Allergy is the condition present in certain individuals that can be described as the chemical ‘idiosyncrasy’ i.e. an abnormal physical reaction by an individual to a food or drugs. It is the typical hypersensitivity reaction to the foreign body. Allergy is caused by that antigen which is sometimes unfamiliar to the body, it manifest in the form of swelling, itching, hives and bodily discomfort are brought about by a particular article of food, the most common being fish, egg, mushrooms and milk. If for example after a meal all the partakers fall ill something was probably wrong with the food; but if only one person becomes ill then that individual is probably allergic.
Although pollen, dust, dander, stress and other allergens are the trigger for the allergies in susceptible people they are not the underlying causes. Many people are exposed to these substance everyday without developing allergic reactions. Rather it is the inner conditions of the body that determines whether an allergic response results from exposure to allergens.
In ayurveda the traditional Indian system of health and well-being, the causation factor is the digestive fire ‘Agni’. The state of agni determines our body’s ability to digest what it experiences. Agni protects our immunity by generating sufficient life forces (prana), life-vitality (tejas) and life strength (ojas) to protect and nourish the body. If digestive fire is low, metabolic toxins known as ‘Ama’ are formed. Ama results from the poor digestion, poor elimination and poor assimilation. This may lead to allergic reactions.
Symptoms will vary depending on the tissue that has accumulated the metabolic waste (ama). If the ama is involved in the digestive tract, diarrhea can result. If it is in the skin, rashes or hives may occur and if respiratory tract is involved sneezing, inflammation and mucous drainage will occur.
Since the source of allergies lies with our diet and digestion, adopting a proper diet and improving digestion are “job done” in the fight against the allergies. Next, it is valuable to use internal cleansing regimens to reduce the clogging and accumulate impurities.
1) The foremost and essential principle is the ‘Nidana parivarjan’ i.e cessation of the cause. Total avoidance to food or drug which causes allergic reaction or intolerance.
a) Eliminate diary & Cold food: one should restrict cold and diary items like cheese, ice- creams, cold-drinks and bakery stuffs.
b) Eat warm & cooked food: Majority of the meals should be warm. In Ayurveda eating warm and cooked food gives the digestive fire a chance to rest. When the digestion is low, it can’t access the nutrition stored in the raw food and the poorly digested food creates toxins. So one should have warm and cooked food. Avoid eating the leftovers.
3) Do Ayurvedic Cleanse:
One should go under purification procedure i.e Panchakarma atleast once in a year to remove the excess of toxins (ama) from the body. A cleanse is the great way to get rid of the toxins that are already in the body and reset the digestion. Vaman and Virechan are the recommended ones.
Nasya is the Ayurvedic practice of putting herbal oil in the nose. This practice lubricates dry nasal passage, delivers the benefits of herbs directly to the nose and keeps allergens from directly irritating the nasal lining. Daily two drops of medicated oil instillation in each nose is recommended.
5) Herbs and spices:
The Ayurvedic herbs known to support and rejuvenate the system like guduchi, sunthi, trikatu, haridra, tulsi, vasa, yasti-madhu can be adopted. One can use spices in cooking like black-pepper, turmeric, coriander seeds, ginger to enhance and support the digestive fire ’Agni’.
“Defend allergies before they defend you”
This article is written by Vaidya. Aniket Kamble B.A.M.S (Rajiv Gandhi university of health science, Bangalore)