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Immune System

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General Functions

When the Ślesma (Kapha) is in normal state, it is called ‘Bala’ as well as ‘Ojas’; but when it attains an abnormal state, it is then called ‘Mala’ (Waste) and ‘Pāpmā’ (Disease). From the above statement it is clear that ‘Bala’, ‘Ojas’ and ‘Kapha’ are identical entities, at least when ‘Kapha’ is in normal state. When ‘Kapha’ is in its normal state, it provides compactness, stability, virility, immunity and resistance.


The most essential fraction of all bodily tissues is called ‘Ojas’. Eventhough it resides in the heart, it circulates all over the body to maintain the normal healthy status of the body. It is ‘Snigdha’ (unctuous) and ‘Somātmaka’ (mild and cool) in nature. Though predominantly white in colour, it has got some yellowish and reddish tinge. If this is lost, life also is lost and if this remains intact, life continues.

Ojas: Ojas has been described to exist in different forms in the body. The fraction of ‘Ojas’ that circulates all over the body through the cardiovascular system, moves along with ‘Rasa Dhātu’. This is called ‘Rasātmaka Ojas’. Another form of ‘Ojas’, is present in all tissues and is called ‘Dhātutejorūpi’. This indicates the immune mechanisms present at tissue-level. A third form of ‘Ojas’ is ‘Śukra mala rūpi’. This enters the fetus to provide protection to the fetus during intrauterine life. Another form of ‘Ojas’ is described as ‘Jivaśonita rūpi’.

Classification of Immunity

Immunity is classified in to three types: Innate (Sahaja), Acquired (Kālaja) and Artificial (Yukti krta).

Factors Influencing Immunity: The following factors influence the promotion of immunity: place of birth, time of birth, favorable weather, excellence of genetic qualities, excellence of properties of food being consumed, excellence of physique, good ability to tolerate various factors, excellence of mental status, favorable factors related to nature, youthfulness, exercise and cheerful attitude.

Antigen-Exposure and Host Response: Substances, which have opposite qualities to those of bodily tissues, (when gain entry into the body) encounter the opposition by the bodily tissues. Etiological factors, ‘Dosas’, and ‘Dhātus’ determine the bodily immunity or susceptibility for the disease. When all the three factors do not support each other or when they are week due to passage of time, either the disease does not manifest at all or it takes some time in manifestation or the disease is very mild or all its signs and symptoms are not fully manifested. If the situation is opposite to that is mentioned above, the corresponding results also will be otherwise. This means that susceptibility of a particular tissue to any antigenic attack plays an important role in the manifestation or non manifestation of a disease. At the same time, the potency of the causative agent also is important. Virulent strains of infectious agents produce severe symptoms. Along with these two factors, homeostatic mechanisms also are important. If immune system is normally functioning, injurious agents will be tackled effectively.

Concept of Active and Passive Immunity: Treatment of the diseases manifested due to the presence of opposing agents in the body, should be planned either by administering the substances having opposite qualities to them or by prior sensitization of the body by administering the similar substances as those of offending agent. This forms the basis of active and passive immunity. Prior sensitization of the body with specific antigen makes one develop active immunity. On the other hand, antibodies can be procured out of an animal in which active immunity has been already produced, and can be administered to the individual suffering from the same disease. Other functions of immune system are described under the functions of ‘Kapha’.