The Ayurvedic viewpoint on food is interesting and unique.The major difference in relation with other modalities of food and nutrition is, Ayurveda emphasises more about considering Agni (the digestive fire) and the natural type of a person in respect to the Doshas (Prakriti).The natural perseverance of Agni is maintained by the proper nourishment though food and drinks.Even the mind is a subtle part of the food, it also maintains the Prakriti(natural/inborn) balance of different tissue levels(Dhatus), their nourishment, strength, tranquility of senses etc. Unnatural/unconventional nutritional habits would bring up Dosha imbalance.
When someone is showing up the symptoms of allergy, it do not mean always the allergy is related to the specific food, in return it is suggestive of an underlying unhealthy condition the body is hardly trying to digest the food which triggers a kind of hypersensitive reaction. I am not forgetting about the genetic factors.On a later stage body starts to consider the food as a toxin or an invading microbe. This chronic inflammatory reactions may lead to other diseases according to Ayurveda.Because disharmony of Agni(digestive fire) is the basic cause of all diseases.
Nidana:(the pathological considerations.)
The concept of Ama and Virudha Ahara(incompatible food regimes)
Considering Ama in general, it is occurring because of repeated stages of low Agni, the different process of digestive metabolism is not going in a perfect way, so the nourishment made out is not good enough to make the needed nourishment or balance for the Dhatus. In simple, though we do take good food it would not be able to bring up the positive nourishment and health. Rather it creates more toxins accumulation in the digestive track, which in turn brings about 3 different Ama-metabolic error and related toxins, along with Doshas.
On another other way, it creates substances in many form which interfere with the Dhatu channels, clogs at the metabolic pathways so it further make the Agni in a more vulnerable state. There it would start to make symptoms in accordance with the associated dosha.
Symptoms of Ama in relation with 3 Doshas, this is an acute aspect of Ama
Ama in relation to Kapha vitiation.
Swelling or allergic responses to the eyes and cheeks, burping as soon after intake of food, watering of mouth or nose, disorder or corruption of Doshas, feeling of heaviness in general.
Ama in relation to Vata vitiation.
Feeling of obstruction in the digestive system, pain, constipation-tendency, blown up, exhaustion
Ama in relation to Pitta vitiation.
Increased thirst, delusion, dizziness, sour eructation, burning or feeling of internal heat, path
Considering the facts above, we could see these are the signs of Allergic reactions manifesting.
We have to introduce the concept of “the six stages of disease manifestation” according to Susrutha Samhita (an Ayurvedic classic), where the interactive chain reaction between Doshas and Dhatus make the manifestation of pathological changes in the Dhatus. Which in turn creates the Allergic symptoms. These processes can be very well compared to the immunological/ hypersensitive reactions as per the School medicine.
The concept of Virudha Ahara(incompatible food)
The classical definition of the same says, those foods which creates dosha Utklesha(disorder or corruption of Doshas) but do not expel them out. On a deeper analysis of the common factor in different Virudha Ahara explained in classics is, it creates Ushna Snigda (combination of hot potency along with oiliness). Let us take the example of yogurt and Chicken. Here the Snigda (oily quality) and Ushna (warm) which both of them possesses, got triggered because of cooking together or mixing up. It acquires the corrosive nature, to the Srothas(the channel system) and also to the Dhatus. The body may not be able to expel it out, though it also carry liquifying quality. These interactions creates Abhishyandyam (inflammatory immune responses), which is the trigger point of allergic reactions.
-Another interesting factor which could be read together in this regards is the over use of Astringent taste. It causes blockages and blowup in the digestive system, increased thirst, blockage in Srothas, constipation. It may be noted that, some of them are similar to the Ama Dosha. So combining Astringent dominant foods like legumes, raw fruits and vegetables along with foods which are Ushna Snigda makes the problems worsen.
-The Natural urges of the body
Ayurveda recommends not to block or extra let it happen, in terms of natural urges like going to toilet for urination or stool , etc. These are the natural process of the body after assimilation of the needed nutrition and expelling what we do not need to keep inside the biological system. While doing so it will cause unnecessary stress in the neurologic as well as the endocrine system and many other functional interference.
-Genetically and physiologically there exist a symbiosis of gut flora and human homeostasis, their numbers are more than 10 times to the total number than the cells which we owns! During the pathogenesis of Allergic reactions, the system may have lost the healthy gut flora which helps to digest and play a pivotal role in immune related hypersensitivity reactions.The Ama stage, Virudha Ahara etc. changes the gut flora in a vulnerable way, so the co-existing is altered.
Gut flora also keeps a kind of “memory” in relation with the Sathmya(used to food regimes) and would cause complications in metabolism with the sudden change of food habits. Ayurveda emphasises a lot in changing the Sathmya, and rituals are also explained.
It needs more attention to the Dosha vitiation and Agni misbalance which has been acquired though long periods food and nutritional habits, life activities, seasons, mental stage , etc. The aim of ayurveda in this regard is to come to the precise evaluation of the Agni, Ama, and positive Sathmya.
Lankhana (depletion therapy): Fasting, exercise etc can be adapted according to specific conditions.
Herbal combinations which helps in Agni balance along with Ama digestion is the first priority in the line of treatment.
eg. Trikatu, Sunti, Pippali, Amalaki
Anulomna Drugs(Herbal combinations which enhances the natural movements), would be a second stage of treatment after attaining Deepana and Pachana - carminatives and digestives
eg. Triphla, Harithaki,
To pacify the symptoms, the usage of herbs like Guduchi, Neem, Shatavari, Bilwa, Aviapathikara Churna, Turmeric, Vacha etc.
Panchakarma processes found to be effective in chronic conditions. Especially Vamanam (vomiting therapy mediated by herbs), Virechanam (purgartion), Vasti (Ayurvedic enema). They helps to regain back the gut flora. Basically it uses the natural routes of elimination / excretion where the toxins are made to be movable and expelled though a modulated way. The use of Ghee/ oils which protects the system, to go through the impact of induced elimination.
Modalities of Meditation and Yoga has an added value, through stimulating the natural healing power.