What Is Allergies? (including allergic cough & cold)

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.

Cause, Prevalence & Incidence

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).

For example:


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