When your immune system is in balance, it does a seamless job of identifying and eliminating potential threats to our health, such as toxins, bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. However, sometimes your immune system responds too vigorously to a substance in the environment that is usually harmless, such as pollen, animal dander, or mold. As the body acts to eradicate the perceived threat, you can experience the uncomfortable symptoms of an allergic reaction, including a runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing, and itchy, watery eyes. Allergies affect a large percentage of the population at one time or another and can significantly limit activity.
Ayurveda views allergies as an excess of “Kapha Dosha”, or the earth and water elements. Earth and water are cold, heavy, dense, smooth and stable. Excess of these elements results in congestion, mucus, phlegm, sneezing and postnasal drip. Along with the excess of these qualities, there’s slow digestive fire known as “Agni”. So the way to turn allergies around is to improve the digestive fire and use the qualities that are opposite of Kapha (warm, light, mobile, and clear) in everything you do — diet, herbs and daily routine.
A few ways to beat seasonal allergies using Ayurveda are as follows:-
Eat Warm, Cooked Foods: In Ayurveda, eating warm, cooked foods gives the digestive fire a chance to rest. When the digestion is low, it can’t access the nutrition stored in raw foods, and the poorly digested food creates toxins.
Do an Ayurvedic Cleanse: A cleanse is a great way to get rid of the toxins that are already in the body and reset the digestion. Preferably, twice a year.
Use a Nasal Rinse Cup: A neti pot or nasal rinse cup is a must-have accessory for anyone with seasonal allergies. It helps remove the congestion as well as the allergens that are irritating the nasal passages and the sinuses.
Nasya: Nasya is the Ayurvedic practice of putting herbal oil drops in the nose. This practice lubricates dry nasal passages, delivers the benefits of herbs directly in the nose, and keeps allergens from directly irritating the nasal lining.
Practice Pranayama: Exercise is essential to maintain your weight and improve your cardiovascular fitness. It should be followed by 30 minutes of pranayama, or breathing techniques. It helps you on a mental and spiritual level, bringing calm, attention and space.
6. Herbal Supplements and Spices: Use warming spices in cooking to support your digestive fire- particularly ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and black pepper. Also supplement your diet with Ayurvedic herbs known to support and rejuvenate the respiratory system, like Tulsi, Pippali, and licorice.