Covid-19 has created mayhem globally. The WHO has termed COVID-19 as a Pandemic, which is an epidemic that spreads across continents.
India is in a better position than most other countries in trying to contain and prevent the spread. India has the rich heritage of Ayurveda and knowingly or unknowingly every Indian has grown up with Ayurveda as a way of life.
Ayurveda is a Vedic medical science that focuses on living a healthy life. The science advocates treating the disease and ensuring no recurrence. Many references are found in Ayurveda’s ancient texts to trace the roots of an epidemic. Mankind has three Doshas that build the human constitution and are also are responsible for a variety of diseases along with various Dushyas.
COVID-19 can be roughly compared to epidemics described in Ayurveda texts, caused by contaminated air, water, land, and a disturbed Rutucharya (Charak Viman 3, Janapadodhwansa also described by Sushruta in Sushrut Samhita, Sutrastahn, 6)
Environmental changes caused by man’s interference with the bio-ecology in which he lives, as well as pollution due to depletion of natural resources, may be the cause for the destruction of communities and could justify the attribution to karma given here as a cause of vitiation.
Another reference that describes the symptoms of COVID-19 is seen in Charakasamhita, Nidan Sthana, Jwara Nidan, Aagantuj Jwara. The disease is caused due to exogenous factors like Bhutaabhishaynga (due to micro-organisms mentioned by Charaka) and Rakshasa ( demons in the form of viruses and bacteria mentioned by Sushruta) and the SARS-CoV-2 Virus, in this case.
The Jwara is due to external reasons and appears independent at first but later shows signs and symptoms of Nija Jwara (endogenous fevers). However, these Aagantuja Jwaras have their etiological factors and treatments.
A comparative table of signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and those mentioned in Sushrut Samhita, Sutrasthan, 6 is given below:
तस्य प्रकृतिरुद्दिष्टा दोषाः शारीरमानसाः|
देहिनं न हि निर्दोषं ज्वरः समुपसेवते||१२|| Charaka Chikitsasthana, Jwara Chikitsa
This sutra states that if the physical and mental state of the body is in equilibrium, Jwara will not arise. Chakrapani Datta has commented on this, by enhancing the point of treatment of Aagantuj Jwara as per Nija Jwara. (Ayurveda Dipika)
Also, one reference must be mentioned here that Chakrapani Datta was born in the 11th Century, and Allopathic Medicine was discovered in the 19th Century, which proves that a much deeper study of Epidemics was done in Ayurveda much before Allopathic studies.
In the following table, the WHO guidelines and preventive measures advocated are compared to the measures stated in Ayurvedic ancient scholarly texts:
Guidelines by the WHO
Guidelines in Ayurvedic Samhitas
Physical Distancing , Quarantine,
Avoiding mass gatherings
स्थानपरित्याग, return home (Sushruta)
Physical and Respiratory Hygiene
नीचरोमनखश्मश्रुर्निर्मलाङ्घ्रिमलायनः स्नानशीलः सुसुरभिः सुवेषो अनुल्बणोज्ज्वलः।। (Vagbhat)
Urban Lifestyle is one of the main reasons for Apacharaja Prakruti, which is nothing but a temporary state of Vikruti. Here, Roga Bala, and Rugna Agni play a very important role as far as the severity of the disease is concerned.
As urbanization increased, the rate of contamination of the four factors, water, air, land, and time (kaala), was faster. If the environment suffers, the result will be seen in the form of mutated crops and new illnesses in animals. The quality of basic food such as Milk, Grains, Pulses, Poultry, etc will be compromised and as a result, nutritional deficiencies will be seen in human beings to a larger extent. In addition, excessive use of pesticides in crops, injecting steroids in poultry, etc will result in hormonal imbalance and weak immunity in human beings.
The urban population focuses more on social status than on the status of individual health. Ignoring and breaking all rules of Aahara, Vihara, and Aachara lead to various lifestyle diseases and low immunity. Following Sadvrutta and Swasthavrutta is the key to a healthy lifestyle, which will not only prevent us from COVID-19 but also any other epidemic in the future.
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