I usually dread springtime. It’s so hard when the sun comes out and all I want to do is run outside to play, when I get hit with the brick wall of my seasonal allergies!
I’ve struggled with allergies since around middle school and for most of my life thought it was just how things would be in the springtime.
I used to take Claritin, Zyrtec, and flonase pretty much non-stop to manage my symptoms.
When I found Ayurvedic medicine and dove into my pursuit of full-bodied healing, I realized that perhaps I could heal my allergies from the inside out. Perhaps I didn’t have to spend the rest of my life avoiding springtime and taking over the counter medications to get through the day!
From an Ayurvedic perspective, allergies first and foremost come from an inability to digest and low agni (digestive fire). They are also rooted in lymphatic stagnation and too much “ama” (toxicity) in the body.
Looking back, I can see a big correlation between my childhood eating habits and high antibiotic and steroid use with the beginning of my seasonal allergy troubles.
There are a lot of “home-remedies” I started to try, some of which helped my symptoms exponentially but none of which healed the intense immune response my body was having to natural pollen in the air.
I still struggle with my seasonal allergies and am still working through my course of healing. But they have gotten better each year through following the guidelines I’ll lay out below.
As one of my teachers, Mary Thompson, says: “Just as it takes a long time for our bodies to find their way out of balance, it often can take us a long time to bring our bodies back into balance.”
Be patient and give yourself time.
I recommend starting your spring allergy support routine in December or January each year to give your body time to adapt to the herbs and protocols! Our bodies accumulate the most Kapha dosha in the wintertime, which can contribute a lot to our spring allergies. By starting a Kapha informed routine, supportive herbs, and lifestyle we can get ahead of our symptoms.
I almost always forget to start early, and by the time March and April roll around, I’m miserable. I started to add a notification in my calendar on January 1st to start the following allergy support.
Ayurvedic springtime allergy support:
1. FOCUS ON STRENGTHENING AGNI THROUGH:
- Eating slowly and while relaxed.
- Avoiding iced water with meals.
- Eating up until the point you’re full, and not beyond it.
- Eat cooked, one-pot meals.
- Eat seasonally.
- Avoiding processed, hard to digest foods.
2. CLEANSE AMA AND START SEASONALLY CLEANSING EACH FALL AND SPRING
- Ayurvedic cleanses are a gentle way to reboot your entire system. I lead a cleanse every fall and spring you can learn more about HERE.
3. DAILY MORNING EXERCISE BETWEEN 6AM AND 10AM
- This stimulates blood flow, wakes the body up, drains the lymph, and decreases kapha dosha. Kapha is the strongest from 6a-10a, which is why ayurveda recommends sweat-inducing energy in the morning time. This helps to lift and lighten the body for the rest of the day.
4. DAILY DRY-BRUSHING
- This is wonderful for exfoliating dry winter skin, increases blood circulation, AND helps with lymphatic drainage. This is an important practice for helping to lift away heavy Kapha energy from the body and mind. I often feel invigorated and awake after dry brushing my skin.
5. 5-15 MINUTES OF SUNSHINE BEFORE 10AM
- This is another wonderful kapha-reducing practice that can help to awaken the body, lighten the mind, and balance circadian rhythms. In a study done in 2012, it was discovered that lower sunlight exposure was linked to food allergies and eczema in children.
- Though if you are actively having allergies, sometimes staying indoors and avoiding exposure can be the best way to temporarily manage symptoms.
6. NASAL CARE:
- Nasya oiling of nasal passageways each evening.
- Lubricating the nasal passageways with oil each evening can help.
- Neti Pot or saline spray
- This helps to clear the sinuses of any pollutants. I have a hard time with the Neti Pot, so I opt for a gentle saline spray, but know a ton of people who love to Neti!
7. STOP OVER-BREATHING!
- This has been a HUGE realization and turning point for me and my allergy journey. This could honestly be a whole additional blog post that I hope to make soon, but in short:
- Breathe in and out of your nose (avoid mouth breathing, even while exercising).
- Do your best to avoid excessive yawning or sighing.
- Practice holding your breath on the bottom of your exhale and hold for 10-30 seconds.
- Breathe slowly, smoothly, and quietly rather than super long and deep.
- If you want more information on the science behind this and practices that can help retrain how you breathe, I HIGHLY recommend reading this book.
8. CONSIDER ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ALLERGY SUPPORT
- Tea tree, lavender, peppermint, lemon, and eucalyptus.
- Put a few drops of in a diffuser in your home.
- Put a few drops of each in some fractionated coconut oil to rub on your feet and temples each morning and evening.
9. CONSIDER USING AN AIR FILTER
10. CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING HERBS & FOODS:
- Focus on eating light, warm, soupy foods that are easy for the body to digest.
- Allergy herbal blends like Turmeric Supreme Sinus Support.
- Drink stinging nettle tea.
- Consider taking a quercetin supplement (an antioxidant found in onions and leafy greens), which helps to prevent the release of histamine in the body.
- Take a spoonful of raw, local honey every day to help gradually expose your immune system to allergens and build up a tolerance. Honey is also known in ayurveda for its ability to help scrape toxins from the body, decreasing ama.
- This is an ayurvedic immune boosting tonic that I absolutely love. It is nourishing and regenerative for the immune system. Have a spoonful each morning to boost your immune system. This is the Chyawanprash I love the most.
- ACV morning drink
- Start each day with a tsp to tbsp of apple cider vinegar and lemon in warm water to boost the immune system over time.
- When my allergies are actively bothering me, I add ACV to my water bottle and sip it throughout the day. For me, it really helps break up the mucous, reduce the allergic response, and provide me with some needed relief for a few hours.
11. ROOT-CAUSE JOURNALING:
- The psycho-emotional cause of allergies is having weakened immunity within your own self. This might appear as a lack of boundaries or feeling “allergic” to your own power.
- Take a few minutes to journal on what parts of yourself you are suppressing or resisting.
- Where in life do you say yes when you mean no, and vice versa?
- In what ways have you felt “allergic” to your own power?