An autoimmune disease is a condition in body in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.
The immune system normally protects body against foreign organisms like bacteria and viruses. When it senses these foreign organism in the body, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them.
Normally, the immune system can tell the difference between foreign cells and self-cells.
In an autoimmune disease, the immune system did not identify part of body, like your joints or skin, as foreign. It releases portenous substance called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells.
Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ. Type 1 diabetes damages the pancreas. Other diseases, like systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), affect the whole body.
In Ayurveda IMMUNITY is related to Vyadhikshamatva.
The process of preventing of disease development and capacity to resist disease are jointly known as Vyadhikshamatva.
Chakrapani has classify vyadhishamatva in two aspects – antagonistic to the strength and virulence of disease (Vyadhi Bala Virodhitva) and the capacity to inhibit, contain or bind the causes on factors of disease (Vyadhi Utpadaka Vibandhakatva).
Vyadhi Bala Virodhitva is concerned with the action or process after the disease has manifested in the body. This process indicates the further aggravation of the severity of the disease is inhibited and the diseases process is contained.
Vyadhi Utpada Vibandhakatva controls the disease during the Samprapti(pathgenesis stage) only. This is actually the prevention of the manifestation of disease.
According to Acharya Charaka, not all human beings are equally capable of Vyadhikshamatva. This is because of different nutritional status of the individuals because Ojas, Bala and Vyadhikshamatva are dependent on nutritious food.
A change in the nutritional capacity of food leads to the change in the Bala and Vyadhikshamatva. It also tell us that constitutional status or Prakruti also differs from individual to individual and therefore the Vyadhikshamatva.
In Ayurvedic literature, the natural inherent strength or power of the body which is responsible for the health is termed as Bala. Bala depends upon the health status of Dhatu, Prakruti, Desha, Kala and Ojas.
Bala is classified into three types – Sahaja, Kalaja and Yukti Kruta.
1. Sahaja Bala refers to the inherent characteristics property of an individual present since birth. And this is formed from the time of formation of Garbha based on potency of Shukra and Arthava. The properties of Sahaja Bala resembles to the innate immunity. Innate immunity defines a nonspecific defence mechanism that come into play immediately or within hours of an antigen’s appearance in the body. These mechanisms include physical barriers such as skin,tears, elements in the blood and immune system cells that attack foreign cells in the body.
2. Kalaja Bala refers to the strength attained by the individual becaue of the impact of seasonal variation and ageing phenomenon, which is temporary. In modern science, it resembles the acquired or adaptive immunity. Specifically mentioning, the immunity developed by an individual after any infection in due course of subject’s life.
3. Yuktikruta Bala It is gained by the combination of diet, medication and other regimen by the patient as planned by the physician. In modern medical literature it is the acquired immunity where in it includes active immunity induced by vaccination and passive immunity due to administration of antibody containing preparation.
IMMUNITY RELATED TO DOSH AND KARMA
Immune tolerance and Autoimmunity in a healthy human body is because of– Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha irrespective of opposite qualities coexist each other rather than contradicting each other. This is often called Sahaja Satmya.Hence, this is the main reason reason why the body’s own self cell are not attacked by immune cells from Ayurvedic point of view.
But, due to the influence of Daiva (past deeds or unknown factors) or due to Svabhavika Karanas (in which we can include all the probable theories or mechanism of initiating autoimmune reaction such as immunological, microbial, genetic) potentially paving way to imbalance or disequilibrium or destability to the Sahaja Satmya, there by the immune cells (leucocytes) lose the ability to identify self from non – self or foreign agents.
To be more specific, on explaining characteristic feature told in Vata Prakruti individuals, depicting the features of Vata itself, it includes certain Gunas like the Sheegra Guna, by virtue there are two types of Gunas mentioned in the text literature as Alpasmruti (lesser remembrance – abnormality to WBCs) and Sheegra Grahita (early identification of tissue). The above mentioned features occur in Raktha i.e. to be precise at the level of WBCs in the recognition of body tissues.
Whereas, while explaining the Pitta Pradhana Lakshana by Charaka, it has been mentioned the feature of Pitta such as teekshna Guna of Pitta by virtue of its leading to Teekshna Agni and Teekshna Parakrama. This causes the attack of immune system, here to the body’s own tissues.
This cascade of abnormal and noxious reaction drive an autoimmune disorder sequence. This is nothing but the impaired functioning of Dosha (ojovisramsa – as it is the malfunctioning and displacement of Doshas).
The manifestation of diseases – spectrum of autoimmune disorders in different body parts depend on the cause and the site engaged by the cause. To be precise the area where Kha Vaigunya has been manifested progress to the Dosha Dushya Samurchana and ultimately culminates in the manifestation of disease.
Even in the modern medical literature the autoimmune disorders are classified as organ specific and organ non – specific or systemic based on the auto antibodies engaging the site. As there is Prakopa of Vata and Pitta there is no question in the status of Kapha. There will be comparative reduction of Kapha or we can say that Malarupi Kapha is formed (altered leucocytes).
Kapha Dosha is acknowledged as Balakrut i.e. confers strength to the body. Bala is one of the synonyms of Kapha Dosha. Bala can be corelated here as the Slaishmika Ojas or Apara Ojus which best ows Vyadhikshamatva Shakti i.e. power to resist and overcome the forces or factors which bring about diseases and decay to be precise according to Acharya Dalhana, Ojas is the essence of all Dhatus which are Moortimat. So, Ojas is a substance (that can be interpreted as the white fraction of blood – the white blood cells or leucocytes) and the Bala imparted is the functional outcome or component.
Both are decided by Kapha Dosha even though Vata and Pitta has its own role in judgement and attack. When Anyadosha (except Kaphadosha) Prakopa occur, it cause Kshaya to Kapha relatively or formation of Malarupi Kapha (altered leucocytes) ending in immune system malfunctioning.
As the modern science sates that there is no cure for autoimmune diseases and can only control them by suppressing the over active immune response. Ayurvedic Treatments for Autoimmune Diseases are aimed to correct the immune system through various process.
Various factors are responsible for the development of autoimmunity. Here are few reasons that are responsible for autoimmunity.
Aggravations of All the doshas can occur when a person consumes food during indigestion, not following the deistic rules, intake of incompatible food and drinks, eating when the previous food is not digested or without feeling hungry, wrong combination of foods, can cause increases in the aggravation of all the dosha’s
Impairment of the biological fire (Agni) – When the deistic rules of Ayurveda is ignored repeatedly it will lead to the impairment of the digestive fire. The optimal level of digestive fire is required to maintain the normalcy of the body. When the digestive becomes impaired it hampers the process of digestion and nourishment to the tissues. The weak digestive fire leads to the improper digestion of the food and causes a toxic metabolite called ama. This is form of toxin which cannot be digested accumulates in the body and leads to the formation of autoimmunity.
Unwholesome habits and activities can lead to the formation of the toxic materials. Depending on the severity of the toxins can directly impact the tissues causing the process of the autoimmunity or the toxins can aggravate the dosha’s which intern disturbs the tissues and immunity causing the process of autoimmunity.
Treatment principle followed in treating autoimmune diseases
- Correction in the diet
our health depends on what we eat and drink. The consumption of wholesome food, having food without considering the appetite, having food in improper time etc. will hamper the digestive fire. The weak digestive fire worsen the digestive process leading to the production of toxic metabolites which is known as ‘ama’. The ama which circulates all over the body starts impacting the functions of immune system. So the first step in treating an autoimmune disease starts with the correcting the diet itself.
- Lifestyle changes
sedentarily lifestyle, lack of physical activities also reduces immunity through various modes like reducing metabolism, digestive power. Physical activities like exercise are also known as karmaja bala. The reduction in karmaja bala also decreases the immune system.
- Psychological changes
Being in happier state also enhances the immunity by releasing certain hormones. Latest researches also states that persons who are happy can fight better against the diseases compared to others.
There are certain ayurvedic medications which can help to boost the immunity. But one thing that you need to keep in mind is it will work only other parameters are followed like right diet, lifestyle modification, purification etc..
- Purification of the body
Purification of the body through certain therapies like panchakarma will also help to eliminate the factors that are responsible for reducing the immunity. Removal of the aggravated doshas, accumulation of toxins will help the body to function effectively to enhance the immunity.
- Rasayana Treatment
Rasayana therapy is the one which helps to nourish all the tissues to work optimally. They are administered only when the body is purified. Rasayana treatment also works as protective shield to prevent the reoccurrence of the diseases again and again,
Who will have strong immunity?
Immunity depends on the equilibrium of the doshas, healthy status of the tissues and proper formation and expulsion of waste from the body. In same way a healthy status of the body is also maintained by the stars of immunity. There are various factors that are responsible for having good immune system are
- Balavat pursue deshe janma – The birth of a person in the place where the people have strong immune system.
- Balavat kale janma – Birth of a person in an healthy season like hemantha and shishira rutu’s. These season are considered as the healthiest season among all the six seasons.
- Sukakara kalayoga – When a person lives in a happier state this is a natural booster of the immune system. During the happier period the positivity boosts the immune system.
- Beeja guna sampath – The healthy sperm and ovum gives birth to a person who will be healthy. Born being healthy is also a natural immune booster.
- Kshetra guna Sampath – The healthy status of the uterus also responsible for the status of immunity through proper nutritional supply and healthy intrauterine life.
- Ahahara sampath – Choosing the right food and following the deistic rules will keep the digestive power in optimal level. The good digestive power enhances the immunity by fulfilling all dietary needs.
- Sharira Sampath – A well built body is the indicator of the proper nourishment of the body and its function is a natural strength enhancer.
- Satmya sampath – Indulgence in the food substances that are accustomed to the body is a natural strength enhancer. Using all the six tastes helps to balance the dosha’s in the body and thus improves bodies strength.
- Satva sampath – One has a satva predominant psyche will boost the strength of the body to fight against the diseases. One can choose the right decisions to keep one healthy when the person having the satva predominant mind.
- Swabhava samsiddi – It means that the persons efforts in strength increasing measures.
- Yauvana – The young age is the natural strength enhancer. Young age is considered to be Strengthiest among all the ages.
- Karma – Karma means action. Karmaja bala means the immunity attained in indulging in exercise or physical activities.
- Samharsha – Being happy boosts the strength of the person through the biochemical reactions. Researches have found out the link between immunity and happiness.
Ayurvedic remedies to get rid of autoimmune diseases
- Take one tablet of neem and Giloy Ghanvati daily.
- Eat ashwagandha, asparagus and white musli 1-1 grams.
- Eat one tablet of spirulina daily.
- Drink turmeric and Shilajit in milk before going to bed at night.
- Take Ashtavarga Chyawanprash.
- Drink bunion water for kidney.
- Drink a decoction for liver.
- Drink Arjun’s filter and cinnamon for the heart.
- Drink aloe vera and Giloy juice for the eyes.
- Make a powder by grinding all thoroughly with aquangi juice 5-10 grams, Ras Raj 1-2 grams, Yogendra juice 1-2 grams, Moti Pishti 2-5 grams and Giloy Satva 10 grams. Make 60 pieces of it.
- Drink 1-1 pudiya daily in the morning and evening.
- Wake up in the morning and eat garlic. If you feel hot, then fry it in ghee and eat it with rock salt.
- Eat a glass of milk or curd, buttermilk daily.
- Take multigrain oatmeal and flour.
- Take different types of oil. Like mustard oil, mustard oil etc.
- Eat green vegetables.
Disequilibrium in immune system can culminate in vast array of diseases. This disequilibrium can be in two directions, where it can cause abnormally low activity or over activity of the immune system. In case of immune system over activity, the body attacks and damages its own tissues (autoimmune diseases or to an extend hypersensitivity reactions). Hypersensitivity is a state of altered reactivity in which the body reacts with an exaggerated immune response to what is perceived as a foreign substance, this fits into the concept of Asatmya. Immune deficiency diseases decrease the body’s ability to fight invaders ending in immune deficiency disorders, which in Ayurveda designates as Ojokshaya.
In normal circumstance, there will be absence of activation of pathogenic auto reactivity and is termed as immune tolerance. But, when there is an abnormal activation of T or B – cells or both with no evidence of other causes such as infection or malignancies or mechanisms breaking the equilibrium of immune tolerance of the body is called autoimmunity.
Ayurvedic concept of understanding immune mechanism is vast but precise. Vyadhikshamatva entails different dimensions of modern immunology and potential immunopathological insight. The mechanism of autoimmunity is least understood in the field of immunology. The ancient science of Ayurveda holds a strong insight in the understanding of immune tolerance told as Sahaja Satmya understanding of autoimmunity as Ojovisramsa where there is malfunctioning of Dosha (Kriya Sannirodha).