Ayurveda & Long Covid24/02/2022, Sunita Passi, Ayurvedic Health Practitioner & Founder of Tri-Dosha
A lot of us are checking in with ourselves at this point, asking how we are doing and where we are heading, following the word we now live in, after two years of pandemic fever. And for some, cough, fatigue and anosmia (loss of smell and taste) are not the end of the road. “Long Haulers” as they are being dubbed, are carrying symptoms longer term than the general 12 week recovery most people will make. The fact that the world is quite different to the way it was two years ago we also have to consider different perspectives of treatment care and how Covid is approached.
In Ayurveda, we address the whole person and work with this same principle when supporting those experiencing Long Covid. In researching this area as well as working with a variety of clients in my clinic, I have explored the idea of Janapadowamsa, the Ayurvedic classical description of a pandemic, where there is wide spread damage to environment as well as life forms. There is an interesting ancient tale about such a time in the 3rd chapter of the Charka Samhita, a classical Ayurvedic text “Janapada means community, Udhwamsa means destruction, and how over time abnormalities have started to appear in the stars, planets, moon, sun, air, fire, seasons. Very soon the earth will cease to manifest proper tastes, potency, vipaka (after digestion, taste conversion) and prabhava (special effects).” It is an interesting tale which we can learn from and still use now.
Comparing notes from clients, symptom profiles tend to be brain fog, fatigue, exhaustion, not being able to exercise, headaches, chest pain, skin inflammation. Around 1.3 million people are said to be affected but there is no diagnostic test for this and it could easily be that Long Covid is getting confused with other changes the body is going through, such as peri-menopause, menopause, or general exhaustion.
The complex interrelationships between the immune system and a variety of lifestyle factors such as exercise, stress reduction, healthy nutrition, spending time in nature, positive inner attitudes, and well-being are important to consider. Some of those experiencing Long Covid may have felt more severely the challenges faced by people across the globe due to restrictive lifestyle factors such as social distancing and quarantine measures, an element of a forced domestic retreat of varying degrees. So it is ever more important to strengthen resilience through simple preventive means and self-care.
SELF-CARE TIPS FOR LONG COVID RECOVERY
If you recognise yourself with any of these symptoms, you are best to firstly track your inner sanctum - keep a journal, and consider the what things in your immediate environment make cause a depletion in your energy, positive energy matters! A) thoughts, are they negative/positive? Is there fear sadness, anger, fear? Cultivate more positive thoughts. B) Your immediate atmosphere, whether it is home or work. If you spend a lot of time in a messy, dirty environment, it can impact how your health. Improve what surrounds you, organize and clean your environment. C) Gratitude gratitude gratitude! An immediate tool to positively affect your vibration. Integrate this habit into your life and start to thank for everything.
On a practical level, your body has been through an unexpected shock with the infection and what comes with that is depletion of resources. Recharge yourself with:
Vitamin C: evidence has demonstrated reduces the Covid post virus infection
Vitamin D: Vitamin D3 has crucial influence on many functions of the immune system. In a randomized controlled trial (RCT) with supplementation of 400 IU/d, improvements of serum 25- hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were associated with at least a 1.5-fold alteration in the expression of 291 genes, many with relation to immune cell function and inflammatory control.
Mind body medicine or MBM is based on the assumption that interactions between the brain, mind, body, and behaviour can be used to activate health promoting pathways. It includes behavioural approaches and techniques in conjunction with exercise, relaxation, meditation, and stress-regulation interventions. MBM has been shown to improve psychological parameters, reduce individual and cellular stress, inflammation, improve immune function, involving epigenetic pathways, thereby facilitating self- and auto regulation, and resilience in general.
The positive effects of exercise for general mental and physical health as well as for specific physiological functions including the immune system have been demonstrated in several systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Lack of exercise is one of the most common causes of chronic diseases, making patients more susceptible to infections.
Spending time in nature can be both a preventive and a therapeutic approach that makes use of targeted effects of natural stimuli in forests, urban green spaces, and therapeutic landscapes in order to promote health-related self-regulation mechanisms in individuals
The use of herbal substances for respiratory viral infections is widespread and there ISclinical data that may be relevant during the current pandemic. For the treatment of viral infections of the upper respiratory tract, there is preclinical data available for individual components as well as for entire plant extracts. A selection of promising herbal medicines (Pelargonium root extract, Sambucus nigra, green Tea, Glycyrrhiza, Echinacea species, Cistus incanus, Cannabinoids) are relevant.
Pelargonium root extract in traditional South African medicine, the root Umckaloabo (from Pelargonium sidoides DC) has been the predominant medicine for airways infections. Use and research in Western countries has established its antibacterial and antiviral potential.
Green tea catechins as a class of polyphenolic flavonoids are the main active ingredients of green tea as well as many other teas, which among other properties can strengthen the immunity against viral, especially influenza infections.
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|About The Author|
Sunita Passi is a TEDx Speaker, BBC Radio Host, Ayurvedic Health Practitioner and founder of Tri-Dosha skincare. Her work explores how ideas in Eastern medicine are as relevant today as 5000 years ago.