It’s subtle; however it is there. We all can see it. Yes, change is in the air! The green leaves are slowly turning to red, yellow, orange and gold. The whisper of the falling leaves, a drop in temperature and cool breeze in the early morning and late evening all indicate that beautiful autumn is knocking at our door.
This is the season to learn from Mother Nature how to let go without complaining. Trees let go of their leaves and still look so beautiful, standing tall with confidence. They know how to celebrate this season with Mother Nature. Auto means self. Autumn is the season for the self to surface.
Unfortunately for many people, this is a time when our allergies awaken as well. You may wonder why one person can spend an afternoon walking through gardens without any symptoms, while someone else can’t step out the front door without experiencing severe allergic symptoms
You can prepare for allergy season with these ayurvedic remedies and take some natural steps toward a sniffle-free fall and winter
Kindle the Digestive Fire
In Ayurveda, we need strong Agni (digestive fire) for strong immunity, as well as for allpurpose strength and mental clarity. Also, when Agni is weak our digestion is incomplete, and the residue (or ama) that’s left behind becomes toxic waste in the body. According to Ayurveda, allergies are related to digestion so improving you digestion means improving your allergy symptoms. Below is a list of foods that slows down digestion and produces excessive sinuses mucus, both contributors to your allergy symptoms:
- Milk and dairy products including cheese and ice cream
- Oily foods, such as doughnuts
- Fried foods
- Cold beverages
- Foods cooked or reheated in a microwave
Eat a Vata-pacifying diet. Heavy, oily, warm, moist, unctuous nourishing foods that are high in protein and moderate in fat brought to life with warming, stimulating spices with ghee and served hot will go a long way toward maintaining your internal reserves of moisture and keeping you grounded through the Vata season.
A grounding breakfast is important during this season. Warm oatmeal, tapioca, cream of rice, cream of wheat, or any grain that pacify Vata, with a little ghee are good options. Lunch should be eaten midday and may include steamed root vegetables, hearty grains such as whole wheat chapatis or tortillas, basmati rice, lentils such as mung dal (yellow lentils) or kitchari and savory soups and stews.
Sip plenty of warm beverages throughout the day: warm water after every meal, herbal teas such as ginger, cinnamon, and clove tea, or cumin, coriander, fennel tea, and water with lemon & fresh ginger, to kindle agni (digestive fire) and improve hydration. All spices are good for vata seasons such as Anise, Asafetida, basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, saffron, turmeric, mustard seeds, garlic, and paprika.
Spice your food. These spices are powerful in fighting allergies. Turmeric is antiallergic, cumin helps stop the creation of ama, coriander seeds helps cellular detoxification, fennel is cooling and neutralizing, ginger is anti-ama and clears the channels, and black pepper cleanses the channels.
To help you cope with seasonal allergies and improve your digestion, here is a great recipe for a traditional ginger tea used in Ayurveda.
- 1 cup water (boil on the stove instead of microwaving)
- 1⁄4 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1⁄2 fresh squeezed lemon
- 1Tbsp organic local honey
Boil the cup of water in a teapot along with the ginger and lemon. Stir well. Pour into a cup and add the honey once the tea is warm. Do not boil or cook the honey. For allergies, drink one to three cups a day.
Take a spoonful of your local honey with fresh ginger juice 2x/day. By taking in some of the local honey, it will help to immunize against some of the strong local pollens that affect us so strongly.
Yoga and Ayurveda advise keeping the solar plexus and abdominal muscles strong to fire up Agni, reduce ama, and boost immunity. To accomplish that, begin a daily practice of asanas that tone the belly and a breathing practice—Agni Sara—that activates the deep abdominal muscles and the pelvic floor. At its most basic level, Agni Sara involves contracting the abdominal wall by drawing the navel into the spine on the exhale and then smoothly relaxing on the inhale.
Nasyam is an ayurvedic practice that helps to lubricate the nose and cleanse sinuses. It treats allergies, headache, and asthma. It also improves vision and hearing; it prevents premature graying of hair, early skin wrinkles, and degeneration of brain cells. It also delays aging. Nasyam helps to remove toxins that accumulate from the upper part of your body by opening up the lymphatic channels and allowing the toxins to be removed through your nasal passages. In other words it is an amazing practice that brings many health benefits. The warm sesame oil can be used alone, or herbs can be added to the oil to help treat specific conditions.
Nasyam oil is typically applied in each nostril through a small dropper. One can use about 3-4 drops in one nostril and then inhaling while pinching the other nostril closed with your index finger. If any of the oil spills down your throat, spit it out. Repeat the process on the other nostril.
Neti Pot is part of Kriyas, a yogic practice that cleanses and purifies the internal organs and energy channels. This technique is used to clean your nasal passageways & very helpful in controlling the allergies.
Warm-up some distilled water until it is lukewarm, add a pinch of the neti salt to the lukewarm water and mix it until the salt is dissolved. Usually the neti salts come with a measuring scoop Add the lukewarm water with the neti salt to the neti pot. Over a sink turn your head sideways and place the neti pot into your nostril. The key here is to relax and allow the water to flow through one nostril to the opposite one, some may go down your throat, and do not panic, and spit it out. Repeat to the opposite nostril.
Instead of seeing our environment as a threat, we can begin to calm the excitability of the immune system and, instead, experience our connection to the external world as nurturing. Ayurveda provides us with the healing remedies to experience this connection and move closer to our natural state of health and balance.
Don’t forget to self-nurture this fall with Ayurveda.Author
Meenakshi Gupta BAMS, MD Ayurveda (Gold Medalist), RMAS, AD, Panchakarma Specialist, International keynote speaker Founder, Director AyurRoots Ayurveda Wellness, Dallas/Fort Worth Area www.ayurroots.com