Ayurvedic Home Remedies for Allergies and Asthma using Herbs and Oils
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.
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:
- Detoxify your body
- Improve digestion and elimination
- Balance the dosha with diet and lifestyle changes – avoid triggers and remove food allergens
- 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
- Apply neem oil topically for rashes or itchiness.
- Cilantro leaf juice – drink small amount of cilantro juice is cooling and could subdue allergic symptoms.
- Apply Nasya treatment to clean the nasal passageway.
For a complete treatment plan please learn about the Consultation packages I offer.
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
Light Miller and Bryan Miller. Ayurveda and Aromatherapy. 1995: Lotus Press.
Hi Laura and Nahid, It is a very knowledgeable and well-written blog in the field of Ayurveda. I want to add on that skin, food, dust, and eye are the four most common types of allergies and Ayurveda have several home remedies for each of them.