ALCOHOL AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

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In this pandemic, a question that is often asked is “how can I boost my immunity naturally?” There are many ways one can support the immune system to work optimally. Often we try to integrate many new routines or foods. There is value in considering existing habits and how those impact our immune system. Alcohol consumption is one of those habits which can have a direct negative impact on the balance of the Immune System 

In fact, excess or wrong consumption of alcohol depletes our immune system (what we call ojas in Ayurveda). I really do not mean to be a party pooper here, but we need to face reality and understand the facts and the all so important link between alcohol and our phsyical and mental health.

How does alcohol weaken the immune system ?

⚠️According to Ayurveda, alcohol has the exact opposite qualities to immunity. What this means is that immunity has certain qualities within the body to fulfil its purpose. It is nourished by consumption of those same qualities and depleted by consumption of the opposite qualities. Alcohol, like any other substances has a set of qualities which happen to be the exact opposite of immunity. Which means that when consumed it will deplete immunity.

 

💚 The qualities or nature of Immunity are : heavy, cold, soft, gentle, dense, sweet, static, pleasant, alkaline, oily.

❌ The qualities or nature of Alcohol’s is :Light, hot, sharp, subtle, astringent, dry, penetrating, rough, spreading, acidic.

That means that anything we consume – and by consumed we mean anything that comes into contact with our 5 senses – that has similar qualities to immunity will boost and nourish it. Anything with opposite qualities will destroy it.

 

The process of intoxication and immune system depletion

Why does one drink alcohol? Generally the need to drink, may indicate an undernourished mental or physical capability.

There are several stages of alcohol intoxication :

  1. At first alcohol stimulates the immune system (ojas) inducing a feeling of happiness and satisfaction. We all know that pleasant feeling. It also stimulates our sublte bodily energies (doshas) by making us feel stronger, courageous, in control, energetical, love and connection. Unfortunately these effects do not last.
  2. In stage 2 when one continues to drink, the toxic (opposite) qualities of alcohol take over. They cause loss of intelligence, memory, speech, restlessness or sleepiness etc…
  3. The next level of intoxication comes when the fire qualities of our body & mind (pitta/rajas – in ayurveda) are aggravated. This results into anger, aggressivity and erratic behaviours.
  4. The next and final stage is when a person cannot stand and looses balance. Their speech and mental faculties no longer funtion correctly. This is caused by an increase in the earth element (kapha/tamas) responsible for inertia, darkness of the mind, physical and mental blockages.

Most importantly when a person has these qualities increased, mental disorders can manifest which interfers with sattwa or that which brings clarity, wisdom, self love, compassion, purity and decision making capability.

And when we cannot make the right choices for ourselves, then we put ourselves at risk of consuming hte wrong foods and not taking care of our health and immunity.

Many are the symptoms and diseases that result from alcoholism (there also exist remedies) – these will be discussed in another article.

Does this mean I should eliminate alcohol entirely ?

The time, frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption must be carefully examined and adjusted by each one of us individually if we wish to keep healthy.

Each body reacts differently. How much is enough? When is the right time? What type of alcohol is suitable? All depends on our individual constitution (find our more about this here).

Of course, alcohol is not the only cause of imbalance or weakening of the immune system. However, if we keep adding so immunity “super foods” to our diet whilst maintaining excessive or wrong alcohol consumption then our efforts will be vain.

We need to be honest with ourselves and willing to put effort into our health.

 

Are they any benefits to alcohol then ?

In Ayurveda every substance can be a medicine or a poison. That is also true for alcohol.

When consumed in the right quantity, at the right time, in appropriate conditions (joy/love/peace/celebration vs. depression/anger/sadness), is of right quality, according to one’s constitution, season and strength, then alcohol can act as a medicine.

More specifically it can :

  • Promote digestion,
  • encourage expression of emotions,
  • eliminate fear, sadness, anxiety,
  • induces sleep,
  • increases libido,
  • promote rejuvenation.

 

For guidance on your constitution and appropriate consumption, please consult a qualified practitioner.

 

So let’s consume responsibly and let experience be our individual doctor!

 

Elena
Natural Health Practitioner

 

Need some help to boost your immune system ? Join us on zoom – IMMUNITY BOOST WORKSHOP – Sat. 4.12 9.30Paris/10.30Athens

 

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