Allergies! Can Ayurveda help me?
Updated: May 4
Spring is beautiful with all its renewed energy peeping through the earth, and can be equally frustrating for those with allergies. According to Ayurveda, allergies are caused by an imbalance in the body's three doshas. The doshas are responsible for maintaining the body's overall health and wellbeing, and any disturbance in their balance can lead to various health problems, including allergies. Here are some of the possible causes of allergies according to Ayurveda:
1. Weak digestion: According to Ayurveda, weak digestion is one of the primary causes of allergies. Poor digestion can lead to the accumulation of toxins in the body, which can trigger an immune response and cause allergic reactions. 2. Imbalanced doshas: An imbalance in the doshas can also cause allergies. For example, an excess of Kapha dosha can lead to the accumulation of mucus in the body, which can trigger allergies. Similarly, an excess of Pitta dosha can cause inflammation and irritation, leading to allergic reactions. 3. Unhealthy lifestyle: An unhealthy lifestyle can also contribute to allergies. For example, eating processed foods, smoking, and exposure to environmental toxins can weaken the immune system and trigger allergic reactions. 4. Genetic predisposition: Ayurveda also recognizes the role of genetics in the development of allergies. If a person has a family history of allergies, they may be more likely to develop them. 5. Emotional stress: Emotional stress can also contribute to allergies. According to Ayurveda, stress can disrupt the body's natural balance and trigger an immune response, leading to allergic reactions. 6. Seasonal changes of course!: Seasonal changes can also trigger allergies. For example, pollen allergies are common during the spring and fall seasons, while dust allergies may be more common during the summer months.
But how is that helpful right now when you need to breathe? Let’s take a look.
The following are some Ayurvedic protocols that may help alleviate allergies:
Identify the Dosha Imbalance:
In Ayurveda, allergies are believed to be caused by an imbalance in the doshas, or the three fundamental energies that govern the body. Identifying the dominant dosha can help determine the appropriate treatment.
Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet to maintain good health. Eating a diet that is appropriate for your dosha type can help reduce allergy symptoms, keeping yourself in balance. For example, if you have a Pitta imbalance, avoid spicy and acidic foods and increase your intake of cooling, sweet, and bitter foods.
Ayurvedic herbs such as turmeric, ginger, and holy basil can help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system, which may help alleviate allergy symptoms. Ayurvedic treatments for allergies aim to balance the doshas and strengthen the immune system to prevent allergic reactions. Here are some of the most helpful herbs for allergies:
1. Turmeric: Turmeric, a common spice used in Indian cuisine, is known for its anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. It helps to reduce inflammation and swelling in the body, which can alleviate allergic reactions. Turmeric can be consumed as a spice in food, or in supplement form.
*Herbs taken through ‘dhumpana’ is quite effective for allergies, particularly turmeric blended with other helpful herbs. Feel free to read our article on Dhumpana.
2. Tulsi (Holy Basil): Tulsi is considered a sacred herb in Ayurveda and is known for its powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to alleviate respiratory symptoms such as coughs, colds, and asthma, which can be caused by allergies. Tulsi can be consumed as a tea or in supplement form. 3. Licorice root: Licorice root is a natural expectorant and has antihistamine properties. It helps to soothe the mucous membranes and relieve congestion in the respiratory tract. Licorice root can be consumed as a tea or in supplement form. 4. Ginger: Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine, making it useful in the treatment of allergies. It can help to relieve respiratory symptoms such as coughs and congestion, and is also useful for digestive issues that may be related to allergies. Ginger can be consumed as a spice in food, or in supplement form. 5. Haritaki: Haritaki, also known as Terminalia chebula, is a powerful Ayurvedic herb that helps to strengthen the immune system and improve digestion. It is also useful for relieving respiratory symptoms such as coughs and congestion. Haritaki can be consumed in supplement form. 6. Neem: Neem is a natural antihistamine and has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can help to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation, which can alleviate allergic reactions. Neem can be consumed as a tea or in supplement form. 7. Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps to strengthen the immune system and reduce stress. It can help to alleviate allergic reactions caused by stress and anxiety, and can also improve overall health and well-being. Ashwagandha can be consumed in supplement form. 8. Triphala: Triphala is an Ayurvedic blend of three fruits (amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki) that helps to detoxify the body and improve digestion. It can also help to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation, which can alleviate allergic reactions. Triphala can be consumed in supplement form. 9. Guduchi: Guduchi, also known as Tinospora cordifolia, is a powerful Ayurvedic herb that helps to boost the immune system and improve overall health and well-being. It is also useful for relieving respiratory symptoms such as coughs and congestion. Guduchi can be consumed in supplement form. 10.Shankhapushpi: Shankhapushpi is a herb that helps to reduce stress and anxiety, which can trigger allergic reactions. It is also useful for improving cognitive function and promoting mental clarity. Shankhapushpi can be consumed in supplement form.
Nasya is an Ayurvedic practice of nasal administration of medicated oils, powders or drops. It is believed to be effective in treating allergies by helping to clear nasal passages and reduce inflammation.
To perform Nasya, you will need a few things:
1. A dropper or a small spoon to administer the oil. 2. Warm medicated oil. The type of oil used will depend on the individual's constitution and the purpose of the treatment. Typically, sesame oil or ghee is used for general purposes, but other oils may be used based on the specific needs of the individual. Medicated oils may include herbs such as Brahmi, Jatamansi, or Shankhapushpi. 3. Clean hands and a comfortable place to lie down.
Here are the steps to perform Nasya:
1. Begin by washing your hands thoroughly. 2. Lie down on your back with your head tilted back and your nostrils facing upward. 3. Apply two to three drops of warm medicated oil to each nostril. You can use a dropper or a small spoon to administer the oil. The drops should be small enough that they do not run down the back of the throat. 4. After administering the oil, inhale deeply through both nostrils. Hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale through your mouth. 5. Gently massage the area around your nose and forehead with your fingers to help distribute the oil. 6. Remain lying down for a few minutes to allow the oil to penetrate the nasal passages and sinuses. 7. Blow your nose gently to remove any excess oil.
Nasya can be performed daily or as needed, depending on the individual's needs. It is best to perform Nasya in the morning, on an empty stomach, before any food or drink is consumed. This allows the oil to penetrate deeply and effectively. Nasya is believed to have several benefits, including:
1. Relieves sinus congestion: Nasya is a powerful technique for clearing the sinuses and reducing congestion. The medicated oil helps to lubricate the nasal passages and loosen mucus, making it easier to breathe. 2. Enhances mental clarity: Nasya is believed to improve mental clarity and enhance cognitive function. The herbs in the medicated oil have a calming effect on the mind, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. 3. Boosts immunity: Nasya is believed to boost the immune system by increasing the flow of prana (life force) in the body. This helps to stimulate the body's natural healing processes and improve overall health and well-being. 4. Relieves headaches: Nasya is a useful technique for relieving headaches, particularly those caused by sinusitis or allergies. The medicated oil helps to reduce inflammation and soothe irritated tissues, providing relief from pain and discomfort.
In Ayurveda, various types of medicated oils are used for Nasya, and the specific oil used will depend on the individual's constitution, the purpose of the treatment, and the specific condition being treated. Here are some of the commonly used oils in Nasya:
1. Sesame oil: Sesame oil is one of the most commonly used oils in Ayurveda. It is warming and nourishing and is believed to be beneficial for all doshas. Sesame oil is used for general Nasya purposes to promote overall health and well-being. 2. Ghee: Ghee, or clarified butter, is another commonly used oil in Ayurveda. It is nourishing and lubricating and is believed to be beneficial for Vata and Pitta doshas. Ghee is used in Nasya to promote mental clarity and enhance cognitive function. 3. Brahmi oil: Brahmi oil is a popular Ayurvedic oil used for Nasya. It is made from the Brahmi herb, which is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and nervous system. Brahmi oil is used in Nasya to improve mental clarity and enhance cognitive function. 4. Jatamansi oil: Jatamansi oil is made from the Jatamansi herb, which is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and nervous system. Jatamansi oil is used in Nasya to promote mental clarity and reduce stress and anxiety. 5. Shankhapushpi oil: Shankhapushpi oil is made from the Shankhapushpi herb, which is believed to have a calming effect on the mind and nervous system. Shankhapushpi oil is used in Nasya to promote mental clarity and enhance cognitive function. 6. Eucalyptus oil: Eucalyptus oil is a cooling and decongestant oil that is used in Nasya to relieve sinus congestion and reduce inflammation.
It's important to note that the specific oil used for Nasya will depend on the individual's needs and should be chosen based on consultation. While Nasya is generally safe and effective, it is important to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before beginning any new treatment. Some individuals may have specific contraindications or precautions to consider, such as pregnancy or certain medical conditions
Neti Pot is another Ayurvedic practice that involves using a small pot to rinse the nasal passages with a saline solution. It can help remove allergens and irritants from the nasal passages, which may reduce allergy symptoms.
Here's how to perform a neti pot in detail: Step 1: Prepare the saline solution To prepare the saline solution, mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 2 cups of warm distilled or boiled water. Make sure the water is at a comfortable temperature, neither too hot nor too cold. Step 2: Position yourself Stand over a sink or in the shower with your head tilted to one side. It's important to keep your head tilted throughout the process to prevent the saline solution from flowing into your mouth. Step 3: Insert the spout of the neti pot into one nostril Insert the spout of the neti pot into one nostril, making sure it fits snugly. Tilt the neti pot so that the saline solution flows into your nostril and out of the other nostril. The saline solution will flow into one nostril and out of the other, flushing out any mucus, allergens, or other debris that may be trapped in the nasal passages. Step 4: Allow the saline solution to flow Allow the saline solution to flow through one nostril and out of the other. Breathe through your mouth during the process to avoid inhaling the saline solution. Step 5: Repeat the process with the other nostril After a few seconds, switch the position of your head and repeat the process with the other nostril. Insert the spout of the neti pot into the other nostril and tilt it to allow the saline solution to flow through and out of the other nostril. Step 6: Blow your nose After completing the process with both nostrils, blow your nose gently to remove any excess saline solution and mucus. Step 7: Clean the neti pot Rinse the neti pot thoroughly with warm water and let it air dry. It's important to keep the neti pot clean to prevent the growth of bacteria or other harmful pathogens. Some additional tips to keep in mind:
Use distilled or boiled water to prepare the saline solution. Tap water can contain harmful bacteria or other contaminants that can cause infections.
Use the neti pot only once a day, or as recommended by your healthcare provider.
Avoid using the neti pot if you have a sinus infection, ear infection, or any other medical condition that affects your nasal passages or sinuses.
If you experience any discomfort or pain during the process, stop immediately and seek medical attention.
Always use a clean and sterilized neti pot to prevent the risk of infection.
Performing a neti pot can be an effective way to clear the nasal passages and sinuses, and alleviate symptoms of allergies and sinusitis. However, it's important to follow the proper technique and use clean and sterilized equipment to avoid any potential risks or complications. Ayurvedic therapy for allergies is a natural and holistic approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of allergies. It offers an effective alternative to conventional allergy treatments that often involve medication and may have side effects. However, it is essential to consult with an experienced Ayurveda practitioner before beginning any Ayurvedic therapy for allergies
There is more information in our Net, Nasya and Nitric Oxide Post
It's important to note that Ayurvedic protocols should be used under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner, and should be used in conjunction with, rather than as a substitute for, conventional medical treatment.