An ‘allergy’ can be described as sensitiveness of the body to a substance which does not normally affect other persons. There are innumerable substances in the environment which can cause mild to violent reactions in many people. These reactions range from true allergies due to intolerance of certain foods and substances, to those resulting from pollution.
Allergic reactions may occur within a few minutes of the patient coming in contact with the allergen, or they may be delayed for several hours or even several days. Almost any part of the body can be affected by allergies. The portion of the body which is affected is called a shock organ. Common sites are the nose and eyes, the skin, chest, intestines and ears.
Allergic reactions are caused by a wide range of substances and conditions. These include pollen, dust, cosmetics and animal hair; poisonous plants, serums, vaccines and drugs; physical agents such as heat, cold and sunlight; as well as a variety of foods. Among the numerous allergens in the food department, the more common ones are oranges, milk, eggs, wheat, fish, chocolates, cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries.
The symptoms of allergy are as varied as the substances causing the reaction. These include recurring headache, migraine, dizziness, irritability, nervousness, depression, neuralgia, sneezing, conjunctivitis, diabetes, eczema, heart-burn, hay fever, indigestion, constipation, diarrhoea, gastric ulcer, asthma, overweight, high blood pressure, chest pain, heart attacks, a stuffy or runny nose, shortness of breath, swelling of the face and eyes, etc. The same food can cause different symptoms in different people. Many allergies are multiple and may be caused by multiple allergens.
Allergy is an indication of lowered resistance and internal disharmony caused by dietetic errors and faulty style of living. It is believed that the major cause of allergy is feeding babies such foods as cereals, meat, corns, whole milk, etc. before they reach the age of 10 to 12 months.
These foods cause allergic reactions as babies lack the proper enzymes needed for their digestion before that age. Babies should be breast-fed for at least eight months as this is nature’s way of providing all the required nutrients during this period.
Another important cause of allergy is today’s processed foods loaded with numerous chemical additives, many of which cause powerful reactions. An allergic condition can result from diet imbalances. There can be a breakdown in the body’s ability to handle sugar due to excessive intake of refined sugar and consequent blood sugar irregularities, or mineral and vitamin imbalances due to defective dietary patterns.
Emotional and psychological stress can also lead to allergies. According to Dr. Hans Salye, the world’s premier researcher on stress, allergic symptoms are often nothing more than body’s reaction to stress. A person can through chronic stress, become sensitive to common foods or commonplace substances like petrol fumes.
There are various ways to tackle many of the allergic disturbances. First, the sources must be identified. This is a difficult but not impossible task. Second, once the sources are discovered, they should be avoided. Third, and most important, general health and resistance should be built up to establish immunity to them.
There are two methods to detect disturbing foods. The first method is the trial -and- error elimination diet. This automatically eliminates many hazards and foods. Keep to organic, untreated, unprocessed foods as far as possible and you will eliminate another set of hazards such as pesticides, various sprays and other poisons.
After having eliminated as many disturbing factors as possible, a self-search should be carried out to ascertain any suspicious symptoms from foods. It is advisable to try an eliminary diet, excluding suspected foods for two weeks until the cause is detected. Occasionally, by changing the brand or the type, you can find a food substitute that does not upset you.
Another way to detect the cause of allergy is by Dr. Coca’s “pulse test.” The method is as follows: Check your pulse before a meal. Then limiting that meal to one food only, wit for half an hour after eating and take your pulse again. A slight increase is considered normal, even up to 16 extra beats. If your pulse does not rise above 84, you may be allergy-free. But if your pulse rises beyond that point, and remains high an hour after the meal, you have found your food allergy.
The best way, however, to prevent or overcome allergies is to strengthen the overall physical resistance so as not to fall an easy prey to every allergen that comes along. To start with, the patient should fast on fresh fruit juices for four or five days. Repeated short juice fasts are likely to result in better tolerance to previous allergies. After the fruit juice fast, the patient can take a mono diet of vegetables or fruits such as carrots, grapes or apples, for one week. After that one more food is added to the mono diet. A week later the third food is added and so on. After four weeks, the protein foods can be introduced, one at a time. In case an allergic reaction to a newly introduced food is noticed, it should be discontinued and a new food tried. In this way all real allergens can be eventually eliminated from the diet.
The body requires a large alkaline reserve for its daily activity. The many emergencies of acid formation through the day from wrong foods, fatigue, mental stress and lack of sleep can be met by the competency of the alkaline reserves. Boosting the normal body reserve of alkaline by liberal use of alkaline- forming foods is essential for those suffering from allergies.
The foods which should be excluded from the diet are tea, coffee, chocolate, cola drinks, alcohol, sugar, sweets and foods containing sugar, refined cereals, meats, fish, chicken, tobacco, milk, cheese, butter, smoked, salted, pickled foods and foods containing any chemical additives, preservatives and flavouring. These foods cause either toxic accumulations or over-stimulation of adrenal glands or strain on pancreatic enzymes production or disturb the blood sugar balance.
For preventive purposes, the entire C complex vitamins – known as the bioflavonoids, are recommended. They gradually strengthen cell permeability to help immunise the body from various allergies, especially hay fever. Often the addition B5, or pantothenic acid brings great relief to allergy sufferers. Multiple allergies may result from poor adrenal gland functioning. In such cases liberal amounts of pantothenic acids help cure them, although the recovery will take several weeks. An adequate intake of vitamin E is also beneficial as this vitamin possesses effective anti-allergic properties, as some studies have shown.
An exciting remedy for allergy has been discovered by an Indian physician, Dr. Hement Pathak. He found that the use of five drops of castor oil in a little juice or water taken on an empty stomach in the morning, is highly beneficial for allergies in the intestinal tract, skin and nasal passages. Dr. Pathak, who is an expert in Chinese medicine, has reported numerous cases of allergic protection by this method. For allergic conditions in which an element of stress is present, it is essential to employ such methods as relaxation, exercise, meditation and mind control. These methods will reduce or remove stress and thereby contribute towards the treatment of allergies. Yogic asanas like yogamudra ardhmatsyendrasana, sarvangasana, shavasana and anuloma-viloma , pranayama are also beneficial.