If you have ever experienced itchy, watery eyes, dry cough or nasal symptoms of seasonal allergies, then you are well aware of how uncomfortable, and at times, physically limiting they can be. Can you beat allergies by balancing your dosha?
Allergic responses are our body’s way of defending against and trying to eliminate foreign substances that we encounter. In Ayurvedic medicine, the health of your agni, or digestive fire, determines how severe of a reaction you have to common allergens. By strengthening your agni, you can reduce, or possibly eliminate the physical discomfort associated with allergies.
Vata allergy symptoms tend to be more noticeable in late fall and early spring when the air is cold and dry. There is a very active air element to Vatas. Allergy related discomforts may include dry eyes, dry cough, headache, wheezing, sneezing and dry itchy skin.
As a cooling remedy consider the use of neem. Neem is a highly potent herb, but you can use it safely in a diluted form, such as neem oil soap. Regular washes will calm the inflamed skin and balance Pitta energy.
Coriander is an incredible cooling, anti-inflammatory spice. Try a coriander tea, or add coriander to your foods. Cilantro also works wonderfully. If you choose to add cilantro to your diet for Ayurvedic healing, make sure that you are not combining it with heat producing foods.
Pitta symptoms are also eased by the use of aloe. Either apply aloe directly on inflamed skin or consume it in the form of aloe juice to bring a cooling effect to the entire body.
Kapha is the dosha associated with dominate water and earth elements. Allergy symptoms tend to be more watery, such as mucus drainage and watery eyes. The strong earth presence also means that blockages are common, as is a sluggish, stuck feeling.
To help ease the allergy symptoms and balance the Kapha dosha, Ayurveda recommends nasal cleansing. It should be done using a neti pot. This teapot device is used to flush water through the nasal cavities and facilitate easier and faster removal of mucus and the opening of blocked passages. It is important always to use sterile water in your neti pot. You may purchase pure, distilled water or you may boil your own and allow it to cool to a lukewarm temperature before using. You may also add a tiny bit of salt to the pot to facilitate the process.
In addition to the use of a neti pot, the use of oils that act as decongestants is recommended. Oils with decongestant properties include camphor and eucalyptus.
If you would like to use spices and herbs in your treatment, use those that produce a warming sensation that will help you become less sluggish and assist in removing blockages. Some to consider are ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, and cardamom.
Try making yourself a tea using these spices in hot water, dressed in lemon and honey.
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