Achoo! Allergies and Ayurveda


Allergies. Something people have to deal with each spring, right? It may be normal, but normal doesn’t always mean natural! Perhaps it’s time to take another look. 

Ayurveda views allergies in the light of whole-body health. Pollens, dust, mold and other common allergens cause a response in some people because of a disturbance in the digestive system, where the root of our health lies. If agni, or digestive fire, is not functioning at full strength, it’s easier to become susceptible to allergies. So if you’re suffering from the sniffles this spring, take the steps below to improve your digestion. And if you keep your digestion strong, this could be your last bout of allergies, ever. 

Strengthening your agni can be as simple as cutting out foods that are hard to digest, such as meat, and replacing them with lightly cooked, fresh food in proper combinations. In most cases, this means sattvic foods, which bring balance and harmony to the body and mind.

It’s important to remember that allergies, like any manifestation in the body, have an energetic origin. Allergies are a sign of unresolved emotional resistance - when we take on something as our truth that isn't. As nature comes back to life in the spring, it follows that our unresolved emotions rise to the surface so that we can move beyond what is not serving us. 

Ayurvedic answers for seasonal sniffles:    

  1. Lighten up: Minimize heavy foods or anything that is difficult to digest, like meat or raw food. Have dairy in moderation and only warm or at room temperature. Try kunyi, a soupy rice dish, for breakfast.

  2. Delight your digestion: Ginger tea strengthens agni and is an energizing, warming drink during kapha season.

  3. Neti and nasya for the nose: Each morning, work in neti and nasya as part of your dinacharya, or daily routine.

  4. Oil change: The sinuses and nasal passage need lubrication to function properly. Apply a little ghee or oil in the nostrils 4-5 times a day when allergies flare up. Leaving a little around the edge of the nostrils helps catch allergens and reduces red and raw skin.

  5. Water wash: A cup of hot water first thing in the morning and gargling 3-5 times a day with warm water will clear mucus and balance kapha dosha.

  6. Release resistance: A daily meditation practice gives you space for emotional healing and introspection, a critical component to any treatment plan.

  7. Spring cleaning: If your allergies are persistent, your digestion probably needs a “reset.” Spring is a great time for a panchakarma cleanse.

Allergy medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, might bring temporary relief but they actually cause greater imbalance in your body. Just take a look at the packaging on any allergy medication and you’ll find the common side effects include sinus infections, fatigue, yeast infections and stomach ulcers. In the long run, the Ayurvedic tips above will correct the root cause of the imbalance and allow your body to transition through every spring with clarity and vitality. 

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