Many symptoms might accompany allergies. Food allergies, seasonal allergies, skin allergies, and allergic responses to odors are all examples of allergies. With any health imbalance, it's simple to become preoccupied with symptoms and severe suffering. Yet, allergy management adheres to Ayurveda's comprehensive approach to wellness. You will learn about ayurvedic herbal allergy support in this post, as well as about the ayurvedic theory and method for treating allergies.
Allergies are no different in that everything comes back to the gut. Questions concerning your digestion, bowel motions, and eating habits are likely to follow if you mention to an ayurvedic doctor that you have seasonal allergies. Ayurveda looks beyond what is happening right now to find herbal allergy support. For example, in order to treat seasonal allergies, it is necessary to gain a better understanding of the patient's overall yearly physiology.
One of my ayurveda professors used to say that if someone visited her in the spring with allergies, she may offer a temporary cure but would then encourage them to return in the winter. This is because the passage of the seasons determines how the doshas accumulate, aggravate, and alleviate. In the kapha season of spring, if someone has allergies that point to a kapha imbalance, it signifies that kapha dosha was actually building up in the previous winter. Hence, the best strategy would be to balance the kapha dosha during the winter, when it is accumulating. This method is preferable to waiting until the issue is fully developed (no pun intended).
But how precisely does one solve the issue's core issue? It is crucial to consider agni (digestive fire) when looking for herbal allergy remedies. Seasonal, topical, and environmental allergies can all be treated with this method. Your body is effectively saying, "I can't digest this," when an allergic reaction happens. Moreover, agni, or digestion, is not limited to the gut, according to Ayurveda. The dhatu agni is the unique agni that each dhatu, or body tissue, possesses. The dhatu agni is in charge of dispatching any pathogens or allergens that make it into the body. But if the agni is harmed in any way, it might not be able to break down the intruder.
As a result, balancing agni is one of the first stages in herbal allergy support (digestive fire). One must comprehend their unique dosha and which foods, plants, spices, and lifestyle practices are typically appropriate for their constitution in order to create and sustain a healthy agni.
Moreover, allergies will manifest differently depending on the allergen that causes them as well as the dosha(ies) involved. Ama is the byproduct of a compromised agni, and one or more doshas may combine with the ama to cause an allergic reaction (Lad, 2012). Let's have a look at a few examples of herbs and herbal supplements that may be used to support seasonal allergies all year long.
Kapha Allergy Support
Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica) root is a heating, purifying, and lymph-moving herb that’s especially helpful for herbal allergy support in kapha individuals. Kapha type allergies present more often in spring and may be accompanied by sinus congestion, abundant mucus, and watery eyes (Lad, 2012). Chitrak, a distinctly spicy root, is great for boosting sluggish digestion. Ayurvedic practitioner Vishnu Dass (2013) suggests 250 mg-3 grams per day of chitrak. Chitrak can be taken with a small amount (4-8 ounces) of hot water along with a teaspoon of honey 2-3 times per day.
You can take chitrak to address acute allergies; however, it’s most helpful when taken at the first signs of compromised digestion. For instance, if your digestion tends to become sluggish in the winter, a bit of chitrak daily can stoke the agni, helping you take a proactive approach to spring allergies.
Vata Allergy Support
Allergies that may be caused by a vata disruption include sensitivity to nightshades, gas, bloating, and muscle spasms. It is preferable to stick to herbs and spices that are warming but not extremely drying and heating for vata people or those who have an excess of vata. The traditional ayurvedic formula Dashamula, which means "10 roots," is beneficial because it reduces anxiety, controls vata dosha movement, and aids in lung expectoration (Lad, 2012). Dashamula is made of powdered bilva (Aegle marmelos) fruit, agnimantha (Premna integrifolia) root, shyonaka (Oroxylum indicum) root, patala (Stereospermum suaveolens) root, kashmari (Gmelina arborea) root, bruhati (Solanum indicum) root, kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum) herb, shalaparni (Desmodium gangeticum) herb, prushniparni (Uraria picta) herb, and gokshura (Tribulus terrestris) fruit. ingest one teaspoontimes daily, 8 ounces of hot water (Banyan Botanicals, n.d.). Moreover, a diet and way of living that stresses warming, moist, tonifying foods and grounding techniques will help to balance vata.
Pitta Allergy Support
Inflammation, rashes, and hives are all signs of allergies that entail a pitta imbalance (Lad, 2012). It is advisable to place an emphasis on spices that stimulate agni without overheating pitta, such as cumin (Cuminum cyminum) seed, coriander (Coriandrum sativum), and fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seed, for people with high pitta constitutions or pitta vitiation (excess). Furthermore recommended are meals that are cooling, including coconut and watermelon (Lad, 2012). Another recommendation for seasonal allergies is to take 1-2 teaspoons of fresh cilantro juice; cilantro is especially beneficial for pitta types (Dass, 2013).
Herbal Allergy Support for Spring
It should be obvious by this point that there is no one method or protocol for treating herbal allergies. Depending on the trigger, dosha, and season, there are many different suggestions. But, since spring is the season when allergies are frequently at their worst, let's look at a formula designed to help with spring allergies.
This remedy was developed by renowned ayurveda doctor and teacher Dr. Vasant Lad (2012) and is intended specifically for spring hay fever of the kapha type. Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa) root is a cooling diuretic that calms irritated mucous membranes. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) rhizome relieves inflammation and promotes liver function. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizome and pippali (Piper longum) fruit stimulate the agni (Dass, 2013).
400 mg punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa) root powder 200 mg dried ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizome powder
200 mg turmeric (Curcuma longa) rhizome powder
200 mg pippali (Piper longum) fruit powder
Combine all ingredients and mix evenly.
Store in a sealed container out of direct sunlight.
To Use: Take ½ teaspoon of the mixture in 4-8 ounces of just-boiled water, 3 times per day.
The Heart and Guts of Herbal Allergy Support
As you can see, there are numerous ways to locate herbal allergy support. Returning to the core of the issue—or, to put it another way, the guts—is always beneficial. Recall that balancing and strengthening the agni, or digestive fire, is the key to discovering herbal allergy assistance. A strong digestive system can manage practically anything.
There is another crucial component to this equation in addition to nurturing and balancing agni. The digestive power is reinforced by ojas, the basic base of immunity (Lad 2012). Ojas is essential for keeping immunity strong. Ojas is a quiet life force that endures. Although a very particular, refined form of ojas is thought to reside in the heart, this enigmatic and crucial element
Allergies: The Long Game
Knowing the cause of your allergies and avoiding it or eliminating it from your diet and environment is always beneficial for allergy sufferers. Aside from the allergen itself, an allergic reaction could also be a sign that your agni and ojas need a little more care. A person with a robust agni should be able to digest allergens and pathogens most of the time, unless they are exposed to extremely high doses (Lad, 2012). In order to reduce allergies in the long run, it may be beneficial to recognize your dosha, develop and balance your agni, and finally strengthen your ojas.