Official Announcement from ĀYU Council
Updated March 20th 2020
Published March 18th 2020
Jessica Vellela, BAMS
The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has affected normal life around the world. Social distancing and government-mandated restrictions are increasing daily in the United States in attempts to "flatten the curve." Millions of people are wondering if they have the disease, how to manage it and most importantly, how to prevent it.
Along with the spread of the virus, there has been a dangerous spread of misinformation of claims and remedies under the name of Āyurveda. Because the practice of Āyurveda is unregulated and unlicensed in all 50 US states today, it is an easy way for anyone to spread misinformation under the veil of good intentions.
To address the needs of the professional community and the public to access reliable, accurate information about Āyurveda and COVID-19, ĀYU Council is providing these free resources on prevention and management using American Āyurveda.
This is not an exhaustive resource of Traditional Āyurvedic Medicine (TAM). The continuous practice of TAM for thousands of years has generated a vast knowledge base that requires years of dedicated, full-time, professional study to properly understand and apply. This resource is in no way intended to replace the expertise of the TAM profession.
Please check back regularly for updates.
According to the World Health Organization,
This strain is new and does not have a known vaccine or definitive medical management protocol. There is no "known cure" for COVID-19 in any system of medicine now. Many countries are testing interventions in clinical settings using Western Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Traditional Āyurvedic Medicine and other primary care systems and modalities.
Based on data from China prior to March 2020 analyzed by the WHO, the most commonly reported symptoms included
Within the patient population studied, cases were generally graded as
Early reports suggest that illness severity is associated with age (>60 years old) and co-morbid disease.
It is important to note that the highest at-risk groups are believed to be those 60 years and older with pre-existing conditions. In younger populations, cases may present with mild symptoms or be asymptomatic. These cases can quickly and easily spread the virus within their community.
Since most cases (80%) will likely experience mild symptoms, they may not require intensive medical management. These cases may be effectively supported with management at home under appropriate professional supervision. They would be most likely to benefit from proper application of American Āyurveda under direct supervision of a qualified specialist.
Because of the wide range of presentations found in the 80% of mild cases, ĀYU Council recommends that anyone seeking Āyurveda do so through an American Āyurvedic specialist. Individuals should expect to be assessed in a private consultation which will review health, medical and personal histories. Appropriate recommendations, including referrals to other specialists, can be made during the initial visit.
Confirmation of diagnosis requires accurate testing. If an individual is unable to be tested in a timely fashion, they should assume infection with COVID-19 and enact all necessary precautions, most importantly self-quarantine. General measures of home-care including proper rest, nutrition and hygiene, will be appropriate for all types of infection and self-preservation.
American Āyurveda is the specialized practice of Traditional Āyurvedic Medicine (TAM) that is customized for the people of the United States today. It is a natural extension and development of Traditional Āyurvedic Medicine (TAM) which has been practiced continuously for several thousand years primarily in India. TAM is highly customized for people of Indian ethnic origin living within the Indian subcontinent. Over the course of TAM's history, it has been adopted by foreign cultures and adapted to their needs. Unani medicine is a good example of one such system.
American Āyurveda utilizes the framework of TAM to understand the holistic nature of the human body, mind and spirit in a fully integrated, holistic structure. American Āyurveda maintains the consistency of the foundation of TAM and its extensive knowledge base of signs and symptoms to understand health, pre-disease and disease states at the individual level.
By extending this foundation, American Āyurveda adds an understanding of foods, diets, lifestyle habits and activities that are commonly employed today. These foods and activities are tested pragmatically in "real-world" scenarios that are not limited by common restrictions of conventional clinical trials.
American Āyurveda may provide valuable perspectives on the novel coronavirus and provide insights for innovative, holistic and sustainable management protocols.
Practice of American Āyurveda is not intended to replace required medical care. Always contact your medical doctor or licensed health care provider if you need medical attention.
Utilizing the framework of TAM, American Āyurveda can broadly classify COVID-19 by stage of progression (avastha) and severity (roga bala). It can also identify potential causative factors (nidāna) that may indicate the predominance of one or more doṣas in the presentation. Understanding the behavior of the individual's doṣas can provide insight and broad guidance on potential pathological development (saṃprāpti).
The following description is a theoretical proposal to describe the basic information that is presently known about COVID-19. This discussion is for educational purposes only.
Stages of progression (avastha)
1. Health (svastha)
3. Pre-disease (pūrva rūpa, sthāna saṃśraya)
4. Disease (rūpa, vyakta, bheda)
Severity (roga bala)
1. Mild (alpa bala)
2. Severe (madhyama bala)
And help stop the spread of misinformation from unreliable sources. Do not share information on social media without confirming its validity.
American Āyurveda provides the following guidelines for prevention for use in healthy individuals prior to the appearance of signs of active infection, such as fever. These guidelines are appropriate for maintenance and promotion of health in general, and should be used for educational purposes only. They should be used in addition to recommendations from reputable sources.
General personal hygiene
Oral, nasal and respiratory hygiene
General nutritional guidelines
General guidelines for activities and rest
Daily wake up routine
Daily physical conditioning, exercise and shower
Daily breakfast (8am)
Daily work or activity (9am - 12pm)
Daily lunch (11:30am - 12:30pm)
Daily work or activity (1pm - 5pm)
Daily dinner (5pm - 6pm)
Daily bedtime (8pm - 9:30pm)
At the time of this writing, there is no system of medicine that has a confirmed protocol for managing COVID-19.
Management of mild cases may be supported by American Āyurveda as a primary or complementary approach. Management should always be performed under direct supervision of a qualified professional in American Āyurveda. For high-risk cases or in cases where symptoms are more progressed, management should be done under an Āyurveda Āchārya (Āyurvedic Doctor, with BAMS qualification) or equivalent.
Improving natural immunity
Use of Āyurvedic herbs, products, formulations and medicines
Traditional Āyurvedic Medicine is replete with literature on the prevention and management of disease over a recorded period of history spanning at least 3,000 years. Prior to written records, the practice had been active for an unknown period of time.
Many topics from classical Āyurvedic literature are appropriate in the context of COVID-19. Some which may be relevant to American Āyurveda are discussed here.
Emergency management, according to Suśruta, the Father of Surgery
The Suśruta Saṃhita is the world's oldest surviving surgical text. It details dozens of surgical tools, pre-operative, operative and post-operative procedures, and complex surgeries such as intestinal repair, rhinoplasty and management of advanced sepsis.
The text instructs professional ethical behavior in emergency situations. It states:
अतिपातिषु रोगेषु नेच्छेद्विधिमिमं भिषक् |
प्रदीप्तागारवच्छीघ्रं तत्र कुर्यात् प्रतिक्रियाम् || ४१ || (सु. सू. ५।४१)
atipātiṣu rōgēṣu nēcchēdvidhimimaṁ bhiṣak |
pradīptāgāravacchīghraṁ tatra kuryāt pratikriyām ||41|| (Su. Sū. 5/41)
During an emergency, the physician (or surgeon) is not required to adhere to routine protocols. Instead, they should respond as if their own house is on fire.
This instruction intends to convey the need to respond quickly in an emergency. In the US, increase in the number of active cases will strain the health care system. It is possible that everyone who needs certain levels of care may not have access when required.
This global pandemic has the potential to become a major emergency for all health care professionals and people. It is a once in a multi-generational event. Everyone should take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease very seriously. Our actions today will have recognizable effects in the coming weeks and months.