Allergies and Ayurveda


Ayurveda classifies allergies according to the doshas, depending on which ones are triggered in each individual case. For example, during the winter months (Kapha), the earth is heavier and wetter because of rain, and nature organically supplies us with heavier and denser foods. In general, like attracts like, and during this time our bodies also are heavier and wetter. This can cause congestion, which is categorized as an allergic reaction. As the spring approaches and the weather gets dryer and warmer, we watch as the earth comes back to life and produces naturally lighter, healthier, and fat-free vegetables, fruits, and berries. These foods are what our bodies need to rid themselves of congestion and offset the heaviness we absorbed during the winter.r.


Allergies are experienced year-round, but as the wet and cold winter moves to the warmer and dryer springtime, you might be experiencing an increase of allergens in our environment. For many spring can be very challenging, and If that is the case for you, I would urge you to explore the Ayurvedic approach to health, which offers holistic remedies found in nature, which are administered via the five senses.


An allergic reaction produces antibodies, which triggers the release of chemicals, most notably histamine, which is responsible for most allergic symptoms like itching, burning eyes, skin reactions, scratchy throat, and sinus congestion. In more serious cases, asthmatic and anaphylactic attacks can also occur.


Allergies are experienced year-round, but as the wet and cold winter moves to the warmer and dryer springtime, you might be experiencing an increase of allergens in our environment. For many spring can be very challenging, and If that is the case for you, I would urge you to explore the Ayurvedic approach to health, which offers holistic remedies found in nature, which are administered via the five senses.


Ayurveda is based in the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth) that are found in the universe. We all have a unique, inherent combination of these elements (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) in our bodies, which makes up our constitutions (Prakruti). There are many factors that can cause the body, mind, and spirit to become out of balance, including the change of seasons and weather; our specific locations; what we ingest; and our mental, emotional, and spiritual disharmonies.


Ayurveda classifies allergies according to the doshas, depending on which ones are triggered in each individual case. For example, during the winter months (Kapha), the earth is heavier and wetter because of rain, and nature organically supplies us with heavier and denser foods. In general, like attracts like, and during this time our bodies also are heavier and wetter. This can cause congestion, which is categorized as an allergic reaction. As the spring approaches and the weather gets dryer and warmer, we watch as the earth comes back to life and produces naturally lighter, healthier, and fat-free vegetables, fruits, and berries. These foods are what our bodies need to rid themselves of congestion and offset the heaviness we absorbed during the winter.


Kapha is naturally cold, wet, heavy, and stagnant in nature, and the late winter and spring is its peak season. After a winter of accumulating cold and heavy qualities and the onslaught of pollen-based allergens, Kapha can experience irritation of the mucous membranes, hay fever, colds, congestion, cough, sinus infections, asthma, and sleep disorders, along with an unbalanced digestive system with excess water retention, heaviness, and sluggishness. Balancing Kapha requires keeping warm and dry, avoid excess sleep, staying active and eating a Kapha-pacifying diet incorporating lightness and warmth. Use lighter and warmer spices and herbs such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, basil, and sage. Herbs that support clearing excess congestion from the chest and stomach are recommended and promote proper fluid balance strengthening the digestive fire. The Neti pot is a useful tool, removing allergens and decreasing congestion. The use of Nasya oil can act as a natural decongestant, reducing heaviness.


From an Ayurvedic perspective, when the digestive fires are weak, the body accumulates Ama (toxins, metabolic and emotional wastes, emotional heaviness) from physical, mental, and emotional and spiritual stimuli. It is believed that the primary cause of allergies is improper food choices and combining, improper digestion, and mental, emotional, and spiritual disharmony. When the doshas come into contact with these toxins, the toxins move through the tissues and channels of the body, and the body reacts as the allergens manifest. When our Agni is strong, we can digest energy and information from our environment, and assimilate what is beneficial and eliminate what we don’t need. The body does not have to mount an aggressive response to allergens but can instead remove and control them by having a strong constitution in place.


The absolute best way to bring allergies and disharmonies into balance is by doing an Ayuyedic detoxification, known as Panchakarma (meaning five actions). This procedure safely detoxifies the body, strengths the immune system, removes toxins and allergens, and restores balance and wellbeing. This practice is a cornerstone of the Ayurvedic lifestyle and is recommended on a seasonal basis, as well as when an individual feels out of balance or is experiencing illness. Panchakarma differs from most cleanses by protecting blood sugar levels using special diets, herbal medicines, oil massage therapies, steam therapy, and purgation to safely eliminate toxins from the body and then rejuvenate and bring the body, mind, and spirit back into balance.


Below is a description of each dosha and its allergic considerations.


Vata – Air (Movement) and Ether (Space) Elements

Kapha is naturally cold, wet, heavy, and stagnant in nature, and the late winter and spring is its peak season. After a winter of accumulating cold and heavy qualities and the onslaught of pollen-based allergens, Kapha can experience irritation of the mucous membranes, hay fever, colds, congestion, cough, sinus infections, asthma, and sleep disorders, along with an unbalanced digestive system with excess water retention, heaviness, and sluggishness. Balancing Kapha requires keeping warm and dry, avoid excess sleep, staying active and eating a Kapha-pacifying diet incorporating lightness and warmth. Use lighter and warmer spices and herbs such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, basil, and sage. Herbs that support clearing excess congestion from the chest and stomach are recommended and promote proper fluid balance strengthening the digestive fire. The Neti pot is a useful tool, removing allergens and decreasing congestion. The use of Nasya oil can act as a natural decongestant, reducing heaviness.


Pitta – Fire (Transformation) and Water (Cohesiveness) Elements

Pitta experiences hot, wet, light, and mobile symptoms, which include heartburn, acid indigestion, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, hot flashes, hemorrhoids, hives, rashes, itching, dermatitis, eczema, and irritated eyes. These symptoms are more prevalent during the summer months when this dosha is at its peak with hotter weather. Pitta is located in our blood, skin, liver, small intestine, eyes, and brain and when elevated it is imperative to cool the system down, avoiding exercise during the midday and eating a Pitta-pacifying diet, staying away from hot, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, sour fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and fermented foods. The use of cooling and anti-inflammatory spices and herbs is recommended; cilantro juice cools and calms the entire system. Applying the cooling Neem oil to the body is also balancing for Pitta.


Kapha – Cohesiveness (Water) and Structure (Earth)

Kapha is naturally cold, wet, heavy, and stagnant in nature, and the late winter and spring is its peak season. After a winter of accumulating cold and heavy qualities and the onslaught of pollen-based allergens, Kapha can experience irritation of the mucus membranes, hay fever, colds, congestion, cough, sinus infections, asthma, and sleep disorders, along with an unbalanced digestive system with excess water retention, heaviness, and sluggishness. Balancing Kapha requires keeping warm and dry, avoid excess sleep, staying active and eating a Kapha-pacifying diet incorporating lightness and warmth. Use lighter and warmer spices and herbs such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, basil, and sage. Herbs that support clearing excess congestion from the chest and stomach are recommended and promote proper fluid balance strengthening the digestive fire. The Neti pot is a useful tool, removing allergens and decreasing congestion. The use of Nasya oil can act as a natural decongestant, reducing heaviness.

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