Immunological disorders are rising day by day, and thus, the study of immunology is the fastest-growing topic in medicine and biology. The reason behind this is the growing significance of immunity in order to resist diseases. The consumption of spicy food, fermented foods, alcohol consumption, packed foods, growing in a non-competitive environment, and becoming sedentary and mentally stressed; are the causes for such weakening of immunity. This leads to immunological disorders.

The Ayurvedic texts offer reasons for the cause of such immunological disorders. “Ojas” is the essence of energy for all the seven Dhatus of the body and its quality and quantity is responsible for a person’s immunity. Ayurveda describes its own fundamental principle in biology, pathology, and diagnostics. This grants Ayurveda as an entire system of medicine. The root cause of illness according to Ayurveda is hereditary and genetic predisposition. An imbalance in lifestyle and disobeying the principles of Ayurveda which includes dinacharya, ratricharya, ritucharya, brahmacharya, etc. leads to auto-immune disorders.

The term “Vyadhikshamatva” of Ayurveda corresponds to immunity. It is the defense function in a holistic manner and is antagonistic to the strength and virulence of the disease. It also has the capacity to inhibit the causative factors of the disease.

“Ojas” is the purest form of energy that is responsible for the biological strength of an individual, including immunity. It is the final product of tissue nourishment and is the essence of the seven Dhatus. Chakrapanidatta compares Ojas with ghee of milk, and honey of flowers; and considers it as “Sara” which is situated in the Hirdaya and mixes with Rasa, which circulates in the entire body through various Srotas to perform Tarpana of the body. Ojas are of two types:

1. Para ojas: It is a life factor, and its injury leads to death.

2. Apara ojas: It is responsible for biological and immune strength.

Further, Vyadhikshamatva is of three types:

1. Sahaja Bala: It is the genetic immunity that is present from birth itself. It increases with the growth of tissues and is not hindered by any other factors.

2. Kalaja Bala: It is the immunity that comes due to changes in traits and age of an individual.

3. Yuktikrit Bala: It is the immunity that can resist the incoming disease. This can be increased by proper diet, physical exercise, rest, Rasayanas, or some therapies.

Ayurvedic perspective on Autoimmune disorders:

Contagious diseases like Jwara, Shosha, Kashya, Netrabhishyanda, etc. are caused only when an individual comes in contact with an infected individual. This is because the individual’s immunity is low and is compromised. Involvement of all the Dhatus, in this case, is registered, and Oja vikruti is explained. This is known as Prameha yoga (Diabetes) in which the immunity of Dhatus is hampered and comes under immune disorder.

Amavata (Rheumatoid arthritis) is caused due to an antigenic material called Ama which is a toxic/ harmful byproduct of the digestion process. In today’s medical system, it is considered an auto-immune disease, and in Ayurveda, it is categorized under Oja-visramsa.

Treatment of Autoimmune diseases:

According to Ayurveda, the treatment of autoimmune diseases is divided into three stages:

1. Removal of Ama (toxins): The cause of every disease in Ayurveda is the formation and accumulation of Ama. Hence, it becomes important to eliminate toxins from the body through various Srotas (channels). Panchakarma is a technique applied in this case. Besides that,
Rasayanas can be consumed in order to dissolve the ama first and later eliminate the same.

2. Correction in metabolism process: After the removal of toxins from the body, a change in lifestyle and diet is suggested, in order to enhance the metabolism process and formation of new tissues. This is done by enhancing Agni (the digestive fire).

3. Increase in production of Ojas: Ojas is the form of energy that helps in the nourishment of the entire system. It is obtained from the food consumed. A change in lifestyle, healthy diet, rejuvenation therapies, and some Rasayana therapies are employed in order to boost the production of Ojas.

All these can be possible with the help of immunomodulatory drugs. Immune modulators are herbs that enhance the immune response of an individual against pathogens. This increases the overall natural resistance to disease-causing agents and does not directly neutralize the agents themselves. In Ayurveda, it is achieved through Rasayana therapy. This therapy can be employed in any one of the three ways:

1. Acting at the level of Rasa, directly improves the quality of nutrition.

2. Acting at the level of Agni, which improves digestion and metabolism processes.

3. Acting at the level of Srotas, which improves micro-circulation and ensures proper nourishment of tissues.

Some of the immunomodulatory drugs used in Ayurveda are Tulsi, Shilajatu, Amalaki, Gudhuchi, Pippali, Punarnava, etc.

Thus, the Ayurvedic system is holistic in a way that it treats the root cause of the diseases rather than the symptoms of the Autoimmune disorders. The misbehavior of a system is spotted by Ayurveda, and that is cured. This relates to the accumulation of Ama, which is formed due to low Agni, leading to low Oja. So the root cause of the immune disorder is cured, thus by focusing on restoring Agni and Ojas.