After all the rain, the cold winds, and dark gloomy days comes the anticipation and excitement of spring. For some, the thought of spring involves blooming flowers and longer days filled with sunshine, for others spring is a reminder of their itchy watery eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat and sneezing fits that completely drain your energy. As allergy season surrounds us lets take a look at why we have them and what we can do to prevent and treat them.
As with all conditions we need to look at allergies from each level of manifestation, the physical, the mental, and the deeper levels of consciousness that create our beliefs and perceptions around such conditions. In Ayurveda, allergies are known to be a result of weakness in ahamkara’s (a Sanskrit word referring to the power with in ourselves that reminds us of who we are, “the I”) self identification. Not being able to express one’s true self creates disharmony in both body and mind. This disharmony leads to imbalances in the two most important systems for creating health, the immune and digestive.
The immune system, the warrior and protector of ahamkara, fulfills its duties through its ability to recognize what is self and what is not. When an external stressor (an antigen/foreign molecule) enters the body, its first reaction is to trigger the immune system, the immune system then creates an antibody to bind, neutralize and rid the body of the foreign invader. However, if the immune system is compromised in any way and is unable to fulfill this function there is a buildup of ama (Sanskrit for toxins).
Ama can come into our lives in various different forms, the leader of them all, stress: Chemical stress from various products and food; Environmental stress from dust and pollen; Radiation stress from cell phones, telephone wires, microwaves, transformers etc; Mental or Emotional stress from finances, relationships, careers, the list can go on and on. As our “bucket” fills up with ama everyday we need ways to eliminate this build up of toxic load. Without this elimination we are led down a road of hypersensitivity. Our bodies become so sensitive that just one more drop into the bucket will create a flood of symptoms.
The digestive system is directly linked to the immune system and can directly influence its function. A chronic inability to digest, absorb, eliminate and maintain a healthy gut sensitizes the immune system to react in the form of allergy. As a hypersensitive being we can become allergic to absolutely everything. From the foods we eat to the sun the we crave. When there is a stimulus, the already stored ama is mobilized from its stored tissues and circulates throughout the system trying to find its way out. Leading to symptoms of sneezing, stuffiness, coughing, sweating and scratchy eyes.
Like us, ama too needs an outlet, by supporting and expressing who we are, we can work on emptying our bucket of ama. Naturopaths use various modalities to help support the body and mind to clear us from this toxic load that leads to these allergy symptoms.
Divine Elements Tips For This Allergy Season:
1. FOODS THAT HELP FIGHT ALLERGIES:
High Vitamin C Containing foods: cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts, kiwis, leafy greens, guavas, bell peppers, red and green chili peppers
High in Bioflavonoids: all fruits and vegetables, red beans
High in Quercitin: onions, kale, broccoli, apples, grapes, blueberries, blackberries and cherries
2. HERBS FOR ALLERGIES:
Stinging Nettle: Helps reduce the histamine response and contains high content of bioflavonoids
Albizia: Reduces mast cell degranulation therefore reducing the histamine response. This herb is also recommended other allergic conditions such as Asthma and Eczema.
Elderberry : Helps to reduce congestion and modulates the immune system for support
The use of acupuncture has shown to be very effective in not only preventing but also treating allergies. With in the first treatment you will feel an opening in the airways and less congestion.
4. YOGA AND MEDITATION TO REDUCE STRESS AND UP REGULATE IMMUNITY:
When suffering from allergies there is excess inflammation and bronchiole constriction, this leads to breathing difficulties. Breath, Prana, which is our life force is the most important factor in healing. It is what gives us life, it is what feeds our cells and mobilizes all of our nutrients. Through yoga and meditation you can expand your capacity for breath and your ability to heal.
Spinach and Onion Soup
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 30 mins
8 Onions (sliced) use a mixture of red and white
1 tablespoon EV Olive Oil
6 cups Vegetable Broth
½ cup Kalamata Olives (in some cheesecloth)
1 clove Garlic
1 teaspoon Mustard
2 cups fresh Spinach (chopped)
In a large pot add the onions and oil
Cook until the onions brown, about 10 minutes
Add the veggie broth, olives, and garlic
Boil until the olive flavor infuses into the broth, about 10-20 minutes
Remove the olives and discard
Stir in the mustard and spinach
Serve and enjoy!!!!