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Spring is a beautiful time of the year, with new growth and new life. But it is also a time of allergies! Many susceptible people are affected by allergens and triggers for asthma. There are many over-the-counter antihistamines and anti-allergy medications, but these offer quick relief without addressing the cause, therefore your allergies and asthma will continue occurring. There are also many natural ingredients that also work and changing your lifestyle and dietary habits can strengthen your body and reduce your allergies and asthma.

Allergies

In Ayurveda, allergies are caused by allergens that aggravate a specific dosha, causing symptoms and imbalance in various body systems. If you are vata, you may experience vata-type allergies which would be different that a kapha allergy. Once you have identified the correct dosha, you can balance your dosha with the appropriate foods and lifestyle.

In Kapha type allergies one may experience high mucus production, cough, sinus, congestion, cold and water retention. Avoiding all types of dairy containing food such as milk, cream, yogurt, kefir, cheese etc. would be important. Try the Fab and Glowing Kapha Detox Program.

It is also easy to identify Pitta type allergies which causes flare ups such as, rashes, itching, heartburn, acidity, vomiting and stomach upset. Avoiding citrus fruits, fermented foods and nightshades such as potato, tomato and eggplant is highly beneficial. Check out the Fab and Glowing Pitta Detox Program.

Vata dosha allergy symptoms are sneezing, wheezing, headache and twitching etc. Avoiding nuts and beans would be beneficial at this time. Even sprouted beans or lentils may be harmful – so be careful before consumption. The Fab and Glowing Vata Detox Program will guide you towards the right direction.

The Fab and Glowing Ayurvedic Detox Program is created if you don’t know what to eat or how to balance your dosha or if you need a simple guide with recipes and meal plans. 

The Ayurvedic recommendations include:

  1. Detoxify your body
  2. Improve digestion and elimination
  3. Balance the dosha with diet and lifestyle changes – avoid triggers and remove food allergens
  4. Strengthen the immune system

Aromatherapy is used in Ayurveda to balance your dosha and improve many health conditions. Essential oils are concentrated aromatic constituents in plants. They can come from flowers, woods, resins, barks, leaves, and roots. They enter the body in various ways, such as inhalation or through skin and make their way to various tissues. Inhalation of essential oils takes them straight to the brain (limbic system) to affect emotions, memory, appetite, and behaviours. For allergies and asthma, inhalation is a great way of directly affecting the respiratory system. Essential oils can be inhaled through a diffuser, a bath, though steam inhalation, or massage oils. If you apply them onto the skin, make sure you dilute them in a carrier oil. Essential oils that help against allergies include:

  • If you have a vata imbalance – Chamomile, lavender, clary sage
  • If you have a pitta imbalance – Lavender, lemongrass, rose
  • If you have a kapha imbalance – Eucalyptus, elecampane, patchouli, hyssop

To learn more about Ayurvedic Aromatherapy or how to safely apply Essential Oils you can see read my blog about  Ayurvedic Essential Oil.

Other therapies that can assist

  1. Apply neem oil topically for rashes or itchiness.
  2. Cilantro leaf juice – drink small amount of cilantro juice is cooling and could subdue allergic symptoms.
  3. Apply Nasya treatment to clean the nasal passageway.

For a complete treatment plan please learn about the Consultation packages I offer.

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways, with narrowing of the airways that causes asthma symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, and mucus production. It is a hypersensitivity disorder in which the airways are susceptible and sensitive to triggers, which causes a release of histamine in the body. The narrowing airways either become inflamed, plugged with mucus, and constrict, or the muscles in the airway walls tighten and spasm. Allergies and asthma are connected because many people who have asthma, also have allergies. Also, many allergic triggers also trigger asthma.

There are natural remedies that strengthen the body and reduce these symptoms. In Ayurveda, asthma is an indication of increased kapha dosha production of mucus. Some general tips to reduce asthma include:

  • Avoid triggers
  • Follow an anti-inflammatory diet
  • Practice yoga and meditation to reduce stress and improve breathing
  • Improve digestion to reduce food sensitivities or undigested particles that can trigger immune reactions
  • Support the immune system

Essential oils can help with asthma. You can diffuse them or apply to the skin when they are diluted in a carrier oil.

-Peppermint oil – It is a decongestant (have you inhaled peppermint when your sinuses are clogged? It opens up your sinuses!). It is also antispasmodic.

-Eucalyptus – It decongests the airways and contains eucalyptol which breaks up phlegm. Eucalyptus is common in chest rubs because of its powerful decongestant effect.

-Chamomile – It is antispasmodic and relaxes the body. It can be diluted and rubbed on your chest

-Frankincense – It is a great anti-inflammatory agent and an expectorant (reduces mucus)

-Clove oil – It is antispasmodic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. You can also inhale this or use in a chest rub.

-Lavender – It is a sedative and anti-inflammatory

 

Herbs and Spices

Here are some herbs and spices that can help with allergies and asthma:  

  • Licorice – Has mucilage that is soothing and healing to the mucus membranes, and is also an expectorant to reduce excess mucus. In fact, one study showed it reduced inflammatory cell accumulation in the lungs.
  • Nettle – Reduces histamine, is anti-inflammatory, and is a nutrient-dense herb with iron, chlorophyll, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
  • Butterbur – This plant has shown benefits in studies for both allergies and asthma. It has a compound called petasin that blocks leukotrienes that cause inflammation. It reduces symptoms and is a bronchodilator.
  • Ginkgo biloba – It is an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory herb.
  • Ginger – This is a super-spice which is anti-inflammatory, reduces airway constriction, and relaxes smooth muscles. Make am anti-inflammatory tea of fresh ginger, turmeric, and minced garlic to reduce kapha mucus and inflammation.
  • Trikatu is an Ayurvedic blend of 3 pungent spices: ginger, black pepper, and long pepper. This helps reduce kapha symptoms such as mucus, cold and congestion.

If you have allergies or asthma, you don’t have to suffer! Commit to a dietary and lifestyle change, get clean, and healthy! For Ayurvedic or Herbal Health Consultation book here.

Written by: Laura Zagar CNP and Nahid Ameen CNP

Reference:

Light Miller and Bryan Miller. Ayurveda and Aromatherapy. 1995: Lotus Press.

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Today’s hot topic is – Top 15 DIY Ayurvedic and Natural Hair Care Ingredients

I am so excited to share this blog with you and i hope you enjoy reading this. 

Diet, low thyroid, high stress, auto immune condition environmental pollution, chemicals in commercial hair products and generally imbalanced Pitta or Vata dosha may lead to thinning, damaged and greying hair. Excessive consumption of caffeinated and high sugar beverages also contribute towards hair loss. We also tend to forget “oil” is food for hair health however we use shampoos more regularly which could lead dryer hair. Stress and anxiety may lead to hormonal imbalance which induce hair fall. In Ayurveda since hair fall or damaged hair is mostly due to Pitta dosha imbalance therefore many cooling oil and herbs are used in oils to make the best Ayurvedic herbal hair oil. Ayurveda also promotes herbs that are good for memory, intellect and overall brain health for hair health. Lightly warming these herbal oils before applying is highly encouraged.

Conscious Health’s Herbal Hair Mask is a great add on that can condition, nourish and moisturize your hair and scalp. There also Henna a natural herb that colours the grey hair for those who have dark hair.

Let’s learn more about Top 15 DIY Ayurvedic and Natural Hair Care Ingredients. They include herbs, oils, flowers, nut oils and fruits.

  1. Almond Oil: In South Asia one of the most popular oil for hair is almond oil (popularly known as “Badam Ka Tel” in India). Almond oilcontains various nutrients for hair such as Omega-3 fatty acids, phospholipids, vitamin E and magnesium. Almond oil nourishes, moisturizes and strengthens hair. Due to the nutrient density it is optimal for treating hair loss (or controlling hair fall) and treating damaged hair. However note that almond oil does not increase hair volume but may increase hair length and shine, reduce split ends, eliminate dandruff and reduce scalp/skin inflammation.

 

  1. Aloe Vera: There are only a few natural ingredients that are known to assist with hair growth and Aloe Vera is one of them along with castor oil, fenugreek seeds and cedarwood essential oil. Aloe vera contains vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 andfolic acid. It’s also rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium and Aloe is a natural moisturizer that reduces dryness and dandruff (by removing the dead cells), maintains the pH balance of the scalp, detangles curly hair and conditions the hair (great for oily hair). Aloe Vera is rich in antioxidants and contains anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which make it ideal of a treating Pitta condition such as hair fall. Aloe Vera can be used as a pre shampooing treatment – apply aloe vera gel on the scalp 15 minutes before shower.

 

  1. Brahmi: A superior Ayurvedic gem – Brahmi is used in Ayurveda for nourishment and to prevent hair loss. Head massaging using Brahmi oil increases blood circulation in the scalp and makes the roots of the hair stronger. Brahmi oil is used to treat dry, flaky scalp and dandruff. Brahmi used as a powder in a mask or oil can reduce pre mature greying, hair loss, promotes hair density, shine and treats scalp irritation.

 

  1. Castor Oil: Castor oil is an age old remedy to prevent hair loss or assist with hair regrowth. This is because castor oil has the ability to improve circulation and increase blood flow. It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. The anti-fungal properties in castor oil are Ricin and Ricinoleic acid which nourishes the hair. Castor oil is one of the few natural ingredients that stimulates hair growth, combats spilt ends, moisturizes hair and scalp, adds lustre and shine, prevents frequent hair fall or breakage, thickens hair, makes it grow longer fast and fights against dryness and dandruff. Castor oils contain omega 9 essential fatty acids, vitamin E, oleic acid, enzymes and minerals which makes it an amazing herbal remedy. Using cold-pressed, unrefined and extra virgin castor oil is best for hair health.

 

  1. Coconut Oil: I have growth up using coconut oil for my hair! My mother always said, “Oils are food for hair.” Coconut oil is best for Pitta dosha individuals as this is cooling oil that is also rich in vitamin E and K, lauric acid and minerals. Coconut oil contains anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and is rich in antioxidant. Coconut oil supports hair growth (length of hair), fights with dryness, dandruff, scalp infections and fungus, protects the hair from sun damage, as well as adds shine and lustre.

 

  1. False Daisy (Bhringraj): Another Ayurvedic herb for hair is Bhringraj used in many popular hair oils. It is an amazing remedy for pre-mature greying. Bhringraj is used for controlling hair loss, encouraging new hair growth, strengthening the hair follicles, fights dandruff, improve hair colour and texture. It also improves sleep and it fights against skin allergies. Bhringraj can be used as hair oil or powdered Bhringraj can be used in hair masks.

 

  1. Fenugreek (Methi): Methi or fenugreek is a well-kept secret as a natural medicine for hair growth. Fenugreek or methi prevents hair fall, promotes hair growth, eliminates dandruff and soothe dry and itchy scalp. Methi contains protein, Vitamin C, iron, potassium and lecithin – all of which are good for strong hair follicles, improves hair growth and makes the hair lustrous. Conscious Health’s Hair Mask contains fenugreek seeds. Best to purchase organic, cold pressed and extra virgin coconut oil for hair, skin or cooking.

 

  1. Hibiscus Flower: This is one amazing flower for hair health whether used fresh or dried. Hibiscus contains high vitamin C and A, iron and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties. Making herbal hair masks with hibiscus flower paste or hibiscus infused oil can take care of hair loss, dandruff, improves hair shine, condition’s hair and promote hair regrowth (length and thickness). Note that both flower and leaves can be used to make a paste for a hair mask but flower may contain a little more nutrient. Add fenugreek (methi) or yogurt in the same paste for a health hair mask to combat dandruff. Hibiscus is also known to stop pre mature greying hair.

 

  1. Holy Basil (Tulsi): Tulsi contains many vitamins and minerals, notably vitamin A, K, C, folate, copper, iron, calcium and manganese. Tulsi also is an adaptogenic herb that contains high antioxidant properties such as flavonoids. It improves circulation and increase blood flow. Tulsi takes care of dry, brittle and damaged hair, combats dry, itchy scalp, pre mature greying, strengthens hair and promotes hair growth. Conscious Health’s Herbal Hair Mask also contains Tulsi. Apply fresh Tulsi leaf juice and add it to a hair pack/mask or dried powdered leaves mixed with yogurt for a hair mask.

 

  1. Indian Gooseberry (Amla): One of the most popular herbs in Ayurveda is an amazing tonic for the hair. Amla can be juiced or dried Amla can be used in a hair mask. Amla oil is extremely popular in India or South East Asian countries as hair oil. Amla contains an array of vitamins (notably vitamin), minerals and antioxidants. Amla can prevent hair loss, greying hair, combats dry scalp, dandruff, strengthens hair follicles and increase circulation which promotes hair growth. Amla contain anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial properties and has a cooling effect (suitable for Pitta dosha). Amla oil relieves scalp irritation and infections. The high nutrient content in Amla increases shine and lustre as well as conditions and nourishes the hair.

 

  1. Indian Spikenard (Jatamansi): Jatamansi is an Ayurvedic herb that has the ability to calm the nerves and the mind which is required for strong hair follicles and preventing hair loss. Add Jatamansi in powdered form for hair masks. Jatamansi also promotes relaxing and blissful sleep. Jatamansi is also known to prevent pre mature greying. Jatamansi oil is available in Ayurvedic stores in almond oil base which makes it a great product for hair care.

 

  1. Curry Leaves: In Ayurvedic medicine curry leaves infused oil is very popular for hair re growth (new hair growth) as well as promotes strong, shiny, thick and fast hair growth. It also reduces hair fall which makes it a wonder herb for thick and luscious hair. Curry leaves conditions the hair, reduces scalp infections, stops pre mature greying and has anti-bacterial affect. High in antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, E, folic acid and minerals such as iron, curry leaves are truly nourishing for hair.

 

  1. Ritha or Reetha: South East Asians use Ritha as a natural shampoo, cleanser and conditioner. Ritha helps prevent hair fall, adds volume and shine. Ritha also fights against dandruff and dried scalp. Using Ritha is like using a chemical free shampoo. Ritha contains anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties which help to fight against head lice. Ritha is available dry or powdered. Ritha with amla and shikakai (100 gram of each of the herb) can be boiled in two liter of water. Boil until half the water is remained. Strain and this water can be used as shampoo. For dark hair, make a paste with water and equal parts of henna and Ritha.

 

  1. Shikakai: Shikakai has several benefits which are specifically targeted for hair health; therefore Shikakai (Indian word) literally means “fruit for the hair”. Shikakai is used for cleansing the hair, promoting hair growth, preventing dandruff and strengthening hair follicles. Typically dried and powdered shikakai is mixed with water to make a paste and applied on the scalp and hair, to use as a conditioner. Shikakai has a low pH level therefore when using it to cleanse the hair it does not damage the hair or strip the hair from its natural oils. Shikakai is also used as a detangler.

 

  1. Neem: Best used as oil, neem oil is the best remedy to combat dandruff, dryness and lice (anti-microbial properties). Neem oil prevents hair loss and promotes hair growth. Add powdered neem, tulsi and amla to combat dry hair and eliminate dandruff problems.

A bonus ingredient I must mention for hair that is Apple Cider Vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has many known benefits for hair and scalp treatment. Many people use apple cider to rinse their hair for stronger and shiner hair. Apple cider vinegar is used prevent breakage, split ends, stimulate hair growth, reduce frizz, detangle and to cleanse the hair. There are many natural shampoo, hair rinse or hair mask recipes that uses apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar that contains the natural culture (also known as the mother) is the best to use. If you live in Canada or USA, you can use Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties and acetic acid that helps to balance the pH level of our scalp.

8 hair issues and top 3-5 herbs for them. I hope this chart is helpful

Cleansing Shikakai Ritha/Reetha Neem Apple Cider  
Strengthening Bhringraj Brahmi Fenugreek    
Hair Growth Aloe Vera Castor Oil Bhringraj Fenugreek Curry Leaves
Conditioner Shikakai Aloe Vera Hibiscus Yogurt  
Dandruff Fighting Neem Coconut Oil Castor Oil Brahmi  
Nourishment Almond Oil Castor Oil Aloe Vera Brahmi Fenugreek
Stops Greying Brahmi Bhringraj Tulsi Curry Leaves Jatamansi
Memory & Sleep Bhringraj Brahmi Almond Oil    

 

You should also check out this useful article that details Ayurvedic treatments for hair loss to get more information, recommendations, and recipes using some of the above-mentioned ingredients: HairLossRevolution

Check out Conscious Health’s Hair Mask in the herbal product category under shop. 

Herbal Hair Mask

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