AIDS, OJAS AND IMMUNITY
AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) is not a single disease entity. In broader sense it is secondary to a variety of causes due to infectious organisms, ageing effects, immuno suppressive agents, autoimmune disorders, viremia, uremia, septicemia, neurological disorder and malignancy. And again in its broadest sense it is appropriate to pin point AIDS in terms of spectrum of Human Immuno deficiency virus (HIV) infection related disease. Destination india Holidays India The recently revised definition of AIDS published by Center of Disease Control,Atlanta which permits to include cases without the confirmatory evidence of HIV infection also as AIDS based on clinical features. This view is coming nearer to Ayurveda thought of Vyadhikshmatava Samvardhana i.e. immune capacity of person that a person should be observed as a whole rather confining to a particular organism or virus or bacteria related analysis. On carefully over viewing the concept of AIDS it seems that in manifestation of this disease over all status of the body is of utmost importance i.e. Kshetra Bala, which plays an important role in pathogenesis of every disease. Destination india Holidays India
The invasion and establishment of pathogenic organism is an inevitable component in all the infectious diseases according to the concept of modern medicine. Destination india Holidays India In Ayurvedic thought the microorganisms (Krimis) are given only secondary importance. The body (Kshetra) is more important than the disease-causing organism (Beeja). If the body is kept unsuitable for the multiplication of growth of microorganisms these cannot cause a disease, this is the line of action for the treatment mentioned for Krimi in Ayurveda texts under the heading-Prakriti Vighata. The maintenance of dosha-dhatu equilibrium and Vyadhikshmatva Samvardhan is more important than creating a battle field in the body between bacteria-bactericidal; virus-anti viral; protozoa-anti protozoa and so on, where in the end body further looses the immunity to make a ground ready for another attack.
Man is floating in an ocean of microbes. Our immune system accepts anything, which is friendly to the body and also the immune system recognizes and destroys anything which it thinks as foreign to the body including organisms like bacteria, other microbes, foreign particles and toxic compounds. The defense system of circulatory and lymphatic channels (Rakta vaha and Rasa vaha Srotas) recognizes and destroys these organisms in the majja dhatu (bone marrow tissue) and Rasa Dhatu (lymphatic tissue). The porridge like substance that resides in the hollow interiors of the bones is called as the Progenitor of all types of blood cells. The mother cell of all the Leucocytes, the white blood cells, is the Pluripotent stem cell in the Majja dhatu. It has potential to develop along more than one track. Some of these become the lymphoid stem cells. Others proceed to turn into myeloid stem cells. The central role is for the lymphocytes.
Pluripotent stem cells in majja vaha Srotas
This stem cell has the potential to branch out any of the three major cell lines or dhatu.
Hematopoetic tissue Myeloid tissue Lymphoid tissue
There are essentially two types of cells, one of which is called ‘memory cell’. The memory cell, as the name emplies, remember specific friendly cells with which they unite coherently and tissue or set of tissues (Dhatu) make out of this union of symbiotic relationship of cells brings about healthy equilibrium of basic tissues (Dhatu Samyata) and they remember specific foreign cell of chemical compound to which they have been exposed, and react immediately when they are next exposed to those compound (Dhatu Vaishyamata). Chemical drugs which effect the memory cells boost immunity only to one disease or antigen yet herb or herbal compounds effect memory cell and act as specific target on general immune system for immuno-modulation, activation and adaptogenic effect (Vyadhi kshamatva Samvardhana). They increase the activity of series of dhatu, nutrition from lymphatic tissue to reproductive tissues (Rasa Dhatu to Shukra Dhatu) leading to the quintessence of all dhatus i.e. Ojas.
Reviewing the textual knowledge of Ayurveda it has come to light that the food and behavior that enhances Ojas also enhances the strength. This produces stability of body, growth of muscle tissue, interest in medical and physical pursuits, inclination, cleanliness of tone and complexion, correct inclination or cognizance of sense of organs and functions.
Charaka Samhita has described ten qualities of Ojas-
According to ancient scripture Mundakopanishad, the secretions percolating from glands are as nectar to the body, of the form of Ojas and are an excellent tonic.
As per above details we may safely say that the secretions of endocrinal glands are Ojas. The secretion would be perfect only when the nutrition of the subsequent Dhatus is correct and our inclinations are creative and not luxurious. All glands are operated by pituitary gland and it controls all the glands. It has two major parts. If these function properly, then only human being lives otherwise he dies.
The scripture-writers have believed in two types of Ojas. The first is Ashtabindu Ojas, which is the secretion of pituitary gland and is the chief Ojas. The other is found in half handful quantity and is called secondary Ojas. It flows everyday incessantly. These are the secretions of all glands under the control of pituitary. The blood dominated Ojas goes into digestion and Rasa-dominated, bright white Ojas goes into construction work. The joint function of both is to protect the body and to conserve the power of life. Living being live till Ojas exists and dies when Ojas is destroyed.
Herbs in the herbal formulations are not specific to particular disease of antigen rather they increase body’s strength (Kshetra Bala) by mobilizing ‘effectors cells’ which are against all foreign agents and free radicals (Vijatiya Padarth) rather than just one specific type. They act as anti-oxidants and free radical scavengers by their life promoting action (Rasayana).
The search for the elusive therapeutic treatment, management plans and drugs to counter immunodeficiency syndrome that is using up a substantial amount of scientific talent and funds earmarked for medicinal exploration might just end in Ayurveda.
One of the most important areas of body’s strength (Kshetra Bala) is Vyadhikshmatva Samvardhana, which can be correlated with the concept of immunity described in medical science. Whereas this concept has been presented as comprehensive immunity interwoven with fundamental concept of balanced biological forces viz. Vata, Pitta and Kapha (Sam-dosha), balanced digestive capacity and balanced release of hormones and secretions (Sam-agni), optimal metabolic activity (Sam-dhatva agni) and balanced basic tissues and process of excretion (Sam-dhatu and Sam-Malakriya).
The quintessential force of the seven basic tissues viz. Lymph (Rasa), Blood (Rakta), Muscle (Mamsa), Adipose (Medas), Bone (Asthi), Bone marrow (Majja), Semen (Shukra) is Ojas. This Ojas is the chief abode of life and its main seat is in the heart (Hridya), although it is omni present in the body and pervades the entire body through the heart. Ojas is also regarded as bala (strength) and is responsible for immunity or resistance against disease i.e. Vyadhikshamatva samvardhana.
The susceptibility or non-susceptibility of disease depends upon vyadhikshamtva even though the person is exposed to Krimi (protozoal,viral, bacterial or fungal) or other etiological factors of disease. According to Charaka, Vyadhikshmatva is seen in the persons who are not covered under Ashtanindita purusha (eight type of personalities to be discarded for treatment) rather those who have compactness of muscles, blood and bone in their excellence, those who are not weak and not indulged in unsuitable, unwholesome food, those who are not undernourished and also it is said that good immunity resides in the body with sound mind.
Looking at this clear description we can say that balanced biological tridosha forces, balanced agni & state of hormones, excellence of all dhatu elements and pleasant functioning of sense organs, mind and consciousness with the body’s strength contribute to the immunity of the body by way of generating total strength of body (kshetra bala). The seat of this bala is said to be Ojas and Sushruta further emphasizes that is how Ojas is considered as the entity responsible for defense power of body and its vital role in presentation and maintenance of health are in existence of life.
Therefore for any deficiency or alteration is the quantity and quality of Ojas of a particular dhatu or ojas in general which may lead to one or the other immuno compromised disorders or syndromes, which is clearly understood from the references where they have described ojakshya or ojonasha as one of the factor of aetiopathogenesis or as one of the main dhatu disturbance or as complication in the disease like anemia (pandu), tuberculosis (rajyakshama), diabetes mellitus (madhumeha), complicated fevers of brain (abhinyasa jvar), alcoholism(madya janya medataya) etc. And also it is described as a condition with its own aetiopathology and stages viz. ojovisramsa, ojovyapad and ojakshaya. Destination india Holidays India
Some of the known-medicinal plants, which boost immunity, include
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
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