Ayurvedic treatment for Bronchial Asthma

Bronchitis & Asthma

Bronchitis, a term that refers to inflammation in the bronchi or larger airways of the lungs, may be due to infection or other immune processes in the lungs. While the symptoms of bronchitis may overlap with those of asthma, bronchitis does not typically cause the airway obstruction that is the characteristic of asthma. An asthmatic cough is usually productive, that is, sputum is brought up, whereas a bronchial cough is nonproductive, with no sputum.

Asthma is becoming increasingly common with approximately 16 percent people around the world being affected by this condition. The exact cause(s) of asthma remain unknown. Though doctors attribute the growing prevalence of the disease to modern lifestyle conditions such as air pollution, unhealthy diet and poor sleep. While it is a chronic condition, it only manifests periodically by way of relapses.

Triggers like virus, smoke, dust, pollen, perfumes, etc. can all contribute to an allergic reaction which can escalate to an asthma attack. This attack can last for a few minutes but an extremely severe attack could be fatal.

What is bronchial asthma?
Your lungs are responsible for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide between your blood and the air. Their functioning is facilitated by the mucous secretion inside the lungs. The production of this mucus depends on two factors: moistening and temperature regulation of the inhaled air. But if there is excessive mucus secreted then it can negatively impact the functioning of the lungs. Inflammation coupled with excessive mucus constricts the air passages. Narrowing of these passageways leads to hypoxia, one of the symptoms of an asthmatic attack.

Symptoms of Bronchial Asthma

During an attack of bronchial asthma you have to literally gasp for every breath – breathing out being more difficult than breathing in, since the air cannot be properly driven out of the lungs before you have to take another breath.
For chronic patients these frequent attacks, especially in the night or early morning, are often preceded by nasal congestion and sneezing.
Other symptoms of bronchial asthma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing (a whistling sounds coming from the chest when you breathe)
  • Tight feeling in the chest
  • Deep chest coughs that keep you awake at night
  • Cough with thick sputum
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Scratchy throat

While asthma is mostly caused due an allergic reaction, it is not always an allergy. One needs to be watchful to determine what triggers the symptoms. For example, while exercising, following a cold spell or even stressful situations.

Root Causes of Bronchial Asthma

Either allergy inducing factors as weather conditions (symptoms get worse on windy, rainy or cloudy days), dust, food, drugs, perfumes, pollution, etc. or psychological factors as deep-seated emotional insecurity, an intense need for parental love, etc. or hereditary / genetic factors.

While we think that bronchial asthma is a respiratory disease, Ayurveda also looks at it from a gastrointestinal point of view. Poor digestion causes toxins to build up in the lung tissue, which can lead to inflammatory conditions of the bronchial passageways.

Ayurveda and Bronchial Asthma

In Ayurveda, bronchial asthma – an allergic condition resulting from the reaction of the body to one or more allergens and is one of the most fatal respiratory diseases – is named ‘tamaka shvasa’ (difficulty in breathing) and its seat of manifestation is the lungs.

The primary dosha associated with bronchial asthma is the watery Kapha which leads to mucus formation. When this water accumulates in the air passages it leads to them becoming narrow and obstructed. The resulting stoppage in the correct flow of air (Vata dosha) in the lungs causes shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing. Let’s understand the different types of asthma based on the dominant doshic influence.

Vata dosha: Vata type asthma is caused due to physical or emotional stress. It can also be triggered by a diet that is light, dry and cold (qualities of Vata). Usually it manifests as a dry cough following an asthma attack. This type could lead to drastic weight loss along with other symptoms of Vata vitiation in the body.

Kapha dosha: This is the most common type and is brought on by vitiated Kapha dosha. Consuming an excess of cold, heavy and moist foods or overeating can trigger this type. A moist, productive cough will usually follow an asthmatic episode. Mucus is cloudy in consistency and white. Those suffering from Kaphic asthma may be overweight or show other signs of Kapha vitiation.

Pitta dosha: Pitta vitiation may be a combination of Vata or Kapha type asthma. It is generally caused by being exposed to allergens or microbes. The bronchial passages get inflamed and the coughing will produce yellow or green mucus. Other signs of Pitta vitiation may also be visible.

Ayurvedic Treatment of Bronchial Asthma

Herbs
  • Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum): Tulsi or holy basil is a natural expectorant. The most delicious way to consume it as an asthma natural remedy is as tulsi juice with a little honey and ginger juice. One can also make a warming tea by boiling the fresh leaves with a few fresh slices of ginger and a few black peppercorns and cloves. Sip on tis twice a day to decongest.
  • Vasaka (Adhatoda Vasika): Malabar nut or vasaka is one of the best natural remedies for bronchial asthma. In Ayurvedic treatment method snehapan (ingestion of fats), vasa ghrita is given to asthmatic patients. A very potent herbal remedy for bronchial asthma is 2 gm of vasaka powder + 2 gms of sitopaladi churna + 1 teaspoon of honey. The leaves of the plant contain the alkaloid vasicine (C11H12N2O), which is responsible for the small but persistent bronchodilatation, and an essential oil which is chiefly responsible for the expectorant action. Another way to consume it is to mix 5 ml of the fresh leaf juice of Malabar nut + 2.5 ml ginger juice + 1 teaspoon of honey.
  • Bala (Sida Cordifolia): Bala is one of the top natural asthma remedies as it contains the alkaloid ephedrine, well-known for treating asthma. The herb is also an adaptogen which defeats the signs of stress. Make a powerful anti-asthma decoction with 1 tsp of Bala, 1/2 tsp of Vasa, 1/2 tsp of ginger and 5 black peppercorns in two cups of water. Reduce to one cup and drink twice daily.
  • Long Pepper (Piper longum): The best Ayurvedic treatment of bronchial asthma, one can make this simple formula. Mix some long pepper + 1 teaspoon honey + little onion juice. Drink this once a day, preferably in the morning.
Ayurvedic Supplements (to be taken under physician’s guidance – Consult Now)  

               Vasavaleha

               Kantakaryavaleha

               Kanakasava

               Chyawanprash

               Dashmoolarishta

               Suvarna Malini Vasant

               Shwas Kuthar Rasa

               Shatyadi Churna

               Sitopaladi Churna

               Talisadi Churna

               Shwaskalp Tablets

               Vasaristha

               Swashkaas Chintamani Ras

               Makardwaj Bati

Diet
  • A limited quantity of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
  • A liberal amount of alkali-forming foods – fresh fruits, green vegetables, sprouted seeds and grains.
  • Avoid foods which tend to produce phlegm – rice, sugar, lentils and curd.
  • Avoid difficult-to-digest foods – strong tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages, condiments, pickles, sauces and all refined and processed foods.
  • Sip on water boiled with saunth (dry ginger) throughout the day.
Lifestyle
  • Avoid excess humidity.
  • Avoid exposure to classic allergens like dust, fumes and pollen grains. Make note of any allergens that set off your attacks.
  • Wear a dust filter mask.
  • Kriyas like Jala Neti (yogic cleansing of the nostrils) or Sutra Neti (yogic cleansing of nostrils by passing thread through them) can be very beneficial in thoroughly cleansing the allergens and microbes lodged in the respiratory passages.
  • Add a few caraway seeds to a tub of steaming water and inhale this steam by making a tent with a towel to trap all the goodness within.
  • If one is constipated, regular use of natural laxatives such as triphala churna and isabgol (psyllium husk) are advised.
Yoga
  • Half Wheel Pose (Ardha Chakrasana)
  • Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
  • Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
  • Bellowing Breath (Bhasrika Pranayama)
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nodi Shodhana Pranayama)