With pollution playing havoc with the environment, it has become imperative to take measures to boost up the immunity and clean up the respiratory system to ward off the effects of toxic air that inevitably affects lungs and other vital organs of the body.
Ayurveda emphasises on panchkarma kriyas which primarily consist of cleansing and rejuvenating the body. The aim is to regularly flush out toxins and replenish the organs with nutrients to minimise the external effects of food, air pollutants and even your emotions which clog the body systems.
Air pollution is uncontrollable; you cannot confine air particles from entering the body unless you’re living in a controlled laboratory environment. The only way to deal with it is to regularly detoxifying the lungs and respiratory tract to keep it clean and fortify the system with herbs and essential oils to make it stronger to ward off the diseases or infection right at the onset. Once the infection sets it, the body will take its natural course to heal and recover. Medicines like antibiotics are of little help. As the name suggests, anti-biotics means anti-life. They kill the healthy cells of the body also with the infectious pathogens, as a result the immune system of the body gets weakened and the body takes a long time to heal, while it may appear to have recovered on the surface.
Detoxifying the respiratory system through Ayurveda includes techniques like jal neti, steam inhalation, application of herbal oils topically as well as internally to the nasal passage, smoking herbal fumes, and aromatherapy with essential oils. It also includes intake of rasayanas like chyawannprash, the most effective tonic for respiratory organs, apart from being a general anti-ageing tonic.
Jal neti is an excellent way to wash away infectious pathogens from the nasal passage, the entry point of pathogens through air borne pollution. The mucous membranes in the nasal tract are sticky, and infectious particles easily get stuck here, and from here they find a way into the blood stream and enter the rest of the body. Saline water is an excellent and safest medium to gently wipe away the sticky infectious mucous from internal organs. Make sure the salt that you use is not processed. Natural salts like sea salt, Himalayan pink salt or rock salt are recommended for this purpose. Jal neti is done by adding salt to warm water and using a neti pot, water is poured from one nostril and made to flow out from the other nostril to wash away the infected mucous.
Steam inhalation with essential oils like eucalyptus globulus or eucalyptus radiata (safe for children), peppermint and camphor lend protection and immunity owing to their anti-viral and anti bacterial properties.
Essential oils also travel to certain areas of the brain through inhalation and circulatory tract through topical applications and are extremely potent and effective in fighting infectious pathogens. They need to be inhaled or applied frequently for the treatment to work effectively, usually every three hours until the symptoms subside. They can be used in forms of vapor rubs, diluted in carrier oils or diffusers.
Herbal compresses with heating herbs and oils keep the aggravated Vata and Kapha in control and help in suppressing the formation and aggravation of phlegm.
General restriction of diet also plays an important role in controlling the infection at an early stage, warming foods like soups and herbal teas effectively control the spread of bacteria and viruses causing respiratory diseases. Soups with warming herbs like ginger, black pepper and cayenne pepper are recommended for detoxifying the lungs.
Chyawanprash is a tonic par excellence for rejuvenating the respiratory system, with a perfect balance of 48 herbs and spices it works like an antidote for airborne pollutants.
All natural treatments are most effective when they are started at the onset of the disease, when the toxins have not already weakened the immune system, because it is the body which heals itself and not the medicine. Most modern medicines only suppress the symptoms so that you don’t feel it for a certain period of time. Herbs and natural treatments increase the body’s capacity to fight through the immune system, which ultimately succeeds in killing the harmful pathogens which enter the body and infect it, this results as the disease. The only way to restore health is enabling the body to resist or fight back the attacker.