Allergic Rhinitis is commonly known as Hay fever. It is one of the most prevalent health disorders related to allergies in the respiratory system. Allergic Rhinitis is known as Vataja Pratishaya in Ayurveda.
Seasonal Hay Fever: It usually gets aggravated during the Vata times of the year, which is spring, summer, and early fall. This is commonly termed as the seasonal hay fever.
Perennial Hay Fever: Some people suffer from allergic rhinitis throughout the year, which is commonly termed as perennial type of hay fever. Usually, allergic rhinitis symptoms are aggravated at Vata times during the day, which is from 2 AM to 6 AM and from 2 PM to 6 PM.
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What causes Allergic Rhinitis?
According to Ayurveda, primary causes of Vataja Pratishaya is poor digestion and toxin build up in the Rasa Dhatu and Rakta Dhatu (plasma and blood tissues) in the body.
Along with toxin build up, Vata Dosha Imbalance and Kapha Dosha Imbalance are usually present in Pratishaya. While Kapha Dosha imbalance leads to development of excessive mucus in the body, Vata Dosha imbalance further leads to blockade and irregular movement of the mucus through the body orifices.
Listed below are some of the causes that lead to Dosha Imbalance and Toxin build-up in the body:
- Regular consumption of incompatible foods.
- Wrong dietary habits that slow down the digestive fire and build up toxins in the body.
- Regular consumption of cold, frozen, processed, and stale foods.
- Regular consumption of Kapha increasing foods.
- Holding off to natural urges such as urination, defecation, belching, sneezing, and passing of gas.
- Exposure to very cold or very hot weather and strong winds.
- Irregular and inconsistent meal times and sleep cycle.
- Excessive travel and or excessive stress.
How does Allergic Rhinitis develop in the body?
Here is what happens when toxins start accumulating in your body.
- Poor digestive fire or “Mandagni” leads to build up of toxins or “Ama” in the form of undigested food particles and food wastes in the body.
- As toxin level builds up inside the digestive tract, it is no longer able to hold them. This leads to toxin overflow out of the digestive tract and eventually to the body systems through the plasma and blood circulation.
- This leads to a stage, where our body cells are immersed in the toxin laden plasma and blood, which is thicker and unclear in nature.
- This masks the natural intelligence of our body cells and severely impacts the functioning of our immune system. It decreases our body’s immune response.
- Additionally, toxins also lead to sluggish circulation in the body. This further creates nutritional deficiencies in the short term and poor quality body tissues in the long term.
- A sluggish immune system is not able to distinguish between usually benign foreign particles such as pollen, dust, humid air, and perfumes etc.
- Hence, these commonly present substances turn into allergens for the patient, whose immune system starts to overreact, leading to allergic rhinitis symptoms.
What are Allergic Rhinitis Symptoms?
When your body comes in contact with the stated or other allergens, it considers them a threat. Hence, your immune system releases chemicals such as histamine flooding your sinuses, nasal cavity, and other body parts that have come in contact, to flush out the foreign particles.
This leads to the typical allergic rhinitis symptoms faced by the patients:
- Blocked and stuffy nose
- Running Nose or Postnasal Drip with clear and thin mucus discharge
- A sudden attack of sneezing, usually persists for 10-20 sneezes
- Dryness and Itching in the nasal cavity, ears, throat, or skin
- Red, itchy, watery, or burning feeling in the eyes
- Fatigue, lethargy, and inability to focus on any task. This primarily results from lack of rest experienced due to ongoing allergic rhinitis symptoms.
- Headaches and heaviness in the head
- Hoarseness of voice
Common Triggers for Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic Rhinitis is usually triggered by prolonged or significant exposure to some of the commonly occurring substances such as:
- Dust mites present on carpets, curtains, sofa covers, and mattress etc.
- Animal/Pet dander
- Insect droppings
- Mold present in different corners of the common places where you spend considerable amount of time
- Pollen from grass, trees, and plants
- Perfumes and certain strong smells
- Sudden change in temperature and or humidity levels
- Chemical fumes from cleaning products, personal care products, and fumigation
- Certain food items, specifically ones that are loaded with artificial food colours and preservatives
Can Allergic Rhinitis be cured?
According to Ayurvedic principles, Allergic Rhinitis can be managed by following a strict diet and lifestyle. An additional support of herbs will facilitate and speed up the recovery process.
Here are the recommended steps towards management and recovery of allergic rhinitis:
1. Removal of the Causes
To treat the health condition one needs to identify the level of toxin build up in the body. Once, an assessment is made, toxins should be systematically removed from the body systems, where they have accumulated over time.
Some of the common steps to take are:
- Do a full body cleanse. Required intensity of the cleanse would depend on your body type and your current health condition.
- Regular cleansing, specifically during season changes in spring, summer, and fall when one is prone to seasonal allergic rhinitis.
- Regular short cleanses on weekly or monthly basis.
- Intermittent Fasting.
Do you need a detox? Check here with a simple test based on your symptoms.
2. Removal of the Triggers
One of the simplest yet inconsistent approach is to remove the triggers that lead to the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. For this, one needs to identify the specific allergens that they are most sensitive to. Once, this process is complete, carefully eliminate the allergens from your surroundings.
Some of the common steps to take are:
- Regularly clean the clothing around you such as bed sheets, curtains, sofa covers, and office clothing.
- Restrict the pets to certain areas of your home. This will help to control animal/pet related allergens.
- Control the indoor molds by cleaning bathtubs and shower area on frequent basis.
- Avoid outdoor pollens and environmental pollutants.
- Wear a simple mask to avoid exposure to dust.
- Maintain low humidity in comon areas. It will help to keep down fungal invasion.
- Treat windows, shower curtains and indoor plants with mild fungicides.
- Keep a check on cockroaches and rodents.
3. Diet and Lifestyle to manage and cure Allergic Rhinitis
Since the primary cause of Allergic Rhinitis is toxin build up in the body, one needs to mindfully keep all the incompatible and unnatural foods away. Additionally, it is highly important to follow healthy dietary habits, that support the functioning of your digestive system.
In terms of food and lifestyle, one needs to follow a Vata and Kapha pacifying diet and lifestyle. Some of the ground principles are:
Diet – Ahara
- Fix your meal times and sleep timings. This is one of the primary steps towards balancing Vata Dosha.
- Take an early dinner that is light and easy to digest.
- Keep biggest meal of the day for the lunchtime and always take lunch between 12 – 2 Pm when your digestive fire is at its peak.
- Avoid heavy to digest dairy foods such as old cheese, sheep’s milk cheese, and buffalo mozzarella.
- Eliminate foods with a cold potency and cold temperature such as cold and frozen foods or drinks, and carbonated drinks.
- Remove salty, stale, heavily processed foods, and ready cooked meals. Avoid, leftovers from the refrigerator or freezer.
- Always prefer seasonal and freshly cooked vegetables. Remove raw vegetables and salads from the diet.
- Take warm, unctuous, and lightly cooked meals in the form of steamed and stir-fried preparations.
- Increase intake of toning and digestive herbs such as ginger, turmeric, coriander, mint, thyme, basil, rosemary, black pepper, cumin, fennel, and carom seeds.
Lifestyle – Vihara
- Practice regular self-massage by warming oils such as sesame oil and ghee. In Ayurveda, it is known as Abhyanga.
- Practice Anuloma Viloma Pranayama or alternate nostril breathing for 10-15 mins on daily basis. It should be done early in the morning and before sleeping, but never after food intake.
- Apply pure sesame oil to the nostrils, termed as Nasya in Ayurveda before you sleep and after you get up.
- Do light and relaxing physical activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, yoga, dancing, and tai chi etc.
- Avoid sudden exposure to the Sun after prolonged stay in a cold temperature, for example air conditioned room.
- Take shower with normal temperature water and avoid pouring very hot and very cold water on your head.
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