Allergies occur when the immune system reacts abnormally to certain stimuli, referred to as allergens. Respiratory allergies are caused by airborne allergens like dust, pollen etc.
Respiratory allergies can be quite disturbing, as the patient suffers from sneezing, coughing, watery eyes and itchy and dripping nose, sometimes accompanied by Asthma.
Here are a few Ayurvedic remedies that can help ease your seasonal sniffling and sneezing.
1. Saline Nasal Rinse: With this remedy, basically you are flushing out your sinuses with a saltwater solution, which can wash away allergens and irritants. Grab a Neti pot or a large squeeze bottle and fill it with a premixed packet of saline solution that is available at drug store. Pour about 8oz at a time in the Neti Pot or squeeze bottle, tilt your head forward, over the sink, while you pour/squeeze the solution in one nostril and let it drain out the other.
2. Steam inhalation: Inhaling steam of essential oils (generally available in ayurvedic stores) is good. Boil water in a saucepan, and turn off the heat. To this add 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil, 3 drops rosemary essential oil, 2 drops myrtle essential oil and 2 drops of tea tree essential oil. Use a bath towel as a tent and keep your face just far away from the steam to avoid burns and inhale deeply for five to ten minutes. Repeat this twice or thrice a day.
3. ‘Honey’ is a magic cure that really works. Take a spoon of honey twice a day, either alone or mixed with other herbs, as it works like a mini allergy shot.
4. The ‘Stinging Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica)’ is used as an allergy remedy in many medicines. This can also be taken in the form of tea. Pour boiling water over the tea bag and cover for 15 minutes to let the oils seep in before drinking.
5. The herb ‘Eyebright, or Euphrasia officinalis’, is particularly good for burning, itchy eyes. Further, though it may sound surprising, Onions (Allium cepa) are indeed a hot and pricking vegetable that can treat eyes. Mix onion juice with honey in equal quantity and use as an eye drop twice a day, as it cures various eye infections and also helps in eye irritation and drippy nose associated with allergies.
6. Mix 250ml carrot juice, 100ml each of beetroot and cucumber juices together and have once a day, as it helps reduce allergic reaction and soothes existing allergies.
7. While lemon helps flush the body of its toxins, it also has antibiotic and anti-allergic properties. Squeeze half a lemon in a glass of lukewarm water, and add a teaspoon of honey, mix well and drink on empty stomach. This ancient remedy of Ayurveda is used as cure for various other ailments too.
8. ‘Bhibitaki’ is available in the form of powder in Ayurvedic pharmacies. Use ¼ to ½ teaspoon once or twice a day as directed by your health practitioner. It supports mucous membranes throughout the body, and has particular affinity for upper body and the head. The clearing and drying effects of the herb supports clarity and health in the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, as it is efficient in clearing excess kapha.
9. ‘Sitopaladi’ (available in powdered form, use as directed by physician) supports good functioning of the respiratory system by removing excess vata, pita and kapha from the head and chest. The herb supports natural expectoration, healthy lungs and clear respiration when strengthening the immune system. You can take this formula with ¼ teaspoon honey, as it is designed to support the lungs.
10. ‘Trikatu’ is a traditional ayurvedic formula which constitutes black pepper, long pepper and ginger as its main ingredients. This combination of herbs have the ability to kindle the digestive fire and remove toxins, thereby supporting clear breathing, rejuvenate lungs and balance mucus production, supporting proper metabolism.
For every ailment, Ayurveda offers several treatment strategies, and same is the case with allergies too. Ayurveda does not believe in symptomatic treatments. It focuses on the individual and his or her body constitution, diet and lifestyle, and then determines the therapies that would support them in their individual case. Hence, working with a trained Ayurvedic practitioner should be inevitable to arrive at the right treatment methods for you.