Prophylaxis means prevention of disease. Ayurveda gives prime importance to this management. The approach is totally different, as Ayurveda is a complete “Shastra” (knowledge system), based on its own philosophy and practice that gives very specific principles of disease. In the classical texts we find large taxonomy of diseases but mainly there are eleven categories as given below.

A) Sharir (physiological) and Manas (psychological) B) Nij (congenial) and Aagantuj (arising accidentally or causally) Kalaj diseases caused by 1) Vaya sapeksha (Caused due to age) 2) Avastha sapeksha (period or stages of life & its diseases) 3) Ritu sapeksha (seasonal diseases) 4) Kulaj Rog - (diseases transmitted generation to generation?) 5) Swabhavaj - (diseases caused by nature) C) Deshaj (diseases caused by a specific province) D) Sankramaka (Contagious) E) Janapadodhwnsa (Epidemic diseases) F) Vishaj - Poisonous origins and diseases G) Asatmya-Indriya-Artha Sanyogaj - diseases caused by unsuitableness of sensory organs & stimuli (Artha) from the outer world. H) Pragyaparadha - diseases caused Intellectual blasphemy.

Wrong food items and their combinations, wrong methods of eating I) Sex and diseases. These are the main categories that need to be accounted for. We are not going to deal with them in details, here I want to make point, i.e., only some of the above mentioned types are relevant to modern immunization and vaccines. They are 1) some of the 'Aagantuj' types, 2) some from epidemic diseases, and 3) few from Kalaj category. Rests of the categories remain out of the scope of modern immunization. Ayurved gives different principles and methods of prophylaxis. 1) Nidan parivarjan - to avoid the known causes of disease e.g. avoid drinking contaminated water to avoid diarrhea, cholera, Jaundice, fever etc. 2) Dinacharya - Daily regimen. When to get up in the morning, mouth cleaning, putting oil in the nose and ears, exercise, proper bath, breakfast, lunch, dinner, attending natural calls in time, sex life etc. 3) Ritucharya - Seasonal regimen. This gives extensive details of the ways to cope up with the seasonal, climatic variations and how to stay healthy. 4) Proper wholesome food - Ayurveda emphatically says every human is a product of food and so is the disease. Diet if observed properly will work better to prevent disease. Food, if used wrongly will cause diseases. 5) Viruddha Ahar - Incompatible food is a wrong food, says Ayurveda. This can produce severe diseases like impotency, blindness, Ascitis, Erysepalus, Hyperacidity, diseased progeny and even death in some cases.

To prevent all these possibilities some specific method is given by Ayurved, e.g., “One should practice the Viruddha Ahar in smaller amounts for longer time to train the body to digest it. Once a person gets accustomed to it, he will not suffer from ill effects” This seems to be same principle as of prophylaxis vaccine. Here the food is advised and all the other poisons etc are also permitted with judicious supervision of expert Vaidya. Germs or bacteria and viruses are not subject of Ayurveda. 6) Shodhana Kriya - For preventing the Kalaj Rog (seasonal diseases) this is the effective management. Seasonal provocation of three doshas in the body cause diseases To avoid the Vata disease Basti kriya is advocated by Ayurved. Kapha Dosha is regulated by Vaman kriya in Vasant and Pitta by Virechan in Sharad Ritu. Diseases of blood can be prevented by timely blood letting i.e. Rakta-mokshana and purgation in Sharad Ritu. 7) Rasayan Management - This is a unique contribution of Ayurveda to the world of medicine. This concept is similar to chemo prophylaxis i.e. specific medication base on the drug used in the same disease as per doctor's advice. Milk is the best Rasayan for all, “Inoculate yourself.” Take small amount of milks or ghee each day; gradually increase the dose to build up your power of digestion. However change the prophylactic regimen if your Agni refuses to digest it. 8) Agni deepan – There are appetizers which provoke the digestive power and strengthen the digestive system. Ifthe Agni is strong and 'Sama' (optimum functioning) all the diseases are prevented, says Charak Samhita. 9) Prakriti and preventive foods for disease proneness--. Body constitution is very important factor in preventive regimen. Food which has opposite qualities to the Dosha in the body is good prevention against the dominant diseases. e.g. Vata Prakriti person should eat sweet, salty, sour tasting, hot, unctuous, smooth, heavy food, like wheat, milk, curd, jaggary, sweets, fleshy food etc., Kapha Prakriti should eat pungent, bitter and astringent tasting, hot, light, dry food. Pitta Prakriti should eat sweet, bitter and astringent tasting, cold, soft, heavy, unctuous food like ghee, bitter gourd, gram flour, sugar, jaggary etc. These habits, once they become part of one's life, prevent the onset of vitiation of Dosha. 10) Avastha Sapeksh disease: These pertain to a particular stage in life like puberty, pregnancy, post partum, lactating period etc are crucial stages in woman's life. Each stage produces some complications. Ayurved advocates “Charya” i.e. a regular performance of all wholesome deeds or customs. For puberty Rajaswala Charya, for pregnancy 'Garbini Charya' for postpartum period Prasuta Charya, for lactating mother stanya pana Charya vidhi etc. For instance, pre menstrual spasms, which trouble the young and old women alike, can be prevented if one avoids acidic, pungent and cold foods. Also to be avoided are garlic, curds, bean sprouts and sweets prepared with colostrum of cow. 11) Manas Rog - Psychological disorders can be prevented by observing 'Sadvritta' (Shastric code of right conduct). Since Âyurveda never dissociates body from the mind, many bodily regimens really prevent manas diseases. For instance, properly oleated body (both internally as well externally) seldom gets diseases like Alzheimer or Parkinson. (Which are also called dry brain diseases) 12) Sankramaka Rog - can be prevented by avoiding the exposure and taking particular prophylactic measures. We have indicated this point while dealing with Rasayan. If there is a spread of conjunctivitis we require local hygiene and drugs that can be used with proper guidance. If the fever is in society one should try fasting (langhana) for one or two days and can use medicines like Sudarshan Churna or other medication with proper consultation. 13) Epidemic diseases - We can observe common preventative remedies like boiled water for drinking and specific prophylaxis as recommended by Vaidya. 14) Kulaj Rog - Preventive methods and medicines areavailable for safe guard against many congenital diseases. Some preventives are given to both husband and wife before conception.

By this way total prevention may or may not be possible but we can delay the onset in the pregnancy to a great extent. STRONG POINTS OF ÂYURVEDA IN PREVENTIVE CARE 1) Scope of prevention is very large. 2) No side or after ill effects 3) Gives importance to food regimen - Charya, Sex, Sleep 4) Takes care of Mind and its disease. 5) Rasayan practices can be safely promoted. 6) Individuals can participate in their own health management, instead of being only passive patients.

Universal Immunization program of Govt. of India has only 30 to 40 % coverage in this land of over 1 billion population. Efficacy, safety and availability of preventive measures in the form of vaccines come under doubt now and then. Using methods and principles of Ayurveda, we can prevent the diseases and contain the sufferings of the large population in India. With children and mothers dying from mal nutrition and diseases, prophylactic methods of Ayurveda can change maternal health scenario in the country. It is high time to look into the knowledge resources of our traditional medical systems, and to be made available to the people in our society though a visionary policy reforms and committed political will.