While the pandemic seems to be finally over, those who have been affected may still find that they are coping with the effects of COVID for a long time. According to WHO, if you have recovered from COVID-19, but some symptoms remain stubborn, that condition is known as long covid. Symptoms can be anything like shortness of breath, brain fog, fatigue, palpitations, insomnia, flatulence, acidity, irritable bowel movements, muscle weakness and mobility issues.
As a holistic treatment, Ayurveda can go a long way in building immunity and strengthening the body. Any micro-organism that enters the body causes poisoning, resulting in an imbalance of the doshas or bio-energy of one’s body. Having a weak immune system makes our body prone to infectious diseases, and Panchakarma and other Ayurveda-related remedies help combat this. Panchakarma is used as a prophylactic to prevent infectious diseases.
In the case of a patient, who has tested negative for the virus, we recommend the Panchakarma procedure to strengthen and strengthen the body for long-term wellness. However, such procedures cannot be administered immediately after recovery. To do Panchakarma, we have to wait until the body becomes strong and has a high energy level. It is better to allow the body to heal itself – and for energy levels to return to normal – for two months before cleansing procedures like Panchakarma. Similarly, when a person has had surgery or a serious illness; A gap of two or three months is recommended before undergoing Panchakarma. In the meantime, however, there are other Ayurvedic remedies that can be taken for insomnia, anxiety, stress related disorders and for boosting immunity.
The degree of prolonged COVID symptoms varies from patient to patient. So do the treatment protocol. In such cases, the physician assesses the patient’s readiness for one or several of the Panchakarma procedures.
Most of the long term covid patients we treat come to us with respiratory problems. We also have patients with gastrointestinal (GI) tract issues, cardiovascular, neurological conditions and brain and kidney problems. COVID affects the senses where some people lose their sense of smell, taste, hearing and sight for a long period. In addition to prolonged covid, we have patients who come to us with serious conditions that were caused by the strong treatments that have been taken to combat covid.
Although Panchakarma has immense health benefits, it is important that they check their energy levels before treating post-Covid patients as it involves a tedious process that depletes energy levels.
Panchakarma procedures involve detoxification of the body. This is an essential stage of treatment because these disease-causing microbes bring a lot of toxins into the body, and if they remain in the body, we cannot address the conditions that appear. The treatment begins with Snehapanam, where medicated ghee is consumed to loosen the toxins and make them easier to flush out. When it comes to prolonged Covid, patients do not have to go through all the Panchakarma routines; The doctor will prescribe a procedure specific to the disease.
For example, in some cases, cough-related lung infections, chest pain and infected pleural cavities are treated with drug-induced vomiting or vamanam. This treatment begins by preparing the body for 3-7 days through internal and external herbal medicine, body therapy and therapeutic sedatives. Then, the patient is given medicines to induce vamanam along with milk. This procedure purifies the lungs and removes phlegm-based toxins in the upper abdomen.
Similarly, purification through a treatment called virechana is recommended for gastric infections or irritable bowel syndrome. After Mool Snehanam, a medication is given, which removes excess bile through the lower GI tract, cleansing the liver and pancreas. Then medicines are given to recover.
Some people are affected by arthritis, deformed muscles, or skin lesions and in such cases, vasti or enema is prescribed. It is not colon cleansing, but the administration of medication to the colon and rectum. Its removal cures neurological disorders and other mentioned ailments.
Nasya or Nasika treatment is the main procedure for problems related to sensory organs like smell, taste, vision, hearing, and even loss of memory or brain fog. Along with nasya, additional treatments like vamanam and virechanam are given, which provide an extra layer of detoxification.
Along with Panchakarma procedures, secondary treatments or upakarmas are also given to the patients. Tarpanam for the eyes and karnapuranam for the ears are the treatments that doctors prescribe for patients who have chronic covid conditions related to these sensory organs. Remedies such as Najwara Kizhi and Pizichil also help in correcting Vata, Pitta and Kapha imbalances and help in rejuvenating the body.
Panchakarma is performed in three phases: preparation, elimination and rejuvenation. We prescribe specific diets and medications that will restore people to their most energetic selves.
Herbal medicines are also given to improve the immune system. In particular, people with respiratory tract issues benefit from these prescribed herbal medicines by improving lung capacity and removing excess accumulation of phlegm or fibroids. Similarly, these medicines are beneficial for people with GI tract problems.
Regular strengthening of the body with herbal preparations after a course of Panchakarma also helps in keeping COVID and other infectious diseases at bay. The course of the drug can last from three months to six months, and in some cases where the patient is debilitated, it is prescribed for a year.
(Both doctors practice at Kalari Rasayan and Kalari Kovilakom of CGH Earth Ayurveda)