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Yoga, meditation and breathing techniques are some of the most effective tools to fight against the physical and mental distress brought by the pandemic. These techniques can boost immunity and aid in the mental and emotional care of Covid-19 patients and those who have recovered. The relaxation brought by these techniques also aid the healing process.
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"Let us not think that doomsday is coming or spread other ideas that create panic. Let us come together in a sense of cooperation and compassion. Follow social distancing, stay safe, and help each other."
- Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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Frequently Asked Questions
How can Ayurveda help treat Covid-19 patients?
Covid-19 has caught the world’s imagination and there is no sidestepping this subject in any conversation today. The positive aspect of the pandemic is that the world has become the one-world-family envisioned by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Union Minister of State for AYUSH, Sripad Naik, has espoused the role of yoga and Ayurveda in treating Covid-19 especially as preventive care, the need of the hour now. It is certainly worth exploring how Ayurveda can help treat Covid-19. Here are some FAQs for your benefit.
I have no symptoms. And I have not been exposed to any Covid positive people. How should I look after myself?
Times are such that preventive care has become extremely important. It would be best to start with some preventive medicines. There are families in the heart of the Covid pandemic who have started taking preventive Ayurvedic medicines to protect themselves from the pandemic. In consultation with your Ayurvedic doctor, explore this immunity kit and the proportions that would suit your body type.
I am Covid positive. But I have no symptoms/ I have been exposed to a primary contact but I have no symptoms.
It would be best to take special care. Especially children, pregnant women, elderly people, and anyone with comorbidities like heart patients, asthma, diabetes, blood pressure, and those with respiratory issues like COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Also, if you are looking after someone with Covid, it is best to take some preventive Ayurvedic medicines. Many cases have demonstrated that people have remained healthy despite their exposure to Covid positive patients because of these medicines.
Can you suggest preventive medicines for Covid-19 for an exposed patient?
Medication would, of course, depend upon the patient and their existing conditions. Don’t take medicine over-the-counter as far as possible. What is recommended is that if you have mild symptoms like throat pain and congestion, it would be best to start off with Ayurvedic treatment. You can also choose to supplement these with home remedies like steam inhalation, gargling, and drinking Ayurvedic kashayams.
Ayush guidelines also suggest that you
- Drink a glass of golden milk at night - ½ tsp turmeric (haldi) in 150 ml hot milk
- Eat a fresh and warm balanced diet
- Drink warm water or water boiled with herbs like ginger, cumin seeds, basil, or coriander
What sort of treatment plan does Ayurveda have with respect to Covid-19?
Symptomatic cure is available with Ayurveda. With this, the disease is arrested and doesn’t progress. Consult with an Ayurvedic doctor in the early stages itself. Also, a negative test should not deter you from treating yourself and taking precautions if you have been exposed.
- Don’t neglect early symptoms and take supportive Ayurvedic medicines to nip the infection in the bud preventing, say, inflammation of organs. Delaying treatment or taking it casually has led to aggravated issues over time and so is not advised.
- Also, take medicines holistically. Taking medicines in part can lead to incomplete treatment. So, if you have been prescribed medicines for your liver and digestive system, ensure you take both medicines. Ayurveda can prevent clots/ blood coagulation with medicines preventing later complications of the disease.
- Take rejuvenators based on your doctor’s advice for supporting your kidney, liver, or any other respiratory issue.
Are there any side effects with Ayurveda?
When your treatment is planned taking into consideration both allopathic and Ayurvedic approaches, there is no side effect.
Can we rely on Ayurveda to solve Covid-19?
There are people who prefer taking Ayurveda as their treatment plan; others take Ayurveda and allopathy, while some others take homeopathy also. It would be advisable that when you start allopathic medicines as treatment for Covid-19, you start a supportive Ayurvedic treatment also. The chance that your disease is arrested before it becomes severe is higher. There have been many cases where the condition of patients with mild cough and chest congestion has become severe leading to mild pneumonitis (Covid pneumonia). At that point, allopathic doctors are forced to administer certain strong medicines to treat them. This can be avoided by starting Ayurvedic treatment alongside at the very beginning - Ayurveda can help treat early, mild, and moderate pneumonitis, and act as a supplementary treatment for this.
Does Ayurveda interfere with or reduce the efficacy of allopathic medicines?
Definitely not. But, it would be best to integrate the two medicine approaches while treating a patient with patient-specific treatment plans. A note of caution: There are some people who try to get better faster by overdosing on Ayurveda as it has no side effects - this is not advisable as this goes against the principles of Ayurveda. There are a few other rules to follow when taking Ayurvedic or allopathic medications to avoid unknown drug interactions which your doctor will suggest. Follow your doctor’s prescription to a T.
Is there any special diet regimen that Covid patients should follow?
Yes. There are special diet plans for preventive care, during Covid and post-Covid - depending on your constitution - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Also, leading a healthy lifestyle with regular food and sleep, avoiding smoking, drinking, and drugs. Practicing some pranayamas like Bhramari and Nadi Shodhana can also help keep your breathing tracts clear for smooth passage of oxygen.
Is it advisable for someone with a blocked nose to do pranayamas? And is it possible for them to do it?
- Along with pranayamas, it would be good to include some other home remedies such as gargling, steam inhalation, *Nasya, and even some yoga asanas like Tadasana that you find comfortable. These processes will help give you relief. You should do only as much as you are comfortable doing without forcing yourself.
- Also include turmeric, cumin seeds, and coriander seeds in your preparations
- Drink warm water throughout the day
*How to do Nasya
- Lie down on a flat surface and tilt your head.
- With a dropper, apply 1 drop in each nostril. You can also smear it inside your nostrils if that is more comfortable.
- Keep your mouth closed and gently massage your nose to help the fluid get absorbed in the nasal passage.
- Take slow, deep breaths.
- Do not allow the oil to reach the throat or swallow it. If it does, spit it out.
Post Covid recovery plans with allopathy involve taking light food with vitamin supplements, plenty of rest and sleep. Sometimes there are supportive medicines. What does Ayurveda suggest?
Ayurveda has very organ-specific recovery protocols that help the patient rejuvenate. Depending on which organ was most affected during your Covid attack, Ayurveda suggests specific medicines and rejuvenators. For each symptom you had, like weakness, tiredness, blood issues, diabetes, fibrosis in the lungs, and inflammation of the liver there is a separate treatment plan. So, for fibrosis Ayurveda would suggest some pranayamas like Bhastrika, Nadi Shodhana, Bhramari, *proning or pronal breathing, and Sudarshan Kriya. While it may not completely reverse the condition, it will improve the functioning of the organ. The formulations work on improving your quality of life.
*How to do proning or pronal breathing
The Ministry of Health has suggested that those who are suffering from low oxygen levels due to Covid-19 can try the proning method. Those under home isolation whose oxygen levels drop below 94 also can do this.
Here, you take deep breaths in and out in these positions:
- Lie on your stomach, prop a pillow below your neck, two under your chest, and two under your thighs. Ensure your abdomen is unsupported.
- Lie on your right side.
- Sit with your legs stretched before you.
- Lie on the left side.
- Go back to lying on your stomach.
Alternate the positions, ensuring you don’t stay in one position longer than 30 minutes. Pregnant women, cardiac patients, and those with spinal problems or fractures should avoid doing this.
Why should you take Ayurvedic treatment as a process when you are recovering?
Certain medications, in some cases of viral infections, leave a residue in your system and they have an indefinite and undefined carry-over effect like unexplained fevers, joint pains, allergic rash, prolonged digestive issues and so on - these can manifest in your body in later years if not treated in a systematic manner immediately. Ayurveda can prevent the residual effect from manifesting in that organ as well as in spreading to other parts of the body in the future date. This is why it is advisable to take timely treatment.
Are there any general guidelines for recovery that Covid patients need to follow, also to prevent recurrence since that is also a very real possibility?
As part of post Covid care:
- Eat light foods, don’t overeat. Watery soups like moong dal soup are good for fever. Other foods you can take are red rice, kanji, daliya, porridge, poha, laja (puffed rice) manda soup - easy to digest and simple foods. You can also have tender coconut and some fruits like pomegranates and grapes, as well as citrus fruits like Indian gooseberry (amla).
- The food should suit your system. If your digestive system is not back to normal, even salads may be difficult for you. So, a good diet plan according to your constitution is advisable. Here are some healthy recipes that will help balance Vata, Pitta, and Kapha imbalances.
- Don’t eat more than 4 times in the day.
- Sip warm water throughout the day.
- Eating Ashwagandha, amla, Rasayana Churna, and Chyawanprash based medicines will give patients blood, liver, respiratory, and digestive rejuvenative support. Dashamoola can give you nerve support. Ensure that you consult with an Ayurvedic doctor before you take any of these herbs. It is not an over-the-counter prescription.
Points 1-4 may be followed by Covid positive patients also.
Does Covid-19 affect the brain? How can Ayurveda help with this?
Research studies have shown that there has been a direct effect on the brain and neurological system of patients with Covid-19 because of lack of oxygen and infection to the brain. This can cause varying intensities of confusion, loss of smell and taste, headache, focusing issues, severe infections, and sometimes fatal strokes. There have been some studies, still in observational stages, that suspect that patients in ICU who receive high doses of sedatives as part of the treatment suffer from comas and delirium.
What Ayurveda can do is that it can supplement your allopathic medication and try to prevent further deterioration of symptoms. In this regard, it is best that you start your Ayurvedic treatment as early as possible.
What support does Ayurveda suggest for pregnant women?
Ayurveda has preventive care for pregnant women and even for children. So, if children have cough, cold, and other such symptoms, there are treatment plans that you can start in consultation with a doctor.
Since there is no vaccination for children right now, what preventive care should we take for them?
There are medicines like swarnaprashana for immunity, to keep the digestive system strong, and to prevent allergies. There are others for respiratory health, to prevent inflammation, and fever. So, they can start a regular, immune-booster plan. But consult a doctor for a plan. In general, here are some suggested lifestyle and food suggestions for children as a preventive plan:
- Ensure they eat healthy food. Avoid junk food as much as possible (as difficult as it is when they are home all day!). You could try some alternative healthy snacks.
- Ensure they are active. Yoga asanas and exercise should be part of their schedule.
- Ensure they sleep at regular hours.
Note: It is important to realize that breathlessness could be a symptom of panic rather than Covid. Be aware that your oxygen saturation levels could have dipped to below 90 even in non-Covid times during stressful times. You are just paying more attention to it now. So, it is important to approach preventive care with awareness.
Can Ayurveda help my infected child?
Yes, Ayurveda can treat the symptoms such as fever, cough, cold, congestion, nausea, and vomiting with specific medicines. Symptomatic treatment has been working well.
Can Ayurveda support treatment during advanced stages of Covid like breathlessness and pneumonia?
Yes. During emergency situations, Ayurveda can give support to your existing treatment under allopathy. There are medicines that reduce inflammation, maintain oxygen saturation, and prevent collection of fluids among other symptoms.
Is there any special care that people should take before and after vaccination?
For those who are already vaccinated, some supportive treatment is necessary. Some tiredness and weakness is likely post vaccination so it would be advisable to replenish the body with proper rest, good food, and sleep. It is particularly important to take care of your digestion.
What lifestyle changes are suggested when you are recovering from Covid-19?
- Keep your schedule light and simple.
- Don’t get into heavy, exerting workout routines. Remember that your body is not back to its 100 percent yet. Try simple exercises like shoulder rotations, forward and backward bends, and yoga asanas like Tadasana and Savasana and slowly build your strength.
- Don’t take heavy food. Go easy on your digestive system. Try khichdis, soups, and porridges.
- Slowly, get back to your regular diet.
Take it easy for the next 4-5 weeks at least. Give your body the time to heal and recuperate.
What support is there for people who are in quarantine and those who have isolated themselves?
- It is important that these people have someone to talk to for moral support. You can call our anxiety helpline - 080 67612338 if you need help.
- Make yoga, pranayamas, and meditation, a part of your schedule.
- Try these chants to calm yourself.
- Join our FREE Covid courses for physical and mental health
Stay safe, stay indoors, stay well - and reach out to a doctor at the hospital or Panchakarma center if you need support.