In Ayurveda, Asthma is known as ‘Swasa rog‘. Any improper or non-uniform irregularity which if occur in the quality, occurrence, and pattern of normal respiration can be termed as Swasa. And it is mainly caused by the Vata and Kapha doshas. Swasa is broadly classified into five types, which is Chinna Swasa (Chyne- stroke respiration), Maha Swasa (Dyspnoea major), Urdhawa Swasa ( Expiratory Dyspnoea), Kshudra Swasa ( Dyspnoea minor), and Tamaka Swasa (Bronchial Asthma).

Out of these 5, Tamaka Swasa, provides a similar picture with Bronchial Asthma and thus management (as well as curative and therapeutic therapy) will be advised according to Tamaka Shwasa. (Tama have different meanings and can either be described as: to choke, or be at unrest, or oppression of chest). Many respiratory diseases have been classified in Ayurveda as Pranavaha Srotas Vyadhi under the term ‘Swasa’

There are several types of Respiratory diseases, which in the present scenario have become important to diagnose. And sometimes need an important medical as well as surgical emergency owing to the combined predisposition of genetic and environmental factors. Although it can range from simple common cold to life-threatening pneumonia, embolism, cancer but one disease which deserve special mention is Bronchial Asthma which can occur during any stage of human development, i.e. from pediatric to geriatric age group and disease prevalence is more in urban areas than rural areas. It is more prevalent in developed countries (city having non-agricultural jobs) than developing countries owing to the higher incidence of air pollution and environmental factors.

The problem with the pathophysiology of this disease is that although symptoms are steady but airway inflammation continues to occur over a prolonged period. The airways of such person are hyper-responsive or hyperreactive to wide nonspecific stimuli such as exercise, cough, cold, dust, pollens, allergy, stress, occupation.

Bronchial-Asthma

CAUSES/निदान:

  • Living in polluted environment
  • Residing in cold places.
  • Intake of dry food and excess exercise.
  • Psychological factors.
  • Food/ Drugs and medications.
  • Family History.

While the last cause is inducing factor all other are provoking factors to an individual’s asthma.

SYMPTOMS/लक्षण:

Bronchial Asthma Symptoms
  1. Due to obstruction in the respiratory system [Pranavaha Srotas] the person finds it difficult to exhale [i.e. the person breathes in air but cannot get it out]
  2. Due to ongoing inflammation, there is continuous need to expel the mucus plugs and sputum from the respiratory tract, failure to expectorate results in more breathlessness and patient feels if he/she is surrounded by darkness and distress.
  3. The person is unable to lie properly, due to obstruction of ‘prana vayu’ and prefers to sit in a hunched forward position in order to get more air.
  4. It is only when the sputum is expelled, he/she feels better momentarily due to easy flow of prana vayu [respiration], moreover, he/she prefer to raise the face upwards to facilitate easy entry of prana vayu.
  5. If the attack goes on increasing it causes the person to use his accessory muscle of respiration causing sweating on forehead, increased respiratory rate along with heart rate causes a feeling of giddiness/ light headedness in the patient.
  6. The condition gets aggravated by presence of clouds, rainy season, cold and Kapha vardhak diet.
  7. The patient has natural tendency for hot beverages/climate since it gives relief to the patient.  

DIETARY REGIME

WHOLESOME DIET [PATHYA]: old brown rice, horse gram, rice gruel, garlic, tomato, eggplant, green beans, cucumber, terminalia chebula, goat’s milk, honey, black pepper, lukewarm water, day time sleeping, carrots, idli, corn flakes, biscuits, warm drinks like tea-coffee-soup, bread sandwich, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, spinach,  methi, salad, avocado, apple, mango, papaya, banana, turmeric, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, breathing exercises, walking, use of humidifier, eat frequent and small meals and take early dinner.

UNWHOLESOME DIET [APATHYA] :deep fried, sour food/fruits, chick pea flour, curd, potato, sweet potato, okra, mustard leaves, buffalo milk, ghee, fish, cold water/season, suppression of natural urges, excess physical/mental exertion,  avoid sleep for at least 2 hours after meal, jaggery, red chili, eggs, chick pea, bottled lemon/lime juice, dry fruits, peanuts, acidic fruits, carbonated beverages, salt.

HOME REMEDIES AND MANAGEMENT

Potash-Alum

Remedies I

Put 500 – 1 gm dose of potash alum on tongue.

Remedies II

One should eat before sunset and eat less than demanded by the appetite. [if possible].

Remedies III

Indigestion and constipation should be properly treated or should not be present in the patient of Asthma.

Remedies IV

Take 6 gm juice each of bamboo, ginger, and honey plus 50 mg, Amlasar gandhak and black pepper. Make a powder, after sieving, put them in an air tight glass container and take 4-5 gm daily with ghee/honey.

Remedies V

Mix salt and camphor in lukewarm ghee and massage on back. [between scapular region].

Ginger-Honey

Remedies VI

Take 2 tablespoon ginger and 2 tablespoon honey: Drink for 21 days, do not drink water for half an hour.

Remedies VII

Take ½  black pepper powder and 4 tablespoon honey: Good for asthma due to cold cough.

Remedies VIII

1 cup hot water with 1 pinch of asafetida for 1 month.

Remedies IX

Some result oriented medicine(s) and herbs which one can  find over the counter and can be kept in home is/are: talisadi chura, eladi vati, vasavleha, sitopladi churna, bael prash, camphor, pippali, bahmi vati, ssarpagandha ghan vati.

SUMMARY:-

There might be prolonged remissions in patients with Asthma i.e. in between attacks there may be no signs, no symptoms, and no positive laboratory tests. Exercise-induced Asthma [EIA] is particularly troublesome in children. In the acute phase, one should primarily focus on how to relieve the difficulty in breathing, when under control one should try to eradicate the disease with a proper therapeutic approach.

If despite taking inhaled steroids and bronchodilators, asthma attacks are recurring, one can ask for use of mast cell stabilizer drugs [on prescription]. As Asthma is a Psychosomatic [मनोदैहिक विकार] disease thus calmness of mind is essential, as such Medhya Drugs [nootropic herbs] are useful part of treatment. Deep breathing exercises help increase the lung capacity and also create awareness of the lungs and breathing process. Doing Yoga Excercise daily as well is an advantage. Advice holiday in a dry climate [if there are repeated attacks] or one can think of shifting his/her residence.

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Dr Munish Sood

Dr Munish Sood

B.A.M.S, MD (Ayu) Kayachikitsa
He is an Ayurveda Specialist with working experience of almost 18 years as: Sr. Consultant cum Physician (M.D.) & Sr. R.M.O, JNANI Hospital: (An Undertaking of Tibetan Craft Community, Tashijong, Kangra), Paprola. Consulting (M.D.) & Sr. R.M.O, DTIL Hospital, Chimbalhaar, Palampur. Sr. Medical Officer, Simla Sanitarium & Hospital, Himachal Pradesh. Assistant Professor & Medical Officer, SUDAC & Hospital, Hoshiarpur.