From an Ayurveda perspective, allergies result when the body has accumulated excess wastes, toxins, and impurities. According to Ayurveda theory, improperly digested foods (called ama), and impurities, such as chemical additives, are absorbed into the body, travel through the circulation [Srotas] and lodge in the respiratory tissues, skin and other tissues prone to allergy [Rasa Rakthadi Dhatus].
These accumulated wastes and toxins block the channels, trapping the toxins inside the tissues [Dhathus], and activating the immune system. When additional allergens such as pollen or dust arrive on the scene, the already irritated immune system goes into “high gear”, creating the symptoms of an allergy attack.
The primary cause of allergies is therefore due to the accumulation of Ama (toxins, or metabolic waste products) caused by an imbalance of the digestive fire. Here, toxins can be viewed as an antigen triggering an immune response, which in turn leads to low immunity [Vyadhi kshamatva].
When certain doshic qualities are already in excess and more of these qualities are forced upon the organism, the immune system keeps producing antibodies to contend with the invading toxins. As a result, even the slightest exposure to the specific allergen will unleash an allergic response. From an Ayurveda angle, this is a patient’s system trying to eject excess ama (toxins) and excess dosha.
Causes of Allergies
How allergies manifest in the body is often influenced by the individual constitution, and current state of doshas. In other words, how the allergy manifests can be viewed as a doshic response to a particular allergen. Symptoms will therefore have characteristics relating to the three doshas Vata, Pitta or Kapha. When the excess dosha associates with the spreading toxins (ama), it moves into the tissues and channels (Srotas) of the body, dictating how the allergy manifests.
Signs and symptoms will vary depending on the tissue that has accumulated the toxic waste (ama visha).
1. The tissue involved is the digestive tract, diarrhea [Atisara], Vomitting [Vamana] can result.
2. If in the skin, a rash or hives [Sheeta pitta,Udarda] may occur.
3. If the respiratory tract is involved Cough (Kaasa), Difficulty in breathing(Swasa), sneezing(Pratishyaya), inflammation and mucous drainage will occur.
At Punarva we work treat patient’s reaction to certain allergens by identifying not only the particular nature of the patient’s dosha aggravation but also the root cause of ama (waste) accumulating in the body. By treating the condition at this level, we can ensure a lasting relief rather than just temporary alleviation.
The predominant dosha in a patient’s constitution is often responsible for how the body reacts to certain allergens. If more than one dosha is aggravated, the allergic symptoms will also be mixed, making the condition more difficult to treat. Our detailed consultation process therefore begins with assessing your unique constitution and dosha balance in order to most appropriately diagnose and prescribe treatment.
Of course, many additional factors can also affect a patient’s situation, including inappropriate diet and lifestyle (Asatmeeya Ahara Vihara), stress (Shoka), overwork, seasonal changes (Ritu), chronic diseases, and strong feelings of anger (Kopa), worry (Dukha) or grief. The great merit of an Punarva approach in such circumstances is that our Physicians follow a truly holistic method to arrive at the right diagnosis and treatment plan – considering your unique history, current circumstances, presenting complaints and diet and life-style habits.
The Punarva protocol is based on the simple premise that the Physician must diagnose and treat only based on sufficient evidence. This evidence should be ‘patient or rogi based’ in addition to being ‘disease or roga based’ in accordance with the fundamental principles of Ayurveda.
How is this made possible?
A thorough and complete recording of the patient’s medical history, capturing every minute aspect of his/her lifestyle.
A thorough head-to-toe clinical examination, uncovering health risk factors that the patient is unaware of, directly connected or unrelated with his presenting medical complaint(s).
This process of detailed history recording and clinical examination- which includes the classical Srotha-Vikrti pariksha – leads to an accurate understanding of the Dosha status of the individual and lays the foundation for an accurate differential diagnosis and medical management.
Further, the patient is entitled to be clearly informed about the diagnosis arrived at, as also understand the medical management proposed for him. The Physician shall proceed only with the patient’s informed concurrence.