• Dr.Jeevan.E.P

What Ayurveda explains about communicable diseases

Updated: Mar 22, 2020


Charaka samhita, Vimana Sthana, Chapter 3. Janapadodwamsa

Susrutha Samhita, Sutra Stahana, Chapter 6, Rutucarya.

Ashtanga Hrudaya

Janapadodhvansa literally means destruction or annihilation of communities or settlements. Epidemics and outbreaks of highly communicable diseases have blighted mankind since time immemorial. Ayurvedic scholars and exponents of antiquity like Sushruta and Charaka recorded these in their works on aupasargika roga and janapadodhvansa respectively, according special importance to the topic.

An astute observation of practitioners such as Charaka was that vitiated vayu (air), jala or udaka(water), desha (land) and kala (season) were key factors responsible for causing epidemics. Sushruta refers to the concept of janapadodhvansa while discussing ritucharya (seasonal regimen) under the title Maraka (Su. Su.6/17). In Ashtangasangraha, the concept of janapadodhvansa was described under the chapter entitled Viruddhanna Vijnaniyam (A. S. Su 9).The therapeutic modalities are incorporated in the disease prevention protocol in Ashtanga hridayam.(A.H.Su.4)

The causative factors of janapadodhvansa (epidemics), characteristics of vitiated factors and remedial measures to treat the conditions are described. It is strongly recommended collecting and stocking drugs potent in all attributes (like rasa, guna, veerya, and vipaka) necessary to tackle the catastrophic conditions associated with any epidemic. Agnivesha was inquisitive to know about common morbidity among the individuals with dissimilar constitution, dietetic habits, physical strength, suitability, mental faculties , etc.

Atreya began his discourse with a discussion on the environmental factors that are common to all inhabitants of a region, i.e., vayu, udaka, desha, and kala. These four factors, when not polluted or contaminated, are vital not only for our survival, but for the survival of all life-forms. By nature, air, water, land and seasons are indispensable factors in their progressive order.

Seasons are the most indispensable ones of all factors, since its vitiation leads to diseases becoming highly virulent, taking epidemic proportions. With regard to communicable diseases in general, an interplay of agents, hosts and the environmental factors lead to a dynamic state of health and disease.

Adharma karma (sinful act) committed during an individual’s present life and the previous life, is responsible for the vitiation of these factors. Intellectual errors (prajnaparadha) is the cause for both these types of sins (i.e., sins in the present life as well as in the past).

Per vedic scriptures, large periods of time witness a slow degradation of dharma (spiritual duties) and guna (qualities) in the conducts and attributes of living beings. The scriptures divided these periods into four distinct phases, or yugas, with each yuga witnessing a significant degradation in dharmaand guna than the preceding one. One such guna, longevity or life-span of individuals, depends upon the strength of both daiva (predetermined) and purushakara (human effort of present life). If the individuals of a specific locality might have collectively committed sinful acts like burning villages or other sinful acts etc., in their previous birth, they are likely to die at a time during epidemics. Similarly, persons who committed sinful acts separately in their previous lives gathered in a specific region may also die collectively of a common cause. Atreya opines that the individuals who do not share similarities in death (mrityu samanyata) or previous deeds (karma samanyata) could be treated with Panchakarma procedures (five evacuative therapies) and administration of rasayana measures (rejuvenative procedures) with previously collected drugs, along with sadvritta(observance of noble conducts) etc. He further recommended administering cold measures to cure diseases caused by hot things and vice versa. The principle of treatment should be administration of antagonistic therapies to their causes (vitiated doshas).

Remedial measures for treating pollution or vitiation of the four environmental factors separately is not suggested, but emphasis is given on the management of individuals affected in an epidemic. Sushruta suggested certain treatment modalities for eliminating the poison from the atmosphere as well as from the patient’s body (Su. Ka. 6). The drums, banners and gateways of the houses should be smeared with the medicament, or ksharaagada(formulation), that may be beneficial in the management of air pollution.

The analysis of the characteristics of the vitiated environmental factors, such as howling wind, water with altered smell-color-taste-touch, and land over-flooded or associated with frequent occurrence of meteorites, thunderbolts and earthquakes are some of the various calamitous acts of nature that result in significant death toll the world over. So the concept of janapadodhvansa cannot be totally interpreted as a study of epidemics or diseases. Environmental changes caused by man’s interference with the bio-ecology in which he lives, as well as pollution due to depletion of natural resources may be the cause for the destruction of communities, and could justify the attribution to karma given here as a cause of vitiation.

In this chapter Agnivesha asked Atreya the following five questions with regards to janapadodhvansa:

• How do all individuals having different physical constitution etc., suffer from the same diseases, due to the same set of causative factors?

• What is the factor underlying the vitiation of air etc., which destroys entire communities?

• Is the span of life of all individuals predetermined or not?

• If the life span of all human beings is not predetermined then how is it said that some people die in the predetermined time and the rest otherwise?

• Why do physicians advise hot water to patients suffering from fever in preference to cold water when the dosha involved in the pathogenesis of this disease (jwara) is amenable to cooling therapies?

And lord Atreya answered all the questions patiently.


Discussions: When we think about infectious disease or communicable diseases, either the air pollution, water pollution, fire (chemical, electro smoke, War etc.) earth pollution (Plastic, food which are polluted, unhealthy foods like sea food, meat, eggs, fast food, precooked, canned food etc.) should be considered in a broad sense. People eat some of the foods like sea snakes, cockroaches, monkeys, camel, pangolins and any kind of living organisms which are not suitable for the human beings. Even you are eating some of the animals like chicken, beef, lamb or Pig, it can be in your food chain by 1000s of years. Even any toxic materials are there or nano software information’s are there, with the years we might have developed the antibody or anti-viral programs. But if we introduce new animals or wild animals in your food chain, our software is not developed to fight against the new bacteria’s or viruses. Air pollution, droplet pollution, body or body part contact, wet fish market or wild animal markets are some other examples of air, water, place pollution.

COVID-19 infection: Nucleic acid sequences of viruses taken from pangolins have been found to be a 99% match to those of the virus which causes COVID-19, SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and is responsible for the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. The working theory of researchers in Guangzhou, China is that SARS-CoV-2 originated in bats and, prior to infecting humans, was circulating among pangolins. The illicit Chinese trade of pangolins for use in traditional Chinese medicine is suggested as a vector for human transmission. Pangolins were eventually ruled out as the definitive source, namely the bridge that the virus used to jump from bats to humans, after it emerged that the 99% match did not actually refer to the entire genome, but to a specific site known as the receptor-binding domain (RBD). A whole-genome comparison had found that the pangolin and human viruses share only 90.3% of their DNA (at least 99.8% is needed for a conclusive match) Ecologists worried that the early speculation about pangolins being the source may have led to mass slaughters,[endangering the animals further, which was similar to what happened to civets during the SARS outbreak.

Let us look into the aspect of Corona virus. A virus is an ultramicroscopic (20 to 300 nm in diameter), metabolically inert, infectious agent that replicates only within the cells of living hosts, mainly bacteria, plants, and animals: composed of an RNA or DNA core, a protein coat, and, in more complex types, a surrounding envelope.viruses are typically not considered living organisms.

Most of the viruses either it is ebola, Anthrax, HIV, Swine Flu (H1N1), Bird Flu (Avian Flu H5N1), Coronavirus, SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome), MERS-CoV all are from animal origin that infect animals (including bats, Pigs, civet cats, and camels) mutate to infect humans, and this can have deadly consequences, and is also known to mutate easily.

A virus which is a nano packet of intelligence is like a nano software without a hard ware, which invades in the living cells (Hardware) and uses their chemical machinery software and polluted to keep itself alive and to replicate itself. It may reproduce with fidelity or with errors (mutations); this ability to mutate is responsible for the ability of some viruses to change slightly in each infected person, making treatment difficult. As we say in Vedic literatures, a software comes from animal origin is more complicated than the vegetable origins. It can complicate the host and damage the nature- the hard ware (the body- Prakruti) and their by shut down the system -the Purusha.

The Root Cause of Aggravation to Epidemics / Pandemics which Destroy the Community:

The root cause of all diseases is unrighteousness or Dharma chyuti / Dharma glani. That also arises from the misdeeds of life but the source of both is intellectual error. Such as -when the heads of the country, city, and community having transgressed the virtuous path deal un righteously with the people, their officers and subordinates, and traders carry this unrighteousness further. Thus this unrighteousness (adharma) by force makes the righteousness (Dharma) disappear. Then the people with righteousness having disappeared, unrighteousness has the upper hand and the positive energy have deserted the place, the seasons get affected and because of this changes of natural calamities. Then epidemics break out due to polluted contacts and food items.

Unrighteousness is the cause of the destruction of the community like weapons: Those who have excessively increased greed, anger, attachment and conceit, disregarding the weak attack each other, or their enemies or are attacked by their enemies resulting in loss of themselves. They are also attacked by the negative energy or less divine power and more of demonic power or other micro-organisms due to unwholesome act or food.

Sinful acts- the cause of war and destruction

In the same manner, it is unrighteous act alone that is the cause of the destruction of peoples by weapons. Those who suffer from excessive lobha(greed), krodha (anger), moha (attachment), and disregard the weak may start fighting among themselves with weapons and attack either the enemies or get attacked by enemies. [21]

Sinful acts leading to affliction by demons and curse of sages People also get destroyed by rakshasa(demons) or other creatures due to unrighteous or other deviant acts. Adharma (unrighteousness) is also the cause of diseases caused as a result of curses. Those who get by without performing religious duties or who shirk from their religious duties tend to behave irresponsibly or are disrespectful to the preceptors, elders, the wise, sages and the nobility. Consequently, such people often get cursed by preceptors etc. Such wraths could destroy individuals or communities immediately or at a pre-determined time. [23]

These are the 6 enemies, which can be made friends with by simply acknowledging their existence and interaction in our life.

LOBHA... The object of my lust comes to me and the emotion that I should not lose it creates possessiveness. Determination that no one else should partake of even a small fraction of what one has earned or what one has. Even in times of distress, one's possessions should not be diminished by use. greed, miserliness, narrow minded; Mooladhara Chakra is involved.

KAMA... Wanting something that is not mine is lust. Desire for riches, property, honour, status, fame, children. Attachment to all things of this sensory world. lust, craze, desire, passion, obsession; Swadhisthana Chakra is involved.

KRODHA... The object of lust not coming to me creates anger.  Yearning to harm others and cause ruin to them. anger, hatred, motivation, aggression, dynamism; Manipura

MATSARYA... The sense that others have it and I don’t have it is jealousy. Finding it intolerable that others are as happy as oneself, Matsarya makes one miserable; over others good fortune.  Only I should have all things  is the feeling of Matsarya. envy, jealousy, show or vanity, and pride. Anahata

MOHA... The feeling that I cannot live without it is delusion. Seeing life incorrectly. Unable to see reality, living in illusion. The delusion that some people are nearer to one than others and the desire to please them more than others, leading to exertions for earning and accumulating for their sake. - delusory emotional attachment, infatuation;  Vishuddha

MADA/AHANKARA... The sense that only I have it and no one else has it is pride. The false pride that develops when one feels that he has either scholarship or strength or riches or high birth or good looks or fame, more than others. Even when one has not got these, Mada makes men move about without reverence for elders and consideration for others' feelings and stimulates craving only for one's own comfort and security. Mada is extreme egoism or self - centeredness. pride, stubborn mindedness, arrogance, superiority complex; Ajna


Dharma & Adharma should be re-thought again . What are we doing to the planets? Or the mother Earth? How are we treating the animals? How are we treating the human beings? What is love? Liberation? The purpose of life? Wealth and health? Are we happy with the industrial civilisation? Whether we are in happiness? Peace or satisfaction? Are we planning this planet for crisis or creativity? What we are giving to the next generation? A robotic country with no personal communications or connections? Who is your role model?The industry pollution, chemical weapons, wars, non-vegetarianism, carbon di oxide pollution in the cities, glass houses, keeping animals in cages, using the poor countries to feed the rich countries, child labour, production of unwanted medicines and vaccinations, medical business, pharma industry, chocolate industry, coco cola industry, Nestle super foods, manipulation of public by politicians and social media all are important matters to discuss. Even to kill human beings, we spend millions of money to make armies and lethal weapons. The animals will kill other animals either because of survival existence or from hunger. But a human being is planning to kill the other human beings either for power or pleasure. Each topic above is adharmic – unrighteous deeds. This results in demonic mutation. That is a secret of Nature. In every now and then such calamities can come in the form of Tsunami, floods, Sars, Cyclone, Nipa or Vulcan.

Is it a biological weapon just like Dean Koontz Novel? Or it is a US play in the oil market? Economic fallout intensifies with crashing oil prices? Is it a vicious triangle play between Russia, Saudi Arabia and US?

Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhavati bharata Abhythanamadharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham

Paritranaya sadhunang vinashay cha dushkritam Dharmasangsthapanarthay sambhabami yuge yuge

Whenever, righteousness (dharma) declines and unrighteousness is rampant,I manifest myself.”

I manifest myself from age to age to defend the pious, destroy the wicked, and strengthen dharma.”

If we are not changing now, we will be in cages, we will behave like animals or our software will be degraded and cannot be upgraded to a spiritual upliftment. Then the question is what is spiritual? Living in harmony with nature is spiritual. In every 100 years an epidemic or pandemic strikes the world. In 1720 it was the plague; in 1820 it was the cholera outbreak; 1n 1920 the Spanish flu; and in 2020 the corona virus. Either it is a biological weapon or and normal out break the man kind is suffering for the adharmas of the demonic people. More than the hygiene or food culture, the very important cause is unrighteousness among the people. We need a fighter like arjuna and we need a guide like Krishna who can remove the enemies like anger, envy, jealousy, Pride, fear like Shat Ripus or 6 enmities of mind.


ये भूतविषवाय्वग्निक्षतभङ्गादिसंभवाः

रागद्वेषमयाध्याश्च ते स्युरागन्तवो गदाः

Those diseases produced by  1. bhuta –   भूत (evil spirits, bacteria, parasites, insects and other living beings) 2. visha -poisons  विष 3. air – वायु  (hurricane, cyclone)

4. agni – अग्नि (fire , electricity, radiation , chemical weapons etc.)

5. kshata – क्षत (injury, wounds etc.)

6. bhanga – fracture of bones भङ्गा

7. as also due to raga- desire, lust राग

8. dvesha / द्वेष  – hatred

9. bhaya / भय – fear -agantu rogas – arising from external causes

The contagion or communicable diseases can be spread from one person to another is explained in susrutha Samhita Nidana sthana chapter 5, 28 verse.

The contagion being usually communicated through sexual intercourse or by his touch or breath, or through partaking of the same bed, and eating and drinking out of the same vessel with him, or through using the wearing apparel, unguents and garlands of flowers previously used by a person afflicted with this dreadful disease. Kushtham (Leprosy), fever, pulmonary consumption, ophthalmia and other Aupasargika disease (incidental to the influences of malignant planets or due to the effects of impious deeds) are communicated from one person to another. 26.

General treatments for all diseases according to Ashtanga Hrudaya.

त्यागः प्रज्ञापराधानामिन्द्रियोपशमः स्मृतिः

देशकालात्मविज्ञानं सद्व्रुत्तस्यानुवर्तनम्

अथर्वविहिता शान्तिः प्रतिकूलग्रहार्चनम्

भूताध्यस्पर्श निर्दिष्टश्च पृथक् पृथक्

अनुत्पत्तयै समासेन विधिरेषः प्रदर्शितः

निजागन्तुविकाराणा मुत्पन्नानां च शान्तये

1. त्यागः प्रज्ञापराधान् – avoidance of improper activities of body, mind, and speech by wilful obeying of rules 2. इन्द्रियोपशमः control of the senses 3. स्मृतिः remembering previous experiences and acting rightly 4. देशकालात्मविज्ञानं good knowledge of the land, time/ season/age, self and their importance to health 5.   सद्व्रुत्तस्यानुवर्तनम् adherence to rules of good conduct 6. अथर्वविहिता शान्तिः conduct of propitiary / peaceful rites as prescribed in the atharva veda 7. प्रतिकूलग्रहार्चनम् worshipping of celestial powers /planets 8. भूताध्यस्पर्श staying away from bhutas

·      evil spirits, bacteria, insects, other creatures These are the method to prevent the onset of both nija and agantu diseases Also for the cure of those diseases which have already risen

Discussion: A standirsed protocol in ayurveda for any kind of disease is not possible because of the variations of patient constiution, the nutrition the patient follows, the climate of the country where he lives, thje age of the patient, immunity of the patient, other complications or deep rooted disease what he has, the digestive capacity of the patient, the mental attitude and so many other factors. Even we know all these things accurately, a complete life style is difficult for any kind of persons. In modern era an integrative approach which support the main streatm medicine or school medicine should be the approach. Orelse the other way, that the ayurveda life style should be followed by each person and a supportive or emergency medical approach from school medicine. Orelse to forget about life style approach and add the quick fix from ayurveda medicinal preparations.

A permenent cure anc prevention for all diseases are a life style approch through Ayurveda. For that Ayurveda should be thought in primary, hiigh school level and an awarness program to the modern medical doctors / integrative medicine.

All depemds on a country authorities, AYUSH department, ayurveda doctors and their involvement etc.

There should be a comprehensive policy ot only for communicable diseases but for Ayurveda. The world is craving for a system to prevent diseases and to follow a peaceful comfort and happy life. Ayurveda has that potential. But the ayurvedists are unaware for that. And most of the quacks do some kind of natuaral therapies and claim as ayurveda. In one way they spoil the principles of Ayurveda or defame it. We need a quality control of Ayurveda studies and practices.

Ayurvedic Remedies: What Works, What Doesn’t

Whatever the diseases, either it is communicable or non- communicable , there are certain routines which should be practiced by human beings for an upgrade to the divine entity. As we all know that prevention is better than cure.

May be you are washing your hands for longer time. But still we touch our faces or nose unknowingly. Even the currencies, coins, cups, jackets, elevators like so many things we have to touch again and again. So it is not the external hygiene, but the internal hygrine is more important. India- a country with sanatana dharma- Eternal region which worship or made friends to the Sun, Moon, Stars, Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether with various ritualistic procedures, so that we can live in harmony with Nature. In some places, there is a declination of such procedures by communism, atheistic believes or other religious, communal conflicts. But still an average India follow the sanatana dharmaunknowingly. May be that is why, India exceeds more tan 1.3 billion people, very big nature calamities, virus outbreak, political war etc are under control. So I would like to explain such interesting preventive measures from ayurvedic point of view from any kind of such outbreaks.

Treatment and Prevention in epidemics: 1. The people do not suffer, if managed with preventive therapy which includes a dinacharya program, rutucharya program and sad Vrutta.

a. Dina charya

1. Follow the WHO guide lines https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

2. Wake up early in the morning, make a habit to go to toilet the first in the morning

3. Clean your sense organs and at present situation to apply attention for more on brushing the teeth, cleaning the tongue, and oil pulling

4. You can also cleanse your mouth with triphala decoction which is a herbal disinfectant.

5. Use Anu thailam for instilling the nose, which will cleanse the naso-phareangeal areas.

6. Take shower 2 times in a day. Before breakfast and before going to bed. Never forget to take the head shower also.

7. Avoid eggs, meat, fish or any kind of animal foods in your food items. Use freshly cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner. Avoid salads.

8. Keep your fridge clean. Wash your vegetables with warm water and dry with a cloth and keep them in your fridge. If you suspect any kind of dirt, pesticides etc wash with warm water mixed with turmeric.

9. Add lime or Lemon, Ginger, Basil, Turmeric, Coriander, Tamarind, Cumin etc in your food items. May be preparing a Ginger-lemon-coriander soup or Rasam a- traditional Ayurveda spicy soup will give a soothing effect to your thoughts and cleanses infections. (May be Indians will laugh about this. But please remember that, we Indians uses a lot of spices in every day meal either in Uppamv, Aviyal, Dhal tadka, herbal butter milk rice etc. But a European is ignore about the benefits of these spices or the different recipes what we use daily. If you wash your hands with acidic medium and cleanse your hands for the removal of viruses, why not a rasam which is acidic can cleanse our gastro-intestinal tract?

10. Take herbal medicines for improving the immunity, reliving the symptoms. Cold: A pinch of Taleesa Patradi Churnam with honey for 5 to 7 times. Cough: 2 teaspoon of Agastya Hareethaki Lehyam at bed time. Fever: 15 ml of Amrutharishtam with 1 vettumaran Gudika after lunch and dinner. Chest congestion: Bala Jeerakadi Kashayam 60 ml early in the morning and evening 1 hour before food.

11. Sudarsana churnam; Panchamrutha kashayam with Gorochanadi gudika.

b. Rutu charya

1. Use seasonal fruits, seasonal vegetables which are organically and locally grown.

2. Never import anything from other country and use in non-seasonal time.

3. Use milk fresh and only from single cows. If it is not possible avoid milk and milk products.

4. Do a cleansing treatments like panchakarma in Rutu sandhis depends on the vitiation of doshas.

5. Do fasting depends on your dosha.

c. Sad Vrutta

1. Truthfulness, benevolence, charity, offerings, worship of divine energy, observance of noble’s conduct, calmness, self-protection, residence in healthy places, observance of celibacy and company of those who are observing celibacy, discourse of spiritual scriptures, narratives of self-controlled great sages, constant company with spiritual, pure and those regarded by the elders-Vi3#12-18

2. Be vegetarian or Vegan

3. Avoid pet animals. This is your Ego- let them be free and be in a Zoo or special places. Or like the older time in the forests.

4. Cultivate plants. Each one an each tree, depends on your vedic star.

5. Live for a cause.

6. Avoid pollution as much as possible. Air traffic, sea traffic and land travels.

7. Think that your job is suitable for you? Let this give you pleasure and not harming others? Or else change in to a job which is dharmic.

8. Come back to the roots, your family, your parents and your grandparents. Let you be a part of your community, your village. Share your feelings with your friends and family. Let your children study from your experiences or your grand parents. Be a model to your children.

9. The diseases started when we changed our village life to the city life. When the people travel across the sea, multi-cultural mix up takes place which creates the adoption of different food culture or habits. Each one should think that, the mix up is in a positive way or it turns into a negative way. If it is negative, try to stick your own culture which is suitable for your constitution and your family or country culture.