According to the ancient Ayurvedic Science, Asthma is known as “Swas Roga”,and is
characterized by the inflammation of the bronchial airways leading to increased mucus production. In the preliminary stage of asthma the patient may complain of indigestion, constipation and tightness in the chest, later it leads to sneezing, coughing and wheezing, indicating the attempt of the body to remove the congested phlegm that has blocked the respiratory passages from the nose to the lungs.
According to ayurveda, allergy is not the primary cause of the disease, the primary causes are wrong food habits, mental strain and bad weather. Allergic factors are only
secondary causes which precipitate the disease.
The main Doshas (humors) involved in the pathogenesis of bronchial asthma are Vata (air) and Kapha (water).The vitiated ‘Pranvayu'( Major factor in the body which controls the act of respiration) combines with deranged ‘Kapha dosha’ in the lungs causing obstruction in the ‘Pranavaha srotasa'(Respiratory passage). This results in gasping and laboured breathing. This condition is known as ‘Swas Roga’ and its five types are
Among these five types first three are not curable. ‘Tamak-shwas is ‘yapya'(Controllable) and is difficult to cure. The last one is curable. More than 75% of the cases belong to last two categories.
Ayurveda states that Asthma is influenced by the following factors
a)Adi-bala-pravritta:- Defect in the spermatozoon or the ovum of the respective parents (Genetic inheritance)
b) Dosha-bala-pravritta:- That which is originated due to improper diet, unhealthy habits,those which originates from the stomach or intestines.
c) Kala-bala-pravritta:- This is a seasonal type, produced by the variation in the atmospheric temperature or humidity.( Pollution also comes under this head).
d) Daiya-bala-parvritta:- This is a providential type. Brought about by malignant influence such as infection, allergens and emotional stress.
e) Swabhava-bala-pravritta:- The natural type that which comes with old age. Bronchial asthma is therefore caused by genetic factor, improper digestion and diet, environmental stress in the form of allergens and weather changes.
According to ayurveda, an individual’s body is composed of seven categories of tissue
elements and the functions of the entire body are regulated by three factors called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. These three factors taken together are called Tri-doshas. According to Ayurveda increased in Kapha dosha in the stomach is the underlying cause of Asthma. Imbalance of these doshas due to various reasons such as wrong diet, regimens, medicines and psychic factors leads to the diseases. In order to transport nourishment from the intestines to the tissues and the excretion of waste products from these tissues to different excretory locations such as the rectum, the urinary bladder and sweat glands, there are millions of channels. These channels are called srotas. A disease may be manifested in a particular organ of the’ body but it is not necessary for it to originate from the same organ.
Ayurveda distinctively conceives of three different parts of this pathogenic process namely (i) the site of origin, (ii) the channel of circulation, and (iii) the
site of manifestation of the disease. In the case asthma, the site of origin is the
stomach and the intestines. The root cause of the disease is basically located there. The
pathogenic substances for the manifestation of the diseases originate from these places.
They are carried, according to ayurveda, through a group of channels called rasavaha srotas.
It is the weakest point in the body which has an affinity to the type of morbidity already created in the stomach that is affected by this process. If the tissues of the lungs, musculature of the bronchial tube and the mucous membrane lining these tubes are weak, then, they get affected. Thus, according to Ayurveda, the site of origin of bronchial asthma is the stomach and the intestines. The channels of circulation of the waste products of the body are rasavaha srotas, that is, channels carrying plasma, and the site of manifestation of the disease are the lungs.
In a nutshell, due to increased Kapha dosha, Strotorodh in Pranvaha Strotas (blockage in the respiratory systems), natural direction of the Vata is blocked and this blocked Vata dosha is reversely directed (Pratilom Vayu). Due to Vata dosha dryness is increased and natural lubrication is disturbed hence causes the difficulty in breathing. Breathing becomes stressful and patient feels difficulty in natural process of breathing, and according to ayurveda treatment can be done in two major types. One type is Shaman Chikitsa in which disease causing factors (doshas) are suppressed, and the other type is Shodhan Chikitsha in which doshas are removed from the body.
Samana Treatment: When the vitiated dosha is limited and the damages are limited, one can go for Samana treatment in Ayurveda.
a) The classical medicines used to treat, respiratory diseases and Asthma.
- Elakanadi Kashayam/ Tablets
- Indukantham kashayam/ Tablets/ Syrup
- Vyaghradhi Kashayam/ Tablets
- Balajeerakadi Kashayam/ Tablets
- Dhanwantharam Kashayam/ Tablets
- Amruthotharam Kashayam/ Tablets
- Dasamulakaduthrayam Kashayam/ Tablets
- Gugguluthiktakam Kashayam/ Tablets
- Agasthya Rasayanam
- Dasamulaharitakai Lehyam
- Dasamula Rasayanam
- Vilwadi lehyam
- Amruthaprasha Ghritham
- Indukantham Ghritham
- Shadpala Ghritham
- Dhanwantharam Gulika
- Gopeechandanadi Gulika
- Gorochanadi Gulika
- Hinguvachadi Gulika
- Sooryaprabha Gulika
- Swasanandam Gulika
- Vettumaran Gulika
- Vilwadi Gulika
- Ashta Churna
- Aswagandha Churna
- Dadimashtaka Churna
- Hinguvachadi Churna
- Karpuradi Churna
- Lakshadi Churna
- Thakraishta Churna
- Thaleesapatradi Churna
- Vaiswanara Churna
- Vyoshadi Vatakam
b) Natural Herbal Dietary Supplement for ASTHMA :
Haleezy tablet: It is a patenented medicine from Charak pharmaceuticals, Mumbai.
Kasturikalparasayan: It contains musk, cinamom, cardomom, Cuminum cyminum, mriganavi, Cyparus rat, jaggery, ajawan, clovea, ginger, anisi and purified water. Dose& direction for use: Adults- Two teaspoonful with hotwater ever one hour.
Pankaja Kasthuri is a formulation of Indian herbs which build long-term natural immunity to allergens as well as reduce inflammation and constriction, prevent edema, and dilate the airways.
Pushkaramula rasayana is in the form of a “food jam” consisting of herbs and spices in a base of honey, rice syrup and ghee is best for Asthma patients. Made from the herb Elecampane (Inula spp. root) plus 21 decongestant, expectorant, demulcent, tonic, and rejuvenative ayurveda herbs in a base of honey.
Herbal extracts of: Elecampane root (Inula helenium), Bala (Sida cordifolia), Mullein herb (Verbascum thapsus), Licorice root (Glychyrrhiza glabra), Yerba Santa herb (Eriodictyon glutinosum), Amalaki fruit (Emblica officinalis), Thyme leaf (Thymus vulgaris), Black Pepper (Piper nigrum), Shilajit (natural Asphaltum), Tulasi (Ocimum santicum), Ajwan (Apium graveolens),
Powdered herbs of: Flax seed (Linum usitatissimum), Manna (Vamsha rochana), Ginger root (Zingiber officinale), Clove buds (Caryophyllus aromaticus), Cardamom seed (Elettaria cardamomum), Turmeric root (Curcuma longa), Bhibitaki fruit (Beleric myrobalan), Myrrh (Commiphora molmol),
Smoking herbs such as mullein, yerba santa, thyme, clove, bayberry, ajwan, and sage in a water pipe is a very effective treatment as well.
Ayurveda is an ancient medical system which is an effective way of preventing asthma which is characterized by sudden attacks of short gasping breaths along with wheezing. Its Preventive measures include :
a) Panchakarma :
It is a purification therapy which is done as preventive treatment for those who are prone to asthmatic attacks and mainly include steam fomentation and oil massage.
Restrict the intake of foods that can cause an allergic reaction or aggravate the condition such as all dairy products except a little ghee
Avoid all foods containing sugar such as pastries and candies
Avoid all cold foods and drinks straight from the refrigerator or freezer
Limit the intake of quantity of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Intake liberal amount of alkali-forming foods – fresh fruits, green vegetables, sprouted seeds and grains.
Avoid difficult-to-digest foods – strong tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages, condiments, pickles, sauces and all refined and processed foods.
c) Life Style :
Avoid excess humidity
Avoid exposure to dust, fumes.
Avoid areas with high pollen concentrations.
Live in a well-ventilated rooms with little or no electronic equipment are desirable.
Smoke herbs in a water pipe such as mullein, yerba santa, thyme, clove, bayberry, ajwan and sage.
d) Yoga :
Yoga reduces the intensity and frequency of Asthma bouts, includes Pranayama (breathing) increases the air capacity, air flow, efficiency and stamina of lungs.
Different Pranayama techniques like Breath of fire in which exhalations are performed through the nostrils, while also pumping abdominal muscles and releasing dormant air from the body, e considered effective for those with Asthma.
Deep breathing exercises such as inhaling deeply, holding the breath for a few seconds and then exhaling, is considered beneficial for Asthmatic patients.
Yogic posture “Savasana’ helps regulate breath, while also lowering the anxiety levels, so that apart from preventing an attack, it helps the patient to remain calm during an attack.
Pranayama (breathing exercises) is very helpful to help open up and clear the breathing passages
Daily three rounds of quick breathing (cleaning) exercise (Kapalabhati).
10-20 minutes of Alternate Nose Breathing (Anuloma Viloma) following 4:8:6 rythm.
10 rounds of Humming Breath or Nasal Snoring exercise (Bhramari).
Integrate deep abdominal breathing as a part daily life. This is very helpful as it improves the lung capacity and hence greater intake of oxygen.
Effective Asanas to help relieve asthma by expanding the lungs and opening up the chest cavity are the Bow (Dhanurasana), Cobra (Bhujangasana), sitting on heels (Vajrasana) and inverted positions such as Shoulder Stand (Sarvangasana)and Plough (Halasana).
Last but not least meditation, Deep Relaxation exercises, positive thinking, upbeat attitude towards life is very helpful to manage stress in daily life and hence prevent attacks.