Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Prevention with Ayurved

Author - Anil Chawla

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Allopathy has no cure for viral infections. So it is no surprise that allopathy has no cure for Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Purpose of this article is to offer practical tips based on ayurved to help one avoid getting afflicted by the disease. Before we talk of practical tips, let us look at some hard facts.

Wuhan has a population of about 11 million. It will be reasonable to assume that say about 70,000 persons were affected by the virus in Wuhan. Surely with the large number of affected persons in the city, everyone in the city was exposed to the virus at sometime or the other. But, everyone was not affected. More than 99% of the population of the city were exposed to the virus but did not allow the virus to overpower them.

Of the affected persons, more than 96% of the people managed to survive the virus. The point is simple. Human body has an inherent capability to fight the Coronavirus and in 99.99% of the cases human body is able to bounce back.

The paradigm of western or modern medicine focuses on the attacker and ignores the attacked. It believes that the fault lies only and only with the external and there is no fault with the internal. In contrast, ayurved focuses on the internal. There is never any dearth of attackers. The effect that any attacker is able to cause depends on the internal strengths of the attacked.

According to ayurved, if the body is strong enough and healthy, it will have the ability to fight and withstand the attacker. Key in ayurved is to focus on the strength of one's own body and not be concerned with the attacker.

Before moving further let us understand the paradigm of ayurved which is based on the principle of balance of three faults - vaat, pit and kaph.

Vaat is cold, dry and mobile. Vaat is responsible for all all types of movements in the body - breath, spitting, urine, stool, sweat, semen, foetus, sneeze, yawn, food. Vaat is what moves and keeps together body parts like joints, muscles and bones. Vaat gives strength to appetite. Vaat is aggravated when one is depressed or dejected or sad. As one goes beyond forty years of age diseases caused by aggravation of vaat start troubling one. So, every disease that one associates with aging and old age is a vaat disease.

Pitt is like acid. It is warm. It is responsible for digestion of food. It is critical for wisdom, intellect, ego, sharpness, enthusiasm and achievement of objectives. While vaat is like a gas, pitt is liquid. The age group when pitt is at its prime is 20-40, the age when one's enthusiasm is at its peak. Most problems of pitt aggravation are seen in this age group.

Kaph is like fat - semi-solid, cold and lethargic. Kaph causes moistening and softening. Kaph leads to lubrication of joints, eyes and other body parts. Kaph is responsible for the feeling of being satiated or happy.

Covid-19 is a quintessential vaat aggravation disease. Many patients have reported a chilly feeling at the start of the symptoms. It causes breathing problems. It causes dry sore throat. The coughing is dry. It causes body aches. Running nose and nasal congestion are also well-known to be caused by vaat aggravation. I suspect that the first and foremost symptom is frequent yawning. Covid-19 does not generally affect persons below 20 years of age and affects persons in the age group of 20-40 mildly. Most fatalities are in the age group of >40 when vaat is aggravated.

Since Covid-19 is a vaat aggravation disease, any prevention of the disease must focus on keeping the vaat under control. Let us look at some of the pre-symptoms that indicate increase of vaat in the body:

  • Constipation
  • Depression, Sadness, Negativity, Lack of Enthusiasm
  • Dryness / cracking of lips / hands / feet
  • Yawns / hiccups / burps / flatulence
  • Stiffness of any part of the body
  • Pains and needle-pricking sensation
  • Feeling cold
  • Disturbed menses

Let us also look at some of the key causes for increase of vaat.

  • Foods that aggravate vaat
  • Late nights and sleeping during the day
  • Emotional disturbances / tensions / fear
  • Fasting
  • Excessive physical exercise
  • Excessive sexual activity
  • Exhaustion
  • Exposure to cold
  • Weight reduction therapies

Covid-19 is an extreme case of vaat aggravation. The logical steps for prevention of Covid-19 are (a) remove the cause that is creating vaat aggravation and (b) as soon as any of the pre-symptoms appear take proactive steps to reduce vaat both by removing the cause and by adding vaat reducing foods, medicines and actions.

Let us now look at foods with a critical eye.

The general rule is that sweet, salty and sour will reduce vaat while pungent, bitter and astringent tastes will increase vaat.

Some foods are notorious for aggravating and disturbing all three - vaat, pitt and kaph. Such foods should be avoided. Let us first look at a few of these tri-doshkaark foods:

  • Beef or cow’s meat
  • Rajmah or Kidney Beans
  • Sarson ka saag or Mustard leaves

Let us now look at three tri-doshshamak substances or the ones that help control all three faults (vaat, pitt and kaph):

  • Triphala
  • Mulethi (also called Madhuyeshti) powder
  • Giloy (also called as Guduchi or Amrita)

When one consumes any of the above three, one does not need to take any care since there is no chance of any of the faults getting aggravated. For most other foods when vaat is controlled either pitt or kaph goes up.

Let us first look at substances that control vaat but lead to aggravation of pitt. Typically, such substances should be consumed freely in winter but should either be avoided or consumed in small quantities during summer.

  • Ginger, Garlic, Ajwain (Bishop's weed, or Carom), Mustard, Asafoetida, Pepper, Fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • Meats of chicken, quail and pigs
  • Eggs of chicken, ducks and other domestic birds
  • Urad Daal (also called Vigna mungo or Black gram) / Kulathi
  • Sesame Oil (also known as Til ka tail or Gingelly oil)
  • Gur or jaggery
  • Tamarind, Lemon, Tomato
  • Lukewarm water
  • Curd and buttermilk
  • Alcoholic Beverages in moderation

Let us also look at some substances that control vaat but lead to increase of kaph. Some key such substances that reduce vaat but increase kaph are as follows:

  • Ghee or Butter
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • Sweet Fruits
  • Almonds and walnuts
  • Buffalo meat

Let us now look at some substances that increase vaat and should be avoided (or be consumed in combination with vaat reducing foods) if one is trying to keep vaat in check.

  • Fried snacks
  • Moong, Tuar (arhar), Moth and Masoor pulses
  • Summer Vegetables
  • Coarse grains
  • Amla juice / Aloe vera juice

Covid-19 is an extreme case of vaat aggravation. The obvious way to prevent Covid-19 and also to ensure that the effects of the disease are mild and non-fatal, is to keep vaat in control before one is afflicted with the disease as well as when the first symptoms appear.

Before I close let me give some historical perspective. The whole world is talking of Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. It is widely recognized that the pandemic did not hurt India and China as severely as it did in Europe and America. Clearly, both India and China could keep the fury of the pandemic at bay with help from their traditional systems of medicine. Face masks, sanitizers and quarantine did not work for Europe and America in 1918. There seems to be no reason why these things will work a century later.

Allopathy did not know any cure for Spanish flu but was arrogant enough to advise and prescribe with confidence. Little seems to have changed in more than hundred years that have passed. The ones who do not know are guiding the world with authority and confidence. Let us not be led by the blind and take lessons from history and our ancient traditional knowledge to protect ourselves and our children.

Anil Chawla

17 March 2020

ANIL CHAWLA is an engineer (B.Tech. (Mech. Engg.), IIT Bombay) and a lawyer by qualification but a philosopher by vocation and an advocate, insolvency professional and strategic consultant by profession.
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