Asthma is a chronic condition with symptoms like cough, wheezing, breathlessness, chest pain etc. Asthma can also be congenital (since early childhood). Sometimes simple rhinitis or allergic rhinitis may also advance in asthma in chronic cases, if not treated effectively and at the earliest.It can be triggered due to pollen grains, cold air, animal fur/hairs, dust particles, smoke, excessive physical or psychological exertion.
What ‘Acute Asthma exacerbation’ or ‘Attack of asthma’?
In asthma there is a prominent pathology in the mucosal lining of the respiratory system including the oesophagus (wind pipe) along with the alveoli (airbags) of the lungs. There is excess mucus formation due to toxicity in our body, which is aggravated by irritant substances like pollen grains, cold air, animal fur/hairs, dust particles, smoke, etc. This excessive mucus leads to difficulty in breathing and thereafter leaving the patient breathless and unconscious. This episode is termed as ‘acute asthma exacerbation’ or an ‘attack of asthma’. Along with low immunity and fitness levels, when such irritant substance come in constant contact with the bronchi (passage of air in the lungs) it leads to a chronic condition, which is later diagnosed as asthma.
Causes of Asthma according to Modern Science:
- Constant exposure to respiratory irritants such as dust, smoke, carbon, pollen, animal fur, dust mites etc.
- Respiratory infections, such as the common cold and Chronic complicated conditions such as allergic rhinitis, simple rhinitis
- Excessive toxic accumulation in the upper channels of body due to improper dietary and lifestyle habits.
- Personal and professional stress
- Excessive physical activity (exercise-induced asthma) without proper diet and rest.
- Certain medications including beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen (Aleve)
- Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine.
- Genetic / Hereditary factors etc.
Signs and symptoms of Asthma:
- Coughing, especially at night with or without running nose or blocked nose
- Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound in your chest when you breathe, especially when exhaling)
- Recurrent infections of upper respiratory tract
- Vertigo (blackout)
- Chest tightness (feeling of heaviness in head and chest region)
Reason according to Ayurvedic principles:
Factors that are responsible for Asthma or which aggravate the condition are:
- Excessive stress
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Sleeping during day time (especially after meal)
- Increased intake of sweet/sour tastes
- Excessive intake of oily/ sweet/cold or refrigerated foods/ fermented food like breads/ yogurt and other bakery food
- Over intake of the south Indian dishes like idli/dosa,
- Overindulgence of meat and sea food
- Excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other addictive substances
- Increasing imbalance of the body toxins
Ayurvedic prospective towards Asthma-
Due to the above causes toxins in the body increase majorly and get settled in the entire respiratory and digestive system, causing blockages and free flow of oxygen is hindered. Thus the person struggles and takes deeper breathes for more oxygen intake leading to breathlessness etc. If this happens regularly it is termed as Asthma or Tamak Shwas in Ayurveda.
Depending on your individual body constitution, severity of symptoms, climatic conditions, diet and lifestyle habits, and other health issues a permutation and combination is prepared.
This medication may include herbs like pipalli – Ficus religioso, nagkeshar – Mesua ferrea, hing – Asafetida, trikatu – (Piper nigrum + Piper longum+Zingiber officinale), vacha – Acorus calamus, sunthi – Zingiber officinale, vasa – Adhatoda vasica, kantakari – Solanum xanthocarpum, gokshra – Tribulus terrestris, punarnava – Boerhavia diffusa, chitrak – Plumbago zeylanica, etc. which are helpful to detoxify and rejuvenate the respiratory system and produce optimum body tissues.
Thus, steadily diminishing all the symptoms of and associated with Asthma. Diet, herbs and lifestyle are then prescribed to tone your body and re-establish health.
Diet and lifestyle recommendation
Ayurveda suggests to exactly pin point in your diet and lifestyle (reasons mentioned above) what are the reasons for the cause and stop them slowly or immediately. This helps to stop the pathology from advancing, and helps to relieve the disease threshold. Thus, restricting the further complications and helping the medication work even effectively.
If asthma has been there for several years your body will need a complete physical detoxification called as Panchakarma in Ayurveda. Here Medicated purgation, Nasal medication would be the preferable choice of the Ayurvedic physician, as it is natural and easy for the body to detoxify from these channels.
Yoga postures such as sun salutations, triangle pose, cat camel pose etc. and breathing techniques such as kapalbhanti – fast bellowing of the stomach, anulom-vilom, etc. are very helpful if done on a daily basis for 20 -30 minutes altogether.
Ayurveda body therapies
Abhyang (full body massage) with Pindasweda (hot poultice), Mardan (deep tissue massage), Udvartana (herbal powder massage), etc are the therapies suggested in asthma.
If asthama is diagnosed and treated in its early stages the chances of reversal of the condition and patient may also get free from the disease. Even in the chronic or late stage the disease threshold can be reduced and the frequency and intensity of asthma is brought under control.