Asthma is an inflammatory disease associated with airway hypo-responsiveness leading to recurring episodes of wheezing, cough and chest tightness. The prevalence of asthma is increasing with growing urbanization; there may be an additional 100 million people with asthma by 2025. About 3.13 million people have been diagnosed with asthma at some point during their life.
Wide arrays of drugs and dosage forms have been developed to prevent and control asthma symptoms which reduce the frequency and severity of asthma exacerbations and reverse the airflow obstructions. However, there is a concern about the use of inhaled corticosteroids even after regular use does not seem to modify the course of the disease significantly because asthma symptoms and inflammation rapidly recur when the treatment is discontinued. Although modern drugs provide immediate relief to most patients but effective, low-risk, non-drug strategies would provide a valuable adjunct or alternative treatment in the management of asthma and it is the need of the hour.
Ayurvedic Approach for the management of Asthma
- The science of Ayurveda recognises the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical elements of each person comprising a system and attempts are usually directed towards treating the whole person in its context, concentrating on the cause of the illness and its symptoms. This approach helps the body to come into balance naturally through nutrition, stress reduction and the use of effective but gentle remedies. The success rate can be dramatic or gradual depending on the condition of the patient. Ayurvedic system views asthma as a curable condition and offers a path towards healing.
- Asthma is known as “Tamak-Shwasa” in ancient Ayurvedic science. This disease is curable in early stages and generally palliable. The cause of Tamak-Shwasa according to Ayurveda is the Vata dosha moving in the reverse order pervades Pranvaha srotas (channels of vital breath, afflicts the neck and head and stimulates phlegm to cause asthma)
This Vayu, thus obstructed produces the following signs and symptoms—
- Dyspnoea of exceeding deep velocity which is immensely injurious to life. Because of acute spasms, the patient gets tremors and coughs and become motionless.
- Wheezing or murmuring sound
- Patient faints again and again while coughing. Since the phlegm does not come out, the patient becomes very restless.
- Lack of sleep because while lying down for sleep, the difficulty in breathing increases because the sides of the chest in that position get afflicted by Vayu.
- Eyeballs get prominent.
- Excess sweating
- The attack gets aggravated when the patient is exposed to humidity and when he resorts to Kapha-aggravating food and regimes.
- Take black pepper, dry ginger, cloves. Boil all of them in water and take this extract.
- During the attack, rub Nilgiri Oil or pain balm on the chest and get fomentation. Inhale mint and camphor.
- During times other than wheezing attacks, make a paste of black resins, dates, long pepper and licorice. Take one teaspoon of this mixture with honey.
- Take one teaspoon of licorice with ginger in warm water.
- Take warm milk boiled with garlic at night during sleep.
- Take 25 grams jaggery (brown sugar) in a clean wide mouthed vessel. Add half a cup of water and heat it to dissolve it. Add 25 grams of cow’s ghee (clarified butter) and 25 grams black pepper powder to the vessel. Continue heating till the water content evaporates. Nearing to the end, put a small piece of mass in the vessel to the fire. If it does not make any sound then it indicates that there is no more moisture in the ghee. Now stop heating and filter it when it is hot. Take half to one teaspoon of this ghee one or two times a day before food for a period of 1-2 months. This remedy improves the strength and immunity and also improves digestion power of the patients suffering from respiratory disorders and weakness associated with these disorders. It is a very good supplement to maintain high energy levels during illnesses.
- Take 10 grams sugar and 10 grams raisins. Add 10 grams dates and 10 grams raisins to the sugar and powder and mix thoroughly. Add 10 grams long pepper fruit, 5 grams honey, and 10 grams cow’s ghee to it and mix well to make a homogenous paste. Take 3-5 grams twice or thrice a day after food with water.
- One teaspoonful of ginger, turmeric, black pepper and cumin grounded and mixed with honey help in relieving the congestion of the chest and make the chest clear.
- Application of Balm containing Eucalyptus oil, Cinnamon oil or Clove oil to the chest helps to improve stamina.
- A teaspoonful of turmeric powder with a glass of milk twice a day is very effective for the asthma treatment.
- Anjeer (Dry Figs) help to clear mucus from the bronchial tubes and are therefore a valuable remedy for asthma. Dry figs give comfort to the patient by draining off the phlegm.
- 5 grams of Amla (Indian gooseberry) or dry powder mixed with 1 teaspoonful of honey forms an effective medicinal expectorant and tonic. Take it twice a day.
- Alsi (Flaxseed) – A decoction made from flaxseed is considered useful in curing congestion and also prevents recurring attacks. Linseed oil can be applied externally to reduce congestion.
- Mustard Oil – During the attack, slightly heat mustard oil mixed with a little camphor should be massaged over the chest. This help in loosening the phlegm and ease breathing.
Ayurvedic herbs useful in Asthma
- Kantakari (Solanum indicum)
- Vasa (Adhatoda vasica)
- Sunthi (Zingiber officinale)
- Marich (Piper nigrum)
- Yashtimadhu (Glycrriza glabra)
- Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)
- Tagara (Trylophera indica)
Diet for Asthma Patients
- Foods like—honey, garlic, old jaggery, lukewarm water, dry fruits like—dates must be included in the diet.
Things to be Avoided
- Avoid rice, buttermilk, sour fruits, non-vegetarian diet, cold drinks, excessive exercise and day time sleep.