Ayurvedic Management of Bronchial Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disorder which is caused due to inflammation in the airways which become narrower and are filled with mucus leading to blockage of the airflow. Licorice has anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties that help in restoring normal breathing in asthmatic patients.

Asthma is a chronic lung disorder which is caused due to inflammation in the airways. The airways become narrower and are filled with mucus, blocking the airflow which then results in short gasping breaths, recurring periods of wheezing, coughing and chest tightness. If an asthma attack is not controlled in time, it can leave a person breathless. An attack could be triggered due to allergic reactions or some other triggers or stimuli like dust, smoke, fumes, or chemical or allergens like pollen and grass. In Ayurveda, the balance among three doshas namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha keeps the body in healthy state and imbalance in these doshas is causative factor for the origin of any disease. The ayurvedic texts have explained the bronchial asthma  in detail where it is known as Tamaka Shvasa. The leading cause of this disease is said to be the aggravation of kapha dosha. This dosha blocks the flow of air creating spasms in the bronchial tree and gets accumulated in the respiratory tract, choking the natural flow of air resulting in asthma and wheezing. Asthma attacks may come without warnings as the patient may be sensitive to certain factors which trigger an Asthma like- 

1.    Anxiety and stress
2.     Certain medications
3.     Certain food additives
4.     Perfumes and incenses
5.    Extreme weather conditions
6.    Extreme physical activity and exercise
7.    Pollutants such as smoke and chemicals
8.    Exposure to substances like dust, pollen and animal fur

Symptoms of Bronchial Asthma

The symptoms of Bronchial Asthma vary from person to person depending on aggravating factors. The common symptoms of Asthma are mentioned here
•    Cough
•    Wheezing
•    Breathlessness 
•    Pain or tightness in chest
•    Trouble sleeping due to breathlessness
•    Whistling sound in the chest while breathing

Management of Asthma in Ayurveda

Since Bronchial Asthma is vatakaphaja disease hence the aim is to remove the excess mucus and inflammation. To achieve this purpose, ayurvedic texts have mentioned the treatment with the panchkarma which includes swedana karma (sudation), vamana karma (therapeutic emesis) and virechana karma (therapeutic purgation). Besides panchkarma,  oral treatment with herbs is also described to ease asthma symptoms.

Do's & Don'ts in Bronchial Asthma

•    Yoga and meditation.
•    Add honey to drinks and tea.
•    Avoid excessive physical exercises.
•    Eat foods that are rich in anti-oxidants.    
•    Do not take oily, greasy and fried foods.
•    Cover the mouth and nose when stepping out in cold weather.
•    Avoid exposure to indoor and outdoor pollution, cigarette smoke, and allergens.
•    Don't take processed foods, additives, white sugar and artificial sweeteners, cold and refrigerated foods and drinks.

Herbs Useful in Bronchial Asthma 
It helps in decreasing inflammation of mucosal lining of respiratory tract. Half a cup of ginger tea mixed with 2-3 crushed garlic cloves could prove to be an effective remedy to reduce inflammation and mucus  accumulation in the airways, thereby managing asthma. 
It helps prevent asthma attacks and keeps allergies at bay. This natural coloring herb helps controlling allergic reaction and thus reduces inflammation due to allergens. Various researches    show that it could be a helpful complementary treatment for asthma.
It helps in decreasing inflammation and loosening the mucus of bronchial tree and thus helps in managing asthma. Mix one teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4th teaspoon trikatu into a cup of boiling water and drink it twice a day as a  complementary treatment for bronchial asthma.
It has anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties that help in restoring normal breathing in asthmatic patients. It also possesses immuno modulatory activity.  Drinking a tea made with half a teaspoon of licorice and half teaspoon of ginger is  very good herbal tea for managing asthma.
Pippali is widely used to treat bronchial asthma due to its anti inflammatory activity. It can be consumed regularly in the powder form with honey to prevent recurrent attacks.

Useful Ayurvedic Formulations in Asthma
•    Vasavaleha
•    Kantkarivaleha
•    Vyaghriharitki 
•    Kanakasava
•    Talisadi churna 
•    Sitopaladhi churna
•    Swas kuthara rasa
•    Mahalakshmi vilas rasa

Dr. Nishu Raina
Assistant Professor, 
Dayanand Ayurvedic College, Jalandhar.