The word allergy means an altered or abnormal tissue reaction after exposure to an antigen (also called an ‘allergen’). The allergic reaction occurs if the body tissues are sensitive to the allergen. The allergen may reach the tissues by direct contact with the skin or various mucous membranes of the organs or through the bloodstream after absorption. Almost any part of the body can be affected by allergies.
Allergic reactions are caused by a wide range of substances and conditions. These include pollens, dust, cosmetics, and animal hair; poisonous plants, serums, vaccines, and drugs; physical agents such as heat, cold and sunlight, as well as a variety of foods. The foods that commonly cause allergic reactions are oranges, milk, eggs, wheat, fish and other sea foods, chocolates, tomatoes, and strawberries.
Causes and symptoms of allergy
Allergic symptoms are manifested in various forms in different organs. These include recurring headaches, migraines, dizziness, irritability, nervousness, depression, neuralgia, conjunctivitis, eczema, hay fever, a stuffy or runny nose, diarrhoea, vomiting, urticaria, asthma, shortness of breath, and swelling of the face and eyes. The same substance can cause different symptoms in different people at different times.
Allergy is an indication of disharmony caused by dietetic errors and a faulty style of living. It is also caused by excessive consumption of refined and processed foods, loaded with numerous chemical additives, many of which cause powerful reactions. Emotional and psychological stress can also lead to allergies.
Natural remedies for allergy
Nutrients: Certain nutrients have been found beneficial in the prevention and treatment of allergies. Often the intake of vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid brings great relief to the sufferer. This vitamin may be taken in a dose of 100 mg daily for a month. In such cases, liberal amount of pantothenic acid helps even though the recovery takes several weeks. A dose of 400 mg of vitamin E taken daily for four to six weeks is also beneficial as this vitamin possesses effective anti-allergic properties.
Castor Oil: An effective home remedy for allergy has been discovered by an Indian physician, Dr Hemant Pathak. He found that five drops of castor oil in half a cup of any fruit or vegetable juice, or plain water, and taken on an empty stomach in the morning, is beneficial for allergies of the intestinal tract, skin, and nasal passages. Dr Pathak has reported numerous cases of allergic protection by this method.
Lime: Lime is considered an effective remedy for any kind of allergy. Half a lime may be squeezed in a glass of lukewarm water and sweetened with a teaspoon of honey. It can be taken once daily first thing in the morning for several months. This remedy not only flushes the system of toxins but also acts as an antitoxic and antiallergic agent. However, those who are allergic to citrus fruits should not take recourse to this remedy.
Bananas: One or two bananas a day are useful for those who are allergic to certain foods and who consequently suffer from skin rashes, digestive disorders, or asthma. The fruit does, however, cause allergic reactions in certain sensitive persons and they should avoid it.
Vegetable Juices: A quantity of 500 ml carrot juice or a combination of carrot juice with beet and cucumber juices has been found beneficial in the treatment of allergies. In the case of mixed juices, 100 ml each of beet and cucumber juices should be mixed with 300 ml of carrot juice to prepare 500 ml or half a litre of mixed juice. This should be taken once daily.
The best way to prevent or overcome allergies is to strengthen overall physical resistance so as not to fall an easy prey to every allergen that one comes across. To start with, the patient should fast on fresh fruit juices for four or five days. Repeated short juice fasts are likely to result in better tolerance to previous allergies. After the juice fast, the patient can take a mono diet of vegetables or fruits such as carrots, grapes, or apples for one week. After that, one more food may be added to the mono diet. A week later, a third food may be added, and so on. After four weeks, protein foods can be introduced, one at a time. In case an allergic reaction to a newly-introduced food is noticed, it should be discontinued and a new food tried. In this way, all real allergens can be eventually eliminated from the diet
Foods which should be excluded from the diet are tea, coffee, chocolate, cola drinks, alcohol, sugar and products made from it, refined cereals, meats, fish, chicken, tobacco, milk, cheese, butter, smoked and salted pickled foods, and foods containing any chemical additives, preservatives and flavourings.
For allergic conditions in which an element of mental stress is present as well, it is essential to employ such methods as relaxation, exercise, meditation, and mind control. These yogic methods reduce or remove stress and thereby contribute towards the treatment of allergies. Yogic asanas like yogamudra, ardh-matsyendrasana, sarvangasana, shavasana, and anuloma-viloma pranayama (breathing exercise) are beneficial in the treatment of allergy.