By MAPI Staff Writers -
Spring flowers, ragweed, dust, mold or pet dander can cause your immune system to overreact to harmless natural substances. The
result can too commonly be allergies. Millions each year suffer from an
overactive immune response to dust and pollen in the air.
It’s not what you are breathing – it is your body’s response to it!
Instead of reserving its immune response for viruses and bacteria, your
body sounds a false alarm when exposed to a certain food, pet dander, or
pollen — and tells the immune system to attack. Sneezing, nasal
congestion and itchy, watery eyes; indigestion; swelling or skin rashes —
these are some of the all-too-familiar results.
According to Maharishi Ayurveda, accumulated toxins (ama)
prevent your immune system from functioning normally and cause the
over-reaction; the result – allergies. Ayurveda suggests a multi-faceted
approach — adjustments in lifestyle and diet, and specific Ayurvedic
Herbs for Spring Immunity
Ayurveda has deep regard for the intelligence of the immune system,
and offers a sophisticated in-depth body of botanical knowledge and
lifestyle tips, centuries old, supporting it. For example, certain
Ayurvedic herbs will help support your body’s natural response to
allergens by helping to eliminate existing toxins and, at the same time,
promote a healthy response to harmless allergens. The herbs also work
to support the healthy functioning of your liver. As your body’s natural
filtration system, your liver filters toxins and chemicals from the
food you eat, the water you drink and the air you breathe.
The Ayurvedic lifestyle approach to Allergies: Uphold Immune Strength
Supporting the body’s immune system to quell its overreaction to
allergens is exactly what Maharishi Ayurveda suggests as the long-term,
effective solution to a healthy response to allergens. Diet, exercise
and many lifestyle changes can play a role in helping to sooth your
In the spring, impurities (called ama) that have built up over
the less-active winter months — months where during the cold weather we
tend to eat more — start to naturally be released inside the body as we
become more active and the temperature rises. This causes the body to
naturally start a detoxification process in the spring. Thetoxins
released during this process can build up in the microchannels of the
body (the shrotas), blocking them.
When the microchannels are blocked, nutrients are not delivered
properly to the cells. Also, communication between the various systems
of the body can be hindered, and the body’s immune system becomes
weakened, and/or confused. Then, in the spring, as plants bloom, they
fill the air with pollen (allergens) and our body mistakenly regards
these natural particles as enemies and attacks them, causing the
sometimes-debilitating symptoms we know as allergies. That’s the reason, in the Ayurvedic model of health, our reaction to allergens spikes in the spring.
The Spring Flood of Ama
Traditional Ayurvedic experts view the body’s overreaction to
environmental allergens as a problem occurring in a particular sub-dosha
of Kapha, called Shleshaka Kapha. This sub-dosha is responsible for maintaining moisture in the upper respiratory tract.
As the ama (digestive impurities) in the body is released, it can
combine with Shleshaka Kapha to form a thick, sticky toxin called shleshma,
which starts to fill the respiratory tract and sinus cavities. The
entire respiratory system, as a result, becomes a fertile breeding
ground for bacteria and health imbalances. This is the reason why
allergen sensitivity can become a sinus or respiratory issue. This is
also why a Kapha-reducing diet of lighter foods that are easier to digest is recommended. These kinds of foods are easier on the body and help flush ama out.
What about diet?
Researchers have found that a diet that includes regular intake of
certain spices can reduce vulnerability to plant allergens. These spices
contain natural chemicals that include flavonoids and phenols. For
example, turmeric is rich in curcumin, a compound that is known to
support a healthy inflammatory response. Turmeric can also help improve
digestion and balance the flow of bile. Sage, red pepper, cumin and
coriander are some other spices that are known to help with allergy
response. Sautéing a combination of ground turmeric, cumin and coriander
in ghee and using the mixture to season vegetables is a way of
incorporating some of these Ayurvedic herbs/spices into your diet.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, it is important to follow a Kapha-Pitta
pacifying diet. When allergens attack the body, the body’s immune
system releases various chemicals. So it is considered essential to
pacify Pitta, because Pitta regulates chemical functions in the body.
Drinking Organic Pitta Tea or using the Organic Cooling Spice Mix
(food seasoning) is a convenient way of doing this. It is also
important to pacify Kapha to counteract sluggish digestion and
congestion. This is especially true in the Kapha season (spring).
The Ayurvedic Approachneed: strengthen the body’s defense
systems to effectively combat allergens
provides only temporary relief.
A key to Ayurveda and diet is timing and quantity. Eating a light
breakfast of stewed fruit or oatmeal is ideal. A larger lunch taken
around noon, when digestion is the strongest, is considered by Ayurveda
to be best. A light dinner of grain and vegetables, taken at least 3
hours prior to sleep, is best for ending the day and sleeping soundly.
Remember, if there is no hunger by the next meal, we have most likely
overeaten at the prior meal. Listening to our body is a key in
maintaining a toxin-free system.
Exercising on a regular basis is a way to remove toxins (ama) from
the body. As our body burns sugars and fats for food during exercise, it
naturally detoxifies the system. Ayurveda recommends daily
exercise and considers a morning walk to be ideal. Yoga asanas
(postures) are a healthy way balance the body. Ayurveda suggests some
aerobic exercise in addition for cardiovascular health and for burning
Practicing a stress-reducing meditation technique is paramount for a balanced lifestyle. Transcendental Meditation®,
which provides deep rest along with the experience of transcending,
pacifies all the doshas. If you do not practice Transcendental
Meditation, then practicing the meditation of your choice is a great
addition to your daily routine.
Three key principles to long-term balance and wellness in Ayurveda
are broadly summed up in three lifestyle tactics: 1) Reducing ama (toxins), 2) Balancing/strengthening digestion (agni)
and 3) Significantly lowering stress. Each of these plays a powerful
role in supporting long-term, life-changing wellness, according to
Ayurveda. To accomplish these three targets, Ayurveda offers you lots of
enjoyable options. Each of these choices has the power, in the
Ayurvedic model, to gradually, naturally support and restore Ayurvedic
balance in mind and body. These lifestyle choices include changes to diet; stress reduction practices like yoga, exercise and meditation; and traditional Ayurvedic herbals.
The Ayurvedic herbals listed below are core herbal products supporting important areas of Ayurvedic wellness.
Balanced digestion is a priority in Ayurveda.
Digestion is a central, long-term, priority focus of Ayurveda.
Great emphasis is placed on keeping digestion (agni) balanced. In this
sense, ‘balance’ means functioning at its absolute optimum. That’s
because digestion (agni) is the engine of transformation and
assimilation. This transformation ‘engine’ isn’t found just in the
stomach — it is found in every cell in the body. It is an extremely
intelligent engine, too. It transforms and metabolizes food nutrients
and food intelligence into you, and selects out that which isn’t useful to the body and mind. Depending on the strength of agni, the ‘transformation engine,’ either ama (toxins) or ojas
(the beneficial biochemical of balance) will be created. Ojas is the
finest and most-valued by-product of digestion in Ayurveda, supporting
immunity, happiness, the feeling of connectivity (union or yoga) and
Below find a list of herbs that support allergen response and support the body’s immune response.
Herbal Help in Spring for Strengthening the Body’s Defense Systems
The first line of attack is to remove ama from the system. A spring detox is a great way to do this.
— Helps cleanse toxins and purify the body. It feels good to get rid of
old junk in your life. It feels even better to clear old junk from your
body. Elim-Tox helps purify toxins from your whole body — down to the
cells. You’ll feel healthy, clear and light. And let’s face it. Modern
life is full of toxic input.
There are chemicals and preservatives in your food supply, toxins in the
air and water, and digestive impurities that build up due to poor
eating habits, not to mention the toxic build-up that results from
mental, physical and emotional stress.
In Maharishi Ayurveda, these impurities are called ama. They disturb
liver functioning and the healthy breakdown of fats, leading to weight
and cholesterol problems. They interrupt circulation, leading to poor
nutritional input to the cells. They block elimination, causing
digestive disturbances. They interrupt the immune system, leading to
allergen resistance issues and health problems.
— This is a gentle cleansing (for those prone to occasional heartburn).
Do you feel groggy after eating? Are your joints feeling stiff? These
are signs of toxic build-up. Other signs include an unpleasant body
odor, a heavy feeling in your body, or a coated tongue in the morning.
Toxins mask the sophisticated intelligence of your body, creating health
issues and discomfort instead of health. Yet toxic build-up is
virtually unavoidable in today’s fast-paced world. Stressful jobs,
environmental pollution and fast-food diets contribute to toxic waste in
the body. And no matter how pure the food you eat, if your digestion is
out of balance, your own body will create digestive toxins.
is a gentle formula that helps cleanse your body’s natural purification
systems without forcing, making it the recommended choice for people
who have a tendency towards acne, heartburn, and excess stomach acid or
who have a lot of “fire” in their physiology.
Digestion is the key in Ayurveda to ama removal and avoiding ama production
Triphala: Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus)
from Maharishi Ayurveda — This blend of herbs is a powerful tonic for
the digestive system. If you are feeling sluggish, dull or occasionally
constipated, chances are that toxins are building up in your body.
Toxins accumulate when your digestion — and elimination — are out of
balance, which can lead to skin breakouts, menstrual cramps, fatigue,
feelings of sadness and many other health issues. Triphala, available in
Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus), is the every-night, overnight detox and digestion balancer, supporting assimilation, balanced agni and ojas. This is Maharishi Ayurveda’s number 1 selling digestion herbal.
Immunity – Allergen response is all about balanced immune response
from Maharishi Ayurveda — This traditional formulation combines
purifying herbs with nourishing minerals, including mica. The herbs and
minerals help eliminate digestive impurities and toxins that can affect
natural immunity. This aids healthy liver function and helps purify the
blood. The herbs also promote a healthy resistance to stress and aid in
the assimilation and metabolism of nutrients. Finally, they support
communication between cells, an Ayurvedic key to healthy immunity. It
takes over six months to prepare these herbs for use. Bio-Immune, in
combination with Organic Premium Amla Berry and Organic Digest Tone, is a powerhouse for supporting immunity.
Pitta Rasayana – this Pitta-pacifying formula is essential in
quelling the Pitta-increasing effects of overactive immune response.
Organic Premium Amla Berry
from Maharishi Ayurveda — Our Amla is prepared according to the ancient
Ayurvedic texts — a 21-step process at a temperature below 90 degrees
Fahrenheit to maintain the potency.
Gram for gram, Amla has 20 times the Vitamin C content of an orange.
Good nutrition requires a balance of the six Ayurvedic tastes — sweet,
sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Amla is one of just a
handful of herbs that contain five of the six taste categories — all
except salty. Such balanced nutrition means that Amla helps balance all
three of the basic operating principles (doshas) of mind and body — Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Amla produces total health benefits. It helps strengthen the mind,
eyes, heart, skin, and digestion; boosts cellular regeneration; and
promotes a positive nitrogen balance for improved growth of muscle
If you have addressed the basics with the core herbs mentioned above
and find you still need help, we recommend trying the following:
The long-term solution is to delve into the root cause of allergen sensitivity and support the body’s immune system. The Aller-Defense
herbal formulation from Maharishi Ayurveda helps remove toxins from the
body and strengthen immunity. Aller-Defense helps block toxic reactions
by improving digestion, reducing toxins (ama) in the body, and reducing
sensitivity to allergens by nourishing and purifying the liver. This
herbal formulation enhances the body’s overall capability to fight
— Cold weather can compromise your body’s ability to handle cold
temperatures that can put out your digestive fire and weaken the body.
Sniffle Free supports natural digestive fire, which is often compromised
by colder weather. This formula also aids your resistance to the cold,
helps lubricate the lungs and helps restore your body’s balance of
moisture and mucus.
(Cover Flower Photo By-Darren-Bannister, Flickr Creative Commons)
(Biking Photo By-jurvetson, Flickr Creative Commons)