Covid-19, as we all know, had hit the whole world real hard, had put many lives in danger and took many loved ones away from their families. It doesn’t end here only, covid-19 outbreak has put a question mark on the medical care system of many countries which even include countries with the world’s most strong and advanced medical infrastructures. But where modern science has bent its knees, ancient medical science like Ayurveda has strengthened its roots in managing and even treating populations affected by coronavirus. In this article, our main focus will be on the management of Covid-19 through an Ayurvedic approach.
When the covid cases started emerging in the world at a faster rate, people glared towards Ayurveda as a hope of getting something unique which may help them in protecting themselves as well as their loved ones from falling into the black hole of Covid. On the other hand Ayurveda experts came into limelight after providing many herbal formulations and decoctions made using many potent herbs and their extracts during these tough times of Covid explosion. Below mentioned are some herbs and herbal formulations which can be used as an Ayurvedic approach for managing Covid-19 symptoms.
Management of Covid symptoms through Ayurvedic approach
Ayurvedic approach towards Covid includes Administration of decoctions made by using various herbs, vatis (tablets) Avaleha (Which can be licked by tongue) and churna (powder). These all formulations are made using one or more than one herb. Sometimes, even the herbo-mineral preparations are also made. Both types of formulations wheather herbal or herbo-mineral are very effective in managing symptoms in various conditions.
As we all know, covid positive patients usually have very common symptoms which include fever (low or high grade), difficulty in breathing, cough and cold. But the main cause of Covid super spread is believed to be low immunity. Moreover, the recovery rate of patients also depends upon how strong their immune system is. Weaker the immune system, the harder will be the recovery.
Now coming on to some herbs and herbal formulations which are quite effective and give impressive results in managing symptoms of Covid-19.
1. Maricha (Piper nigrum)
Maricha is also known as veelaj (as it is a creeper plant) and vrittaphala (due to the round appearance of its fruits). It has laghu (light to digest) and tikshan (increases digestive agni) guna. Due to its ushna veerya it is very effective in kapha pacification. Kapha is responsible for mucus accumulation in lungs. The mucus accumulation thus decreases the capacity of lungs for inhalation and hence fall of oxygen saturation levels are commonly seen. The whole respiratory system is termed as pranavaha srotas and there is no better substance than maricha to reverse sluggishness of pranavaha srotas and reduce the mucus secretion. Commonly it is called as black pepper.
2. Pippali (Piper longum)
Pippali, in greek is called pepperi which means something that stimulates digestion. Piper longum is termed as a rejuvenator especially for rakta dhatu. Due to rakta dhatu rejuvenation, it also helps in strengthening lungs. Moreover, it acts as an expectorant and prevents the production of mala kapha which is called mucus. This is very useful in diabetes type -2 as it controls excessive sugar levels. Pipplai has a very great effect on the liver and spleen thus increasing the body’s immunity.
3. Shunti (Zingiber officinalis)
Shunti is the Sanskrit name for ardrak (ginger). Ardrak is also called nagar (due to its easy availability) and vishva bheshaj (due to its effect on various kinds of diseases). Shunti behaves as an anti kapha agent due to its tikta and snigdha property and is basically the dry form of Ardrak. Shunthi powder can be used with honey to avoid expectoration.
With the combination of these three i.e maricha, pippali and shunthi a very potent classical formulation is being mentioned named as Marichyadi vatti. This vati has the combined property of all of the three above-mentioned herbs and is very effective in managing symptoms like excess mucus, expectoration and breathlessness. In addition it enhances your immune system and makes your body stronger to fight against infection causing agents.
4. Kushmand (Benincasa hispida)
Kushmand is known as ash gourd or white pumpkin in english and in hindi it is simply called as petha. Kushmand is very beneficial in those cases of Covid-19 which are suffering from general weakness and fatigue. Ash gourd is very effective to reduce fever and simountenosly have a significant effect on cough as well. It provides the body with strength and enhances immunity.
Kushmand churna is a potent classical formulation which is being prepared using dry ash gourd. This formulation gives impressive results in reducing fever and frequency of fever, strengthens the body as it is balya and it can be used as a paste which can be applied, if a patient complains of burning sensation over hands and feet.
5. Agastya (Sesbania grandiflora)
Agsatyam mainly works on two systems i.e female reproductive system and respiratory system. The properties of agastya include laghu (light to digest)and ruksha (Dry effect on body) Guna which means it is very effective in pacifying kapha dosha. Its rasa is tikta (bitter) which makes it more potent as a kapha shamak herb. This is very effective in controlling coughs and colds.
6. Haritaki (Termenalia chebula)
Haritaki has a synonym known as Rohini which means it is found everywhere especially in himalayan regions and has a round shape. It has all five rasa (Sweet, bitter, astringent, pungent and sour) except lavana (salty) which means it acts on three humours of the body effectively. Due to bitter, astringent and pungent taste it is a kapha pacifier, due to sour and sweet taste it is a vata pacifier and by virtue of its sweet, bitter and astringent taste it pacifies pitta successfully. Shortness in breath and cough are very well relieved by haritaki in Covid-19 patients.
Combining Agastya and Haritaki, a very potent and popular classical formulation is being made by Ayurveda Acharyas. It is named as Agastya Haritaki which helps in relieving symptoms like cough, cold, fever and shortness of breath in covid patients.
7. Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia)
Giloy is being termed as vyavasthapan herb which means it increases the life expectancy if consumed on a regular basis. Guduchi is a synonym of giloy which means it protects the body and improves various metabolism working in it. Giloy basically has an anti-inflammatory and anti-secretory effect on the respiratory system which means it reduces mucus production and thus relieves breathlessness.
Tinospora is also having an antipyretic effect hence is very effective in relieving fever and post effects of fever like general weakness, anorexia, headache etc. It is a marvelous herb or can be called as a magical herb of Ayurveda which also helps in increasing, maintaining and boosting immunity of one’s body. Giloy helps in maintaining healthy glucose levels in blood. Giloy ghan vati which is also a classical formulation which is made using all the parts of the giloy plant.
Dietary Alterations to be included
Diet plays a very important role in managing and treating not only metabolic disorders but a pandemic also. A person who is Covid positive must understand the importance of diet and this same implies on other patients also who are suffering from other diseases.
Below mentioned are some diet alterations which can be very helpful, if considered
- Have light yet nutritious food. A light diet is easy to digest, in Ayurveda it is believed that low digestive fire is the reason for each and every disease as well as for exacerbation of its symptoms. So the diet should include easy to digest articles, which provides a brief window for digestive fire to ignite.
- One should include soups in their diet. These can include ash gourd soup which is really useful in igniting the digestive fire, strengthens the body and enhances the immune system. For weakness and fatigue blackgram soup is also very beneficial. Both of the soups can be flavored with black pepper, pink rock salt, coriander leaves and dried fenugreek leaves. Horse gram is also very beneficial in this case.
- Drinking warm water called as ushnaodak, is very helpful as it clears out the throat and has a melting effect on mucus.
- Once a day, a herbal tea made by boiling fresh Basil leaves, black pepper and dried ginger must be consumed. It helps in igniting digestive fire and clears out the respiratory system.
- Include garlic and ginger in your daily meals.
- Golden milk must be included in diet as it helps in strengthening the whole body and is effective in fighting fatigue.
- Meat and chicken products are to be avoided as they are heavy to digest. But having meat soup made of shredded sheep meat provides strength to the body.
- Avoid all kinds of citrus fruits.
- Goat milk can be preferred.
Moreover, pranayam and mild yoga can also be done on a regular basis if the patient’s condition is stable. These help in increasing the capacity of lungs to inhale and avoid shortness of breath rapidly.
Covid-19 is a situation which has bought the whole world on one level. It is keeping each and every country on equal scenarios, no matter whether it’s a supreme power or a developing nation with a large population. This situation has hit almost each and every part of the globe and even after a year the suffering is not over. But at least the combined efforts of many has bought the situation under control. Still many parts are facing mass deaths due to the second wave of covid-19 and at these times of crises Ayurveda can be a boon if put forward.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an Expert Ayurveda Consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.