Managing food and drug hypersensitivity with AYUSH treatment methods

By Avishek Majumder on February 28, 2019
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In many cases, certain food causes an adverse or toxic reaction which is harmful to health. Most common food-based allergies include milk, seafood, food additives, wheat, meat, eggs, peanut, and some vegetables. In many cases, food combinations or uncooked food also lead to negative reactions and cause food hypersensitivities. Similarly, certain drugs like antibiotics, serums, carbamazepine, and anti-microbials. However, studies also indicate effective food and drug hypersensitivity management using AYUSH treatment methods. The prevalence of food and drug-based hypersensitivities are, however, higher in western countries (Prasad & Kumar, 2013). Nevertheless, a growing number of people with food and drug-based hypersensitivities has been reported in India too. Therefore, AYUSH is considered as one of the best methods of treatment for allergic conditions (Ajanal et al., 2013).

AYUSH treatment methods for food hypersensitivities

In Ayurveda, food-based allergy is a hypersensitive reaction towards an irritant leading to discomfort or in the extreme case leading to shock which can be life-threatening. A common instance is bad digestion from undigested food accumulation or ‘Ama’. In this case, the irritant causes an impact on digestion or ‘Jatharagni’ (Ayogram, 2012). Therefore, in the case of food allergies, Ayurveda mainly focuses on the change in diet and performing a physical activity or ‘Sanshaman Chikitsa’ apart from herbal medications.

On the other hand, food sensitivity treatment using homoeopathy mainly includes dietary plans. Homoeopathic medicine for food allergies focuses not only to treat the condition but to address its underlying causes too (University of Michigan, 2012). Subsequently, treatment of food allergy by Unani system includes removal of the allergens or its toxic materials from the human body system. Accordingly, the National Health Portal, 2018, Government of India, Unani system implied drinking plenty of fluids, fresh fruit and vegetable juices to get rid of the allergen and reduce the recovery period. Siddha follows a similar path of ayurveda for treatment of food allergies and uses various herbal compounds as a management method (Kanakavalli et al., 2014).

List of AYUSH methods and medicinal plants used for the management of food allergies.

Type of treatmentPlants or herbs scientific nameCommercial name
AyurvedaTinospora Cordifolia, Plumbago zeylanica, Piper Chaba, Piper longum, Zingiber officinale, Curcuma longa, Andrographis paniculata, Phyllanthus niruri, Cuminum cyminum, Acorus calamus, Embelia ribes, Andrographis paniculata, Bambusa arundinacea.Arogyam DFA, Patanjali Lakshadi Gugglu, Kerala Ayurveda Histantin Tablet
HomeopathyCarbo vegetabilis, Lycopodium clavatum, Nux vomica, Cinchona officinalis, Tinospora cordifolia, Kali bichromicum, Colocynth, Sulphur, Aethusa cynapium, Pulsatilla, Lycopodium, Bacillinum.SBL Aethusa Cynapium LM, B Jain Aethusa Cynapium LM, SBL Nux Vomica Dilution 30 CH
SiddhaAbrus precatorius, Acalypha indica, Curcuma longa, Taxus baccata, Dolichos biflorus, Aristolochia bracteolata, Cyperus rotundus, Allium cepa, Leucas aspera, Solanum xanthocarpum.NA

AYUSH treatment methods for drug hypersensitivities

According to Ayurveda drug-based allergies or adverse drug reactions lead to irritation of the skin, heart problems, and respiratory problems (Jadav, Ghetiya, & Prashanth, 2013). Jadav et al., 2013 observed mild adverse drug reactions in ayurvedic medication ‘Shvitrahara Varti’ due to the presence of Psoralea corylifolia Linn (Bakuchi), Yellow orpiment mineral (Ashuddha haratala) and cow urine (gomutra) and were treated with ayurvedic alternatives. Similarly, adverse drug reactions from allopathic medications like antibiotics, analgesics and pain killer are too manageable using ayurvedic alternatives. Jadav et al., 2013 also listed various herbal mixtures used in cases of drug-based allergies which mainly help in relief from ‘Daha’ (burning sensation) and ‘Shoola’ (pain). Also in Ayurveda the method of ‘Rakta Shodhaka’ (blood purifier), ‘Kushtha’ (skin diseases) and ‘Vrana’ (wounds) to treat food allergies.

Drug-based hypersensitivity is common in the case of allopathic drugs. However, Endrizzi et al., (2005) indicated hypersensitivity or adverse reactions from homoeopathic drugs. In particular, hypersensitivities from homoeopathic medications arise from overdosage or combination of allopathic and homoeopathic drugs. Furthermore, homoeopathy mainly uses noxious components for the elimination of toxic elements from drugs causing adverse drug reactions (Chirumbolo, 2014). Subsequently, Mueller, (2011) identified the ‘tautopathy methods’ or homoeopathic clearing remedies for removing and detoxifying the side effects of drugs.

Accordingly, the Unani system implicates that drug toxicity can be reduced by ‘Tadbir’. In fact, drug-based side effects are named as ‘Abdal al Advia’ and the treatment method follows the strategy of use of substitutes or ‘Abdal al Advia’ (Rahman, Khan, & Latif, 2008). In this method, the Unani system suggests the use of substitute drugs made from natural and mineral compounds.

List of AYUSH methods used for the management of drug allergies.

Type of treatment Plants or herbs scientific nameDrug nameCommercial name
Ayurveda Vateria indica resin, Sesame, Zingiber officinale, Cuminum cyminum, Boerhavia diffusa Linn, Azadirachta indica A. Juss, Trichosanthes sp., Berberis sp., Terminalia chebula, Embelia ribes, Pterocarpus sp., Berberis aristata, Clematis triloba, Streblus asper, Operculina turpethum, Citrullus colocynthis, Acorus calamus. Panchavalkala Kwatha, Sarjarasa Malahara, Punarnavashtaka Kwatha, Manjishtadi Kwatha, Kaishora Guggulu, Malahara. Baidyanath Mahamanjisthadi Kadha, Swadeshi Punarnavadi Kwath, Baidyanath Swarna Mahayog Guggulu
Homeopathy Atrax robustus, Hydrophys cyanocincta, Bryonia alba, Strychnos nux-vomica, Sulphur, Arsenicum album, Hydrophobinum pasteurianum, Thuja occidentalis Tautopathy remedy SBL Bryonia Alba Dilution 6 CH, Nux Vomica Globules, Dr. Reckeweg Arsenic Album Dilution 30 CH, Dr. Reckeweg Thuja Occ Dilution 200 CH
Unani NA Abdal al Advia NA

Food and drug hypersensitivity management

Hypersensitivity from food and drugs are two different sensitivities that lead to the formation of co-morbid conditions like skin problems, blood problems, cardiovascular and respiratory problems. Therefore, the study implicates different methods of diagnosis and prognosis used in different AYUSH based treatment methods. However, the literature lacks in the complete process followed and the efficacy of the methods in the management of food and drug hypersensitivities. Increased number of publications and researches in this type of allergic condition, thereby, help in better awareness and knowledge sharing for prevention against food and drug hypersensitivities. Nevertheless, management methods of diet planning and using alternative medications, including herbal and medicinal plants are an efficient way in the management of food and drug hypersensitivities. However, there are numerous commercial AYUSH related drugs available in the market indicating the increasing demand against food and drug hypersensitivities. This is also evident from the increasing number of AYUSH healthcare centres, manufacturing units, and increasing expenditures on AYUSH systems by the Government of India.


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