Growing industrialisation has polluted the environment to such an extent that many people have developed breathing problems in the recent years. Trees, which are an important source of oxygen, are being rapidly cut down for man’s increasing greed leading to an infinite number of health hazards.
Owing to these factors, asthma, a respiratory ailment has also registered as increase in the recent years. The degree of attack varies from person to person, but it has been noted that children are getting more prone to asthma attacks.
On the occasion of World Asthma Day, an annual event which aims to create awareness about the ailment, Dr Ashwini Konnur, in-house ayurvedic consultant, AyurUniverse shares the symptoms of asthma and lists out the ways Ayurveda can help treat the same.
Some symptoms of asthma are:
*Chest tightness and pain due to increased coughing
*Uneasiness in the body
*Weakness and tiredness
*Unconsciousness during repeated coughing; and restlessness
*Hoarseness of voice
*Sleeplessness, dark circle around the eye, and dyspnoea specially during lying posture
This happens due to the inflammation of respiratory passages which reduces the space for movement of air in and out of the lungs.
Asthma is considered as Swasa Roga (Dyspnoea – difficulty in breathing) in Ayurveda. There are 5 types of Swasa Roga listed in Ayurveda classics:
Maha Swasa: It is characterised by prolonged expiration during which the affected person sounds like a provoked bull. The respiration of the person can be heard from distance.
Urdhva Swasa: Expiration is prolonged with a pause and inspiration is impeded. Usually there is white mucosal coating on the upper and lower respiratory tract.
Chinna Swasa: Interrupted breathing which is accompanied with pain as though the vital organs are being injured.
Tamaka Swasa: Also known as Bronchial Asthma.
Kshudra Swasa: Dyspnoea due to aspiration of any article such as dust into the trachea.
Some of the aggravating factors of asthma are:
*Tobacco smoke – active or passive
*Infections in airways and chest
*Psychological factors like fear, anxiety, stress
Some of the most commonly prescribed Ayurveda drugs are Agastya Rasayana, Chyavanaprash, Kanakaasava, Sithopaladi Churna, Swasakasachintamani rasa, Shringyadi Kwatha, Pushkaramulasava, Swasakuthara rasa, Vasanthakusumakara rasa.
What to do at the time of asthma attack?
*During an asthma attack, it is better to sit straight or just lean forward than lying down.
*Never panic during an attack, panicking will only worsen your condition. Instead relax and keep your mind calm.
*Apply warm “Lavana Taila” (salted oil) on the chest, back and shoulder. It should be followed by hot water fomentation using a hot water bag or steam to the chest and back area. This will help in melting of the kapha. One could also drink hot soup or sip hot water every now and then. This will provide relief.
*Vomiting at the time of attack will give instant relief. This will take out all the phlegm from the chest and clear the congestion.
Home remedies that may help reduce the symptoms:
*1 inch ginger cut into small pieces and boiled in 500 ml of water can be consumed whenever thirsty. It helps in increasing the digestion and reduces symptoms.
*Mix 10 – 15 drops of garlic juice in warm water and take internally.
*1 tsp of ginger juice mixed with tulsi juice, crushed pepper and a little honey can be consumed every morning before breakfast. It helps in clearing the air passage.
*Decoction of Arjuna bark mixed with honey is also helpful.
*5 – 8 cloves of garlic boiled in milk should be consumed every day.
*Paste of black resin, dates, long Pippli (Piper longum) and honey in equal quantity should be prepared, and one tablespoon of the same should be taken in the morning and evening with warm milk.
*Consuming turmeric mixed with milk reduces inflammation and symptoms.
*Steam inhalation helps in relieving the congestion of the respiratory tract.
Following an appropriate diet is also very important to maintain a perfect health. Here are some of the dietary and lifestyle tips that one can follow to combat asthma:
*Avoid fried and processed food.
*Avoid curd, buttermilk, cheese, and other dairy products which have a tendency to produce phlegm.
*Overeating should be avoided, especially at night.
*Fruits such as watermelon, banana and guava must be avoided.
*Avoid cold water, ice-cream, and cold drinks.
*Drink plenty of hot water.
*Consume food when it’s hot or warm.
*Use ginger and garlic in your food.
*Consume lots of green leafy vegetables, fresh vegetables and fruits.
*Avoid stress, worry and anxiety.
*Avoid cold and damp places.
*Avoid smoking actively and passively.
*Identify and stay away from all the triggering factors of asthma.
*Use a cloth or mask to cover your nose while cleaning/ driving to avoid dust, pollen and pollution.
Yoga for Asthma:
Yoga is also beneficial in calming down the mind and strengthening the body. Since there is synchronised body movements with breathing it helps in clearing the lungs with accumulated or stored carbon dioxide. Yoga helps to utilise all the lobes of the lungs for better breathing and helps relieve congestion, and thus ease asthma.
Asanas that are useful for patients of asthma are Pavanamukta Asana (wind relieving pose), Setubandhasana (bridge pose), Bhujangasana (cobra pose), Adhomukhasvanasana (bownward facing dog), Ardhamatsyandriyasana (sitting half spine twist) and Shavasana (deep relaxation), Pranayama – Kapalabhati, Nadishuddhi pranayama (alternate nostril breathing).
20 minutes of yoga practice increases physical and mental energy. Pranayama increases lung capacity and clears the airway passages.
Ayurveda and yoga together are the most beneficial to reduce the symptoms of asthma and avoid recurrence of the same. The remedies suggested above will help you reduce the symptoms, but it is advised to consult an Ayurveda expert at the earliest is better to get the disease treated from the root at the earliest.
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