Dealing with Allergies: A Holistic Ayurvedic Approach
Ayurveda is the science of life dealing with not just treating several diseases, but encouraging the prevention of diseases in the first place. This holistic healing and wellness science that started nearly 5000 years back in the Indian Subcontinent comprises two words, namely Ayur meaning life and Veda meaning knowledge. It offers a range of comprehensive traditional therapies and authentic herbal supplements to promote wellness of the body, mind, and spirit. It’s the oldest healing science that stems from the ancient Vedic culture, and various natural healing systems in the West have profound roots in Ayurveda.
Ayurveda is the traditional Indian medicinal science that believes everything in the universe, including the human body, is made of five elements and the soul. These elements of nature are:
Prithvi or earth
Ap or water
Tejas or fire
Vayu or air
Akash or space
These elements unite in the human body in the biological form to create three primary forces of life called Doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha that influence the mind and body.
Now let us discuss what allergy is and what consists of allergy treatment in Ayurveda.
What is Allergy?
In its simplest form, an allergy is a disorder of the immune system and is an adverse reaction to a supposed foreign substance that is not typically harmful to the body. These substances that may trigger hypersensitivity in some individuals are called allergens and can include certain foods, environmental substances, certain medications, and even conditions like variations in temperature and exposure to certain weathers. These allergens give rise to a reaction in the body that releases histamine as a response to allergic reactions.
Ayurvedic Perspective of Allergy
Allergies cause a lot of discomforts and can interfere with daily life. While they’re caused by seasonal changes, certain foods, stress, pollution, and weather changes can worsen allergic reactions in individuals.
Ayurveda believes that an imbalance of the three Doshas can cause allergies. When your Doshas are not at their optimal levels, allergic reactions aggravate, making your body unable to expel the accumulated toxins due to a weakened immune system. When this condition continues for a prolonged period, the allergy becomes a chronic condition.
Ayurvedic treatments concentrate exclusively on treating the root cause of the allergy rather than just address the symptom, and this unique approach of Ayurveda is the key to achieve lifelong benefits and holistic relief from all diseases. Ayurveda stresses boosting internal immunity by taking measures like consuming a healthy diet, incorporating a favorable lifestyle, besides taking potent herbs and undergoing rejuvenating Ayurvedic treatments.
Allergic symptoms depend on the type of allergen- some affect the skin, leading to several skin conditions, others may cause nasal congestion and other related respiratory issues, and some food allergies cause digestive disorders that lead to vomiting and bowel disorders, and various other adverse health conditions. The symptoms of specific diseases or disorders experienced by different individuals depend on the Dosha that is aggravated the most. An exceptional remedy is Histantin which is a powerful Ayurvedic medicine for skin allergy that offers a holistic treatment from the symptoms like constant sneezing, continuous bouts of cough, rashes and itching of the skin, and others that are the most common allergic reactions.
Factors Resulting in Allergies As Per Ayurveda
The type of adverse reaction that an individual experiences depends on how he/she absorbs the allergens. Inhalation of allergens can lead to respiratory and nasal allergies, and consuming food allergens causes food intolerance, swollen airways, hives and several gastrointestinal disorders.
Not everyone who comes into contact with an allergen has the same reactions and factors that cause an allergic reaction also vary from person to person. For instance, for some people allergies are heredity, while for others it may occur due to an intolerance to a certain substance all of a sudden. Ayurvedic practitioners believe that allergies can be caused due to your Doshas being in a state of imbalance, an accumulation of Ama, a weak immune system, the amount of allergens the person has been exposed to and the bodily constitution of the individual.
Fortunately, regardless of the factor that is causing allergies in a person, Ayurvedic therapies can help relieve the symptoms.
The Types of Allergies
Minute allergies are very common and hardly cause adverse reactions to impair daily life. While Allergic rhinitis and hay fever lead to a runny nose and watery eyes, allergies caused by anaphylactic reactions to certain food and medicinal substances can be serious and life-threatening. While tests can determine the presence of an allergy, Ayurveda takes a deep and comprehensive analysis of the results since every test that shows a positive result doesn’t always indicate an actual allergy.
All About Dosha-Related Allergies (Symptoms and Food Habits)
These allergies are experienced in the digestive system that causes symptoms like bloating, abdominal discomfort and pain, stomach cramps, gurgling intestines, intestinal colic caused by a blockage, tingling mouth, and swelling of the lips, tongue, and face. It can also lead to other allergic symptoms like headache, continuous wheezing and sneezing, dry cough, dry eyes, joint pain, muscle spasms, and insomnia.
Vata imbalance causes extreme sensitivity to foods like raw food items, several types of beans, and specific animal proteins like pork and red meat.
When Vata is imbalanced, Ayurveda recommends you to stay hydrated and drink warm herbal liquids like ginger tea with honey or licorice tea. Calming herbs like Ashwagandha help maintain the optimal level of Vata and also calms the immune system to help avoid allergens. It’s vital to consume a Vata-pacifying diet like warm and oily food prepared using organic oils or ghee and avoid dry food and leftovers. Eat cooked vegetables and avoid vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, dark leafy greens, and most beans even in cooked form. Eat foods that are smooth in texture like rice pudding, bananas, hot cereals, root vegetables, and pureed soups.
You experience these allergies in your skin when the allergens come in contact with the skin and enter the bloodstream. Inflammation of the respiratory tract and the skin, burning and reddish eyes, inflammation of the sinuses and the airways, hives, rashes, eczema, heartburn, stomach upsets, indigestion, and vomiting are common symptoms.
Pitta imbalance leads to food sensitivity and allergies to hot and spicy foods, citrus and sour fruits, fermented foods, and vegetables like potato and tomato.
Pacifying vitiated Pitta is possible by consuming cooling herbs like coriander and cilantro. Ayurveda also recommends herbs like Guduchi, Amalaki, and neem that soothe the respiratory system and the skin. You can drink cool juices prepared from natural ingredients, and consume clarified butter or ghee to calm the inflammatory reaction. Prefer to eat cool or cold foods over hot ones, and include cooling spices. Avoid most spices since they’re heating by nature, and eat raw fresh foods like fruits and vegetables that offer a cooling effect. Avoid consuming fiery and spicy foods. Alcohol, caffeine, and everything that increases internal heat. It’s also important to include dry and dense foods like pasta, oats, beans, and potatoes.Limit intake of eggs, hard cheese, nuts, olives, and sour cream. Mild foods like apple, cucumber, lime juices, and soft cheese are recommended over sharp foods like pineapple, pickles, and vinegar.
These allergies onset during the spring season due to the onslaught of pollen-based allergens. It often causes nasal congestion with a run ny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing. Once the allergy aggravates, you’ll start experiencing irritation of the mucus membranes, hay fever, sinus infection, asthma, bronchial congestion, water retention, and sleeping disorders. Further, it can also cause heaviness in the stomach and sluggish digestion.
This imbalance causes sensitivity to foods like dairy products, wheat, and watery fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumber.
Firstly, it's important to stay warm and dry and avoid mid-day naps. Drink light and clarifying teas blended with ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, and add small amounts of local honey to eliminate excess Kapha and reduce sensitivity to pollens. Embrace freshly cooked food and include whole foods that are light, dry, warming, and well-spiced. They balance mucus production and regulate moisture levels while supporting smooth digestion and the elimination of toxins. Avoid or reduce junk food and sweets, and include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and a good variety of legumes. Your food should be light and not heavy and oily, and green/black tea is recommended over caffeine. Foods heavy for Kapha include wheat, puddings, cheese, pies, cakes, flour, bread, red meat, pasta, processed foods, and deep-fried foods that lead to excessive heaviness. Avoid cold or frozen foods, carbonated beverages, and leftover foods. It’s vital to consume foods that are rough called roughage that are easy to digest. These include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and dark leafy vegetables that should be cooked moderately for consumption.
Risk Factors of Allergies
Here are the leading risk factors that cause a person with a higher risk of developing allergies:
An individual having a family history of asthma and other allergies is prone to a higher risk of developing an allergic reaction
Children are often more prone to develop several types of allergies compared to adults, though they may outgrow these allergies as they grow
An individual suffering from asthma is at a very high risk of developing various allergies
A person having a weak immune system is more prone to catch various allergies
Exposure to secondhand smoke
Comin in contact with irritating chemicals
Most of these reasons include improper digestion, prolonged exposure to cold weather, increased sexual activity, not being compatible with the season, suppressing natural urges, certain medications, and certain food habits.
How Does Ayurveda Help You Deal with Your Allergies?
Going by the Dosha-related allergies and their symptoms, Ayurveda states that when all three Doshas are not at their own optimal levels, it causes a disturbance in the human body that leads to the weakening of the immune system, eventually making the body more prone to allergies. As per Ayurveda, the remedies to treat and prevent allergies can be divided into three parts, namely:
Ayurvedic Medicines and Herbs
Ayurveda aims to avoid the cause of the disease in the first place before concentrating on treating the symptoms of allergies. Medications, holistic treatments, and natural ways to address and prevent allergies are recommended by Ayurveda.
There are specific herbs in Ayurveda that have exceptional medicinal value to help manage allergies from the root cause. The exclusive products of Kerala Ayurveda for allergies are:
Biogest Tablet: It’s a natural formulation of Haritaki and Bibhitaki that helps boost immunity with its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. The immunomodulatory properties found in this Ayurvedic medicine help manage throat infections, relieve a sore throat, and help treat respiratory conditions like allergic rhinitis, hay fever, and bronchitis. It also manages tonsillitis that is common in children.
Biogest tablets are powerful yet gentle supplements that offer protection from recurrent infections due to the perfect balance of natural ingredients having medicinal value. Recurrent infections like the common cold, throat infections, and upper respiratory tract infections can deplete energy levels and make performing daily activities troublesome. This Ayurvedic medicine for throat allergy is a holistic product to help manage allergies and diseases that affect the immune system and the entire human body.
Histantin Tablet: This potent tablet is packed with the most powerful ingredients in Ayurveda to provide comprehensive relief from several symptoms of allergies. It helps strengthen the immune system naturally and taking the tablet after food helps derive maximum health benefits. It relieves you from allergic rhinitis, runny nose, and several skin allergies with its unique blend of anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, antipruritic properties. It delays Histamine release in the body which is the prime cause of developing allergies in the body. The ingredients of this Ayurvedic medicine for skin allergy and their purpose include:
Katuki to control inflammation
Jatamansi to stabilize mast cells
Nagakehsara having antihistamine and spasmolytic properties
This Ayurvedic medicine for allergy and asthma includes Pushkaramoola to relieve you from respiratory issues like asthma, bronchitis, and dry cough
Turmeric to detoxify the blood and reduce swelling
Kiratatikta to treat infectious diseases affecting the skin and the immune system
Bhunimba having antioxidants to help manage respiratory issues
Prapunnada to manage skin allergies or manifestations
Resigest Tablet: This antibacterial tablet is potent Ayurvedic medicine for allergic cough and cold, and helps manage conditions like acute bronchitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, and headaches. It also packs anti-bacterial properties to treat respiratory disorders and provides holistic relief from cold. The powerful herbal ingredients include:
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula) to maintain the optimal levels of the Doshas, detoxify the body, and promote healing
Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) is rich in Vitamin C and has antioxidant, immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties
Bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica) and Brihati (Solanum indicum) both have anti-inflammatory properties
Haridra (Curcuma longa)
Nimba (Azadirachta indica)
Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
Kutki (Picrorhiza kurroa) to stimulate the liver and aid in detoxification
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) to improve digestion and boost immunity
Ayurvedic Treatments and Therapies
Traditional Ayurvedic treatments and therapies include holistic practices to help alleviate the symptoms of various allergies and prevent them from occurring in the first place. Some of the time-tested treatments and therapies of Ayurveda include:
Panchakarma treatment combines conventional Ayurveda treatments with natural enhancements to instigate balance in the body, brain, and soul. Ayurveda guarantees that sicknesses and wellbeing problems are the amassing of poisons in the body produced because of natural openings and the sort of food devoured. This extensive and far-reaching method is intended to sanitize and scrub the entire body by taking out the aggregated poisons, toxins and different pollutants and is a corrective and preventive strategy that helps manage different sicknesses and upgrades general wellbeing.
Panchakarma is a 5-fold purifying and restoration Ayurvedic detoxification technique including the purgation and elimination of the development of poisons, toxins and pollutants. These five private treatment techniques have signs and contraindications, and are performed by an accomplished Ayurvedic specialist who chooses which one to apply contingent upon your medical issue, your body type, and nature of the infection, assuming any. These include:
Vamanam to eliminate toxins by inducing therapeutic vomiting
Virechana to cleanse and evacuate the bowels by therapeutic purgation
Vasti that involves administering enema therapy
Nasya the cleansing therapy done through the nose
Raktamokshanam to cleanse the blood
This eminent Panchakarma treatment with excellent results for allergies is an Ayurveda detoxification strategy done on an unfilled stomach, including the utilization of Ayurvedic substances like sedated oils, ghee, home grown powders, juices from crude spices, and nectar blended in with milk, water, and salt. The intense substance is conveyed through the nostrils that detoxifies and restores the total nasal section and advances the smooth working of the body. At first, a delicate back rub is given to the neck, shoulders, face, and chest utilizing a particular home-grown oil, and considerable measure of warmth is given to actuate sweat. It’s also a proven Ayurvedic treatment for skin allergy that helps restore the natural health and glow of the skin from within.
Steam inhalation is given before all else by adding camphor oil or eucalyptus oil to a huge pot containing bubbling water to relax the bodily fluid. Breathe in from a sensible distance gradually and profoundly to dodge direct contact with the bubbling water.
Natural Remedies, Including Food Habits and Lifestyle
Apart from Ayurvedic medicines, treatments, and therapies, Ayurveda suggests you make healthy alterations to your diet and lifestyle to reduce and eliminate the risk of developing allergies.
Eat light, warm and cooked food
Consuming fresh and warm foods cooked to perfection with a dose of clarified ghee or butter helps the body fight allergies. This type of food relaxes the digestive system, and aids in better absorption of nutrients. Most raw foods cannot be digested well and this leads to the accumulation of toxins. Having a raw green salad is an exception to this rule.
Reduce or avoid dairy
Keeping a check on the consumption of dairy products helps reduce or avoid the symptoms of mucous and aids in flushing out toxins easily.
Use a Neti pot
This is a traditional Yogic nasal cleansing method that cleanses the nasal passages. Boil water in a Neti pot and add salt and herbal oils known to relieve nasal blockages and release pressure in the head naturally. Do it in the morning before exercising for the best results.
Do gentle exercise and practice pranayama
Doing regular exercises and Yoga with Pranayama and breathing techniques is great to enhance physical fitness and promote mental stability. It helps calm the mind and the body and prevents the formation of allergies.
Use herbal supplements and spices
Warming spices used in cooking support the digestive fire and protect you from developing seasonal allergies. Spices like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, coriander, garlic, cumin seeds, and black pepper help restore the Agni in your digestive system and help eliminate toxins while avoiding the build-up of the same. They also aid in strengthening the immune system and restore the balance of the levels of the Doshas to experience optimal health.
Allergies are of different types and can be caused due to various factors which are challenging to detect. Allergy cannot be cured but can definitely be managed with the proper allergy treatment in Ayurveda as Ayurveda focuses more on the root cause of the disease rather than simply prescribing a medication to solve the problem. If you are looking for authentic Ayurvedic medicines and supplements made with the goodness of nature, do visit the Kerala Ayurveda online store.