Bronchial Asthma (Shwas in Ayurveda) is caused by allergies to food, exposure to dust and smoke, injury to vital organs, anemia or respiratory tract infection. It is curable if treatment starts at an early stage (within 1 year after detection). Ayurveda suggests Holi Basil, Ginger, Winter Cherry, Shirishadi kwath, Shwaskuthar Rasa, as effective herbs in its treatment.
Ayurvedic Concept of Bronchial Asthma
The word Shwas means “difficulty in breathing”. Normally shwas word represents to Tamak shwas described in Ayurvedic texts. The feature of this disease is very similar to the disease ‘Bronchial Asthma‘ mentioned in allopathic books. It is characterized by difficulty in breathing, increased breathing rate, cough with thick sputum.
Common Causes (Hetu)
1. Kulaj: family history of Tamak shwas.
2. Food: excess of food items like curd, milk products, and uncooked food; drinking very cold water, cold beverages etc.
3. Exposure to dust, smokes, breeze, air condition.
4. Injury to vital organs.
5. Anaemia, respiratory tract infections.
It is divided into five types; these are Mahan, Urdhva, Chinna, and Tamaka & Kshudra.
Poorvarupa or Prodomal Symptoms: Cough (with or without expectoration), flatulence, constipation, discomfort in chest, are some common prodromal symptoms.
Rupa (Symptoms): Dysnoea (aggravated in lying position and relived in sitting position), momentary comfort after expectoration; Cough with cracking sound /with or without expectoration; running nose; loss of taste, appetite; Perspiration on forehead, dry mouth, desire for hot comforts, darkness in front of eyes; and Fever, generalised fatigue, delusion.
The condition gets worsened in rainy season, windy and cloudy atmosphere. On the contrary the patients feel fresh on bright sunny day.
Acute attacks of tamak swasa need urgent management. Otherwise it can prove life threatening also. It is considered as Yapya (incurable but manageable, persists for a long time). The chronic disease in a thin and weak person carries a bad prognosis. The disease with latest onset and no family history can show excellent prognosis by Ayurvedic medications.
Chikitsa (Treatment) and Shodhan (Purification)
1. Snehapan: In this mode certain medicated ghee/ oils are advised for ingestion. Usually ghee like vasa ghrita, kantkari ghrita, bharngyadi ghrita, yashtimadhu ghrita etc are used for shodhan purpose. These are administered in an increasing dosage schedule for not more than 7 days.
2. Swedan: In acute stage, lukewarm mahanarayan taila mixed with saindhav salt is used for gentle chest massage, which is followed by fomentation by vapours of dashmoola decoction. It is a very effective remedy for reliving bronchospasm. Swedan by means of dry Baluka pottali, hot water bag is also useful in acute cases.
3. Vaman: Vaman reduces the recurrence rates of asthmatic attacks
4. Virechan: It is also useful mode of purification for increasing the immunity of an individual towards allergies.
5. Basti: Various preparations like mahanarayan taila, yashtimadhu taila etc are administered through anal route. This helps in reducing the severity of attacks.
Shaman Chikitsa (medicinal treatment)
1. Churna: Yashtimadhu Churna, Shringyadi Churna, Haridradi Churna, Shatyadi Churna, Som churna
2. Asava-Arishta: Dashmoolarishta, kankasava, Draksarishta, Vasakarisht.
3. Bhasma: Abhrak bhasma, Shringa bhasma, Mayurpichcha bhasma,Arka bhasma Tankana bhasma.
4. Rasa aushadhi: Shwas kuthar rasa, Shwas chintamani rasa, Shwasari rasa etc.
5. Vati (Tablets): Eladi Vati,Kasa Kartari Vati, Lavangadi Vati,Vyoshadi Vati
6. Avaleha: Chyavanprash, Chitrak haritaki, Kankataravaleha, Vasavaleha, etc.
Ayurvedic Medicinal Herbs Useful for Asthma
Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Ginger (Zingiber officinalis), Shirisha (Albezzia lebbeck), Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum), Vaasha (Adhatoda vasica), Bharngi (Clerodandrum serratum) Madhuyashti (Glycerrhiza glabra), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera are useful in Bronchial asthma.
Note: It is an informatory article only and it is advised to take consultation of an Ayurvedic physician to get the proper and accurate treatment.
Some Important Tips For Treating Bronchial Asthma (Tamaka Shwas)
According to Ayurveda Tamak shwas (Bronchial Asthma) is curable if the patient starts the treatment in early stage of the disease i.e. within one year after detecting the symptoms of the disease. After that patient will get relief symptomatically but disease can attack when exposed to the favorable conditions or if the immune system is weak.
As stated the disease has vitiation of Vata and Kapha dosha and its origin is from Pitta Sthana, so fundamental treatment is to give mild laxative (virechana) and use Dashmool decoction or Dashmoolarishta in every patient.
One of the commonly used drug is Shwaskuthar Rasa but it should be used cautiously i.e. when the mucous is less, watery and comes out easily (patient can expectorate easily) it should be given. When the lungs are full of mucous, spasm is there, and patient finds difficulty in expectoration, it should not be used as it is Kapha shoshak (dry up the mucous)
When the patient is symptom free he can take Bharanguda avaleha in a dose of Avaleha 12 gms and 1 haritaki daily. This will help in keeping the bowel clean and improving the immunity. Bharangi has anti-allergic action.
Chyvanprash in a dose of 2 teaspoon with milk is the alternate option if Bharangi guda is not available.
Shirishadi kwath (decoction of Siras, mulethi, choti kateri and bharangi) is very useful antiallergic decoction, which can be used in between the attack period.