If an intruder tries to enter into one’s house, he is pushed out forcefully using muscle power. Immunity is similar; the germs (bacteria or virus) that cause disease are like invaders and immunity is the power in our body cells to fight out and throw out these disease causing germs or the pathogens. Our body functions are systematically distributed among different cells and organs, and the IMMUNE System should be functioning properly so that we stay healthy and free from diseases. No matter how well all the organs may be functioning, but if the body cells do not provide protection against pathogens, then an infected organ will cease to perform which can be even lethal. We all have seen it happening to people during Covid-19 pandemic, the lungs in this case get badly
infected!! It is time now that we humans must realise how important immunity is and that we have to concenter towards the immunity level boosted, as there seems to be a struggle for survival and it is always ‘survival of the fittest’ as per laws of nature.
We are all born with a certain level of natural immunity, which is the ‘innate immunity’. Then we are further blessed with immunity in another form, i.e. the passive immunity which is transferred from a mother to her new born through mother’s milk. This is the reason why mother’s milk is recommended by doctors for six months as it boosts the infant’s immune system and keeps the baby safe from illness. But there are germs all around, in the environment, which keep us attacking life long, and therefore we acquire artificial immunity by means of vaccines against specific diseases for defense.
How does a vaccine work, is an interesting mechanism. The white blood cells (WBC) in the blood are actually the fighter cells that protect us against disease germs, just like the soldiers on the border fighting our enemies. Now, the soldiers posted at the border are pre trained for the war, only then they can handle it. Similarly, the fighter cells in the blood also
the invaders get in. A diluted or de energized pathogen stream which is made to enter into our body. The strength of the germs in a vaccine scaled down very low, so that it won’t be able to harm us. Meanwhile, one type of WBC termed as ‘phagocytes’ kill these germs after identifying the antigens (foreign body), whereas the ‘lymphocytes’ which is another
require pre training, to be able to identify the pathogens in the first place, then tag them and finally get them killed. I addition, they also make up for any little bit damage done already to the body before finally the germs have been removed. There are specific cells doing their job for the purpose, and vaccines are sort-of training dozes for the body cells in order to prepare them to keep ready before group of cells in the body, store a memory of identifying same cells if they enter again anytime after that. To simplify it, I will say that the fighter cells in the human body are not just trained after that, but become equipped as well with ready antibodies. Antibodies get attached to the surface of these germs, thus labeling them to be caught by the phagocytes among other healthy cells of the body. The killer cells or the T-cells, which is another group, can now spot these germs and finish them off, thus saving any damage to the human body.
Antibodies also function to neutralize any left- over toxins by the disease causing germs before they got eliminated. So this is the disease fighting mechanism after acquiring immunity with vaccines. It was the brilliant thinking of Sir Edward Jenner, who first invented vaccine against the dreadful small pox disease. He had observed that some women who used to milk cows had developed cowpox on their hands and surprisingly these women got saved from killer disease of small pox those days, while the others suffered. He then concluded that if cow pox germs were injected into people, their body will develop antibodies to fight the small pox germs and this that they will stay safe. I had learnt from my teacher that initially people opposed him till they finally understood that it would save them. I sometimes wonder, what is more difficult for a genius, is it to discover or invent something beneficial for the humanity? Or, it is to convince them that it is meant for their good and well being only and they should get over narrow minded resistance to a change. I personally think it becomes a double task and the latter part is more tedious. Even today as we are waiting desperately for the vaccines against Covid-19 to roll out, we must be grateful to Sir Edward Jenner, as many other killer dissuades are countered using his idea of vaccination.
Talking about our innate immunity with which we are all equipped right from birth, we have to remember that it is supplemented with the passive immunity of mother’s milk. So we have to keep boosting up our innate immunity in order to stay healthy and disease free. This requires certain discipline of food habits and lifestyle, keeping in minds the very crucial immunity concerns. Nature has provided us with many immunity boosters and we must incorporate these in our daily meals. These immunity boosting spices are ginger, garlic, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves. Adding these spices to food not only adds aroma but also improves our natural immunity. Many immunity booster drinks can be prepared using basil leaves, and even tea, specially herbal tea containing Guduchi is an immunity booster, specially lemon tea rich in vitamin C. In fact Vitamin D is indispensible for maintaining the immunity level and therefore it is advised to stay out in the sunlight for around fifteen minutes every day, either during morning or in the evening hours before sunset. Vitamin D deficiency directly affects our immunity level, we have to be cautious to take supplements as per doctor’s advice in case we are not getting sufficient sunlight dosage in the day to day hectic schedule. Certain immunity booster foods that I can think of are drumsticks and Indian gooseberry (amla), and then there are many herbs for which an Ayurveda expert can be consulted. Also, exercise and yoga aid in improving immunity as the oxygen supply enriches our cells and makes them strong. It also helps in proper blood flow which again is very good for immunity and the body.
Finally, the points to ponder for immunity concerns are;
1) Immunity is not visible, but its effects are. Do keep in mind that it is important to be disease free for a happy life, and therefore immunity counts.
2) It is good to take Amla preparations and include drumsticks in your food.
3) Lime tea or herbal tea once or twice a day.
4) Do not forget your daily dosage of sunlight.
5) A refreshing tea of turmeric with basil leaves, ginger and lemon is good in the evening.
6) We should include these spices in your food: Black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, turmeric and bay leaves. You can also take these as Masala tea.
7) Breathe-in fresh air and exercise daily.
8) Taking stress will lower down immunity level. De-stress yourself by spending time with your loved ones or your pet, or by watching TV, reading motivational books etc.
Stay Healthy & Keep smiling !
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Editor-in-Chief SquarePetals Global Webzine
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