We are grateful and proud to share that Dr. Sahil Gupta, the CEO and founder of IAFA Ayurveda®, India was in life with Ariel Ayurveda, Quebec, Canada. And gave an insightful interview about allergies and especially child allergies. He discussed various aspects of Ayurveda and how Ayurveda plays a key role in treating various diseases in children and helping them to prevent future allergies.
Apart from Ayurvedic significance, Dr. Sahil Gupta focused on the importance of Ayurveda in child allergies. Dr. Gupta stressed the following queries and busted some myths related to Child Allergies.
Such awesome insights, right? A lot more in the interview. If you want to have a glimpse of it, here’s the video, please check it.
Question 1: How Does Ayurveda Help You to Deal with Allergies in Children?
Answer: Before answering this question, we should know the meaning of Ayurveda. The word Ayurveda is formed by the combination of two words – “Ayu” meaning life, and “Veda” meaning knowledge. Ayurveda is regarded as “The Science of Life” and the practice involves the care of the Physical, Mental, Social & Spiritual health of human beings. SWASTHASYA SWASTHYA RAKSHANAM ATURASYA VIKARA PRASHAMANAM defines Ayurveda in the shell which means Ayurveda aims at maintaining good health in a healthy person and aims to cure the person who is diseased or sick.
If We Talk About Allergies, Then:-
- Allergy itself is not a disease but it is an abnormal immunological response that can result in a disease like Asthma, urticaria, conjunctivitis itching, skin rashes, lactose intolerance etc. The word allergy can be traced back to the Greek word allos means different and ergon means activity. This term was coined in the 19th century, which means to react differently.
- When someone has allergies, their immune system is identifying a harmless airborne matter as dangerous. It produces antibodies to this harmless substance. On repeated contact, these antibodies produce ‘histamines’ in the blood leading to the symptoms.
- Low immunity is responsible for almost all types of allergies. Ayurveda believes that in a healthy body Vata, Pitta, and Kapha live in a balanced state. When your Doshas are not at their optimal levels, making your body unable to expel the accumulated toxins (Ama) due to a weakened immune system (Ojo Vyapat), an allergic reaction occurs. When this condition continues for a prolonged period, the allergy becomes a chronic condition. According to Ayurveda, the different ways and means by which a substance becomes unwholesome or allergen to an individual are explained under the concept of Viruddha, Satmya and Asatmya. The food articles (Aahara) which derange body tissues in their state have been stated as Ahitkar or unwholesome. They are basically in just a position to dhatus. Viruddahara leads to Ama formation. Ama thereby produced acquires toxic potency and exhibits toxic symptoms. Conversion of Ama to visharupa or as an allergen is because of Amajanaka hetu wishes pra bhava (idiosyncrasy) as seen in equal quantity administration of honey and ghee.
- These foods, foreign particles, etc. in nature also have tri-dosha properties. Hence every substance we intake is either Vata, Pitta or Kapha Vardhak or Nashaka. So, if we take preservatives, junk food, state food, improperly cooked food & improperly stored food, etc then this imbalance of the three humours i.e. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in the body cause allergies.
Acharaya Charaka and Vagbhata have Mentioned Some Food Articles as Swabhavik (Naturally) Unwholesome (Apathya). Eg.
- Yavaka (barley) is the most unwholesome among all the cereals.
- Similarly, among all pulses, the Masha (black gram),
- Among various types of drinking water, the river water in the rainy season etc is considered unwholesome naturally.
- Incompatibility by weight is also mentioned in Ayurvedic classical texts like any of the oily substances, mixed in equal proportions, should not be taken, nor should water be drunk immediately after having taken honey and clarified butter.
- The fish should not be taken together with milk because both of them have a sweet taste, but due to the contradiction in their potency (fish is hot and milk is cold) they vitiate the blood and obstruct the channel of circulation and cause constipation and diseases relating to blood (allergies) and it may even lead to death.
- Almost anything can become an allergen like the partaking of both wholesome (pathya) and Unwholesome (apathya) together is termed Samashana and it is harmful and can act as an allergen.
- Eating again after a meal when the previous meal is yet undigested can also be an allergen. To eat before or after the appropriate time is vishamashana.
- Inappropriate sound, touch, vision, taste and smell have been also considered to produce asatmya (allergic). Mental emotions evolving should be retained in mind, so these are considered as Dharaniya urges.
- The wholesome food also taken in proper quantity does not get digested and produces ama (toxin) due to anxiety, grief, fear, anger, uncomfortable bed and vigil and acts as an allergen.
Ayurveda Helps You Deal with Allergies in Children
Concept of JataKarma Samskara
The word Jata means born or brought into existence. This is the first Sanskara performed after the birth of a baby. Jata karma is the birth rite which helps the baby transcend from intrauterine life to extra uterine life. According to Acharya Charaka, after the initial stabilization of the baby (Prana pratyagamana) and cord cutting, Jata Karma should be performed. First of all, the child should be given honey and ghee impregnated with a mantra prescribed for this purpose in Veda. Honey and A2 Cow Ghee (Clarified Butter) in unequal proposition serve the purpose of both nutrition and immunization. Honey (madhu) also serves as a mild allergen, which gives the first opportunity to the baby’s body to start the synthesis of antibodies, thus shielding the baby from infections and allergies.
Concept of Swarna Prashana (Gold Nanoparticle Drops)
Suvarna prashan sanskar Gold Nanoparticles drops are one of the essential rituals described in Ayurveda paediatrics for children. In Kashyap samhita sutrasthana, Swarna prashana samskar a unique method of giving Gold swarna bhasma (Gold Nanoparticles) mixed with honey and A2 Cow ghrita (Clarified butter) that is fortified with herbal extract to children orally is mentioned that is administered since birth up to 16 years. This process promotes overall growth naturally. It enhances the immunity, stamina, and physical and mental well-being of children.
Various vaccines have been available in modern science for children since birth but those vaccines act for specific diseases. On the other hand, Swarn Prashan mentioned in Ayurvedic classical texts is non-specific, works around the corner and provides overall benefits to children regarding physical and mental health. Swarn Pradhan mentioned in Ayurvedic classics texts is a complete package which not only strengthens the immune system and assists to defeat various disorders to make one child healthy but also acts as Medha Vardhan (memory enhancer), Bala Vardhan (provides strength), Agni Vardhan (make digestive system healthy) and Ojo Vradhana (immunity booster) and protect baby from various allergies by building strong immunity.
Administration of honey and ghee mixed in equal quantity is considered visha (toxic) in Ayurveda. Since it is given in small quantities which is not enough to show any toxigenic effects, it can be administered to develop resistance to toxins and allergies by stimulating immunity.
Mode of Action of Swarna (Gold Nanoparticle)
In Swarna, Prashant Swarn is used in the Bhasma (ash) form in which the particle size of gold is reduced up to 56 nm which results in the conversion of inert gold metal into ionic form, which results in better absorption and assimilation of Gold. Swarna increases superoxide catalase and dismutase enzymes in the body which are responsible for reducing free radical concentration in the body. Thus, it acts as an antioxidant, immunomodulator and helps to protect the child from various diseases and supports intelligence, memory, growth and strength in the child.
Mode of Action of Honey Given with Swarn Prashana
Among the allergens, pollen grains play a major role to induce allergic reactions in children. Honey is the collection of pollen grains by bees so when honey is administered in low doses in children. The children will gradually develop resistance to allergens, also honey is an immunomodulator. As most allergic diseases are caused by weak immunity, thus honey acts as an immunomodulator and reduces the chances of allergies in children.
Mode of Action of Clarified Butter (Ghee) Given with Swarn Prashana
According to Ayurveda the only thing that can cross the blood-brain barrier is Ghrita (Clarified butter) and Ghrita has the unique property of acquiring the gunas of dravyas which are added to it. Along with this Ghrita due to its unusual ability, assimilate the properties of herbs, metals, and minerals it is mixed with, without losing its qualities. Therefore Ghrita with immune-stimulating properties when it is mixed with an equal quantity of Honey, it doubles up the anti-oxidizing activity. As a result of increased immunity, it helps children to act on various pathogens, viruses, and allergic and inflammatory agents.
Right Time for Solid and Fruit Introduction to Baby (Anna Prashana and Phala Prashana Sanskara)
Acharya Kashyapa Author of Kashyapa Samhita was the first scholar who instigated one distinctive Samskara namely Phala Prashana. Phala prashana is the formal procedure of introducing fruits to an infant before the introduction of any dietary preparation (Anna prashana). Anna Prashan is the ceremony or ritual performed on the first introduction of food preparation to the baby, which is described by almost all Acharyas at the 6th month of age or after the eruption of teeth. Thus, the views of different Acharyas about the time of introduction of complementary food after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding are very clear.
According to one research, introducing solids too early and too late could increase the child’s risk of obesity, diabetes, allergies and coeliac disease.
Previous recommendations regarding the timing of food introduction included delaying foods such as cow’s milk protein until 1 year of age, eggs until 2 years of age, and peanuts or seafood until 3 years of age. It was thought that early intestinal exposure to allergenic foods would cause sensitization and subsequent development of allergies. But as per recent research on the “dual-allergen-exposure hypothesis” suggests that early cutaneous exposure to food protein through a disrupted skin barrier (i.e. eczematous skin) is what leads to allergic sensitization. Furthermore, it is thought that early introduction to some allergenic foods might decrease the risk of atopic disease by promoting tolerance through regulatory T-cell pathways.
Question 2: What are the Causes of Childhood Allergies (Allergies in Children)?
How are Childhood Allergies Caused? What Causes a Child to Develop Allergies and What Do You Think are Most Common?
Answer: Allergies are problems of the immune system. Most allergic reactions happen when the immune system reacts to a “false alarm.” When someone has allergies, their immune system is identifying a harmless matter like food, airborne, etc as dangerous. It produces antibodies to this harmless substance. On repeated contact, these antibodies produce ‘histamines’ in the blood leading to the symptoms.
Allergy Can Occur Due to Various Reasons like:-
- Due to air-based allergens – e.g., pollen, pet dander, dust mites etc. Parents of children with allergy problems should also consider the sources of allergens which may exist in the home. Rugs and carpets are major breeding grounds for dust mites. Dust mites are tiny insects which do not cause allergies while alive, but when they die the dried body fragments become airborne and cause allergic reactions in the mucous membranes of the nose, throat, eyes, ears and lungs.
- Foods such as peanuts, other nuts, wheat, soy, shellfish, eggs and dairy products, etc. Before having a food allergy reaction, a sensitive child must have been exposed to the food at least once before or could also be sensitised through breast milk. It is the second time your child eats the food that the allergic symptoms happen. At that time, when IgE antibodies react with the food, histamines are released, which can cause your child to experience hives, asthma, itching in the mouth, trouble breathing, stomach pains, vomiting, and/or diarrhoea.
- Genetic predisposition – Genetic predisposition, the allergenicity of food and the timing of exposure will determine the foods to which the atopic child develops an allergy. Young infants are especially prone to the development of food allergies. In younger children, the most common foods implicated are milk and eggs. These allergies tend to be self-limited, and most will resolve within a few years with appropriate elimination diets. As in older children and adults, most allergies to the more allergenic foods (such as nuts, fish and seafood) tend to persist throughout life.
- Different venoms through insect stings – such as bee stings or ant bites
- Certain medications – particularly antibiotics
- Some chemicals like latex
- Other causes can be a weakened immune system, antibodies, inadequate food combinations, and family history.
Most Common Allergy in Children
First, if we discuss some recent research-related facts about allergies in children then we better understand the most common allergies in children:
- Food allergy in young children is usually caused by milk (2.5%), egg (1.3%), peanut (0.8%), tree nuts (0.2%), fish (0.1%), and shellfish (0.1%) with the overall prevalence being 6%.
- The risk of death from fatal allergic reactions to food has been estimated to be about 1 in 800 000 per year with asthmatic children at a higher risk.
- Most children lose their sensitivity to allergenic foods (egg, milk, wheat, soya) within the first five years of life.
- One study by Braganza in 2006 indicated that food allergy was the most common cause of anaphylaxis in children in the emergency ward.
- In England, a study showed that fatal reactions due to allergies in children are caused by cow’s milk and those in teenagers are caused by peanuts.
- As reported in Lane’s study, among foods, the peanut is the most common cause of anaphylaxis in children in the United States, in Australia egg, peanut, and dairy products, in Italy shellfish and dairy products, and in Southeast Asian countries shellfish.
So, we can say that the most common Allergies are food allergies.
Question 3: How to Cope with Recurrent Episodes of Allergies and Anaphylaxis in Children?
What Should a Parent Do in an Allergy Attack? Is there Any Way to Stop Recurrent Episodes of Allergies and Anaphylaxis? What is Ayurvedic Understanding and Treatment?
Answer: The best way to cope with them is to avoid the allergens. Parents should talk to their kids often about the allergy itself and the reactions they can have if they consume or come into contact with the allergen.
Tell all caregivers (childcare staff, teachers, family members, parents of your child’s friends, etc.) about your child’s allergy.
In a situation of an allergy attack, first, calm your mind and eat fresh food or fruits, drink more and more lukewarm water, have something made up of turmeric, take a bath to relax your mind and body, wear baggy and loose-fitted clothes and observe keenly what might trigger an allergic reaction. It may be any food item or dust, perfume, dust mite or any other allergens.
Recurrent episodes of allergies and anaphylaxis can be managed and treated successfully through ayurvedic measures. Ayurveda aims to avoid the cause of the disease in the first place before concentrating on treating the symptoms of allergies. Medications, holistic treatments, and natural ways to address and prevent allergies are recommended by Ayurveda.
There are specific herbs in Ayurveda that have exceptional medicinal value to help manage allergies from the root cause. Eg.
- Urtica dioica (Bicchu Buti) or Stinging Nettle – It is one of the most effective herbal treatments for various allergies specifically allergic rhinitis since it acts as an anti-histamine like quercetin. As an antioxidant, astringent, antimicrobial, and analgesic, it can reduce allergy-related inflammation without producing any of the side effects that come with the use of pharmaceuticals. Fresh nettle leaves can be used after cooking will remove their stinging effects, and you can add them to your salads, soups, or stews, like most other green leafy vegetables.
- Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) – This extremely nutrient-dense berry offers an array of organic acids, tannins, quercetin, provitamin A, vitamin E, and a great deal of vitamin C, as well as B complex vitamins. What’s more, it contains copious amounts of superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that plays a critical part in maintaining respiratory health. Sea buckthorn is ideal for people who suffer from allergies. You can add these beery in the form of juice or jam to your children’s diet.
- Garlic – Quercetinfound in garlic is a key ingredient among many allergy-fighting supplements. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory and immune-enhancing properties. Both are ideal as natural remedies for various allergies.
- Rosemary – Rosemary helps relieve asthma symptoms because of the rosmarinic acidfound in it. This acid has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. This is what makes it appealing to seasonal allergy sufferers.
- Daruharidra (Berberis aristata) – A drying plant that has an antihistamine-like activity. Berberine-rich herbs are a boon to allergic people.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – Ginger works as a natural antihistamine, potent antiviral agent, and immune booster. Try some ginger tea to alleviate nasal congestion, and headaches during allergies.
- Long pepper (Piper longum) – it is a good immune modulator and has the property to remove mucus
- Turmeric (Curcuma longa) – may prevent the onset of hay fever
- Basil (Occimum sanctum) – Strengthens the respiratory system and heals congestion and runny nose.
- Peppermint essential oil – A 1998 study by Trusted Sourceshowed that peppermint oiltreatment had enough anti-inflammatory effects that reduced the symptoms of bronchial asthma and allergic rhinitis to warrant clinical trials. Essential oils can be diffused into the air but should be diluted in carrier oil if applied topically.
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Advocates of natural healing suggest using eucalyptus oilas an antimicrobial agent by adding it to each load of wash during allergy season.
- Commiphora mukul (guggul), Shilajit, Phyllanthus emblica (Amla) and Piper longum (Pippali) especially recommend guggul supplements when there are underlying food allergies and sinus infections. Guggul acts like a steroid without side effects. It is also a great anti-inflammatory herb. Guggul has shown remarkable results in treating chronic allergies.
- Shilajit is a natural mineral pitch that helps boost the immune system.
- Pippali is another powerful antiallergic herb that improves digestion by stimulating gastric secretions. Pippli has been shown to block histamine release and to have anti-asthmatic and immunomodulatory effects. Use pippli with raw honey. The results are amazing, an asthma attack will revert in just a few minutes.
- Adding one teaspoon of an Amla supplement three times your child’s diet can provide extra protection against allergies. Amla is a natural antioxidant and a rich natural source of vitamin C.
- Tinospora cordifolia (Amrita), is an herbaceous vine indigenous to India and has very powerful antiallergic effects. In a study done at Indira Gandhi Medical College in Nagpur, India, 75 patients with allergies were randomly given either T. cordifolia or a placebo for 8 weeks. And effects were marvelous in allergic symptoms,
Some of the Time-Tested Treatments and Therapies of Ayurveda that Can also be Used for Allergies in Children are:-
- Nasya – In this procedure, medicated Ayurvedic oils are put into the nostrils.
- Naval Therapy or Pechoti Method – It is the old Ayurvedic practice that involves pulling warm oil in the naval cavity for detoxification, nurturing and treating different ailments in the body.
- Herbal Massage – Massage is given to children with medicated oils and then a steam bath is given. It helps to clear any congestion of the mucus in the sinuses, redness, itching, watery eyes, etc.
- Use of Neti Pots / Saline Nasal Irrigation – A 2012 reviews Trusted Source of 10 studies showed that saline nasal irrigation had beneficial effects for both children and adults with allergic rhinitis, which is often referred to as hay fever. Neti pot use involves pouring a saline solution through your nasal passages to flush your sinuses from allergies. The use of the Neti pot has become more and more mainstream in recent years. You can purchase a Neti pot and either purchase pre-made sterile saline rinse, or make your own at home by mixing 1 teaspoon of Himalayan or sea salt into a quart of boiled distilled water and use it for your child to avoid allergies.
Some of the Time-Tested Treatments and Therapies of Ayurveda Include:
- Vamanam eliminates toxins by inducing therapeutic vomiting
- Virechana to cleanse and evacuate the bowels by therapeutic purgation
- Vasti involves administering enema therapy
- Nasya the cleansing therapy done through the nose
- Raktamokshana to cleanse the blood
Along with that, IAFA Ayurveda has made many pediatric drops, especially for kids which are easy and safe to use and highly effective and give excellent results in allergies in a short duration of time.
Question 4: Can a Child who is having Multiple Allergies Introduce the Food Allergen Again in Life Without Any Allergic Reaction?
Answer: Allergies are of different types and can be caused due to various factors which are challenging to detect. Allergy can be cured with the proper allergy treatment in Ayurveda as Ayurveda focuses more on the root cause of the disease rather than simply prescribing a medication to solve the symptoms / problem. If you are looking for authentic Ayurvedic treatment, Medicines and Supplements made with the goodness of nature, do visit the IAFA Ayurveda India. Yes, we have reversed allergies and introduced the allergen food items in the diet again without any reaction or attack.
Question 5: How Can We Prevent Our Child / Newborn Baby from Entering the World of Allergies?
Answer: Top Preventive Measures to Get Rid of Allergies in Children:-
- Breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months, using a hypoallergenic formula, or choosing a hydrolyzed A2 cow’s milk–based formula, if necessary, may strengthen the immune system while delaying or preventing atopic dermatitis and milk allergy.
- Swarna Prashant Nanoparticles Gold Drops.
- Restricting a mother’s diet during pregnancy or while breastfeeding has not been shown to help prevent the development of allergies. No restriction of maternal diet is recommended during pregnancy or lactation.
- Solid foods should be introduced gradually after six months of age. Egg, dairy, peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish can be gradually introduced after less allergenic foods have been tolerated. Delaying the introduction of these foods may increase your baby’s risk of developing allergies.
- Reducing exposure to some allergens, such as dust mites, may delay or prevent allergy or asthma symptoms.
- Exposure to tobacco smoke before and after birth increases your infant’s risk of developing wheezing and asthma.
- Regular ingestion of newly introduced foods appears to be important for maintaining tolerance (eg, several times per week in non-choking forms).
- Routine skin or specific IgE blood testing before first ingestion is discouraged owing to the high risk of false-positive results.
- Nasya karma
- Massage with coconut oil in summer and freshly squeezed almond oil in the winter.
- Immunization therapy
- Ayurvedic cleansing
- Consume freshly prepared foods
- Include spices like Turmeric and Black Pepper in your daily diet
- Eat hot soups and liquids to liquefy clogged with mucus nose.
- Eat a lot of steamed green vegetables, topped with pepper and basil.
- Avoid heavy, fermented, fried, and acidic foods.
- Avoid sweet desserts and yoghurts / cold foods, alcohol
- A healthy night’s sleep is very important.
- Try steam inhalation to relieve nasal obstruction and sneezing.
- Use masks while exposing yourself to irritants such as dust, fumes, or pollen.
- Do light stretching exercises.
Question 6: What Should be the Prenatal Guidelines for a Healthy Baby?
Answer: When a woman is pregnant, what she eats and what she’s exposed to can affect the fetus. Recent research has shown an interrelation between how a pregnant woman’s diet, and even how she delivers her child, could affect the infant’s risk of developing allergies. But if women become allergic during pregnancy is not believed to have any impact on whether their baby develops allergies. Genetics, however, are a major factor in the development of allergies in children. If a child has a parent or a sibling with allergies, then they are at increased risk of getting allergies. Maternal allergen consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding has been thought to control allergen sensitization in offspring because first contact with food allergens could occur in utero as major food allergens could appear in amniotic fluid in an intact form. Contrarily, maternal nutrition status, allergens, and Igs transferred in utero and via breast milk may prevent allergic sensitization in children.
So Here are a Few Prenatal Guidelines for a Healthy Baby:-
- High consumption of A2 milk before conception and during pregnancy – Research has proved the association of high consumption of milk products during pregnancy with a lower risk of cow’s milk allergy in offspring of non-allergic mothers. Maternal ingestion of milk products was correlated with levels of beta-casein-specific IgA in cord blood in children without cow’s milk allergy. Maternal milk ingestion during pregnancy exhibits tolerogenic effects in utero.
- Include foods with a lot of vitamin D including dairy products, cereals, fish, eggs and mushrooms – An expectant mother’s diet during pregnancy may be a factor in whether a child develops allergic rhinitis, food allergies, asthma or eczema. One study found that expectant moms who ate plenty of food-based vitamin D reduced their child’s risk of getting allergic rhinitis. Increased levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) in cord blood have been inversely associated with the risk of asthma, wheezing, and allergies during childhood.
- If there is no complication in the delivery of the child then the woman should make up her mind about vaginal delivery, as vaginal delivery is associated with a reduced rate of development of allergic conditions. While a mother can’t always control the way her baby is delivered, exclusive or supplemental breastfeeding may help reduce the rate of onset and overall burden of allergies in children.
- 33 percent of children developed allergies by the age of 2 if their mothers had poor diet diversity and a history of allergic disease. So a balanced and healthy diet is very important during pregnancy.
- Maternal intake of oily fish containing higher docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid as well as fish oil supplements showed protective effects on wheezing and asthma in offspring.
- Include nuts in your diet – Early exposure to omega 6 (n-6) and omega 3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), commonly found in many nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, during pregnancy shows less probability of allergy in children.
- Moderate intake of eggs before or during pregnancy was protective against allergic rhinitis in children.
- Moderate and high intakes of raw vegetables during pregnancy were strongly associated with a reduced risk of allergies in children.
- Avoid use of meat during pregnancy – Moderate and high intakes of meats before pregnancy were also significantly associated with the risk of allergic rhinitis in children.