Allergies are an overreaction of the body’s immune system to specific substances that it misidentifies as harmful. This overreaction of the body’s immune system is known as an allergic reaction and the substances that cause it are called allergens. Allergic reactions manifest themselves in the form of commonly seen skin and respiratory disorders such as eczema, hives, hay fever, asthma and food allergies.
Internal factors (factors that are based inside the human body itself) causing allergies include heredity, sex, race and age. External factors (factors that are based in the surrounding or the environment) include alterations in exposure to infectious diseases during early childhood, environmental pollution, allergen levels and dietary changes.
- Dark circles under and around the eyes
- Recurring headache
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach cramps
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Itchy, runny nose
- Itching, eczema and/or hives
Ayurveda regards allergy as a disorder caused by impaired digestion, which is why preliminary symptoms may include indigestion, constipation or diarrhea. This dysfunction in the digestive process is the cause of the hypersensitivity to certain substances, such as dust and pollen that triggers the allergic attacks. Deposits of ama (toxins in the form of mucus) in the lungs and respiratory tract create obstruction in breathing and cause wheezing, coughing or sneezing.
Each time a person comes in contact with an allergen, the doshas are imbalanced, and toxins are released according to the imbalanced Doshas, leading to specific symptoms. For example, if Pitta Dosha is imbalanced, it releases specific heating toxins that accumulate in deep tissues like Rasa (nutrient plasma), Rakta, (blood), Mamsa (muscles) and Lasika (lymphatic). These toxins cause contamination of deeper tissues leading to a host of symptoms of various skin allergies. If Kapha is imbalanced, it gets accumulated in the respiratory channels, causing blockage and respiratory allergies.
Ayurvedic treatment of allergy focuses on pacifying the imbalanced dosha, restoring digestion with herbal preparations, and advising supporting diet and lifestyle changes. Ayurvedic tonics are also administered to build up the strength of the lungs.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
- Eat at least 2 hours before going to bed.
- Drinking warm water or herbal teas throughout the day is beneficial.
- Heavy foods including dairy products, fried foods, cold foods, rice, beans and legumes should be avoided.
- The use of spices, pickles and chilies in cooking should also be minimized Honey, nuts and seeds can be taken in moderate amount.
- Avoid excessive or physically demanding exercise.
- Yoga and breathing exercises (Pranayama) can be helpful.
Take 200 ml carrot juice, or a combination of carrot juice with beet and cucumber juices. In the case of mixed juices, 50 ml each of beet and cucumber juices should be mixed with 100 ml of carrot juice to prepare 200 ml of mixed juice. Drink for relief in allergies.
Squeeze half a lime in a glass of lukewarm water and sweeten it with a teaspoon of honey. Take it once daily first thing in the morning for several months. It not only flushes the system of toxins but also acts as an anti-allergic agent.
Take 5 drops of castor oil in half a cup of any fruit or vegetable juice, or plain water on an empty stomach in the morning. Or mix one part turmeric and two parts of amla powder. Store in a glass bottle. Take one small teaspoon twice daily with water.