The landscape is dotted these days with the sudden blush of pink and white blossoms flashing out on naked tree limbs. These confetti petals seem like a poorly-chosen first attempt to re-clothe the trees – their fragile and exuberant display seems to litter the ground within minutes of the first rainstorm, which (let’s not fool ourselves) is always right around the corner in spring.
For those who suffer from spring allergies, the bursts of color may feel less celebratory and more like signs of sorrow to come. If pollen makes you miserable, here are 5 steps 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 (from herbicide-free gardens or yards) 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 (or see recipe below!). Aim to have several helpings a week, and watch your mucus drain away.
- Move and sweat. Don’t let your fear of pollen keep you from moving. The best way to melt away the kapha that coagulates during the late winter and spring is to get moving and build up some inner heat. Sweating 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 to dry up the mucus. 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 – and AFTER you neti….
- Apply Nasya nasal oil. The risk of using a neti pot is that you dry out your sinuses TOO MUCH. Dry sinuses are actually MORE susceptible to allergens. 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. This lubrication will help protect your sinuses.
- 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 morning or evening, when the digestive fire is lower than at mid-day.
These 5 tips will change your life in the spring. If your seasonal allergy symptoms persist, you may need bigger guns – consider having a consultation with an Ayurveda practitioner to discover what else may necessary for you to bring your system back into balance.