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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 138-142

Ayurveda and psychosocial impact of COVID-19

1 Department of Panchakarma, UAU Gurukul Campus, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India
2 Professor and Head, Department of Panchakarma, UAU Gurukul Campus, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India
3 Assistant Professor, Department of Agad Tantra, UAU Gurukul Campus, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, India

Date of Submission13-Aug-2020
Date of Decision10-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance20-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication28-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Tanuja Mehta
Department of Panchakarma, Uttarakhand Ayurveda University, Gurukul Campus, Haridwar, Uttarakhand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/joa.joa_224_20

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Objective: SARS COV-2 is an infectious kind of communicable disease. Where epidemiological triad is formed by environment, agent and host. Along with medical and preventive actions psychosocial intervention for people affected by COVID 19 is equally necessary. Our motive is to find out the role of Ayurveda in managing the psychosocial impact of COVID 19 pandemic. Data Source: For Ayurvedic and modern concepts references have been taken from textbooks, various websites, electronic media and articles. Review Method: Systematic review PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items For Systematic Reviews and Meta Analyses). Result: Rasayana therapy, Panchakarama procedures, Sadvrit Palan (code of right conducts) and Aachara Rasyana mentioned in Ayurveda can help to manage psychosocial impact of covid 19. Conclusion: Thus, Ayurveda proved to be beneficial in promoting various effective strategies in managing mental and social health in COVID 19.

Keywords: Achara Rasayana, Aupasargik Rogas, Janapadodhwamsa, Panchakarma, Rasayana, Sadvrit Palan

How to cite this article:
Mehta T, Sharma UK, Mittal B. Ayurveda and psychosocial impact of COVID-19. J Ayurveda 2020;14:138-42

How to cite this URL:
Mehta T, Sharma UK, Mittal B. Ayurveda and psychosocial impact of COVID-19. J Ayurveda [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 19];14:138-42. Available from: http://www.journayu.in/text.asp?2020/14/4/138/304907

  Introduction Top

A contagious or infectious communicable disease is of two types where the former spreads by direct contact, whereas the latter by various physical, chemical, and biological pathways. COVID-19 is also a kind of contagious communicable disease having a viral origin. Which has achieved the status of pandemic and declared as national and international concern public health emergency.[1] Coronavirus is a large family of virus affecting the upper respiratory tract causing clinical symptoms from mild to severe. The initial symptoms of COVID-19 virus infection were found to be cough, sore throat, and fatigue, which could lead to fever, diarrhea, and malaise among others; the initial epicenter of the present pandemic was Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, China, in December 2019, and transmission mode considered was droplet which recently shifted to the airborne state.[2]

Due to human to human transmission, there is an exponential rise of number of cases observed; to prevent this, various preventive measures as social distancing, quarantine, and isolation methods were taken which proved effective when appropriate pharmacological technique and experiments did not cure as much. Lockdown is an emergency protocol which basically means preventing people from moving one place to another. The strategy of social distancing to tackle the increasing spread of highly infectious COVID-19 viruses, but at the same time, it also has some degree of psychological impact on people. It has been reported that quarantine and isolation in the context of pandemic is found to be associated with many mental health disturbances which ranges from anxiety, fear, depressive symptoms, sense of loneliness, sleep disturbance, anger etc.[3]

Coronavirus is rapidly sweeping over the world which is weighing degree of fear, worry, and concern in the population at large. Certain age group are particularly effected by these mental disturbances like children, older people. older people, people having underlying illness and care provider. The WHO has issued guidelines for managing COVID for both biomedical and psychological point of view.[4]

  Psychological Impact of COVID on High-Risk Groups-Children Top

For children, school is not only an educational hub but also a home outside the home with plentiful of free space. School play an edifying role in promoting importance of personal hygiene, physical activity, healthy foods and body habits. If schools have closed as part of necessary measures, then children may no longer have that sense of structure and stimulation that is provided by that environment, and now they have less opportunity to be with their friends and get that social support that is essential for good mental well-being.[5] Childhood obesity and reduced cardiorespiratory fitness will be the end result of this long-term physical inactivity, irregular sleep pattern, unfavorable diet plans, sedentary lifestyle, and longer smartphone/television screen time that are being practiced during lockdown and school closure.[6] Children are likely to experience anger, worry, anxiety, and fear, which is almost similar to those experienced by adults, such as a fear of dying, a fear of their relatives dying, or a fear of what it means to receive medical treatment.

Elderly and vulnerable group with certain health conditions

There is a large part of the world's population which could require more care and timely medical assistance for their livelihood and this age group of “elderly people (with age 50 years and greater)” could have more chances of infection due to COVID-19 and became the major part of total death cases of worldwide infected cases.

Like elderly people, another vulnerable group is of people having underlying health condition and to be told them to this vulnerability makes them extremely frightening and fear inducing. This distress is more difficult for those older people who are experiencing cognition decline like dementia, which is already socially isolated, experiencing loneliness which can further worsen their mental health.

Health workers

They are coping first with the psychological suffering of loss of their life that arises from the disease itself and second from the fear of coming in contact with their closed one and making them susceptible for the disease.

  Psychological Impact Causing Changes in Behaviour Top

Preventive measure as quarantine affects the daily routine activity of people which elevates their rate of stress and anxiety, persons already have underlying mental health conditions, loneliness liable them to use the harmful alcohol, and in some cases, even self-harm and suicidal behavior are observed.

  Social Impact of COVID-19 Top

In addition to health consideration, there are many other problems also caused by pandemics like economic fallout, which is threatening to the jobs, savings, and investment which takes many years to pile up. Lockdown pushes the world in the edge of a financial depression which is a matter of great concern for everyone, and this results in fear, anxiety, worry, agitation, and unrest in the psyche itself.

  Role of Media in COVID-19 Top

Due to lack of any effective pharmaceutical aid, the only measure available to combat COVID-19 is quarantine and social distancing. To create awareness in the people for following the quarantine rules and reducing the fear among people, media is manifesting an essential role by supporting public health measures.[7]

For successful public health intervention, effective communication between citizens and the public health authorities is important; here, media plays a crucial role in transmitting updated policies and regulations from authorities to people.[8]

  Influence of Media on COVID-19 Top

Since the announcement of COVID-19 as a pandemic, the media is flooded with massive amount of information since the information is directed to educate the people about the new virus, whose management is yet to be known. As the virus is new and there is not enough research on it, misinformation may have been transmitted by some unreliable sources of media which are leading to create diverse psychological effects among people such as anxiety, rage, and sadness; furthermore, this misapprehension or rumors significantly hamper the communication response and escalating panic among the people under the influence of this fearful environment infected people becomes unexpressed to the health worker and authorities.

Hence, this COVID-19 possesses a contagious illness which causes psychological and social huge impact on people.

  Discussion Top

Ayurveda is an Indian system of medicines which states health as a dynamic harmony of body, mind, soul, and the world, which is unique to every individual, dependent on the world to which he/she lives. Two types of disease classification occur in Ayurveda. Asadharana – diseases caused by unique individual predispositions, lifestyles, diets, and histories and Sadharana – diseases that transcend individual susceptibilities and affect large populations of people. This is called Janapadodhwamsa.[9]

This COVID 19 pandemic can be corelated with the concept of Janapdodhwamsa mentioned in Charak Samhita. The causes of Janapadodhwamsa are further classified into two – (a) those that occur due to natural causes and (b) those that occur due to man-made causes. Both of these may further be classified into four – This COVID 19 pandemic can be corelated with the concept of Janapdodhwamsa mentioned in Charak Samhita. The causes of Janapdodhwamsa are mainly classified into four main types-vitiation of land, air, water, and climate, which are responsible for the incidence of epidemics and pandemics, and transcend demographic dynamics Acharya Charaka mentioned that Pradnyaparadh is the main factor which is responsible to do Adhrama by an individual,[10] i.e., not following the duty to the community, also Pradnyaparadh itself led person not to follows Dinacharya (daily regimen) and Ritucharya (seasonal regimen) which further hampered the immunity of an individual.

  Transmission of Infectious Diseases Top

Acharya Sushruta mentioned Aupasargik Rogas in Kushtha Nidan and describes in detail modes of spread of infectious diseases. He includes:

  1. Frequent contact with an infected person
  2. Physical contact
  3. Respiratory droplets
  4. Sharing food
  5. Proximity
  6. Sharing common items such as blankets and combs
  7. And exchange of body fluids.[11]

  Ayurvedic Management of Infectious Diseases Top

Some diseases are incurable if Arishta lakshana (fatal signs) are present, whereas others even without such signs are incurable because of certain Purva janma kritam Karma fatal past deeds. Ayurveda emphasizes on the treatment of Sadhyavyadhis who does not show the fatal sign[12] Acharya Charaka elaborates a threefold strategy for the management of pathogenic organisms and in psychosocial level, the effective management of Janapadodhwamsa, (communicable diseases) is described which is as follows.


Treatment which helps to remove the pathogenic organism from the body. It includes use of medication like Medhya Rasayan and Krimighana Dravyas and various suitable therapies of Panchakarma.

Medhya Rasayan and Krimighna Dravyas – there are many Ayurvedic herbs for the mind (Medhya Rasayanas) that help to counter fear such as Brahmi, Mandukparni, Jatamansi, Shankhapushpi, Amla, Ashwagandha, and calamus for increasing circulation in the nervous system, opening the channels, calming the mind, and countering the Vata Dosha behind fear. A regular nutritive Vata-reducing diet is also helpful to support these herbs. Krimighna Dravyas help to destroy pathogenic organism. Acharya Sushruta advocated fumigation with specific herbs and resins to prevent the colonization of harmful pathogens; these include Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Guggulu (Commiphora mukul), Sarshapa (Brassica campestris), etc. These fumigants have now been shown to have microbicidal activity.[13]

  Prakriti Vighata Top

In this medical approach drugs which helps to hamper the growth of microbes are used. Drugs such as katu, kashaya, tikta, kshrayia, and ushna properties may be utilized in Prakriti Vighata; these drugs help to decrease Kapha and Malas, thus preventing microbial lodge and growth.

  Nidana Parivarjana Top

It is the complete avoidance of disease-causing factor in diet and lifestyle of the patient.

  Role of Sadvrit Palan (Code of Right Conduct) in Prevention of Communicable Disease Top

Regimen which are health promoting in aspects of general hygiene, food consumption, sexual intercourse and on the aspect of various code of conducts this regimen helps to prevents the various direct and indirect transmission way of communicable diseases to the human. Thus, Sadvritta defines as Sad means good and Vritta means regimen.[14]

Sadvritta is applicable in controlling the spread of communicable disease by three ways.

By controlling the accumulation of source of infection:[15]

  • Person should not urinate on road, in crowded place and while taking food. One should not let out mucous nasal excreta at the time other than cleaning of face or bath.
  • Person should keep far away from other persons to prevent inhalation of expired air from them.
  • One should avoid bones, thorns, impure piercing articles, hairs, chaff, and garbage etc.
  • One should not eat in unclean utensil, nor eat dirty meal served by the unclean opponents and also in improper place where garbage accumulated on streets, near water sources, public places like hospitals, parks, schools etc. And in crowded surroundings, nor should have stale things.
  • One should bath twice a day, cutting of hairs & shaving, one should always wear clean clothes and nor put on the same clothes after bath.
  • One should wear auspicious herbs and gems on hand.

By interspersing the route of disease:

  • Should not yawn, sneeze, and laugh without covering the mouth. And also, person should keep far away from other persons to prevent inhalation of expired air from them.
  • One should not eat in unclean utensil, nor eat dirty meal served by the unclean opponents.
  • One should not have garlands used by another person before.
  • One should not eat without washing hands, feet & face, with unclean mouth, having unclean attendants.
  • Person should not scrap the earth, pluck the grass or weeds and nor should come in contact with mud or grind the mud lump.

  By Immunizing the Host Top

The spread of communicable disease is controlled mainly by improving the immunity of individual Sadvritta works more widely and effectively by a procedure called as Achara Rasayana which gives all qualities of Rasayana at the physical, social, and mental levels than immunization of the host which is done only at the physical level.

These codes are very important in the prevention of disease and promotion of health in COVID-19.

  Achara Rasayana (Behavioral Therapy) Top

Acharya Charaka described Achara Rasayana which means to acquire Rasayana effect through social and personal conducts. Researches state that Achara Rasayana will reduce the stress and thus prevent the release of free radicals and improve the psychoneuroimmunity.[16] The behavioral conducts or moral or mental hygiene are the effective preventive principles for the psychological disorders.

Achara Rasayana may act as a Rasayana in three dimensions.[17]

  In Improving the Personality Top

It includes behavior of person like:

  • Always speak truth should be free from anger
  • Should not indulge in taking alcohol and excessive sexual intercourse should avoid overstrain
  • Always keep the mental balance in any situation. Do not lose your temper. Be calm and peaceful mind
  • Always speak sweet words. Sweet words always calm and quite one's mind. It is a mental sedative
  • Do not allow energies to be wasted in useless activities
  • Always maintain cleanliness
  • Devote yourself to god and see god in other people
  • Should have balanced state in walking and having sound sleep; should take food daily along with milk and ghee
  • Sleep as long as the body requires it for the maintenance of health
  • Always try to extricate yourself out of a fix, instead of giving it up as hopeless
  • Concentrate your mind on the nature of the soul and its relation to that of the universe
  • Always act as prescribed for you in your scriptures
  • Continually study new sciences, advances, research, and philosophies and utilize them for the benefit of all human beings
  • Be courageous and do not lose patience in any situation.

  In Improving the Social Relationship Top

It includes social behaviour always follow the ways of the people who believe god:

  • Respect and serve the people who have conquered their senses
  • Should not hurt anyone mentally, physically, and even by action
  • Always remember the creature of the universe (God)
  • Speak with others kindly with a smiling face and gentle behavior
  • Respect your teachers, priests, elders, Gurus, and all nonwild animals
  • Always take care of other feelings and behave accordingly
  • Heartily love the poor and dependents
  • Be kind and sympathetic to all creatures. As love and kindness are mental food, we can nourish the minds of others by such behavior
  • Always give something to others
  • Do all good things in society and avoid bad things
  • Do not criticize or show cruelty to others
  • Know properly the nature of the place you live in and understand the trend of the times you are pass.

  In Improving the Physical Health Top

It includes:

  • Satvik Ahar and Vihar
  • Daily consumption of ghee and milk and having proper sleep
  • Not awakening at night unnecessarily.

Hence it is need to follow Achara Rasayana and adoption of various therapies mentioned in ayurvedic text to get a result even in this epidemic of COVID 19 to save lives of individuals.

  Conclusion Top

Ayurveda in detail enumerates epidemics, infections, their modes of transmission, and tools for management by keeping in mind the person center holistic approach; hence, it is necessary to evaluate the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of Ayurveda and find effective integrative approaches to its management.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

WHO Director-General's Opening Remarks at the Media Briefing on COVID-19; 11 March, 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19. [Last accessed on 2020 Mar 11].  Back to cited text no. 1
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report–66 (2020) World Health Organization. Available from: https://www.Who.Int/Docs/Default-Source/Coronaviruse/Situation-Reports/20200326-Sitrep-66-Covid-19.Pdf?Sfvrsn=9e5b8b48_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 15].  Back to cited text no. 2
Reynolds DL, Garay JR, Deamond SL, Moran MK, Gold W, Styra R. Understanding, compliance and psychological impact of the SARS quarantine experience. Epidemiol Infect 2008;136:997-1007.  Back to cited text no. 3
Fischer F, Raiber L, Boscher C, Winter MH. COVID-19 and the elderly: Who cares? Front Public Health 2020;8:151.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sylva K. School influences on children's development. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 1994;35:135-70.  Back to cited text no. 5
Rundle AG, Park Y, Herbstman JB, Kinsey EW, Wang YC. COVID-19-related school closings and risk of weight gain among children. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2020;28:1008-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
Frost M, Li R, Moolenaar R, Mao Q, Xie R. Progress in public health risk communication in China: Lessons learned from SARS to H7N9. BMC Public Health 2019;19:475.  Back to cited text no. 7
Ha BT, Ngoc Quang L, Mirzoev T, Tai NT, Thai PQ, Dinh PC. Combating the COVID-19 epidemic: Experiences from Vietnam. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:3125.  Back to cited text no. 8
CharakSamhita, Vimansthana, Janpadoddhvamsaniyam vimana, 3/6. Available from: http//niimh.nic.in/ebook/echarak. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 19].  Back to cited text no. 9
CharakSamhita, Vimansthana, Janpadoddhvamsaniyam vimana, 3/20. Available from: http//niimh.nic.in/ebook/echarak. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 19].  Back to cited text no. 10
SusrutaSamhita Nidanasthana kushtanidana. Verse- 5/32,33. Available from: http//niimh.nic.in/ebook/esushutra. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 19].  Back to cited text no. 11
CharakSamhita, Vimansthana, Vyadhitarupeeyavimana 7/14. Available from: http//niimh.nic.in/ebook/echarak. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 19].  Back to cited text no. 12
SushutraSamhita, Sutrasthana, Agropakaraneeyamadhyaya 5/17. Available from: http//niimh.nic.in/ebook/esushutra. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 19].  Back to cited text no. 13
Shukla N. Ayurvedic Approach To Communicable Disease-An Overview. Scientific Reports 2012. doi:10.4172/scientificreports.122.  Back to cited text no. 14
Etal T. A review on Janapadoddhvamsa with special refrence to COVID-19. WJPMR 2020;6:136-41.  Back to cited text no. 15
Williams VI. Textbook of endocrinology. Acta Endocrinol (Buchar) 2016;12:113.  Back to cited text no. 16
Rao M. Codes of conducts. In: A Text Book of Svasthvrtta: Varanasi: Chaukhambha Orientalia; 2014; p. 51.  Back to cited text no. 17


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Role of Media in...
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Ayurvedic Manage...
Prakriti Vighata
Nidana Parivarjana
Role of Sadvrit ...
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