How to Alleviate Seasonal Allergies Based on Your Dosha
As we begin to enjoy the warmth and beauty of spring, some of us may also be experiencing the discomfort of allergies. You may wonder why some people experience allergies and others don’t, and why some experience different symptoms than others. One explanation, as research indicates, is that one’s susceptibility to allergies is genetic. To a certain extent, it doesn’t seem like there’s much we can do about our genes. However, an Ayurvedic perspective on allergies also takes into account one’s doshic constitution and offers practical strategies for alleviating allergy symptoms, empowering individuals to make long-term improvements during spring allergy season.
As we know, allergies are a very individual experience, with different people experiencing symptoms to different degrees. According to Ayurveda, that’s in part because of our unique doshic constitution. Specific allergies result from aggravating specific doshas, and those with certain doshas are more likely to experience certain allergies than others. For example, if you’re a Vata, you’re more likely to develop a Vata-related allergy; in addition, if you have an elevated Kapha (regardless of your dominant dosha), you may be more likely to experience a Kapha-related allergy.
Here’s a breakdown of the different allergy types and tips on how to alleviate their symptoms. If you’re not sure what your dosha is, try out our dosha quiz.
Since Pitta is characterized by fire and water, an excess of heat and warmth in an allergen can result in an allergic reaction on the skin or respiratory tract. The symptoms of such Pitta-based allergies include hives, rashes, itching, headache, red eyes and congestion.
To alleviate this type of allergy, you’ll need to balance this excess heat with cooling elements. Try incorporating cooling Ayurvedic ingredients such as cilantro and aloe into your diet. You can also apply fresh cilantro pulp directly to the skin to target specific skin-based reactions.
Vata allergies are aggravated by an excess of dryness and coldness, which makes them more likely to impact people during the fall season. They tend to affect the digestive system, resulting in symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain and gas; they can also induce muscle and jo8int aches, sneezing, headaches, dry eyes and cough.
To balance Vata allergies, you’ll need to introduce warm, moist elements into your routine. Be sure to stay hydrated with herbal teas that incorporate warming herbs like ginger. You can also add a drop of sesame oil, whose moistness helps counteract Vata’s aggravated dryness.
Since Kapha is associated with earth and water, Kapha allergies tend to be most present during the spring due to the proliferation of pollen. Aggravated Kapha levels result in symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, congestion, watery eyes, headaches, sinus pains and fatigue. Those with spring allergies may also find it difficult to sleep.
In order to combat Kapha-related allergy symptoms, try to avoid falling into patterns of sluggishness or sleeping during the day—instead, stay active and well-hydrated. You can also try using a neti pot to clear the sinuses and incorporate warming herbs to your diet such as ginger, cayenne, turmeric and cardamom. For a warming, soothing recipe that incorporates many of these spices, check out our blog on golden milk.
A General Practice for Soothing Allergies: Stimulating Agni
In Ayurveda, our agni, or digestive fire, is one of our central sources of life, regulating what we take into our bodies and maintaining our overall health. When our agni is strong, we can effectively process external stimuli and fight off infection and disease. Thus, boosting our agni is a surefire way to strengthen our natural defenses against allergens. Agni can be stimulated through a healthy diet, regular exercise, meditation, detoxification practices (such as tongue scraping or navel therapy) and the ingestion of digestive-boosting herbs like triphala.
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