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Healing viral infections with Ayurveda

by Dr. MaryJo Cravatta

Winter season can bring much joy with the holidays. Sharing time with family and friends, spending time shopping, and so many other delightful activities warm our hearts. However, we will also be more likely to come into contact with others that may be infected with the variety of  respiratory viruses that have been recently circulating. How can we best protect ourselves from becoming seriously ill?

Ayurveda and the Immune System

Our immune system will stay healthier if we have a balanced lifestyle, follow the Ayurvedic times of day, eat foods that are easy to digest (avoiding wheat and dairy), cleanse on a regular basis, and spend some quiet time each day either in yoga and / or meditation.

Most of these viruses will either enter through our nostrils or through our mouths. Since it is cold outside, many of us are heating our homes which can dry out our nostrils and sinuses. This dryness can affect the integrity of the tissues which makes them more susceptible to becoming infected. I have found that using a humidifier in the bedroom along with applying nasya oil regularly to our sinuses can be effective as a preventative.

Nasya Oil for Respiratory Health

Any of our nasya oils can be used for this. My favorite is Allergy Relief Nasya oil as it is deeply moisturizing and also anti-inflammatory. If you happen to be congested, you may want to try our Breathe Clear Nasya oil. To apply the oil, lay down on your back with you head extended so that you nose is pointed towards the ceiling. Exhale and hold the exhale. Using the dropper that comes in the bottle, put only two drops in each nostril.  Take a deep breath in several times to allow the oil to go up into your sinuses. Lay there for a moment before getting up. Wipe the dropper off if it had touched your nostrils so that you will keep your oil clean. If any oil went onto your throat you can drink some warm water.

Natural Therapies for the Sinuses

What can we do if we feel that we are coming down with something? Gargling with warm salt water and using a Neti pot to wash the sinuses are perfect to decrease the amount of virus that may be in our sinuses or throats. If you use a Neti Pot, be sure that ALL of the water is removed from your sinuses before you would apply any nasya oil. Have you ever used colloidal silver to address a sinus infection? Placing a few drops in each nostril will also assist in decreasing the infection. Use 50 ppm dose of colloidal silver that comes in a nasal applicator. Lie down on your back as you would as if you were using a nasya oil.

Digestion Affects our ability to fight infections

Be sure to eat lightly if you are not well so that your entire body can have more energy to fight the infection instead of trying to digest food. Have you ever heard that saying? If you feed a cold you will have to starve a fever. Many people are not hungry when they are sick – this decrease in appetite is your body’s way to improve your ability to fight the virus. Be sure to drink lots of warm water.

Anti-Viral Herbal Therapy

What herbs are good when you are sick? Drinking ginger tea several times per day is soothing and helps you to decrease Ama and toxins in the body. Having a ginger, turmeric, lemon, honey warm drink is helpful in many ways. If you are congested, you may benefit from our Congest Away tea or capsules. Our formula Neem Plus uses anti-viral herbs to assist your immune system in fighting infections. It is not only anti-viral but also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-parasitic. Have you used zinc lozenges when you have some type of viral infection that has affected your throat? The zinc is anti-viral and assists in fighting the throat infection along with assisting your entire body. Zand makes a great Lemon Zinc lozenge that also contains a wonderful combination of supportive herbs.

How Emotions Affect Our Immune System

Probably most important is to get plenty of rest and to surround yourself with positive thoughts. Any negative emotions such as irritability, impatience, anger, worry or fear can adversely affect the immune response. Our bodies respond immediately to an uplifting and optimistic attitude. Filling your entire body with a sense of peace and joy allows every cell to radiate an inner state of health and well-being.