To Examine Layer by Layer
There is a variety of theories why so many people are affected by allergies today. In Ayurveda, the primary concern is to treat disorders in the body tissues.
From an ayurvedic point of view, all three doshas (bioenergies) are responsible for allergic reactions: vata-dosha, principle of movement, pitta-dosha, principle of transformation and kapha-dosha, the preserving and stabilizing principle of structure. They are also regarded as the disruptive factors of health. Why is it like that? If the bioenergies continue to be out of balance, health disharmonies manifest themselves in relation to the constitutional condition. If they are not treated, i.e. the doshas are not rebalanced in accordance with their constitution they may manifest as disease patterns.
Allergies are, from the perspective of school medicine, a disorder of the immune system that falsely classifies a substance as harmful and reacts with an antibody causing an allergic reaction. This can either be hereditary or acquired in life. Allergens (substances) are responsible for this. They can cause allergic reactions through inhalation, food, by contact with the skin or by insect bites.
Disorder of the body tissues
In contrast to classical medicine, the main focus of ayurvedic treatment is not on the reaction of the allergens. The therapy varies according to the symptoms, referring to the bioenergies, the affected parts of the body and the disturbed body tissues. The manifestation of allergic reactions can be well understood by considering the individual body tissues in the organism.
The first body tissue rasa corresponds to the blood plasma. Kapha is based in rasa, the blood plasma. In its characteristics and qualities, it is very similar to the bioenergy kapha, formed from the elements water and earth.
“An increased kapha is playing an essential role when allergies emerge.”
Together with ojas, the life energy, rasa and kapha determine the immunity of the body. These are the most important factors for all impairments of the immune system, and therefore for allergic reactions. Rasa nourishes all other tissues. One tissue is based on the quality of the other.
A healthy diet and a healthy agni-digestive fire are responsible for an optimal structure of the various tissues. If the digestive power is reduced, food is not optimally digested and the first tissue rasa, the blood plasma, is decreased in its quality.
Ama (metabolic slag) is produced, which, like rasa, passes through all the tissues, but contrary to rasa it can be deposited in different tissues and may lead to various pathologies.
Spring is kapha-time
Since the bioenergy kapha, the structure-giving principle, has its seat in the first tissue rasa, an increased kapha plays an important role when allergies emerge. When the kapha-quality is optimal, the body’s defense is good. If kapha-quality is severely reduced, the body’s defense is weak. Then kapha-reducing therapies are applied in order to eliminate the growth of mucus and swelling. However, if kapha is persistently too high, without reducing it, it may result, besides cold and water deposits, in cough, bronchitis, sinus problems, asthma and allergies, especially in spring, the kapha-season, when the air is full of flower pollen. Especially persons with vata- and kapha-constitution are affected by those complaints.
If ama is not removed from rasa, it reaches the next tissue, rakta, the blood-tissue, the red blood cells. Rakta is closely connected to the pitta-dosha, the transforming principle consisting of the elements fire and little water. This means, in the case of a pathological increase in the nutritive tissue rakta, this is expressed by pitta-symptoms such as heat.
According to the ayurvedic view, the body consists mainly of seven types of tissue:
- Rasa (plasma), the food, passes all further tissues
- Rakta (blood)
- Mamsa (muscle flesh)
- Meda (adipose tissue)
- Asthi (bone tissue)
- Majja (bone marrow)
- Shukra (reproductive tissue – semen, ova)
- Ojas (life and immunity essence, which is responsible for immunity)
Blush, redness and inflammation of the eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin irritation, abscesses and bleeding. Allergies coming from a predominant pitta-dosha are usually perceived on the skin, as eczema or rashes.
“For an allergy-free life ama has to be removed from the deep tissues.”
Because of its important symptoms, special attention is paid to the rakta-nutritive tissue during the therapeutic procedures. Here, special pitta-reducing therapies are used to clean the tissue and to reharmonize the bioenergy pitta.
An increased vata-dosha, the principle of movement consisting of the elements air and ether, is expressed by dry cough, dyspnoea, dizziness, loss of grounding, flatulence and joint pain. Vata produces the sneezing sensation in hay fever, the breathing cramps in asthma and the itching in atopic dermatitis.
Agni and Ama
Agni: Through the digestive power of agni, food can be metabolized and the essence of the food can optimally supply the cell with nutrients and prana (life energy). The quality of food and a healthy digestive power determine the physical strength, spiritual presence and charisma of a person in his/her environment.
Ama: Ama means immature, uncooked – this means the food can only be inadequately digested and metabolized because of a weakened digestive power. This may lead to deposits, slags, which in their characteristics are very similar to the bioenergy kapha (cold, moisty, heavy, thick, sticky, dull, slimy).
Focus on the constitution
In the treatment of allergies, an accurate anamnesis under consideration of the dosha-related symptoms, including lively conditions and mental situation is the basis for a successful therapy. The personal constitution decides in most cases about the susceptibility to a particular allergy.
Depending on the patient’s anamnesis, different massages and dosha-specific herbal preparations are applied. The goal of the treatment is first of all to dissolve ama from the deep tissues and to cleanse the body in order to create the basis for an allergy-free life. This means that a well-functioning digestive fire, a healthy diet and lifestyle, solution-oriented psychosomatics, together with accompanying natural remedies, help to establish an intact skin barrier, both of the upper and the mucous membranes, of the respiratory tracts and the gastrointestinal tract.
Recommendations for food and rules of conduct in allergies
It is recommended that especially that kind of food is avoided, which increases the already increased dosha even more. This means, for example, that in a pitta aggravation – above all – acidic, spicy, too fat and hot meals should be avoided. Mostly, a vata-reducing diet is recommended: easy digestible, freshly prepared, warm, nourishing and moisturizing food.
From the following list please avoid those foods from which you know that they do not agree with you:
Recommended foods: wheat, spelt, oats, rice, peeled mung beans, organic spiced milk: boiled and warm (except in diarrhea).
Warm goat’s milk, ghee, sesame oil, almonds, walnuts.
Recommended vegetables: zucchini, carrots, pumpkin, asparagus, okra, artichoke, fennel, beetroot, Jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, turnips.
Recommended fruits: grapes, sweet apples, papaya, figs, dates, raisins, plums, mangos.
Avoid everything that is hard to digest: fatty, sour, cold food, e.g. red meat, cheese, sour fruits such as pineapple and berries, the combination of two different proteins like cheese and meat, eggs and cheese or meat, the combination of milk and fruit, milk and salt.
Care for a balanced diet, a healthy sleep and wake rhythm, a proper change between tension and relaxation phases. Practice yoga and breathing exercises that relax the nervous system and train awareness for the breath.
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Regarding food allergies, i.e. against wheat and milk, there are some skeptical opinions in ayurvedic medicine. It is recommended to check whether the allergy is really an allergy, or whether it is triggered by weak digestive fire agni and ama slags resulting thereof. Then the allergy disappears after a purification cure.
In case of an already existing allergy, an experienced medical practitioner or physician should be consulted in order to provide a personal therapy plan.
…..to be continued
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