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What causes allergies?

As plants begin to bud and flowers to pollinate, and we throw open our windows for spring cleaning, we find ourselves faced with apparently benign substances floating through the air, which spell discomfort for those who suffer from allergies. Just what are allergies? Why do we have them sometimes? Why do we get itchy eyes and a feeling of coughing and sneezing? 

Three different types of allergies may cause these unpleasant reactions: food allergies, airborne allergies, and contact allergies. In every case, the body recognizes something that is typically non-harmful as harmful. The immune system promotes into overdrive to attempt and remove this faux pathogen.

See: Eliminating Food Allergies to Help your Healing Process

How does Ayurveda view allergies?

Based on Ayurveda, an allergy is caused by a specific substance (the allergen) aggravating a particular dosha: Vata, Pitta, or Kapha. Ayurveda classifies allergies according to dosha based on which one(s) are triggered in every individual case. Allergic reactions are reflective of our constitutions. This reaction is particularly true when our dominant doshas are aggravated. However, it's also possible to create allergies that don't correlate with our constitutions. A Vata-predominant person who has elevated Pitta might manifest a just Pitta sort of allergy. It is essential to understand the different kinds of allergies found from an Ayurvedic view. Some principal causes of allergies, according to Ayurveda, are genetics, weak agni, or digestive fire.

See: Nasya Ayurvedic Treatment for Healing And Relief From Sinusitis

Allergies specific to doshas

Allergies can be associated with an imbalance according to dosha: Vata-type, pitta-type, and Kapha-type. Each imbalance has some primary symptoms, possibly aggravating foods, plus a brief list of dosha-specific remedies. This root cause provides the basis for Ayurveda to suggest the appropriate remedies. Many Ayurvedic treatments may decrease allergy symptoms.

Vata-Type of Allergies

Allergies of the Vata type are often experienced in the digestive tract with symptoms like burping, bloating, gastrointestinal distress, gas, gurgling intestines, vague stomach pain, and intestinal colic. They can also have symptoms of constriction like headache,  joint pain, sciatica, muscle twitching, sneezing, ringing in the ears, or spasms, insomnia, nightmares, and other Vata-type discomforts.  

Vata imbalances can lead to food sensitivities to raw foods, many beans (black beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans, etc.), and certain animal proteins, such as pork. These foods may also aggravate Vata kinds of allergies.

SEE: How to balance with Vata pacifying diet

Pitta-Type Allergies

Allergies of Pitta types usually occur when the hot, sharp qualities of an allergen come in contact with skin and subsequently enter the bloodstream. Pitta-type allergies are so often skin-based reactions such as itching, allergic dermatitis, hives, rashes, eczema, and could also involve bloodshot eyes. In the GI tract, pitta allergies may lead to heartburn, acid indigestion, stomach upset, nausea, or vomiting. Pitta-type allergies may also cause hot flashes. 

High Pitta can lead to food sensitivities or allergies to hot, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, sour fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and fermented foods. These foods may also aggravate pitta kinds of allergies.

Balancing Pitta: When Pitta is in excess, it's ideal to stay cool, avoid exercising at midday and consume a pitta-pacifying diet. Healthy Pitta and Pitta Digest may also be reassuring. Since Pitta has such an affinity for the blood, purifying the blood is often tremendously beneficial. Herbal formulas that specifically support the blood may also be quite useful. Try a mix of Manjistha and Neem in warm water three times each day after meals.

See: Pitta Diet to Balance Pitta Dosha

Kapha-Type Allergies

Allergies of Kapha type are the most likely to be exacerbated during the spring season due to pollen-based allergens. Kapha allergy symptoms include cold, congestion, cough, sinus disease,  irritation of the mucus membranes, water retention, bronchial congestion, hay fever, asthma, and even sleeping disorders.  In the gastrointestinal tract, Kapha's kinds of allergies can create a certain heaviness in the stomach and sluggish digestion. Elevated Kapha can lead to food sensitivities or allergies to dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, and wheat, cucumber, or watermelon. These foods are also very likely to aggravate Kapha's kinds of allergies.

Balancing Kapha: When trying to balance Kapha, it's ideal to stay warm and dry, prevent daytime napping, remain active, and consume a Kapha-pacifying diet. Drinking lightening and clarifying teas like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, or clove can also help remove excess Kapha. Punarnava helps to restore power to a sluggish digestive fire. Punarnava very efficiently clears excess Kapha in the chest and stomach and promotes proper fluid balance in the cells. 

See: How to balance Kapha

If you struggle with springtime allergies, a dietary cleanse can help clear the gut and lungs of the excess Kapha that's at the root of Kapha kinds of allergies. Ayurvedic treatments like Panchakarma provide a powerful way of removing accumulated Kapha in the machine; these are best done under the guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner.

See: Dosha Quiz

Ayurvedic herbs for allergies

Ayurvedic herbs and formulas are generally utilized in allergic conditions to encourage the purpose of certain systems in the body. Choose based on where you will need the most support. Consult with an Ayurveda practitioner for the right herbs and dosage.

- Neem Oil: Massaging the skin with Neem Oil (the most cooling of Ayurvedic oils) provides the effective pitta-pacifying and immune-supportive properties of organic neem right where you need it most. Neem Oil helps relieve Pitta's excess heat and oiliness, allowing the skin to refresh and refresh.

See: Neem benefits & side effects

- Guduchi: This herb, taken internally, is famous for boosting the immune system when purifying the blood, kidneys, and liver. Guduchi is also highly capable of calming and soothing the skin with cooling effects.

See: Guduchi benefits & side effects
- Sitopaladi churna supports the respiratory system's correct role by eliminating excess Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in the head and torso. Its powerful affinity for the respiratory and digestive systems helps this formulation encourage natural expectoration, healthy lungs, and clear respiration while strengthening the immune system. Taking this churna with a little honey directs the herbs to benefit the lungs. 

- Talisadi churna contains each the herbs in Sitopaladi, but it packs considerably more heat due to the inclusion of Talisa, black pepper, and ginger. Talisadi provides all the advantages of Sitopaladi with the additional heat required to kindle a more robust digestive fire, and burn ama (natural toxins).

Cilantro: Drinking cilantro juice cools and strengthens the whole system and promotes optimum health, relaxation, temperature, and fluid balance in the skin. Place a few fresh cilantro in a blender with about a cup of water and mix. Strain the pulp and then drink the juice. Implementing fresh cilantro pulp directly to the skin provides more localized soothing support and may be utilized with cilantro juice. The pulp can be placed on the skin after it's been separated from the juice. 

- Triphala: Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal formula comprised of three fruits. It's known for its distinctive ability to gently exfoliate and detoxify the digestive tract when replenishing, nourishing, and rejuvenating the cells. As digestive power is intricately connected to the immune response, clearing out and showing up the digestive capability can be tremendously beneficial.

See: Triphala benefits & side effects

- Ashwagandha is an adaptogen for the nervous system and helps reinforce the body's ability to withstand stress. As an adaptogen, it also promotes optimal--although not overactive--immune function. Additionally, Ashwagandha is quite supportive of the lungs and the upper respiratory tract. 

See: Ashwagandha health benefits

- Trikatu is a traditional Ayurvedic formula with three herbs: long pepper, black pepper, and ginger. This combination is famous for its ability to kindle agni, digest ama (natural toxins), encourage clear breathing, rejuvenate the lungs, equilibrium mucus production, clear the mind, and encourage proper metabolism. This formulation is traditionally blended into raw honey to form a paste. Because it's quite heating, Trikatu isn't the ideal choice when Pitta is particularly high and might not be suitable during pregnancy.

- Bibhitaki is particularly supportive of the mucous membranes throughout the body and has a specific affinity for the upper body and the mind. Its clearing and drying effects encourage clarity and wellness from the eyes, nose, ears, throat, and lungs (where it's particularly adept at clearing the blocking influence of excess Kapha).

- Haritaki is wonderfully supportive of the digestive tract and the lungs. It's a digestive and clears ama (natural toxins) while scraping accumulations in the body's cells and channels. In cases of Vata-type dryness and constriction in addition to Kapha-type heaviness and dampness, Haritaki soothes the mucous membranes, throat, and respiratory tract.

- Chyawanprash is an herbal shake primarily aimed at encouraging the immune system. Chyawanprash reduces ama or natural toxins, supports the body's natural defenses, and supports healthy digestion and metabolism.

See: Chyawanprash Health Benefits & Ingredients

Ayurvedic treatments for allergies

Cleanse or Lubricate the Nasal Passages

Since the respiratory system is a frequent host to allergic symptoms, offering some immediate aid to the nasal passages can help mitigate allergens' effect on these delicate tissues. 

- Neti pot: Use a neti pot daily, or twice daily, using a weak saline solution and distilled water. This remedy will help loosen up the heaviness of Kapha, ground, and water energy and help clear out allergens that might be sticking into the mucous membranes.

Nasya kriya: Dab a small amount of sesame oil spiked with eucalyptus in each nostril an hour after using your neti pot.

Nasya is the use of an herbal oil into the nasal passages to soothe these delicate tissues, encourage unobstructed breathing, relieve accumulated stress, and boost mental clarity. Lubricating the nasal passages can be thought to enhance the quality of the voice and to strengthen eyesight. Our Nasya Oil is Tridoshic. Pregnant or menstruating women shouldn't do Nasya. Whether this practice is new to you, please see our brief instructional video.

- Gargle: If the throat is aggravated, gargling with a little bit of honey in hot water or using a mixture of 1 cup warm water with one tsp natural salt, one teaspoon turmeric powder can be soothing. 

Ayurvedic Diet

Since the digestive tract and immune function are so intricately linked, good food combining can provide essential support by helping to enhance digestive health, which in turn, can bolster immune health. Ayurveda outlines several foods that, while maybe fine to eat individually, are incredibly taxing to digest in conjunction with each other. These include things such as meat and dairy, milk and milk, beans, and cheese. 

Avoid cold, dense foods and beverages, including milk, wheat, meat, sugar, processed foods, leftovers, and iced drinks, because they may slow down the digestion and interrupts the agni. Use warming spices such as ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne. Enjoy ginger tea through the day, as it arouses digestive fire.

See: Ayurvedic diet

Dietary Detox & Cleanse

Given the deep connection between digestion and immune function, stoking the digestive fire using a cleanse can be a remarkably powerful way to encourage the immune system and decrease the development of allergies. A dietary cleanse can help reset to the digestive tract in much the same manner that restarting a computer will help remove glitches and idiosyncrasies that could interfere with regular functioning.  Ayurveda provides several effective cleaning techniques. 

See: Ayurvedic herbs for detox & cleanse

- Meditation for Stress: Most allergies can be linked to anxiety. Ayurveda recognizes the ability of a range of subtle therapies, which can reduce the detrimental impacts of stress on the physiology. Meditation is a very effective technique; it can help minimize our experience of anxiety and also promotes the development of more constructive responses to stressful conditions. 

Pranayama: Grow a daily pranayama regular that includes Dirgha (Three-Part Breath), Ujjayi (Ocean-Sounding Breath), Bastrika (Bellows Breath), and Kapalabhati (Skull-Polishing Breath).

Watch: Kapalabhati Pranayama Video

Pranayama is a set of breathing exercises to influence the mind-body connection. Like meditation, pranayama brings balance in the nervous system, starts to loosen the cycle of chronic stress that may trigger allergies, and also helps to gain access and reset long-standing patterns in the energetic body. Additionally, pranayama provides more special support to the respiratory passages so frequently impacted by allergies. Listed below are a few breathing practices to consider:

- Alternate Nostril Breathing: This practice, also called Nadi Shodhana, is wonderful for reducing stress and supporting equilibrium through the lymph channels. It's particularly helpful when there is hay fever, wheezing, or coughing. 

Watch: Nadi Shodhana Video

Practice Yoga

Yoga is another treatment that could help reduce tension and balance the system in general. 

- Moon Salutations: Moon Salutations (Chandra Namaskar) are cooling, soothing, soothing, and calming. Since they cool and slow the machine, moon salutations are more suitable for pitta kinds of allergies.

- Sun Salutations: Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) are heating, activating, refreshing, and also grounding. Because they encourage the growth of internal heating, sun salutations are most suitable for Vata and Kapha kinds of allergies.

Exercise daily, for thirty minutes or so, to help stimulate agni and remove ama. This exercise may be a brisk walk, a fun exercise class, a vinyasa yoga class, a hike, a bike ride, or a dancing class.

See: Foods & Herbs For Kidneys Blood Cleanser & Purifier


Ayurveda finds the root cause of your allergies and heals each person for that cause. For each ailment, Ayurveda provides many effective treatment plans. The symptoms may not be the main element in determining the best therapies to pursue. 

See: Ayurveda for boosting immunity


1. Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies

2. Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda 

3. Pole, Sebastian. Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice

See: Active immunity vs. passive immunity in Ayurveda

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