Have you ever noticed the first signs of spring are often the sudden blossoms appearing on otherwise dormant-looking trees? These tender petals arrive well before the more hardy leaves, interrupting the worn brown landscape with surprising splashes of pink and white.
I appreciate these exuberant bursts of vulnerability. It’s as if, after curling into their inner sanctums all winter and gathering strength and courage, the trees decide to expose all their private dreams and wishes in the cool air.
It is a risk. Often a late frost comes and destroys these early promises, dashing any hopes for fruit in summer. Yet the possibility is just too alluring, so all caution is thrown to the wind.
For those who suffer from spring allergies, the bursts of color are harbingers of sorrow to come – the gusts of pollen that float on the breeze. These powdery love letters from one flower to another may get misplaced during delivery, wreaking havoc in human hosts who can’t interpret the longing missive.
If pollen makes you miserable, read on to learn 5 easy tools that can help make spring more bearable.
- Eat spring greens. Like so many other aspects of Nature’s grand plan, She gives us the antidote simultaneously when setting up seasonal challenges. Young, bitter, green shoots spring forth from that same herbal reserve that has been building strength all winter. Pick some dandelion greens or young arugula, or look for them at your local grocery. Give them a good rinse and then fry them up with some ghee, garlic and salt. Aim to have several helpings a week, and watch your mucus drain away.
- Move and sweat. Don’t let your fear of pollen render you inert. The best way to melt the kapha that coagulates during the winter and spring is to get moving and build up some inner heat. Sweating for 20 minutes 3 times a week will help maintain a baseline, but if you’re already suffering (or know it’s around the corner) then amp up your sweaty physical activity to 5 times a week.
- Use a neti pot. While neti can make a mucus-prone person happier any time of year, spring is the neti pot’s time to shine. If you wake with a nose and throat full of snot, use a neti pot first thing in the morning. If airborne allergens are your nemesis, use a neti pot when you come home at night to rinse away those inhaled pollen molecules from the nasal mucus membranes who are just trying to guard the castle from marauding intruders.
- Try nasya oil. You can add more muscle to that border patrol by adding a few drops of nasya oil or ghee to the nasal passages before going out for the day. (If you do nasya, do it at least an hour away from a shower or neti pot – remember, oil and water don’t mix!) My favorite is a recipe made by my teacher, Dr. Lad.
- Avoid heavy, cold or oily foods for a few weeks. Cheese, ice cream, fried foods, cold milk, yogurt smoothies, heavy meat dishes – these are not your friends right now! And definitely do not take them in the evening, when the digestive fire is lower.
These 5 tips will change your life in the spring. If your seasonal allergy symptoms persist, you may need most specific support – consider having an Ayurveda consultation with me to discover what else may necessary to bring your unique system back into balance. Ayurveda can be powerfully effective not only at managing allergy symptoms, but removing the root cause.