Asthma – An Ayurvedic Perspective
Ayurvedic Treatment for Asthma
Today we will talk about a health problem called Asthma.
Asthma is a Greek word which means vigorous breathing or stressed breathing. When someone has Asthma attack then even for normal respiration, he has to do deep or long breathing. Breathing from nose is insufficient so he would breathe from mouth. In fact Asthma patients have comparatively more difficulty in breathing out than breathing in. The reason being, insides the lungs, the small air channels get obstructed. They are unable to contract as much as they generally have to, in order to expel air. As a result, patient’s lungs inflate due to inability of lung to expel the already existing air before breathing in new air.
Let’s find out what Ayurveda say about bronchial Asthma, from Ayurveda expert Dr. Parmeshwar Arora.
Q. How do we identify Bronchial Asthma?
If I have to explain it in very simple language I would say, the kind of breathing that you generally observe in a person after racing for while(it is long and comes out with a sound), if you see a person breathing in the same manner while sitting normally….it is a primary indicator that the person may be a patient of Bronchial Asthma.
Q. if we talk about day-to-day life, then what exactly is Bronchial Asthma?
Bronchial Asthma in day-to-day life refers to such a health condition in which there is an obstructive pathology in our air ways, through which we breathe. Now this obstruction can result from any kind of inflammation like swelling or deposition of mucus etc.
Q. When we talk about modern science, what does modern science say about bronchial Asthma?
Modern science describes it as Hyper-responsiveness of tracheobronchial tree. Let me explain it…somewhere the patient develops a hyper responsiveness in respiratory passage towards certain things which can be termed as allergens e.g. Cold things, pollen grains, dust particles or sometimes even hot things. I mean if some other person is exposed to similar substances, he may be comfortable, but for you, it is creating obstruction in your airways through inflammation. In such cases, we can say that your respiratory system is getting hyper responsive or overreacting to certain allergens. I would like to mention here that, some drugs may trigger hyper responsiveness as well. For example aspirin, which is often used on heart patients for thinning of blood, can act as a trigger for hyper responsiveness in some Asthma patients.
Q. Doctor if we talk about genetic history, if someone in our family is suffering from Asthma, is there a possibility that we might get it too?
Modern Science categorizes Asthma into two types- one intrinsic and the other extrinsic. In case of extrinsic Asthma, we note Asthma in family history. When children below ten years of age are found to be suffering from Asthma, their immunoglobin E (igE) levels are found to be above normal level. And such patients personally have some history of allergic iritis or other allergic history. This type of Asthma is called extrinsic Asthma. So, definitely it runs in the families…if parents have this condition there is always a possibility of children having them. Contrary to this, intrinsic Asthma is idiopathic where there is no family history or allergic history, and one acquires Asthma in later age like 40-50 years. In this case igE levels are also found to be under the standard limits.
Q. What I understand now is that intrinsic Asthma is more common among children too. If a child has bronchial Asthma, how do we know about it? Because children are generally quite active and are always running around and playing and heavy breathing can occur in anybody after physical activity, so how do we differentiate?
As I told you earlier, if after strenuous physical work, someone has rapid breathing its definitely not a sign of bronchial Asthma but if while generally sitting a person shows similar breathing pattern then there is an indication that may be the person is a patient of bronchial Asthma. If someone has tendency of severe coughing and after coughing he has breathing difficulty or there is wheezing sound while breathing, then it can easily be identified. These were the subjective parameters.
If we talk about objective parameters, there is test for igE level, pulmonary test, test of vital parameters etc. So, I would say that it is very easy to differentiate the breathing pattern. We have to see that whether such a breathing pattern is in resting phase or exertional phase. If it is seen only in exertional phase then it is definitely due to fatigue and will get itself normalized by resting. But if the same is observed in resting phase, then one needs to take the help of bronco-dilators to open airways so that breathing becomes smooth again. Hence by observing subjective as well as objective parameters, diagnosis of bronchial Asthma is quite easy.
Q. Doctor I must admire you for explaining things so beautifully. I am sure our audience have understood the things quite well. We have always heard this…prevention is better than cure…while discussing you have already expressed that what precautions a patient should take if he is suffering from bronchial Asthma. Now, what kind of treatment is available in Ayurveda for Bronchial Asthma?
In Bronchial Asthma patients, recurrent attacks are quite common. The reason being, somewhere while using the bronco-dialtors as inhalers or tablets or nebulizers , we are forcefully dilating air passage which is not a very good treatment. Obviously when the condition is acute, then this type of treatment is advisable because it is definitely a life saving treatment and we have no other option available. Through media, I would like to recommend it to the audience that if you or your child is suffering from bronchial Asthma, then prevention has a very important role to play. You or the child should avoid sour things, curds, stale food and too much of stress. Also if you regularly use some Ayurvedic medicines, you can ensure that you never fall into acute conditions( you would not need to use inhalers or nebulizers). Now what should we do to avoid recurrent attacks of bronchial Asthma . For this we need to extract the mucus which is deposited inside. It is very obvious that until there is mucus deposited in our lungs and our airways, it will get infected and trouble us. When we take antibiotics, they suppress the infected condition for sometime but you will see that after a month or two the infection will resurface and you will again get attacked by bronchial Asthma. According to a shloka – when we clear the complete air passage and all the deposited mucus is extracted, then the chances of re-infection decreases considerably. We should add a little salt to mustard oil and massage our chest daily with it…this helps in releasing mucus. Along with this, a small bag filled with salt should be used for warm application. Once the mucus is released it can be extracted using Liquorice or mulethi and calcined borax or suhaga-bhasma. One has to consume half tea-spoon of both everyday and cough out mucus as and when possible. If you practice these remedies, you will definitely be benefited to a great extent, even in cases of acute family history be it critical to any extent.
Talking about the medicines, these are very simple medicines – Swasari Churn – 2.5 gm with honey – morning and evening and Swasari Vati – 2 tablets – twice a day with warm water.
Also, heart and lungs are interrelated so problem in one would affect the other one. For this – pushkar-mul-yog – 1 gm, and kanakasava – 4 tea-spoonful in equal quantity of warm water after the meals. If congestion is heavy, then add 4 pinches (500 mg) of Yavakshar in kanakasava mix. At the bed time you may also take– Yashti-madhu-yog – which stops the accumulation of mucus.
These medicines will help you avoid acute attacks of Bronchial Asthma.