This is the time of year when many of us begin to get concerned about allergies. The Pine pollen here in New England can be particularly irritating to many people. It can impact your life in a big way if you can’t get your symptoms under control. According to Ayurveda, allergies are a Doshic (see previous post, What’s Your Dosha?) reaction to a specific allergen. For example, Wheezing and breathing problems are characterized as Vata. Skin rashes such as hives, itching, and other forms of dermatitis are considered Pitta. Runny nose, congestion and coughing are Kapha in nature.
All body types are susceptible to all reactions. In other words, you do not have to be a Pitta in order to have a Pitta type reaction. If you walk in the woods regularly and end up with severe poison ivy, nobody really cares what Dosha you are. All you want is relief! In Ayurveda we treat the rash with cooling foods. Eating melon, and applying the rind to the skin is very affective. Coconut water works well on hives and rashes. Eating cucumbers and parsley will treat the rash from the inside out. You can also make a paste with a blend of cilantro and water and apply it directly to your skin.
Allergens in the air such as pollen or dust create Kapha type symptoms. Hay fever, sinus infections and colds are due to irritation of the mucous membrane in the nose. You can minimize this by keeping the nostrils clean with a Neti pot. Lubricating the nasal passage with sesame or coconut oil is not only soothing, but prevents allergens from invading through your nose.
Allergies, like many other diseases can have a stress- related componant. When you are suffering from allergy symptoms, the imbalance in your body creates an imbalance in your mind. Meditation, Yoga and Breathing exercises can help. If you don’t have a teacher or a regular practice, just get on You Tube and find a simple Yoga sequence that you can follow, or sit and listen to a meditation podcast. Yogajournal.com has free classes and good information for beginners. In todays world, allergens are everywhere. Be calm and train your mind to get through this season of invasion. So have a blast this summer and take control of your allergies with these Ayurvedic tips!
Photos: Poppies by Claire Mauro, Buddha by Chris Primavera