When spring brings ills

Hay fever: Has the change in climate got you sneezing and sniffling? Dr Partap Chauhan shares some home remedies to detoxify your system

When spring brings ills

Have you been waking up with incessant sneezing and a runny nose? You are probably suffering from seasonal allergy or rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever.

When winter turns to spring, trees start flowering and the air gets laden with pollen, triggering allergic reactions in those vulnerable. Millions of people across the world suffer from allergic rhinitis during this season.

Causes

Allergies are triggered when pollen grains get into the nasal cavity of a person who is allergic, sending his immune system into overdrive and causing symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy and swollen eyes or other symptoms. Pollen or other allergens can also trigger asthma attacks, leading to difficulty in breathing, wheezing and coughing.

Some of the causes that trigger seasonal allergic rhinitis include indigestion, inhalation of smoke and dust, staying awake in the night, sleeping during the day, exposure to chilly weather, increased sexual activity, not being in tune with the season, and suppression of natural urges.

Ayurveda recommends boosting of your immunity system to find a permanent cure for this condition.

According to Ayurveda, ama (undigested toxins) and low immunity are the main cause of hay fever. When improperly digested ama is carried through channels into the various tissues in the body, the resulting toxin accumulation imbalances the tissues. Ama toxicity aggravates pitta or kapha, and in each case, the symptoms may vary. An allergy that occurs in any constitution can throw up various symptoms.

Treatment

Ayurveda believes in balancing the three doshas present in the human body, thus treating the disease on the whole. Treatment for allergic rhinitis involves clearing the sinuses and expelling phlegm, alleviating the dosha and detoxifying the system. To permanently resolve this disorder, dietary and lifestyle adjustments may be necessary in addition to the strengthening the immune system.

Panchakarma is an effective means of treating hay fever. In Ayurveda, allergies can be treated through shodhan (cleansing) in the form of nasya, where drops of medicated oil are put in the nostrils. This  oil is made of jivanti, devadaru, usira, sariva, sveta chandana, daru haridra, yasti, satavari, rasna, kantakari. Twice a day, hang your head over the edge of the bed and squeeze three to five drops of the oil in each nostril. This helps lubricate the mucus membrane while allowing the oil to drain up in the sinus cavity. If nasya therapy is carried out effectively, kapha related toxins from the paranasal sinuses will be eliminated.

Allergies can also be treated through shaman (pacification). Herbs that can pacify kapha include mulethi, vasa, pushkar mul and kantakari. Powders like palishadi churna, sitopladi churna, lakshmivilas ras tablets and vyoshadi guggulu are surefire medications to pacify kapha.

Home remedies

n Prepare a decoction by boiling half a tsp of licorice (mulethi) root powder, 1/4 tsp of black pepper powder, and 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger along with 8-10 tulsi leaves in a cup of water. Reduce the liquid by half. Add half a tsp of sugar and drink lukewarm in the mornings and evenings instead of tea or coffee.

n Boil half a tsp of freshly grated ginger in milk. Add one-fourth of a tsp of turmeric powder. Take this twice or thrice a day. Turmeric is a natural immune booster.

n Mix half a tsp of Indian gooseberry (amla) powder with 1 tsp honey. Take this twice a day.

Don’t drink cold beverages to cool down in summer. It will not only impair your digestion but will also harm your immunity.  Fresh fruit juices, blended and stored at room temperature, are recommended. Also drink plenty of water.

(The author is director,  Jiva Ayurveda)

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