What are Immunomodulators?
Immunomodulators are the substances or things that can help support the immune function in a beneficial way to response to a threat, both innate and adaptive aspect of the immune system. Immunomodulatory molecules help the body to defend against pathogen by adjusting or modifying the immune system. Also helps the immune system to respond more effectively when a pathogen enters, either by increasing or decreasing the production of serum antibodies.
Several Ayurvedic herbs mentioned in the Rasayana context exhibit not only immunomodulatory activity but also a wide range of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, antihistamic and other medicinal activities.
Rasayana Karma in Ayurveda
Rasayana is a unique branch of Ayurveda which especially deals with the promotion of health and curative purposes by nourishing the body tissues in the best manner through diet, lifestyle and medicines. The word Rasayana, a combination of 2 words, Rasa and Ayana refers to nutrition and its transportation throughout the body. Rasayana word stands for fulfilling the first objective of Ayurveda, that is Swasthasya swasthya rakshanam, which means maintaining the health of the healthy person.
In the classics, Acharya Charaka mentioned the epidemic in the name ‘Janapadhodhwamsa’, and recommended its management through improving the immunity through proper use of Panchakarma therapy, Rasayana herbs and proper lifestyle modifications.
Immunity as per Ayurveda
In Ayurveda the immunity is described by the term Vyadhikshamatva. Originate from two words – Vyadhi means ‘disease or illness’, and Kshamatva means the ‘caliber or ability to be patience or to resist’. Vyadhikshamatva means ‘the ability to resist the pathogens and oppose the strength of the illness’. Vyadikshamatva has 2 divisions: 1. Vyadhi-balavirodhitvam: Means it prevents the manifestation of disease. 2. Vyadhi-utpadaka pratibandhakatva: The ability to hamper the causes and factors of the disease (to read further about immunity as per Ayurveda click here). This can be correlated with the immunomodulatory action which modify the response of immune system either by increasing or decreasing the production of serum antibodies.
Immunomodulatory herbs in Ayurveda:
Several medicinal plants have been described as Rasayana with immunomodulatory effect and can be advised as a preventative measure for COVID 19 condition.
Ashwagandha, Guduchi, Amalaki, Yastimadhu, Haridra, Tulasi, Garlic, Pippali, Maricha, Shunti are some of the common rasayana herbs to strengthen the immunity with their immunomodulatory action.