Be Healthy. Be Happy. Naturally.
If spring brings you allergies and hay fever, runny nose, coughing, congestion, itchy watery eyes, sneezing, sinus infections, headache and fatigue, Ayurveda gives you the tools you need to minimize and even eliminate these symptoms.
Genetics play a part in why some of us get spring allergies and others do not, but there are many ways you can placate this tendency. Let’s look at them together.
What You Eat During the Spring Matters
As the days get longer, it is a perfect time to cleanse the heaviness that has accumulated over the winter giving you a stronger chance to avoid allergies. A powerful way to cleanse is to focus on light, fresh and warm foods such as sauteed greens, brothy soups and simple foods. Completely eliminate sugar, alcohol and heavy meats and dairy during the cleanse. A week, or two for a cleanse is fine.
Continuing to eat a lighter and cleansing diet throughout spring will help you even further. Choose foods that are light, dry, warm, spicy, bitter and astringent. Begin to introduce more of the bitter and astringent greens that are abundant in nature at this time; dandelion leaves, peas, sprouts, spinach and lettuce, reducing heavy or watery vegetables such as sweet potatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. Favor light fruit such as blueberries, apples and pears, reducing heavy and sour fruits such as oranges, bananas, dates, coconut and melon. Beans are good, and emphasize barley, buckwheat, rye, corn and millet. If you are a non-vegetarian, choose white meat and freshwater fish. The Indian dish kitchari is a wonderful food to eat at this time. Adding warming and slightly heating spices such as tumeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, pepper, thyme, rosemary, basil and sage are also beneficial as these all help with your digestion. Having a strong digestion is the root of good health.
Continue to minimize or eliminate foods that are heavy, oily, cold, sweet, salty and sour such as oil, meat, wheat, nuts, sweeteners, and dairy. Also ditch leftover and frozen foods.
A wonderful cleansing tea is to mix equal parts cumin, coriander and fennel seeds and use a teaspoon of the seeds for a mug of boiling water. Let the seeds steep for 3-5 minutes and enjoy. You can make enough in the morning to fill a thermos and sip this tea throughout the day. Other teas made of ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, tumeric, lemon and holy basil are also good.
You might add a small amount of local honey to your warm tea (never add honey to hot) to help desensitize yourself to the local pollens.
Use a Neti Pot
A Neti Pot is a highly effective way to cleanse out molds and pollens before they have a chance to irritate your mucous membranes. A Neti Pot is like a little tea pot that you fill with warm, distilled water and a little pinch of non-iodized salt and then you use this to irrigate your sinus passages. It’s handy to use it twice a day right after you have brushed your teeth or come in from being outdoors. You can find directions for using the neti pot here.
Applying a little oil to your nasal passages coats and soothes the nasal tissues preventing pollens from ever coming into contact with them to begin with. You may use a special naysa oil or simply put a little sesame oil or ghee on your clean pinky and lightly rub the inside of your nose.
Do Nasya at least an hour after doing neti. A good time is right at bedtime and right when you wake up.
Keeping your windows closed, changing your clothes and taking a shower right after coming inside will help keep pollen at bay.
Meditation is one of the most important things you can do for your health as it will lower stress which in turn will strengthen your immunity. Don’t worry about which type of meditation to do; keep experimenting until you find something that helps you. You might enjoy reading my blog on meditation here.
Simply focusing on your breathing will also decrease stress and strengthen your lungs. You can practice simple, deep breathing or do a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing twice a day. It’s also a good habit to bring your awareness to your breathing as often as you can throughout the day.
Marma Therapy is a powerful healing technique that focuses on balancing the flow of energy within you. I offer sessions that can help reduce the symptoms you experience and will share with you a marma point protocol you can work on yourself to help keep allergies at bay.
These are some general guidelines for spring that will benefit everyone. However consulting with an Ayurvedic practitioner will further increase these benefits for you by tailoring your diet and lifestyle to fit your specific needs, constitution and current state of health. I’d love to help you with your journey.
Be well and happy,
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