto immune condition.
  • • The term immunity has gained much of the importance in the last 3 years due to the outbreak of pandemic COVID 19.
  • • People are now alert and prioritize their health through use of various food products and physical activities.

Types of Immunity

There are two subsystems of immune system, known as the innate (non-specific) immune system and the adaptive (specific) immune system.

1. The innate immune system is present in the person since birth. This immunity helps us by natural resistance i.e., skin barrier, salivary enzymes, natural killer cells etc, which produce first defence response against the infections at birth before the exposure to pathogens.

2. The adaptive or acquired (specific) Immune system. The immunity is built over time when our body develops to fight against the pathogens after it is exposed to our body, the adaptive immune system is constantly learning and adapting, the body can also fight bacteria or viruses that change over time.

Immunity according to Ayurveda

What Ayurveda describes? The Bala or the strength of the person is an essential component for resisting and protecting the body from any imbalance. So where does the strength comes from? The body tissues when properly nourished and are in homeostasis or in balance.

The other body strength type is ojas, which is also called as the resistance power of the body that is produced by the healthy tissues. It is the physical entity representing the body’s immune strength. Ojas is of two types. It is almost simmilar to the types described in the modern texts. That which is in born and the other is aquired later.


In Ayurveda importance is equally given to the external factors which causes disease in our body. In aurvedic texts named Charak Samhita – concept known as Janapadudwansa i.e., epidemic caused in a community due to common external factor such as air, water and land are mentioned. Same factors can be considered in the modern world, air, water and soil pollution has great impact on our immunity. Other than this irrelevant use of antibiotics and noise pollution has impact on mental and gut immunity.

The seat of Oja is the heart and hence, emotional balance and nourishment plays an integral part in normal functioning of our immune system. There are various entity with which heart is associated. The prana; the source of etra and intracellular oxygenation or activation l, Mana; psychological balance and rasa (nourishment).

Ayurveda explains the concept of a fit individual as blanaced agni, dosha, dhatu and malakria( elimination of waste at proper time with ease), prassna atma, indriya and mana (joyous and stable soul, perception and mind). So the interlinking of the mind with the body is justified. Meaning the immunity is built when the balance is well established when the mind is at balanced state. The influence of mind and emotion on our immunity is a very new system that is being studied in the past four or five decades, known as Psychoneuroimmunology. The mind and emotional thoughts hamper or process the functioning of our gut health, metabolism and eventually the immunity.

Because it seldom displays symptoms before causing damage to the heart, kidneys, or brain, hypertension is known as the silent killer. High blood pressure symptoms are characterized by;

  • 1. Environment – as we saw that environmental factors have high impact on the immunity as we live in the compromised surrounding. Air, water, and soil, the quality of such entities are degraded and so is the immunity.
  • 2. Improper diet habits – eating highly processed foods, packaged foods, preservatives and chemical/pesticide loaded foods disrupts the normal functioning of the gut. The gut which is the prime seat for absorption of nutrients hampers the process and leads to poor immunity.
  • 3. Irregular sleep – Night jobs, change in sleep patterns and timings.
  • 4. High stress – increases the cortisol level in blood reducing the focus on immune system nourishment.
  • 5. Excessive alcohol intake – excessive alcohol consumption disrupts the normal absorption of food, and destroys gut lining. It also impairs the response of the immune system against pathogens.
  • 6. Obesity – it is an indicator of sedentary lifestyle with poor lifestyle choices such as lack of exercise and depriving self from healthy food items. This factor is responsible for metabolic abnormalities inside the body and keeping immunity off the track.
  • 7. Chronic medications – Long term use of antibiotics and certain other medications are also proven to be detrimental for immunity.
  • 8. Excess grief and anger – holding grudges anger and grief are the emotional entities which produces inflammatory response inside the body. This inflammation sometimes is responsible for early ageing and attacking once own immunity, jargoned as autoimmunity.
  • 1) Recurrent infection, throat infection, runny nose, fever.
  • 2) Frequent Diarrhea or constipation
  • 3) Dry eyes
  • 4) Fatigue, lethargy
  • 5) Dry mouth
  • 6) Cold hands
  • 7) Headache
  • 8) Body ache
  • 9) Patchy hair loss
  • 10) Worm infestation
  • 11) Rash
  • 12) Joint ache
  • 13) Tingling or numbness in feet or hands
  • 14) Sensitive to sun rays
  • 15) Unexplained weight change
  • 16) Patches over skin

Regimen and herb incorporation for immunity strengthening as per Ayurveda.

  • • Keeping proper hydration, this doesn’t mean you should gulp 5 lit of water everyday. Mindful about the thirst, getting to know about the thirst is also the factor to be checked. Properly boiled and cooled water (not fridge cold) should be used for consumption. Also we should feel the thirst and drink in moderation how much ever the body demands. The intake of water is person specific, it should be taken according to the body need. For a short stature person with less physical activity will not require 5 lit of water each day, it can be true for the opposite.
  • • Diet: ayurveda recommends all the shadrasa in the diet (with all six tastes and qualities balanced), based on one’s dosha. This helps in proper absorption of food and helps enhance the taste as well. Avoid excess consumption of salty, oily, spicy and processed foods.
  • • Regular exercise enhances the sleep quality and reduces stress levels. It is recommended to at least take a brisk walk regularly. This helps build body strength. Other options include cycling, yoga, swimming, playing outdoor games like badminton, tennis, football etc. jogging. For 30 to 60 minutes regularly or at least 5 days a week.
  • • Immunity and Agni balancing herbs to be added in daily diet such as – ginger, asafoetida, cumin, coriander, black pepper, mulethi etc. these spices and herbs are rich in anti-oxidants, carminative, kindles digestion.
  • • Restore the sleep schedule: good sleep is the crucial process to enhance the brain activity, detoxification, repairing damaged cells, regulating hormones and proteins, restoring energy, etc. which is also essential to build immunity. At least 6-8 hours of sleep is crucial to boost your natural immunity
  • • Annual ayurvedic detox helps to eliminate toxins and aids in good immunity, it also protects us from the unwanted harmful effects induced to us by the environment.
  • • Immuno-modulator- rasyana drugs are the best ayurvedic herbs which is authentic and when consumed in moderation and under proper guidance helps built a strong and good quality of dosha, dhatu and mana (mind)
  • • Ayurvedic treatments like shirodhra, abhyanga, pinda sweda etc.
  • • Maintenance of good personal hygiene is also an important as with food and medication.
  • • Other recommended herbs for daily use Using Tulsi (fruit of long pepper) and ginger tea to strengthen and cleanse the upper respiratory tract for three days a week.
  • Use turmeric and black pepper in the meals daily, to boost immunity and reduce ama (toxins). Turmeric can also be used in the milk. Chyavanpras, Brahma rasyana, Narsimha Rasayan is recommended to be taken after consultation from ayurvedic physician only and from uthentic source

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Yoga and pranayam to boost immunity

Regular practice of yoga helps to build the muscle strength, body strength, increases energy levels and brings down the anxiety like symptoms. It thereby reduces the stress factor and helps build immunity, few of the asana which can be practiced daily are enlisted below,

  • 1. Shalabhasan
  • 2. Anjanyeasana
  • 3. Chaturang -dandasana
  • 4. Tadasana
  • 5. Setubandhasan
  • 6. Halasana
  • 7. Bhujangasana
  • 8. Dhanurasana
  • 9. Matsyasana

Apart from this anulom vilom ( alternate nostril breating), kumbhak pranayam, dirgha shwasan( deep breating techniques) and meditation will help boost the immunity.


It is essential to maintain the immunity intact in our body, as according to ayuveda it is highly dependent upon Agni( digestive capacity), mala(proper timely elimination of toxins from our body), mana( mind), ojas, proper and balance dosha and dhatu. If any of the factors mentioned above get disturbed it will start affecting the immunity and is the likely cause of development of diseases. It is very easy for us to stop causing our health the harm by adopting simple daily lifestyle regimen and keep yourself healthy.