Spring is finally here, but as beautiful as it is, it is also a big trigger for seasonal allergies. The biggest cause of it is pollen. Trees, plants, grass and weeds release these tiny grains into the air and we breathe them in. If someone is allergic to pollen, the immune system reacts to it by releasing histamines that cause many uncomfortable symptoms such as a runny nose and watery eyes. Often, it can be confused with a bad cold. My son Noah suffers from them and it is sad to see him so uncomfortable and unfortunately, his reactions are accompanied by asthma and sometimes even a headache.
In my frustration and concern over constantly giving him so much medicine, I consulted my good friend Christianne Madrazo an ayurvedic health counselor in San Diego. She provided me with helpful tips for dealing with seasonal allergies.
We all know that if our immune system is strong and in balance, we should not suffer from many health problems. Sometimes our immune system responds too vigorously to a substance in the environment such as pollen, animal dander, mold, or dust, among others. As the body acts to eliminate the foreign cause of an allergic reaction, symptoms such as a runny nose, nasal congestion, coughing, and itchy, watery eyes occur.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, several other key factors determine whether a person experiences an allergic reaction and how severe that reaction will be. These include the strength of the individual’s digestive fire (known as Agni), the quantity of allergen that enters the body, and a person’s current state of balance/imbalance in the doshas.
Some of her tips included eating a diet of seasonal foods at regular times, not past 7 p.m., avoiding consumption of ice cold water, and only eating when hungry. Additionally, performing a saline rinse once or twice daily can flush out any foreign material that has come into your body through the nasal passages.
Pitta Allergies symptoms occur mostly in summertime, due to imbalance in Pitta Dosha. These symptoms may be rashes, headache, burning or red eyes, as well as inflammation in the sinuses and airway. In addition, herbs such as guduchi, amalaki and neem may be helpful with properties that support our immune system. Ingestion of ghee and aloe can calm the inflammation.
Vata allergic symptoms occur more typically in the fall and include headache, wheezing, sneezing, generalized muscle aches, dry cough, restlessness and dry eyes. In this case, it is important to stay hydrated and drink warm liquids, such as ginger tea with honey.
In addition to helping with seasonal allergies, Ayurveda provides us with the tools to learn how to make the right choices for our unique body constitution and attain our natural state of health and balance. Please consult your physician before undertaking any health regimen or treatment.