Bronchial Asthma (known as Tamak Swasa in Ayurveda) is a chronic, intermittent, inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by episodes of dyspnoea, cough, airflow obstruction and wheezing. Psychological stress aggravates the condition.
Aggravated Kapha (water) accumulates in the airways, leading to their narrowing and obstruction. This causes an interruption in the flow of the air in the lungs, causing shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing. This happens because of increased intake of Vata (air) and Kapha aggravating foods, internal weakness of lung tissues, and various diseases affecting the lungs. Causal factors include living in a cold and damp atmosphere, having cold or stale food or drink, eating foods that are not easily digestible, and ama (mucus) formation that blocks the respiratory channels causing difficulty in breathing.
Paroxysmal attacks of breathlessness and wheezing along with a feeling of tightness in the chest are the most common symptoms of Bronchial Asthma. Breathing is very fast and audible; the patient feels exhausted while exhaling. There can be constant coughing, sometimes to the point of the patient losing consciousness. The throat becomes inflamed and the person speaks with difficulty. The mouth is dry, and there is perspiration on the forehead. The person desires hot or warm things. Due to the breathing difficulties, the patient feels better sitting up rather than lying down.
Ayurvedic treatment for Bronchial Asthma is initially focused on improving the digestive system. Herbal medicines are administered to clear the blockage from the channels by eliminating toxins (ama) from the body. They will then liquefy the Kapha present in the channels, allowing proper movement of Vata and fostering proper and easy respiration. Additionally, immune-booster herbal combinations are given to the patient in order to provide both physical and psychological strength, as the patient becomes weak due to repeated attacks of Asthma.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
Avoid smoking and exposure to dusty and cold air. Drinking herbal teas or sipping lukewarm water with honey is helpful. To avoid ama formation, have freshly prepared warm meals at regular intervals. Eat less than the full capacity of the stomach. Heavy foods like dairy products, fried foods, pickles, cold foods, rice, beans and legumes should be avoided.
Some Home Remedies
- Boil ½ teaspoon of freshly-grated ginger in a glass of milk and add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder to it. Have it twice a day.
- Take ginger tea mixed with 2-3 crushed garlic cloves.
- Massaging the chest with warm sesame oil mixed with salt helps to loosen the phlegm deposited in the chest, especially when followed with steam inhalation.