The human race is currently facing one of the biggest and dire health challenges and possible deaths caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This article will highlight the Ayurvedic practices of Neti (nasal irrigation with saline) and Nasya (putting oil in the nose) and how following these natural daily practices along with the use of face masks and social distancing will help to stop the spread of the disease and protect ourselves from Covid-19 infection.
Using face masks has proven to be an effective tool to prevent exposure and transmission of the Covid-19 around the world. Per CDC communication, when you wear a mask, you protect others as well as yourself. Masks work best when everyone wears one*.
Thus, masks help protect the people wearing them from getting or spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but now researchers from the National Institutes of Health have added evidence for yet another potential benefit for wearers: The humidity created inside the mask may help combat respiratory diseases such as COVID-19**. “The increased level of humidity is something most mask-wearers probably felt without being able to recognize, and without realizing that this humidity might actually be good for them,” Even as more people nationwide begin to get vaccinated, we must remain vigilant about doing our part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19,” said NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers. “This research supports the importance of mask-wearing as a simple, yet effective, way to protect the people around us and to protect ourselves from respiratory infection, especially during these winter months when susceptibility to these viruses increases.”
Ayurvedic practices, over thousands of years, have been recommending the practice of Jala Neti followed by the addition of medicated or sesame oils of the nasal passage on a daily/regular basis to help keep the nasal passages hydrated. Ayurveda stresses the use of Nasya especially during the winter months (Vata time of the year- October to February) and persons with predominantly Vata dosha as well as in elderly persons when they enter the Vata phase of life after 60 years of age. During the Vata phase (predominantly influenced by increased Air and Ether elements), the body becomes drier as evidenced by dry skin, dryness mucus membranes including nasal and respiratory passages and lungs. These are the primary reasons when there is increased vulnerability of elderly persons experiencing respiratory diseases and increased coughing.
Per Ayurveda, irrigating the nasal passage with warm salt water helps remove the nasal mucus containing residing pathogens, and adhering pathogens (bacteria and may be viruses) are flushed out besides this also helps with increased blood circulation in the nasal passage. Follow-up addition of oils in the nasal passage help to hydrate the mucus membranes of the nasal passage. It is well known that the dryness of the nasal passage puts the persons at high risk of contracting the viruses and the moist nasal passage does not allow the pathogens (bacteria and viruses) to gain entry into the circulation, thus protecting us from getting sick.
Therefore, keeping nasal passages hydrated is key to protect from contracting infections via the nasal route. Following these two simple Ayurvedic practices and using a closely fitted face mask will help in keeping the nasal passages hydrated and would, thus, impart protection from Covid-19 infections and help us all to beat this pandemic and return to normal lives.
*Guidance for Wearing Masks, Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html
Dr. Satish Asotra, Ph. D., MBA, AHC, CAS