Ayurvedic Management of Allergies

About 75 million Americans – roughly one quarter of the population – suffer from airborne allergies, which reach the height of their troublesomeness over the spring, summer and autumn, depending upon where one lives. Usually accompanied by running and itching eyes and nose, sneezing and coughing and generalized discomfort, they are also occasionally accompanied by headache, muscle aches, upset stomach and low grade fevers. Their chief cause? From the perspective of Western biomedicine, it is the body’s reacting to innocuous foreign proteins (mostly airborne grass, tree and flower pollens) as through they were deadly invaders – by releasing powerful histamines to combat their potential danger. Reasonably enough, from the perspective of Western medicine, the treatment is often anti-histamines.

From ayurveda’s perspective, this is merely masking the existence of a problem by suppressing its symptoms. In ayurveda’s view, allergies represent a radically distorted immune response that has its origins in the individual cell whose “cellular intelligence” has gone awry due to the presence of aam – partially digested, undigested and fermented food matter present (in molecular dimensions) in the bloodstream, the lymphatic fluid and the interstitial fluid which coats cell membranes and disrupts the normal cycle of cellular nutrition and metabolism, and dysregulates immunity.

When allergies attack, instead of rushing to the pharmacy and reaching for an antihistamine and running the risk of encountering any of their many side-effects, try these simple ayurvedic techniques instead:

Practice daily pranayama (especially bhastrika, kapola bhati, agnisar dhauti);
Sip warm water throughout the day;
Eat the biggest meal at mid-day and make genreuos use of digestion-promoting spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander, ginger, bay leaves, mustard seeds, fenugreek, black pepper, and cilantro;
Take at least 500 mg. of Triphala every day;
Try to keep to a regular daily schedule.

At the same time, it should help to avoid:

Cold foods and drinks;
Sweet baked goods;
Tomatos, eggplants, white potatoes, green (bell) peppers, chilies, bananas, Soy, wheat, and corn;
Excess dairy products;
Spicy (hot/pungent), sour and fermented foods.

Article provided by William Courson, BVSA, D. Ayur., an Ayurvedic Practitioner, faculty member and the College Dean of Institutional Development at Sai Ayurvedic College & Ayurvedic Wellness Center.

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