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With the constantly changing environment, too many people are sensitive to various things. Allergy is when the body produces what are known to as antibodies to substances that it is not able to consider as own. The substances which cause this reaction are known as allergens. A person can have allergies due to various substances, and the list is only growing. From food substances to metals used in jewelry to pollen to animal dander to medications, various things can cause allergies.
Ayurveda believes that good health is a result of a balance between the three doshas or elements – vata, pitta, and Kapha. According to it, allergies are caused by different items which can increase any of these. The type of allergy a person develops would depend on the person’s overall constitution, depending on what predominates in his system.
- Vaata-increasing allergens: These cause symptoms in the digestive and respiratory tract (related to gas) and include pollen allergy, uncooked meat allergy, etc.
- Pitta-increasing allergens which cause hives and rashes include citrus fruits, jewelry metal, eggplant, etc.
- Kapha-increasing allergens often affect the mucous membranes and include pollen and dairy products. These include asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, etc.
If the imbalance is what causes the problem, Ayurveda believes that restoring the balance is the key to restoring health to normalcy. This requires bringing back the balance between the three doshas.
Ayurveda believes that allergies should be treated in a multi-pronged manner, starting from avoiding the allergen to cleansing the body as a whole. Read on to know more.
- Avoid the allergen: Whether it is peanuts or pollen, nickel or milk, once the allergen is identified, the person should try to avoid exposure to the allergen. This is the most important step in preventing an allergic reaction.
- Balancing the diet: As diet imbalances lead to an imbalance in the doshas, the diet needs to ensure the dosha is not aggravated further. A person who has pitta-increasing allergies should avoid foods which increase the pitta further. The doctor will be able to help in guidance on this. This also talks about food combinations, both to avoid and to encourage.
- Cleansing the system: Periodically cleansing the body helps in improving immunity, which then can help in fighting the diseases on its own. Therefore, fasting, juice cleansing, and mono-diet are some preferred ways to cleanse the body. This again needs to be done under supervision.
- Stress management: It has been shown that allergies are aggravated by stress, so it is very important to manage stress. This could be through various techniques like pranayama (breathing exercises), music, meditation, exercise, etc.
- Ayurvedic products like Triphala, Ashwagandha, and Chyawanprash are known to improve immune and very useful in controlling allergies. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
The most common respiratory disorder, asthma, is an allergy. Allergy is when the body’s immune system recognizes something in the system as foreign (or antigen) and produces what are known as antibodies. These antibodies cause allergic symptoms ranging from skin skin rashes to breathing issues to even anaphylaxis.
People who have asthma dread the spring season when the air is full of pollen, and they have severe attacks. In simple terms, what happens during asthma is the air pipes narrow down, leading to symptoms of chest congestion, breathlessness, coughing, and wheezing.
Ayurvedic belief is that asthma is caused due to some triggers like stress, exercise, cold air, and excessive pollen. These increase the Kapha component or dosha, which leads to mucus formation in the air passages leading to narrowing of the airways. Some causes include:
- Weak lung tissues
- Damp environment
- Cold and/or stale food
- Increased ama (mucus) formation
Strange as it may sound, Ayurveda believes that impaired digestion causes asthma.
Management: Ayurvedic belief is that managing asthma requires effort aimed at various things including food changes, exercise, and airway management. Some of the significant tips are listed below.
- Increase consumption of honey and warm liquids like herbal teas
- Eat a lot of old cereals and whole grains (rice, barley, oats, green grams, etc.)
- Reduce dairy products as they are difficult to digest and hard on the stomach
- Avoid white flour, oily foods, sugary foods, cold-stored foods, processed foods, and fried foods. These again are hard on the stomach and not easily digested.
- Exercise should be done in moderation, as too much exercise can add to the shortness of breath and congestion
- Try various home remedies and repeat what works for you well. Black pepper powder in warm milk can help relieve the congestion.
- Ginger root can be powdered along with black pepper and stored as a powder. This can be mixed in warm water or milk and consumed 3 to 4 times a day
- Steam inhalation where cumin seeds can also be added to the water is found to be very beneficial.
- A concoction of guava leaves, black pepper, milk, and water can be boiled. This, when consumed for over 6 to 8 months, helps improve immunity.
- Neti therapy where the nasal passages are cleared of mucus is also a very effective way to improve breathing and keep the airways clear.
- Stress management either through meditation or mild exercise is very important, as asthma is known to worsen during periods of stress.
- Herbal oil massages also help improve circulation and nerve supply and therefore improve immunity.
Ayurveda believes these improve immunity and thereby control asthma. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Is your skin looking swollen and feeling dry and itchy? If yes- you may be suffering from eczema. Eczema is a skin condition characterized by these symptoms along with redness. When scratched the skin may break and develop a rash. Children are more susceptible to this condition as compared to adults. Eczema is typically a recurrent infection. Treating it with conventional medication helps subdue the symptoms but does not reduce the risk of it recurring. In cases like this, Ayurveda is often the most preferred form of treatment.
- Ayurveda is a holistic form of medication that does not address only the symptoms that can be seen but addresses the root cause of the infection. It has negligible side effects and can be prescribed to children and adults. According to Ayurveda, eczema is also known as Vicharchika. This is caused by an imbalance in the immune system. Thus, in many cases, it may be accompanied by asthma, allergic hay fever etc. An unhealthy lifestyle with excessive late nights, stress, physical, mental and sexual activities can contribute towards this condition. In addition, consuming high amounts of alcohol, coffee, spicy or sour foods and stale foods can be responsible for eczema. All of these factors aggravate the pitta dosha and lead to the collection of ama or toxins under the skin.
- Thus, to treat eczema, it is essential to pacify the pitta dosha. The first step towards this is to have a healthy diet and lifestyle. Avoid oily and spicy food as well as tea, coffee, aerated drinks, and alcohol. Processed and preserved foods should also be avoided. In addition, try eating your meals on time and avoid late nights. Wear loose, cotton clothes that allow your skin to breathe. When bathing use mild, herbal soaps and a soft towel. Yoga asanas such as Bhujangasan and Pranayam can also help boost your immunity and reduce the ama in your body. This can also help reduce stress.
- In addition, there are certain ayurvedic home remedies that could be beneficial. Neem leaves are known for their antiseptic properties. Boil 20-30 leaves in 4-5 cups of water and wash the affected area with the cooled decoction. You could also apply a warm paste of 1 teaspoon licorice root powder and sesame oil on the affected part of your skin. This may be removed after 3-4 hours. Above all, avoid scratching the area and keep the skin well moisturized.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!