Can Ayurveda help with seasonal allergies?
There are many easy everyday choices you can make to help with allergies. The most important is to get to know your ayurvedic constitution and eat and live the way that is good for your dosha! In Ayurveda we talk about Vata, Pitta and Kapha types of allergies. Allergies can be for example to certain foods, animals, medicine, molds, or pollen, just to name a few. Here I’m focusing on the Kapha type of seasonal allergy that many of us are suffering right now with pollen.
Spring allergies and Ayurveda
To help with the symptoms, we need to clean the Ama. Ama is the toxins that have accumulated due to the food that hasn’t been digested well. If you have Ama in your body, might be that you have eaten in a way that is not appropriate for your ayurvedic constitution or the season. We need to get the Agni to work well. Spring is a time for Kapha and this is why people with high Kapha constitution, or people suffering from Kapha imbalance, might notice arising in these qualities, like feeling even heavier and more tired, slower, increased mucus, and problems with breathing. Spring is a time when the temperature changes might be very big during the day and night and you catch the cold easily. It is important to stay warm and to get away from cold drinks and foods and avoid very big temperature differences. It’s not the time to eat ice cream all day.
Is fasting or juicing Ayurvedic? What kind of spring cleanse is good in Ayurveda?
Spring is a good time to clean the toxins away. Not just physically, but also emotionally. I will write about ayurvedic cleanse on another time, but it is very different than just this water or juice cleanse that is in fashion. The cleanse clears the channels of the body to get a better immune system.
I recently talked with someone wondering why she is accumulating so much liquid in her body, when the only thing she was consuming for many days, was cold juices. If you add cold, liquid, and raw foods quickly to your diet in a Kapha season, you might end up getting problems with Kapha. This kind of fasting is slowing the digestive fire. I remember once years ago doing a one-week juicing in a Springtime and although I felt really good with losing many kilos fast, all the weight came back very quickly and I also got a very bad rash to my skin that was due to accumulating Kapha. Also during the fasting, I noticed that my tongue was filled with a white layer. It is actually very good to check your tongue during the cleansing. It should get cleaner and healthier if you are doing the cleanse properly.
The Spring season is moist, heavy, cold, and liquid, just as the Kapha dosha. By bringing the opposite qualities, like light, warm and dry, we can manage the allergy season better. In spring we would love to start eating more raw food and salads, but it is good to notice that these foods are not so easily digested as cooked and warmer foods. So try to avoid changing the diet very quickly in raw, cold food. This is the time to enjoy a plant-based Ayurvedic diet or even a vegan ayurvedic diet because animal products have heavier qualities and these qualities are not so suitable for Kapha dosha.
I have been suffering a lot of seasonal allergies during my years in Spain. Luckily this year has been much easier so far. I’m taking my allergy medicine, but I don’t feel as bad as the years before. I was even able to visit my friend’s home (he has 9 cats) and felt ok. Normally I’m very allergic to cats and the allergy season is even worse. I think that my daily Triphala tablets and less heavy diet (almost vegan, with just a few exceptions) have helped a lot this year. I’m eating less dairy than the years before.
Here are some tips that can help during the allergy season:
- Eat seasonal foods (recommended all year).
- Use warming spices like ginger, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, fennel…
- Exercise more, sweat, and go to the sauna.
- Don’t sleep during the day.
- Eat a light dinner and not very late.
- Avoid dairy, oily, cold, heavy food, and cold drinks.
- Drink a lot of warm water during the day.
- Eat warm heating foods.
- Eat fewer salads and cold foods.
- Clean your nose with a neti pot (water with salt).
- Take Triphala in the evenings to get the excess toxins away.
- Meditate and find ways to relax.
- Do pranayama (Breathing exercises).