Autoimmune Dysfunction—An Ayurvedic View


The concept of immunity according to Ayurveda involves four factors of physiology: Ama (toxicity), agni ( the digestive capacity), dosha (the balance of physiology), ojas (the physical principle of immunity equivalent to T-cells, natural killer cells, phagocytes, macrophages, eosinophils, basophils, leukocytes, etc,). When these factors are healthy and balanced then the person is strong, happy, and long living. Ama that chronically resides in the cell membrane gives rise to an attack on it from the body’s immune system and this is autoimmune dysfunction. The body attacks itself. Important sources contributing to disturbances of these factors are given below:

·        Etiological Factors Contributing to Ama Formation

1.      Presence of Xenobiotics—petrochemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, etc. that enter the body from the food chain

2.      Recreational drugs

3.      Medicinal drugs—steroids, antibiotics

4.      Unsuitable food combining

5.      Poor diet—includes leftovers, processed foods, animal products (hormones / steroids, etc)

6.      Excessive use of food supplements

7.      Weak digestion

8.      Anaerobic metabolism from over exercise and poor oxygenation

9.      Poor elimination of wastes—cellular, tissues/organs, mind

10.  Suppression of urges

11.  Mercury amalgam fillings

12.  Chlorine, Fluorine

13.  Miscellaneous environmental pollution

14.  Parasites


·        Etiological Factors Contributing to Disturbed Digestion--Agni

1.      Chronic overeating or eating of heavy foods—leftovers, ice cream, fried fatty foods

2.      Presence of ama in the GI tract

3.      Chronic imbalanced physiology

4.      Stress --Worry, fear, anxiety, anger etc.

5.      Excessive fasting

6.      Stimulants—alcohol, tobacco, caffeine

7.      Carbonated beverages

8.      Cold food or drink

9.      Disturbed sleep

10.  Climate

11.  Parasites

12.  Genetic weakness

13.  Congenital defect

14.  Serious illness—acute or chronic

15.  Trauma--mental, emotional, physical


·        Etiological Factors Contributing to Imbalanced physiology—Dosha

1.      Mistakes of intellection

2.      Mistakes of time—right thing done wrong time

3.      Excessive, non, perverted use of senses

4.      Ama

5.      Poor digestion

6.      Wrong diet

7.      Climate

8.      Lifestyle

9.      Poor elimination

10.  Emotions

11.  Genetic and congenital factors

12.  Chronic experience of anything

13.  Trauma

14.  Past life karma

15.  Wrong use or non-use of directional factors

16.  Environmental influences (sound, electricity, smoke, dust, etc.)

17.  Spirit possession


·        Etiological Factors Contributing to Disturbed Ojas

1.      Poor digestion

2.      High ama

3.      Excessive activity—exercise, work, play

4.      Depleting exposure to wind, sun, heat, etc.

5.      Frequent sexual gratification—masturbation, intercourse, etc.

6.      Chaotic lifestyle—means irregular

7.      Serious illness—chronic or acute, past or present

8.      Emotional stress and worry etc,

9.      Tissue loss (giving blood too frequently, excessive sweating, spitting, urination, etc.)

10.  Trauma

11.  Nutritional deficiency/diet




The Healthy Lifestyle—Autoimmune Dysfunction Continued


Factors eliminating or preventing Ama:

1.      Avoid causative factors

2.      Take cleansing herbs such as triphala

3.      Exercise daily if only a walk and until only slight fatigue, breathlessness, chest tightness, perspiration

4.      Do yoga asanas, pranayama, and meditation

5.      Consider light fasting one day per week

6.      Consider a mono-diet—meals of one taste or food such as rice, fruit, milk, etc.

7.      Never suppress urges

8.      Get adequate rest

9.      Be self-referral--Live in the now

10.  Panchakarma for seasonal cleansing (as recommended)

11.  Use behavioral rasayanas



Factors building or protecting Agni (digestion):

1.      Avoid causative factors

2.      Eat with self-referral

3.      Eat light meals—quantity and quality

4.      Never eat or drink cold foods

5.      Avoid leftover, stale, frozen foods

6.      Take digestive foods and herbs (as recommended)

7.      Balance VPK

8.      Get adequate rest

9.      Exercise daily--if only a walk

10.  Be self-referral--Live in the now


Factors balancing the Doshas (physiology):

1.      Avoid causative factors

2.      Be self-referral—live in the now

3.      Employ balancing lifestyle, diet, exercise, etc.

4.      Do yoga asanas, pranayama, and meditation regularly

5.      Get proper balance of rest and activity

6.      Do seasonal Panchakarma (or as recommended)

7.      Do behavioral rasayanas


Factors protecting and building Ojas:

1.      Avoid depleting factors

2.      Be self-referral

3.      Take foods that build ojas—such as honey, milk, ghee ( as recommended)

4.      Take food supplements that build ojas—rasayanas (as recommended)


ABOUT THE EMOTIONS: All negative emotions produce toxicity and defective physiology so it’s imperative that we are happy with our selves and with others. Let go of past regrets, anger, and disappointments. No one is a victim. Don’t be pre-occupied with anxiety, fear, or worry of the future. Live in the now. The present dictates the direction of future outcomes. Discover how laughter and happiness are the best protection and cure.


ABOUT THE MIND: Attachment and desire are the two most important factors debilitating mental function. Judgment, criticism, aggressiveness, competitiveness, and control are all factors involved. What we believe gives direction to our being so right knowledge is important. Mental clarity brings about thoughts, speech, and actions which are always nourishing and supporting.


ABOUT THE BODY: Regular cleansing, balancing vata, pitta, and kapha, protecting agni, taking rejuvenatives, and living in the now are all important. The body is your vehicle for Self-realization, health and happiness.


ABOUT THE SPIRIT: Be in the now and learn directly about you spiritual nature by meditating regularly. When you experience your Divine Nature then you become familiar with it and identify with it. Attend religious services and read the sacred scriptures of several traditions.

(C) Copyright 2000 Michael Dick All Rights Reserved