Along with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, allergies top the list of ailments that are difficult to treat. Western medicine is focused on relieving the symptoms with antihistamines and avoiding contact with allergens. The oldest health science on the planet – Ayurveda – believes that allergies occur due to an imbalance of doshas and impaired energy circulation, which regulate the work of the body and mind. On contrary to Western medicine, Ayurveda suggests not to remove the symptoms, but to establish the cause of the disease. In this article, we created a quick ayurvedic guide to allergies that will introduce you to prevention measures and healing principles that will help you take your allergy under control and better understand its cause.
Ayurvedic Guide To Allergies
The Causes Of Allergies
To understand the causes of allergies or take preventive measures, you need to know your dosha and be able to determine the current dosha imbalance. If you don’t know what dosha is and how to find out if you are a Pitta, Vata, or Kapha dosha, take our Ayurvedic Body Type Quiz.
According to Ayurveda, allergy can be a result of the following:
- Weak Agni (digestive fire);
- Ama accumulation (toxins);
- Imbalanced Dosha;
- Weak immune system;
- Amount of allergens in the body.
According to Ayurveda, an allergy is the result of a particular substance (the allergen) aggravating a specific dosha. Ayurveda classifies allergies according to dosha, depending on which one(s) are triggered in each individual case. However, it’s possible for more than one dosha to be triggered.
Let’s look at how Ayurveda explains seasonal allergies.
Spring is the most difficult time for allergy sufferers: fatigue, runny nose, tearfulness, etc. According to Ayurveda, these are the signs of excess Kapha dosha.
If you suffer from spring allergies, here are some tips for preventing or reducing the symptoms:
- Jala Neti – a well-known yogic practice of nose washing;
- add these spices and seasonings to food: cayenne pepper, basil, cumin, cardamom, sage, turmeric, cinnamon;
- drink warm tea with honey, ginger, and lemon;
- take Punarnava powder – it very effectively clears excess Kapha from the chest and stomach and promotes proper fluid balance in the tissues;
- practice yoga;
- dry sauna.
When allergies occur in the summer, their main source is often an imbalance of Pitta dosha. Typical symptoms for summer allergies are skin rashes, burning, or reddening eyes. Heat can provoke inflammation of the respiratory tract and manifest as bronchitis or acute rhinitis.
To soothe Pitta dosha, Ayurveda recommends:
- taking cooling herbs and spices such as coriander, amla, neem;
- using purified ghee oil;
- massage with cooling coconut oil.
When the air becomes cold and dry, Vata dosha comes out of the balance. Allergic symptoms at this time are a headache, dry cough, sneezing, muscle pain, and dry eyes. To calm the air element, take care of humidification and heat.
Recommendations for fall allergies:
- drink warm teas and beverages;
- use Ashwagandha, a powerful immunomodulator that can help the immune system cope with the “challenge of nature”;
- do oil massages or self-massage with sesame oil or Ashwagandha oil.
Ayurvedic Guide To Vata, Pitta, And Kapha Related Allergies
This Ayurvedic guide is based on allergy classification according to the dosha dominance:
- Vata related allergy
- Pitta related allergy
- Kapha related allergy
Vata related allergies
People who suffer from this kind of allergies are usually allergic to dry, bitter, spicy, and astringent foods, raw foods, cold foods, and beans. Their condition usually worsens during cold dry and windy weather, excess stress, and overactivity.
Common symptoms of Vata related allergies:
- Bloating of stomach, flatulence, burping, abdominal pain, and discomfort.
- Accompanying symptoms can be nerve pains, tingling sensations in limbs, insomnia, twitching of muscles, bone aches, and pains in joints, intestinal colic.
- As a rule, this kind of allergic reaction may start suddenly with asthma, dizziness, giddiness, tinnitus, earaches, pains, or headaches.
- Usually, such people are also prone to constipation, anxiety, restlessness.
Recommendations for Vata related allergies:
- Avoid foods like potatoes, tomatoes, aubergines, beans, bitter, and astringent foods.
- Avoid cold, dry, and windy weather.
- Take a Vata pacifying diet which includes mild sweet, sour, and salty tastes.
- Take Ayurvedic herbs for Vata related allergies such as Trikatu, Triphala, Ashwagandha, Guggulu, Dashmool tea, Basil.
- Drink Ayurvedic teas containing ginger, cumin, lemon, and orange.
- For wheezing phases, make a ginger tea and sip it every few minutes.
- Use hot Mahanarayan oil. You can mix a few drops of this oil in hot water and sip every now and then.
Yoga for Vata related allergies:
- Sun salutations;
- forwards bends;
- extension poses.
Pranayama for Vata related allergies:
- alternate nostril breathing;
- right nostril breathing (Surya Bheda).
Antihistamines for Vata related allergies:
Pitta related allergies
Pitta aggravating factors are spicy, sour, and salty foods along with citric fruits, fermented food articles, hot weather, and extreme sunny conditions. People with such allergic reactions usually have very sensitive skin and can be allergic to certain fabrics, metals, synthetic materials, etc.
Common symptoms of Pitta related allergies:
- red rashes;
- allergic dermatitis;
- redness of the skin with itching and pustule formation;
- burning and redness of the eyes.
Recommendations for Pitta related allergies:
- Avoid spicy, salty, and sour foods.
- Concentrate more on bitter and astringent tastes like green vegetables and salads.
- Make sure cooked food is eaten at all times and this is far better for your condition than raw food.
- Avoid direct contact with the sun and extremely hot weather.
- Take Ayurvedic herbs for Pitta related allergies such as Shatavari, Guduchi, Triphala, Brahmi, Neem, Manjistha.
- For skin-related conditions, Neem and Manjistha is a very good combination. Both these herbs have blood cleansing properties.
- Drink herbal ayurvedic teas with fennel, ginger, and saffron.
- Sandalwood and rose are good for external applications.
- Take coriander juice.
- Drink coconut water.
Yoga for Pitta related allergies:
- Moon salutation;
- Spinal twists.
Pranayama for Pitta related allergies:
Antihistamines for Pitta related allergies:
Kapha related allergies
Kapha aggravating factors like sweet, sour, salty foods including dairy foods, some veggies, and fruits may lead to allergic reactions. The allergic reactions of this nature usually worsen during cold, rainy, and cloudy season.
Common symptoms of Kapha related allergies:
- runny nose;
- mucus accumulation;
- hay fever;
- congestive disorders;
- water retention;
- heaviness in the abdomen;
- sleeping disorders.
Recommendations for Kapha related allergies:
- Avoid cold, heavy, and stagnant foods like dairy products.
- Avoid excess of sweet, sour, and salty tastes.
- Focus more on bitter, spicy, and astringent tastes.
- Avoid cold, rainy, wet weather.
- Take Ayurvedic herbs for Kapha related allergies such as Trikatu, Pippali, Guggulu, Triphala, Basil.
- For symptoms of runny nose, sneezing, and congestion, Jala Neti (nasal wash) is very beneficial.
Yoga for Kapha related allergies:
Pranayama for Kapha related allergies:
- Right nostril breathing;
- Ujjayi Pranayama.
Antihistamines for Kapha related allergies:
Universal Ayurvedic Recommendations
Ayurveda gives a number of tips that will help keep allergies under control at any time:
- Eat light vegan food. This allows the digestive fire to recover.
- When the digestion is weak, it has difficulty digesting raw and cold foods. And poorly digested food forms toxins. Therefore give preference to warm cooked meals.
- Exclude dairy products from your diet. Dairy products from mucus and are cold and heavy for our bodies by their nature.
- When cooking, add more warming spices.
This ayurvedic guide was created for educational purposes only. It is strongly recommended that you consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before starting any allergy treatment. The treatment protocol may change based on a person’s body constitution and medical history.