The concept of immunity, Vyadhi Ksamatva or Bala, as it is known in Ayurveda is a fascinating and vast subject. The body’s resistance is of tremendous importance in the daily welfare of living beings; for prevention and rapid recovery from diseases, immunity plays a key role.

It can be ...The concept of immunity, Vyadhi Ksamatva or Bala, as it is known in Ayurveda is a fascinating and vast subject. The body’s resistance is of tremendous importance in the daily welfare of living beings; for prevention and rapid recovery from diseases, immunity plays a key role.

It can be observed that among a group of people exposed to a given disease, only some will be afflicted, while others are left without any effect. This phenomenon itself illustrates two important points -- that the pathogenic factors require some essential favorable conditions to flourish and that the individual is susceptible to the disease. In the absence of such conditions, an individual’s immunity or resistance can eradicate the disease, preserving and maintaining a balanced condition. This concept is akin to the principle explained in ancient Vedic literature: Manusmruti, Mahabharata and Panchatantra all explained that the seed sown in non-fertile soil will be destroyed, just as fire thrown in a fuel-less or air-less place subsides.

In Ayurveda, Ojas has been considered vital in the defense mechanism of the body. In conditions like diabetes mellitus and malnutrition, where loss of Ojas is a constant feature, people are known to be susceptible to various other interrelated and degenerative diseases or recurrent infections.

As a general rule, those who indulge in an irregular routine and eat unwholesome food tend to suffer ill health. Conversely, those who maintain a regular, healthy routine and take wholesome food generally maintain good health. However, it can be observed that some people can tolerate and overcome disease even after indulging in irregular routine and unwholesome food, managing to live healthily and happily. It can also be noted that though some people follow a regular routine and eat wholesome food, they are still susceptible to disease and suffer ill health. These are unanswered questions that are worthy of investigation and analysis.

Ayurveda offers multi-faceted and profound explanations for this phenomenon. Intake of wholesome food and a regular routine alone are not enough to prevent disease. Additional factors such as mistaken intellect, constitution, moral conduct, karma and unsuitable contact of sensory perceptions like sound, touch, vision, taste and smell are also responsible for the onset of disease. Due to these factors, diseases manifest as mild or severe, acute or chronic, easily curable or difficult to cure/incurable.

Types of immunity in Ayurveda:
Bala or immunity can be classified into 3 types:

1. Sahaja: Congenital or Natural
2. Kalaja: Time, Season, Age
3. Yuktikruta: Acquired

Sahaja Bala comes from the parents and is inherited. Today in our modern society, many children have allergies to various foods and substances, and appear to be less strong than their parents. These inherited qualities come from their ancestors. According to Ayurveda’s theory on genetics, genetic factors are defined at the cellular level. The entire cell is referred to as beeja; beeja bhaga is the nucleus, and avayava are the chromosomes. If two parents’ genetic makeup is healthy, the same health is seen in the children, whereas if their genetic makeup includes susceptibility to certain diseases, those diseases will be carried over into the next generation. The effect will be at the cellular, nuclear or chromosomal level. As this immunity is inherited, there is not much one can do except to avert the defects through various modalities of Ayurveda.

According to Kalaja Bala, the time of day, season, and one’s age are important factors for enhancing immunity: strength is greater in the early morning, spring, and youth than in evening, summer and old age. Kalaja Bala is inclusive of one’s time, day of the week and place of birth and their impact, marked or subtle, on immunity. Certain places have stronger and healthier climatic and environmental conditions. For example, places with an abundance of water, ponds, cool and pleasant climatic conditions are kapha-dominating areas and contribute to stronger immunity.

Yuktikruta Bala represents acquired immunity, in which disease can be defended against through Ayurveda. Ayurveda focuses on three plans for acquiring or enhancing immunity:

 Rasayana is health promoting and rejuvenates the whole physiology, producing resistance against disease both physically and mentally. If a person has a strong mind, even serious diseases can be faced by the physiology as minor diseases.

 Vyayama is exercise. Daily exercise of up to 50% of one’s exertion capacity enhances digestion, strengthens tissue metabolism and promotes immunity.

 Satmya is suitability. Adapting to wholesome substances and giving up unwholesome substances, to which the physiology has been addicted since birth, also promotes immunity. The classifications of Satmya are:

a. Universally Beneficial: Certain herbs, foods and behavior are beneficial for everyone, regardless of constitution, location, season or condition. Examples include water, rice, sleeping at night and moderate exercise.
b. Universally Harmful: Certain substances are considered harmful to everyone, including fire, alkalis, toxins, poison, mixing milk with sour foods, mixing milk and salt, honey and radish, honey and ghee mixed together in equal proportions, honey heated beyond 108° Fahrenheit.
c. Beneficial or Harmful: Some foods and exercises are good for one particular constitution but may be harmful for another. For example, ghee is good for Vata and Pitta constitution, but not for Kapha. In this classification of Satmya, foods should be administered in relation to individual constitution, season, location, food habits and health.

Additional factors which influence immunity in the body:

 Uterine health of mother: A healthy uterus for a baby’s growth can be likened to fertile and nourishing soil for a seed.

 Nutrition after birth: Wholesome, adequate and timely nutrition in infancy plays an important role in developing immunity.

 Constitution: Generally, Kapha constitution people have stronger immunity than Pitta and Vata constitutions.

 Mind: A strong mind oriented toward positive thinking increases one’s Ojas and therefore is a major factor in one’s immunity.

 Karma: In cases where an individual has a strong and healthy constitution, healthy genetic makeup, and lives in accordance with nature through intake of wholesome foods and regular routine, yet still succumbs to a severe illness, subtle karmic factors may reveal themselves as having a prominent impact on immunity.

 Meditation for spiritual growth: Meditation is continuous thought on one subject. Orienting the mind towards spirituality naturally brings about greater self-awareness and positive thinking, thereby enhancing mental strength and overall immunity.

The following formulations enhance immunity:

 Honey + ghee in unequal quantities
 Water + milk + ghee
 Water + honey + ghee
 Water + honey + ghee + milk
 Water + milk
 Water + honey
 Water + ghee
 Milk + honey
 Milk + ghee
 Milk + honey + ghee
 Pure milk
 Pure honey
 Pure ghee
 Pure water
 Triphala with honey

It is worthwhile for all systems of medicine to focus on encouraging individuals to increase their immunity through natural means. Favor nature and nature will support you!


 Essentials of Ayurveda by Dr. L.P. Gupta, B. Sc., A. B. M. S., Ph. D. (Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan, Delhi, 1996)

 Concept of Ayurveda For Perfect Health and Longevity by Vaidya H. S. Kasture

Disclaimer: The sole purpose of this article is to provide accurate information about Ayurvedic theories. This information is not intended for use in the prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concerns, please consult your family physician or health care provider who can fully assess your individual needs and provide the care you require. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us via e-mail to or visit our website at: or contact by phone: 610.99.9403.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Shekhar Annambhotla studied eight-year course of study in Ayurvedic Medicine in India. He is the Founder and Director of Ojas Ayurveda & Yoga Institute, Inc. located in beautiful Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. With over 20 years of education and experience practicing and teaching Ayurveda.