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Allergies and Ayurveda

Allergies and Ayurvedic Natural Treatments

What is an Allergic Reaction

An allergy is a reaction (adverse) or sets of reactions to any substance that body of human being perceives harmful. The substance may include any food items, pollens, dust, mold, and pet dander, as well as chemicals, detergents, artificial food additives, pharmaceutical medicines, and so many more.

Modern medical science views it as the reaction of body which attempts to protect itself from the substance by producing antibodies, which in turn trigger certain cells to release chemicals, most notably histamine, into the bloodstream. 

The release of histamine is responsible for the common allergy symptoms like itchy, burning eyes, skin reactions, scratchy throat, sinus congestion, and so on and on, all are kinds and forms allergic reactions, including asthmatic and anaphylactic attacks can also occur. Body creates such uncomfortable symptoms to protect it from foreign substance which may have harmful effect in body. Those are allergies, and then it is wise to avoid such uncomfortable situation as far as possible. It is very hard to treat allergies of a person with varieties of allergies. It is nearly impossible of treating each and every particular allergy of a person who is allergic to a wide variety of substances, conditions and weather.  The only way of treatment of allergy is to find the root cause of allergy and get rid of the cause.

How does Ayurveda view Allergy

From an Ayurvedic perspective, the primary cause of allergies is due to the accumulation of ama (toxins, or metabolic waste products) caused by an imbalance of the digestive fire. Here, toxins can be viewed as an antigen triggering an immune response, which in turn leads to low immunity. Of course, many factors can affect this situation, including inappropriate diet and lifestyle, stress, overwork, seasonal changes, chronic diseases, and strong feelings of anger, worry, and grief. This is why in order to address allergies more effectively, a holistic approach is required.
Allergies manifest in the body is often influenced by the individual constitution, and current state of doshas. The allergy manifestation is viewed as a response of doshas to a particular allergen. Therefore, symptoms of allergies have characteristics relating to the doshas Vat, Pitta or Kapha. When the excess dosha associates with the spreading toxins (ama), it moves into the tissues and channels of the body, dictating how the allergy manifests.

Ayurveda scholars consider seasonal allergies are very much connected to the earth.

Ayurveda is very near to nature and it derives its remedy from the nature. Ayurveda looks at the individual body made of five elements water, air, earth, fire, and sky (vacuum). The body reacts and behaves exactly to the season, weather and condition of atmosphere.

For example as the earth is much wet during the time of the year due to the increased rain, the earth is holding more water than usual. This then is also occurring in our bodies, and is what we refer to as congestion or jamming. In spring, earth produces varieties of vegetables, fruits and berries. These foods are naturally healthy and fat-free. These foods are exactly what our bodies need to get rid of congestion and offset all of the increased fats we absorbed during the winter season. This type of diet is also called the kapha-balancing diet.

Ayurveda is based on strict diet and behavior to cure or prevent illness or disease. 
Things to be avoided by allergy patient

There are certain things we should avoid when we are suffering from allergies

  • Tamasi food (Heavy foods with oil, spices, fat, etc) 
  • Milk products like cheese, curd, yogurt and other dairies
  • Meat and meat products
  • Nuts, sugar and sweets
  • Do not eat much when you are not hungry
  • Alcohols and other cold drinks

To reduce symptoms, try the following

  • Have a good healthy meal for lunch, and then a very light meal for dinner
  • Try to avoid Tamasi and other foods described above. 
  • Eat fruits and green vegetables as far as possible
  • Sleep well, do not exhaust yourself much
  • Drink hot water (boil it and let it settle to be warm)
  • Do light exercise in the morning, (if possible do yoga and meditation regularly) 

Types of Allergies in Ayurveda and remedies 

Ayurveda considers the allergies as the manifestation of three Doshas in the form of reaction of the body to particular substance or conditions.

Vata type of allergies is more common in the fall, especially at the changing of seasons, when vata is most vulnerable. Aggravating factors include dust, mold, wind, cold, and dryness. Typical vata symptoms such as gas and bloating, abdominal discomfort, intestinal colic, ringing in the ears, and insomnia may be present along with wheezing, sneezing, dry cough, and runny nose. In cases where breathing is affected there is usually less mucus and more constriction of the bronchial tree. Vata is prone to digestive irregularity, which may lead to food intolerances, especially toward vata provoking foods, such as gas forming foods, including larger legumes like black, pinto, garbanzo, or kidney beans, as well as vegetables in the Brassica family like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, especially when eaten raw.

For vata types of allergies, you should avoid eating vata provoking foods. If cooked and well spiced, then you can have some in moderation, providing they do not disturb your digestion. Nightshade vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant can also aggravate vata allergies when consumed regularly, so eat those in moderation and avoid them during attacks. Cold foods and drinks and dried or dehydrated foods will also provoke the cold, dry, and rough qualities of vata. It is essential to rest and not skip meals and become deficient or under weight, as this will affect your immunity.

For relief and remedies

The Vata allergies can be cured by ginger treatment. 

  • Take ginger on a tea or mix ginger liquid in a plate with pure honey and lick it. (Don’t eat it, lick it from the plate, that is how it should pass through your mouth) 
  • Breathe sesame oil deeply into each nostril of the nose a couple of times per day 

Pitta type of allergies manifest more on the skin and are worse during the hot seasons, especially toward late summer. If exposed to allergens such as chemicals (especially those with a strong odor), ragweed, house dust, or even synthetic fabrics, this may cause pitta dosha to move to the surface due to its spreading, hot, and sharp qualities, causing hives, rash, urticaria, red and burning eyes, yellowish mucus, fever, headaches, allergic types of dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis, all of which are fiery in nature.

For pitta type of allergies it is important to avoid eating sour, acidic and fermented foods, hot spicy foods, aged cheeses, excess salt, heavy and fatty meats, deep fried foods, vinegars, hard alcohol, and red wine. Sour fruits such as citrus or even strawberries are common triggers to pitta related food allergies. To keep pitta in balance, it is important to keep cool. Exercise only during the coolest times of day, take cool showers, especially during the warm seasons. Eating well balanced meals and getting snacks when needed will help you keep your strong appetite both satisfied and balanced.

For relief and remedy

Pitta is treated with Neem. Neem (Azadirachta indica) is very bitter in taste so it reduces excess pitta in the body. 
Neem is a good cure for allergies. 

  • Eat neem leaf or any medicine made out of neem leaf.
  • Pure coconut oil is another good medicine for allergies. Breathe coconut oil deeply into each nostril couple of times for few days.
  • If possible drink Neem leaf tea few times a day.
  • Drink warm milk with a half tea spoon turmeric mix in it. It is better to drink turmeric milk after your

Kapha type of allergies are triggered by mold and in the springtime, when all the plants and trees are pollinating and the dense, wet, cold kapha starts to thaw and flow in the body. They are characterized by general dullness and heaviness, as well as irritated mucous membranes, cough, colds, and profuse white or clear congestion, repeated sinus infections, and asthma.

To manage such conditions it is crucial to remove excess sweet, sour and salty tastes, cold drinks, rich foods, and desserts from your diet. Staying active during the day, eating light, easy to digest meals, and getting vigorous daily exercise is necessary to keep kapha within a healthy range. It is also important to avoid cold drinks and to sip on hot water throughout the day to support metabolic energy and prevent the accumulation of toxins. Using warming culinary spices such as black pepper, fenugreek, ginger, turmeric, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, and mustard seeds can help you digest starches and proteins, and prevent the accumulation of toxins that can contribute to the cause of allergies. Drinking ginger tea either before, during, or after meals stimulates agni, improves digestion, and burns toxins.

For relief and remedy

  • After each meal, drink a glass of warm water mixed with a half-teaspoon of licorice (Jethi Madhu).
  • Take a half-teaspoon of sitopladi with honey three times a day; this should be done on an empty stomach
  • Follow a liquid diet one day per week. Eat primarily fruits and vegetables that are juicy and liquefied. 

Ayurvedic medicine has also found that eliminating allergens from your body will help alleviate symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. If you are chronic allergic patient with other symptoms too, you should visit a medical practitioner. The practitioner will design you a proper medicine and diet.