Allergic rhinitis is the swelling and inflammation of the nasal cavity. It occurs in response to an allergic reaction initiated by the contact of nasal mucosa with allergens, which commonly are minute particles like pollen grains. The nasal cavity comprises of 3 meatuses and conchae, the superior, middle and inferior. Bones present around these meatuses and conchae are called as the turbinates. These bony structures are responsible for obstruction of any foreign particle entering the nasal cavity.
Production of mucous prevents entry of minute particles through the nose into the lungs. Due to certain factors like low immunity, these foreign particles gain an entry in the nose and cause irritation. The inflammatory reaction initiated by in the nasal passage by dust, pollen grains, bacteria, pathogens causes local swelling giving rise to the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. A specifically seasonal form of allergic rhinitis is known as Hay fever.
Ayurveda describes allergic rhinitis to be a result of accumulation of toxins and decreased immunity in an individual. These accumulated toxins are known to affect the 2 humors in the body, namely vata and kapha. Other contributing factors mentioned in Ayurvedic texts for allergic rhinitis are a prolonged period of digestive problems, inhalation of smoke or dust, weather changes, weak immune system and unhealthy lifestyle. People having furry pets at their homes also stand at a high risk for developing rhinitis. From an Ayurvedic perspective, certain cause of allergic rhinitis can further be described. Low digestion strength is termed as ‘Mandagni’ which means low fire. Increase of the kapha dosha is ‘Kaphavruddhi’. ‘Viruddha aahara’ is the consumption of improper combinations of food.
Signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis are as follows-
Diagnosis of allergic rhinitis can be made by evaluation of the physical symptoms. Also, confirmatory tests like an allergy test, skin test and blood tests can be done. Symptomatic treatment approach is followed.
The Ayurvedic approach for treatment of allergic rhinitis propagates maintaining a balance of humors of the body. Eradication of the accumulation of toxins is the primary aim of treatment. Firstly, dietary changes are advised. Changes in lifestyle habits in accordance to the seasonal changes are required to be made. If prone to allergy, certain precautions like covering the mouth when in contact to dust, refraining from petting furry animals, keeping homes dust free are advised.If an individual is suffering from a chronic form of allergic rhinitis, then a ‘Panchakarma’ is preferred, which relieves the Tridosha and eliminates accumulated toxins from the body. Nasal symptoms are treated by use of nasal oils. A light, minimally spicy and cooked in less oil is recommended. Lukewarm water and soups should be taken regularly. Relief from constipation is necessary.
Herbs that are useful for treating allergic rhinitis are as follows-
Haldi (Turmeric) helps to improve stamina and combat the allergic reaction. It also acts as an anti-oxidant. Purnarnava is an immunity modulator and anti-inflammatory medicine. It reduces the frequency of hypersensitivity reactions. Pepper prevents the accumulation of toxins and reduces sneezing and itching of nose.Practicing Yoga also helps in relieving symptoms. Kapalbhati, Anulomvilom Pranayam, Vrukshaasan, Bhujangasan and Shavaasan can be practiced regularly. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!