Food allergies (more correctly termed intolerances) can take time to heal. They are a dysfunction of Prana Vayu, which is the most intelligent principle of Ayurvedic physiology. It is also the most sensitive to all aspects of modern life, such as sensory overstimulation and refined, denatured foods.
Food allergies if untreated can lead to autoimmune diseases. There are two types of allergies: acquired and inherited (genetic/congenital). The latter we can only support by avoiding the cause (peanut allergy for example). acquired allergies can be healed.
Food becomes poorly tolerated due to :
- Doshic incompatibly (relative to your Prakriti etc)
- Excess quantity consumed
- Food used too early in life
- Poor food combinations
Agni (digestive fire i.e. enzymes etc) fails to digest food entirely. This leads to a gradual accumulation of undigested food residue called Ama in the intestines. This Ama is specific to the type of food that is poorly digested.
Now the body is in a state of emergency. Dosha tries to eliminate the Ama or the food eaten as it will identify it as problematic. Thus causing diarrhoea, vomiting etc. With time, Agni is employed to try to neutralise/destroy the Ama. In doing so, some inflammation will be produced, as well as other Dosha specific symptoms. With time, this situation weakens the immune system that is fighting all the time.
The longer the Ama is allowed to accumulate, the ‘deeper’ the pathology becomes. After time, Dosha/Agni fails to distinguish between Ama and Dhatu (tissue). This is where Auto-immune disease begins, where the body’s own immune system attacks its own tissues.
- Identify and remove cause (foods, drinks)
- Evaluate and treat Dosha imbalances (mainly via diet and lifestyle)
- Stabilize Agni (may need to re-educate Agni) using Ayurvedic spices
- Remove Ama (certain plants, food supplements, fasting etc)
- Improve the function of Prana Vayu (nasya and pranayama are useful)
- Support immunity (use herbs that build Ojas and boost immunity)
- Repair Dhatu damage (depends on how far the pathology has gone)
Herbs can be useful in achieving some of the above goals. Usually, a unique mixture of herbs are formulated for each individual case. This is the traditional Ayurvedic method.