How Winter Dryness Leads to Summer Sniffles

How Winter Dryness Leads to Summer Sniffles

We commonly blame spring pollen for our allergies, but according to Ayurveda, the onset of your watery eyes and runny nose may have happened months or even a few seasons earlier. In This Article: Spring Sneezes Begin in WinterBut Wait! It’s Not Too Late!Summer Has its Role in Mucus-Making

In This Article

Spring Sneezes Begin in Winter

We have all experienced the dryness of winter. We notice our skin drying out, the sinuses becoming dry and sometimes painful, our joints may ache and the elimination may slow down, all due to the accumulation of dryness.

As always, nature had a solution for this dryness in the late fall-winter harvest in the form of high fat and higher protein foods like nuts, seeds and even some (hopefully high-quality) meats. Unfortunately, many of the fats we eat are heavily processed and thus have the opposite effect, drying us out even more by congesting the liver and stalling bile flow.

The extent to which the sinuses get dry in the winter is the extent to which you will make extra mucus in the spring. Lots of folks simply cannot, or do not, antidote the dryness of winter well enough to ward off the drippy sinuses of spring.

But Wait! It’s Not Too Late!

Of course, nature has an antidote for this abundant mucus production even if you found yourself drying out a bit this winter. This antidote comes in the form of spring’s low fat harvest of roots, spring greens and berries. But, again, few of us actually eat a sufficient amount of spring harvested mucus-combating foods, and the result can be that spring run-off seems to have made a new home in your nose.

Summer Has its Role in Mucus-Making

While the dryness of winter that may appear to have initiated this mucus-making process, it may not have been caused by the dryness of winter alone. During the summer, as the heat builds each month, there is an effect called thermal accumulation, which means it gets hotter and thus drier with each passing month. Like a desert, the hotter it gets, the more dry it gets – think of the cracked, dry desert floor. Because of this heat, any uncleared mucus from spring gets baked on to the sinuses.

Luckily, nature antidotes this excess heat with super cooling foods like watermelons, pomegranates and apples, to name a few. These cooling foods act as refrigerants to help lessen the impact of the summer’s heat. But, as in every other season, few of us actually eat enough of the seasonally harvested foods.

Once again, nature has a contingency plan called winter. The coldness of winter would be the perfect antidote for any excess heat left remaining in the body from summer. This is the perfect plan, except for the dryness! Summer is hot and dry, and winter is cold and dry. While winter antidotes the heat of summer, both seasons are dry, and thus the mucus membranes in the sinuses and intestines both have a tendency to dry out each winter.

The dryer the sinuses become, the more reactive mucus they produce.

This excess mucus is the perfect breeding ground for undesirable bacteria and viruses each winter. Come spring, when the sinuses are making mucus for a living, the cilia of the respiratory tract get bogged down in this excessive mucus. Spring pollens further irritate these mucus membranes, resulting in lymph congestion along the respiratory tract where the immune system hangs out. The sinuses react to this congestion by making even more mucus, which often ends up saturating a box of tissues.

The best way to antidote the wrath of the nose’s spring run-off is to eat with the seasons. Most importantly this spring: follow a strict diet of spring harvested foods.

Hint: spring is nature’s wheat-free, dairy-free season. You can download this list for free here.


Douillard,J. The 3-Season Diet. Three Rivers Press. 2000 New York

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Dr. John

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