Answers from Ayurveda: Hayfever

iStock_hayfever.jpg Do you dread summer as the season of itching eyes and a streaming nose? Here are some answers from Ayurveda on relief from hayfever symptoms.

Barrier Methods

One Ayurvedic method for dealing with hayfever is to use a natural and inert oil like coconut oil to lubricate and protect the lining of the nose from direct contact with pollen or other airborne irritants. To try this method, wet your finger with some oil and then rub it around the inside of each nostril.

Ayurvedic nasya oil is a specially prepared oil-based formula, that clears congestion and toxins from the head. It can be used morning and night by applying two drops to each nostril.


Hayfever sufferers should beware of other potential irritants like tobacco smoke, perfume and petrol fumes, these can further aggravate an already sensitive system and lead to continued symptoms.

The Stress Factor

Hay fever loves heat. Be it the weather, or our internal thermostat, symptoms thrive when we’re running too hot. While it’s not easy to keep cool, calm, and collected when everything is itching and irritated, stress is only going to make it worse.

Some sufferers find retreating to a cool showing or swimming pool gives a spell of relaxation and relief from relentless sneezing.

Cooling teas like peppermint, liquorice, or rose tea help to lower the body’s thermostat and settle pitta dosha, the fiery energy that’s usually the driving force behind summer allergies.

Pitta is a combination of the fire and water elements. When aggravated, pitta causes irritation (emotionally and physically), any symptoms like itching, rashes, or inflammation are pitta related. Cooling pitta, therefore, is the key to reducing hayfever symptoms.

Keep in the shade, avoid spicy food and alcohol, and try some cooling breath exercises like this one:

Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth, behind your top teeth, as if you were going to pronounce the sound of the letter “l”.

Now breath in slowly, you’ll feel the air of your inward breath feels very cool to the underside of your tongue. When you’ve finished breathing in, exhale through your nose, and repeat. Regular practice for a few minutes here and there throughout the day is an easy way to cool off, reduce pitta and calm the mind.


Relief for Itchy Eyes

A simple home remedy to soothe itchy, irritated eyes, is to take a clean cup and put 1 teaspoonful of whole coriander seeds in it (available from most grocery and health food stores), half fill the cup with freshly boiled water and cover it for 10 minutes. Strain into another clean cup and check that the water has cooled to a tepid temperature, now soak a clean lint free cloth, or cotton ball in the water, squeeze out any excess liquid until the cloth is damp, but not dripping, and lay back with the pad over your eyes for a few minutes. This remedy is also excellent for conjunctivitis.

Immune Negotiations

If an immune system is responding to a “perceived” threat that is in reality harmless, one measure we can take to get some relief is to try and convince it that all is OK with the allergen in question.

One excellent method for dealing with allergies is the Tapas Acupressure Technique - TAT - developed by acupuncturist Tapas Fleming. It’s not strictly Ayurvedic, but this simple technique is one of the most effective tools I’ve come across for reducing allergic reactions of any kind. Tapas has kindly made a free how to do TAT booklet  available on her website at:

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