Ayurvedic Herbs and Pranayama for Respiratory Health – A Holistic Protection from Corona Virus
The News headlines are constantly highlighting about the coronavirus. I am confessing here that I do not listen to regular news however I am kept pretty up-to-date during social gatherings with my family members and friends.
Recently we went for a family dinner at my aunt’s home and as a Herbalist and Ayurvedic practitioner, I was asked what have I been doing for the protection against coronavirus. When my answer was usual that I do during winter and I am not doing much specifically for this, I think my family looked a bit concerned. The conversation then carried on about “how many countries are now impacted by a coronavirus and what people are doing for prevention.” My husband also seemed concerned as the vaccine to combat this condition will take up to six months to develop.
So here I am writing for my readers, family members, and friends – what I would be personally doing and what top remedies are there to prevent or protect against coronavirus.
First, understand what it is and what are the symptoms of this condition.
“Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as ) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.” – World Health Organization or WHO
According to WHO – common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.
First and foremost, keep your anxiety and stress levels under control as panic and stress will lower your immune system. Wear a face mask, keep your hygiene levels high (wash your hands, keep hand sanitizer with you), cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and do not touch your face with unwashed hands. Avoid traveling if you are concerned or prone to respiratory conditions and avoid close contact with people who have any respiratory conditions. If you experience any of the symptoms – please visit you, doctor to get tested.
Find an Alternative Practitioner if you are concerned and want to do some work in order to protect yourself by following dietary, lifestyle improvements and add a tea or tincture for your personal protection. A customized herbal tea or tincture that is right for your body type will be prepared to keep in mind your health challenges by a good herbalist. Usually, Herbalists can work with any medication you are taking or take into consideration if other health challenges are present because they will take into consideration the contraindications and herb-drug interactions.
Additionally, check out my Kadha Recipe from a previous blog I wrote.
Following are the herbs I would consider for my clients and all of these herbs have been used and researched for centuries for respiratory conditions and immunity.
Tulsi/Tulasi/Holy Basil: Holy basil or Tulsi is ideally used to remove “kaph” or “mucus” from the lungs and upper respiratory tract. Tulsi has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve immunity, treating fevers and flu. Tulsi is used in asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis and respiratory allergies. Tulsi is used in clear dampness and ama that can cause chest infection. These attributes of Tulsi makes it a good protective tool against the Coronavirus. The natural compounds in Tulsi such as camphene, eugenol, and cineole can provide relief from congestion and other symptoms of lung disorders. Tulsi is also known to combat high fevers.
Mulethi/Licorice: Traditionally used in lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, wheezing, phlegm, sore throat, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. Licorice is known to liquify the mucus. According to Stephan Harrod Buhner, author of Herbal Antivirals, Licorice is an antiviral herb. It strongly inhibits the ability of many of the viruses to create the membrane pore through which the viruses then enter cells. I would most likely be including this for protection against Coronavirus. Another bonus benefit of Licorice is like Tulsi it can support the adrenal health to manage stress levels. Increased stress can lower our immune defense. Note that it cannot be used if one has high blood pressure.
Guduchi/Giloy/Heartleaf Moonseed: This is one interesting herb that is used for many conditions including Autoimmune conditions. In Sanskrit “Gu” means “Hidden”, “Du” means “Toxins and “Chi” means “Blood Toxins” – therefore, Guduchi in Ayurvedic medicine is used to remove toxins from the blood to purify it. According to Dr. Vasant Lad, in chronic fever Guduchi is given 3 times daily. Guduchi is also suitable for all three doshas. During an interview when asked, Baba Ramdev mentions Giloy as a preventative tool against Coronavirus.
Haldi/Turmeric: In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is also used against many infectious diseases, common cold, fever, and sore throat. Turmeric is one of the best defenses against inflammation and toxins. Combines with tulsi, Guduchi, clove, and licorice this would make an excellent protective tea that can be easily be made in your kitchen. If you want to learn more about this wonderful spice – get my kindle ebook on “Turmeric – The Ayurvedic Golden Gem.”
Kalonji/Krishna Jiraka/Black Seed: Mentioned in Ayurvedic texts, Unani medicine, and the Quran Kalonji or Black Seed has been used for many upper respiratory tract conditions and would probably be my number one go-to home remedy that can be used to protect coronavirus. Traditionally used in asthma, cough, and hayfever. The black seed oil contains thymoquinone, vitamin B1, B2, and B3 which provide the body with powerful antioxidants that reduce inflammation – a useful benefit during minor headaches, fever and flu. Combined with honey it is an excellent tonic against cough. You can also read my previous blog on “Black Seed Oil: A Remedy for Everything but Death.”
Methi Seeds/Fenugreek: This is another one of my favorites that are mentioned in Ayurvedic Medicine, Chinese Medicine as well as used by the Greek and Islamic healers for many respiratory conditions such as, lung congestion, sinus, asthma, and bronchitis. According to “Medical News Today” fenugreek is useful against bacterial, fungal and viral infections. The seeds contain a wide array of natural compounds that are beneficial for the respiratory system. The herb is an expectorant, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic. I also recommend sprouting fenugreek seeds or eating the leafy greens of the plant. Read my blog on “Fenugreek Sprouts for your Salads.”
Ardrakam/Ginger: This pungent-sweet and heating spice is most commonly used in the world for cold, flu, fever, nausea and digestion. I say it’s a SUPER spice for boosting your immunity and is an effective remedy to fight against allergies and infectious conditions. The compounds in ginger that fights infections, free radicals and reduce inflammation are gingerols, shogaol, and paradols. Ginger is antiviral properties that may protect against respiratory tract infections. Ginger tea with a little jaggery or molasses would be a good preventative remedy.
Amla/Indian Gooseberry: Amla, a favorite amongst many Indians. It is a fruit that is used as herbal remedy due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic properties. Although a sour fruit, Amla does not aggravate Pitta dosha therefore is extremely popular as a tridoshic remedy. The fruit contains vitamin C and bioflavonoids that makes it immune supportive.
Yogic Pranayama for Respiratory System:
Pranayama is one of the eight aspects of Yogic practices. Regular practice of Pranayama along with Asana’s can improve our breathing and strengthen our lungs. Pranayama is the controlled breathing techniques practiced by many Yogis. It is a series of breathing process that controls inhalation, retention, and exhalation of the breath. As breathing sustains life, controlled breathing has positive impact on our immunity, respiratory and lung health. Simply put it is a tool that uses breath to exercise the lungs.
Inhalation fills the lungs with fresh air, retention raises our bodies internal temperature and increases the. oxygen absorption and exhalation release toxins out of our bodies. Pranayama or Breathing Exercises controls the above 3 in various ways to generate benefits for the body. These practices will definitely boost the immune system and prevent against viruses such as the Coronavirus.
Note – you MUST go to a qualified practitioner to understand which ones to do or ones to avoid. Some of the pranayamas are not recommended for people with low or high blood pressure,
Many types of Pranayama and their benefits for our Respiratory Health
- Yogic Breath – to reduce stress and feel relaxed
- Nadi Shodhona (Alternative Nostril Breathing) – opens blocked nostrils and good for people suffering from cold and flu.
- Kapalbhati (Forceful Exhalation) – known to aid in asthma, chronic bronchitis and clearing nasal passage ways.
- Bharamari (Humming Bee) – Clears throat and nostrils.
- Ujjayi (The Victorious Breath) – Creates heat in the body, clears throat and reduces stress.
These are some wonderful practices to incorporate in your life whether you are concerned about coronavirus or not. Having preventative techniques against cold, flu and infectious disease is a smart way to feel assured during times like this.
I am mentioning here again that no matter what we say as bloggers on the internet – your personal health is important. Therefore, consulting a good practitioner is the most important thing to do before you consider any herbs or pranayamas.