Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion Made Easy
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The Brilliance of Stuffy NosesAyurveda's approach redirects frustration away from our stubborn, sealed and sulking snout and instead towards the root cause. Once brilliantly buffered from exposure to the cold air and blanketed by a thick layer of mucus, the comfy cozy sinuses warm up again. Our nose knows that viruses thrive on the surface of cool mucus membranes. It's winter, and a stuffy nose protects delicate sinus tissues by swelling shut and filling with fluids to prevent nasal breathing. Forcing them open again would create vulnerability to infectious attack.
The Dignity of BoogersThe example above highlights a perspective that respects the body and dignifies its responses to disease, from boogers to blood pressure, however uncomfortable the symptom may feel. This perspective is core to many traditional healing systems on the planet from Ayurveda to the western nineteenth century Vitalists. These healing systems suggest we work with the body, embracing symptoms as teachers or clues rather than struggling against them. The presence and type of a stuffy nose helps us clarify the cause, whether due to blood stagnation, chronic cold, or underlying allergy.
DefinitionsNasal congestion is the blockage of the nasal passages, also known as nasal blockage, nasal obstruction, blocked nose, stuffy nose, or stuffed up nose. Nasal congestion is usually due to swollen nasal membranes from inflammation of blood vessels.
Sinusitis is any condition of inflammation in the sinuses connected to the nasal cavity. A simple runny nose is defined by unusually large amounts of nasal fluids with or without inflammation and blocked nasal breathing. Catarrh is a runny nose with thick mucus and white blood cells in response to an infection. Snot and Boogers are the slang term for congealed nasal mucus as it dries.
Types of Stuffy NosesMany stuffy noses result in the Common Cold. When chronic cold forces the nose to remain stuffed, the inability to flush mucus from the nasal passages may also promote growth of bacteria and viruses. A delicate balance is the key to avoiding sinusitis. The very ordinary ailment we call a common cold is known as Pratishyaya in Ayurveda. Common Colds indicate the presence of rhinoviruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenoviruses, enteroviruses, and many others. Other types of stuffed or blocked noses include polyps and injury to the temples (not covered here).
The main causes of stuffy and runny noses are:
There are four pairs of sinuses in the head. The location of the pain can indicate where the infection is more prominent.
Streptococcuspneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Moraxella catarrhalis are normally involved in acute sinusitis. Staphylococcus aureus and anaerobes are sometimes involved in chronic sinusitis. Fungi is an increasing cause of chronic sinusitis, especially in people with compromised immunity, such as with AIDS, leukemia, and diabetes.
Ayurveda considers these pathogens opportunists taking advantage of an underlying weakness. Rather than fight the pathogen, Ayurveda considers the pathogen a symptom and addresses the deeper disease patterns that promote their growth. Disease patterns that commonly lead to infection of the sinuses include a diet or lifestyle with an excess of the following qualities:
Kapha people often get stuffy noses in the spring when the blood is naturally rich. If heavy, rich foods have triggered a flood of mucus, a day of light fasting helps clear mucus and dry out the blood. Keep the head and chest warm with a hat and plenty of layers. Sweets and dairy should be avoided including cheese, yogurt, & milk because these provoke mucus (Kapha). Avoid cold water and swallowing mucus. Pitta people get stuffy noses due to allergies and Vata people due to cold quality and toxins in the colon.
Cilantro and an Ayurvedic herb called guduci are hypoallergenic.
Mouth breathing and suppressed appetite causes significant dryness irritating nasal passages. Take care to prevent dehydration. Vata may employ daily oil massage except where fever is present to balance dryness and keep the skin warm. After the acute infection has resolved, five drops of ghee, sesame oil, or nasya oil (medicated nasal oil) in each nostril daily will help the sinuses heal and restore the senses of taste and smell. Foods that are difficult to digest should be avoided. Cleanse the colon with gentle laxatives such as triphala and enema therapy.
Proper DrainageProper drainage of the sinus passages will help the bacterial infection to resolve. Since all infection involves Pitta dosha and inflammation, avoid substances that clear the sinuses by further irritating them.
Disclaimer: 'Sinus Infection' could be serious and should be checked by a medical doctor.
Symptoms Tell A StoryThe first step to healing is learning patterns from your symptoms. Symptoms are clues that reveal underlying imbalances, showing you where your body is weak. Specifically, they reveal the doshas & qualities that may have become aggravated. If you notice a quality or dosha appears next to many of your symptoms, it helps you establish a pattern that may be systemic.
One or more of the following doshas and qualities may be aggravated.If you have a systemic imbalance of one of these doshas or qualities, Ayurveda would generally recommend avoiding foods and lifestyle habits with that quality.
Key: V = Vata, P = Pitta, K = Kapha. A slash through a dosha means it an aggravated dosha. To learn more about the symbols above, click on them.
Correct ImbalanceFood and lifestyle habits with the following effects may reduce imbalances associated with 'Sinus Infection'.
Stage of Disease: 3 - Attacking TissueIf you have symptoms in this category it means that your imbalances have weakened organs and tissues. At any moment, these imbalances could overwhelm weakened tissue and develop into degenerative disease.
Breathe freely with Ayurveda's classic formula for clearing the sinuses, supporting respiratory health, and invigorating your mind. Nasya Oil contains an energizing blend of sesame oil, herbs and essential oils.
Please review these herbs & products below to determine which ones might be helpful for Sinus Infection.
Chyavanprash Nutritive Jam (9.4oz)
Ayurveda's most popular immune tonic. Tasty and safe for adults and children alike, chayawanprash prevents seasonal colds and flus.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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