Usually in any kind of allergic reaction the agni i.e. the digestive power is low which causes improper digestion and causes build up of toxins (ama or visha) in the body which are circulated all over the body and get lodged in specific systems or throughout the body. Stress also plays a vital role as it signals the nervous system to trigger the immune responses and culminates into an allergy. Prakriti i.e. the makeup or the constitutional frame work of the individual is very important to determine the kind of allergies one may have and how to deal with them. For example vata dominant people are prone to have digestive upsets, bloating or severe constipation, breathlessness or dry and fast spreading itchy rash. Pitta dominant individuals have skin allergies like hives, purulent rashes, digestive upsets with vomiting or loose stools, hot flashes etc. Kapha individuals can have hay fevers, severe bronchial congestion, asthmatic episodes, sinusitis episodes etc.
Vata dominant individuals will have imbalance in their bodies if they consume vata aggravating foods, similarly with pitta and kapha dominant individuals. So it is important to keep the dominant dosha in a state of balance. An individual with pitta dosha dominance shouldn’t eat much of spicy, hot and sour food as it will definitely cause aggravation of pitta and lead to pitta kind of allergies. Disorders which are allergic in nature are sudden and spread faster throughout the body akin to a poison so ayurved rightly compares these toxins with visha.
So also there is a concept of viruddha aahar and vihaar in ayurved, according to which food articles when combined inappropriately (meat and milk) cause sudden or over periods of time certain adverse reactions in the body due to building up of toxins and thus leading to allergic reactions. Many patients suffering from specific protein allergies were found to combine incompatible food items in their meals, which means they aren’t allergic to the food item in general but to the way they eat it. Similarly faulty lifestyle also triggers such reaction.
Vatic allergies are common in rainy season, pitta at the onset of fall and kapha in the spring usually.
Best way to deal with allergies is management of the specific allergen.
Study your allergy – Identifying the allergen is important. Analyse the pattern of your allergy and correlate it with the recent change in your diet or lifestyle. Milk or chocolate allergy could suggest lactose allergy. Eggs or soya bean may suggest protein related hypersensitivity. Identify the dominant dosha – Vata, pitta or kapha influence on the allergies needs to be verified as the management for each is different. Urticaria or hives are caused due to imbalance in the pitta and vata dosha. So the diet and medication is based on the doshas.
Purification – Internal purification through detox procedures like panchakarma and oral medications and external purification through various medicinal scrubs, wraps and oils gives excellent results. The physician should time the treatments according the pattern of the allergy. Allergic rhinitis is very common in spring time or rains. So specific panchakarma like nasya or vaman should be planned in advance so the congested kapha dosha and the built up of toxins is cleared before the allergy attacks. Regular or seasonal detoxification is a must.
Dietary precautions – Eat according to your prakriti or constitution. Kapha dominant people shouldn’t eat sweet or cold food items in excess and that can cause allergic reactions like rhinitis or hay fever due to aggravation of kapha dosha. Especially during the phase of a particular allergic attack it is very important to eat such food which is lighter to digest and at the same time boosts the digestion. Herbs like pepper, turmeric, cloves, peppermint, and liquorice in food go a long way in combating allergies.
Yoga and pranayam- Yogic cleansing procedures help a lot in clearing the channels by removing accumulated dirt and help in reducing the frequency of attacks. Nadi shodhan pranayam with jala and sutra neti help in curing allergic rhinitis or sinusitis. Meditative techniques help in calming down and thereby reducing stress which then eases out the way to calm down the agitated immune system.
Boost the immune power- Certain foods like ghee, amla, liquorice, turmeric and garlic help in improving the immune system thereby reducing the frequency of allergies.
Some medications (to be taken in strict supervision) prescribed by ayurvedic physicians detoxify the body and also help in strengthening the particular system which is the supposed seat of an allergy.
Follow a schedule- Dinacharya, ratricharya or ritucharya which describe about ideal regimen and schedule in the day, night and season respectively may sound overwhelming and practically impossible in today’s era but simple things like eating appropriately on time and when hungry or sleeping and waking up early is a must. When we try to play with the biological clock and body’s rhythm, then we should be prepared for such negative reactions from our body