There is a big discussion going on now about the application of Ayurveda in Covid. Whilst Ayurveda clearly recognises COVID as a critical medical issue there are potentially many treatments for it.

Ayurveda is an individualised science and does not, in general, believe in a one-off cure for all. Each individual is treated differently in Ayurveda and although we recognize COVID as a virus, the pathogenesis for the condition is different for all and so, therefore, is the treatment.

Whilst there might be much research going on in Ayurveda for the Panacea to Covid, there is none.

There are 8 interconnected limbs of Ayurveda. We will go into the most relevant ones here.

Kayachkitsa is the treatment of diseases affecting the whole body. Covid affects the whole organism.

Salakyatantra is the treatment of diseases affecting the head and neck region. Covid affects these areas.

Agadatantra is the treatment of poisons. Covid is a poison borne of poison.

Rasayanatantra deals with rejuvenation and prevention of diseases in other words immunity.

All can be relevant in Covid treatment and Ayurveda, in any event, relates to the whole and works on the concept of balancing the 5 elements, space, air, fire, water and earth.

Regarded in India as an alternative system of medicine standing in its own right and not a complimentary one. Other countries describe Ayurveda as a complementary system and in India, we do use Ayurveda in association with modern medical drugs where the need be.

Ayurveda has a diagnostic process for the patient involving sparshanam, darshanam and prashanam which means touch, sight and questioning respectively. We, as Ayurveda practitioners are supposed to go through one or more of these processes to come to an analysis of how the disease manifests. Without this, we cannot reach the root of the disease and therefore provide an appropriate treatment course using internal medicines, external treatments and diet and lifestyle changes.

The fundamental principles of Ayurveda are dharma which is in its raw state is Ahimsa(non-harm) and also that the universe is an interconnected organism. When one part is harmed so is another and this is an unending process which can lead to disease of the entire universe and all within it.

Had we lived based on ahimsa, we all know we would not be afflicted by Covid. We have harmed the fundamental building blocks of the universe.

Ayurveda has a different way of looking at the world compared to modern science. The five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth are the building blocks for the entire universe, innate or non-innate. There are different proportions of the elements contained in everything which in turn accounts for diversity. That which is innate is described to also have prana/chi, an unseen life force.

When we harm the 5 elements, we harm ourselves. What have we not harmed? Each of the 5 elements is toxic and now so is the world at large. Space, the container of life is contaminated by what lies within it. The Air, the breath of life is contaminated by unhealthy fumes. Is so much travel necessary now that we have the virtual world which in turn has its effect on the air we breathe? Are we going to reduce our carbon footprints or go on tour and have work meetings abroad?

Let’s look at the fire, an element that is responsible for transformation. Transformation in modern scientific terms can be looked at as chemical reactions. The chemical reactions that take place to produce harmful products in turn poison the other elements.

Moving on to water, the sustainer of life, how much poison have we put into her through the unhealthy chemical processes we have performed. Mostly, we have to filter or UV most of our drinking water which in turn has its adverse consequences.

Finally mother Earth, the densest of all elements Well, we all know what we have done to her. Pesticides, fertilizers, monocultures etc. We have damaged the soil and the food we eat.

The whole ecosystemic universe has been damaged at the cost of consumerism. We, therefore, live in a toxic environment, where further toxicity can breed.

Done is done but from now on we have to live a life of ahimsa, to prevent and heal Covid, let alone all the other diseases.

Modern medicine has not yet found a solution for Covid.

There are solutions in Ayurveda but as said earlier, we need to treat on a case by case basis.

Who is willing to come to Ayurveda for treatment. Which Ayurveda Doctor is willing to treat according to traditional methods of diagnostics and pure medicinal formulas written in our ancient texts. More importantly, which patient is willing to come to Ayurveda with full Trust that he/ she can be healed through this process. Where there is no trust, there is no healing.

Trust in Ayurveda can be established through knowledge of its scientific methodology. The best place to start building trust in Ayurveda is by introducing it in our schools and homes at an early age.

Renu Gulati

Born and raised in the UK, Renu Gulati is the founder of Stree, a women's empowerment and heal the earth initiative.

She had a keen interest in natural products and holistic healing from a young age. In the UK, Renu worked extensively in the area of women’s empowerment  She is an Ayurveda lifestyle and diet consultant, teaches cooking classes along with running a women's empowerment program – STREE.