Autoimmune disorders/diseases occur when the body’s cells fail to recognize each other and mistakenly start attacking friendly cells. If left untreated, this eventually creates inflammation and can cascade into a variety of diseases.
- The immune system is our body’s security system; it protects us from infections and diseases. This it does by releasing a group of proteins called antibodies that destroy harmful microbes that invade the body. These proteins can recognize and distinguish between our normal cells and those of harmful germs.
- In autoimmune disease, these antibodies mistake some normal body cells for foreign cells. This causes them to misfire and attack these cells in the process. In this situation, these antibodies are referred to as auto antibodies.
- Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and type 1 diabetes mellitus.
According to Ayurveda the power of body which overpowers the detrimental effects of the disease and stops the initiation of the disease is known as Vyadhikashamatwa. The modern concept of immunity can be compared with the concept of Vaydhikshamatwa in Ayurveda.
- It consists of two words Vyadi and kshamatwa. Vyadhi means disease, to harm, to injure or damage and kshamatwa means ability or resistance. So the word Vaydhikshamatwameans that the ability to resist the disease.
- The ability of the body to resist the occurrence of any disease or the power to resist the progression of the manifested disease is known as Vaydhikshamatwa or immunity in Ayurveda.
The term Bala is also considered as a synonym of immunity. Bala means the strength of body resistance. It is classified in to three types namely
- Sahaja Bala(Innate Immunity) – The physical and mental strength present naturally by birth.
- Kalaja bala(Acquired Immunity) – Strength due to favorable season, age etc…
Yuktikruta Bala (Artificial Immunity) – is the strength attained by following proper diet and lifestyle etc…
Ayurvedic Treatments for Autoimmune Diseases
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 processes.
Causes for autoimmune diseases according to Ayurveda
Various factors are responsible for the development of 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 doshas.
- 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. 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 leads to the formation of the toxic materials.
Due to repeated consumption of unwholesome or incompatible food habits leads to the alteration in the tissues. The altered tissue in the body considers itself as an antigens and an altered immune response takes palace leading to autoimmunity.
Accumulation of toxins or dosha’s in the tissues can also cause autoimmunity as they do not get metabolized and stay in tissues as less potent toxins.
Treatment principle followed in treating autoimmune diseases
- Correction in the diet: Our health depends on what we eat. The consumption of unwholesome food, having food without considering the appetite, having food in improper time etc…. will hamper the digestive digestive fire. The weak digestive fire worsens 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.
- Lifestyles changes: Sedentarily lifestyle, lack of physical activities also reduces immunity through various modes like reducing metabolism, digestive power.
- 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.
- Medication: 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
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.
Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders that result from the destruction of cells and organs in the body by its own immune system. Although, scientists are yet to its cause, what is known is that genetics and environmental factors may play a role. Since there is no cure for autoimmune disease, it is best to learn how to lower your risks, especially using a healthy diet & lifestyle changes.