March 17th, 2014

Immune balancing tips to reduce allergy symptoms

Seasonal Allergies

Especially in southern California, people have allergies to the outdoor flora and fauna. The weather is beautiful but at the same time many people are susceptible to environmental allergic reactions: eyes become watery, sinuses congest, the throat is irritated, skin surfaces become itchy and breathing compromised. This is quite uncomfortable and needs to be calmed and soothed.

One tip to reduce allergies is to add Triphala, an Ayurvedic herbal medicine, to your daily routine. This herb can detoxify and at the same time improve digestion. Creating a healthy interior environment can reduce the negative outdoor effect on your system. This herb is made up of 3 fruits and can effect and help balance all 3 constitution types, or doshas (vata, pitta and kapha), within your body, mind and spirit. The first fruit is Harada, which supports the vata dosha and has a bitter flavor. The second fruit is Amla, which assists the pitta dosha and has a sour flavor. The third fruit is Bihara, which works with the kapha dosha and has an astringent and pungent flavor.

Another tip that also improves your interior environment is to either eat fennel or drink fennel tea. In Chinese medicine, fennel moves the qi, or the body’s energy life-force, and helps to improve appetite. Western natural medicine concurs that fennel reduces abdominal discomfort and, in addition, can clear lung congestion. In our family, it is a tradition that after an Italian meal, we serve fresh fennel as dessert. It is not only delicious but a very healthy and refreshing way to end the meal.

Another obvious tip to reduce allergies is to lessen exposure to the outdoor aggravator. Keeping distance from the environmental trigger can be challenging, but in severe cases, is part of an overall coping strategy.

Your body may be more susceptible to an environmental allergic reaction at different times of the year. In Chinese medicine, the last eighteen days of a season is called “doyo.” This is the transitional time between each season, a time when the body can feel especially weak if its interior environment is not balanced and healthy. Doyo happens 4 times a year, and, in traditional Chinese medicine, is governed by the spleen. The spleen is also in charge of transporting and transforming body nutrients. If the spleen is weak, so is the immunity of the body. The 4 seasons are governed by the following organs: winter by the kidney, spring by the liver, summer by the heart and autumn by the lung. This doyo concept reinforces why it is so important to have healthy digestion and metabolism to support reduced susceptibility to outdoor allergens. Eat and digest well, and you will have strong immunity, inside and out!

To help record your herbal intake and how you feel after ingesting food, tea or herbs, use the Herbal and Pharmaceutical form from Chapter 3 of Vitality Fusion Second Edition. Also, use the Food Diary form from Chapter 4 of Vitality Fusion Second Edition to keep track of what foods your are eating, what time of day you are eating and how your “food fuel” makes you feel after you have finished a meal. Awareness of the overall health of your internal environment is the best indicator of how much attention you need to give to strengthening your allergy defenses.