WHEN I HAVE AN ASTHMA ATTACK I FEEL LIKE A FISH WITHOUT WATER — JESSIE (5 years)
Bronchial asthma is chronic airway disorder by which individuals of all age group are affected and it has become a common health problem at global level. The prevalence of asthma is increasing worldwide, especially in children. In Ayurveda it is considered as Tamaka Swasa which is included under one of the five types of Swasa disease. Prevalence of Bronchial asthma is increasing globally; According to W.H.O statistics, bronchial asthma affects 300 million people; and 255,000 people died of asthma in 2005. Asthma prevalence increases globally by 50% every decade, especially children are affected by this disease. In Ayurveda it is known as Tamaka-swasa, a type of swasa. It can be treated upto a wide extent by following some dietary regulations, Shodhan and Shaman Chikitsa and by doing regular Pranayama and meditation.
ETIOLOGY: The causes of Asthma are divided in to two types.
Inducing factors: Induce Asthma in susceptible persons. These are Genetic factors, Obesity, Viral infections in early life and exposure to tobacco smoke.
Triggering factors: Can aggravate symptoms in a patient who is having Asthma.
- Inhalation of Allergens: House dust, pollen, mold, animal dander
- Environment: Cold and dry climate, cooking gas fumes, passive cigarette smoking, paints, sprays
- Infections: Upper Respiratory Tract infections, Viral infections
- Drugs: Aspirin, Pain killers (NSAIDs)
- Food: Colouring agents of food, food preservatives, ice creams
- Exercise: Vigorous exercise particularly on cold and dry day
- Psychological factor: Stress
- Occupation: Wood and cotton dust, chemicals.
As per Ayurveda the causes of Tamaka Swasa are as follows:
- Intake of dry, cold , heavy, incompatible food and irregular intake of food
- Excessive Intake of black gram, beans, sesame, meat of aquatic animals.
- Intake of cold water and exposure to cold climate
- Exposure to dust, smoke and wind
- Excessive exercise, over indulge in the sexual activity
- Trauma to throat, chest and vital organs.
- Suppression of natural urges.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS: Tamaka Swasa is of two types namely Pratamaka Swasa associated with fever, fainting, distention of abdomen and indigestion. Santamaka Swasa is pacified by taking of cold regimen.
Breathlessness along with forcible expiration, Cough, Wheezing, Tightness of chest, Thick mucus sputum, Aggravation of above symptoms during night and early morning, Fainting during the bought of cough, Sleeplessness, discomfort increases when lied down on bed, Gets comfort in sitting posture, Sweating on the forehead.
DIAGNOSTIC TESTS IN BRONCHIAL ASTHMA: Pulmonary function tests include spirometry and peak flow which estimate the narrowing of
the bronchial tubes and how fast an individual can breathe, Chest x-ray is useful in differentiating the asthma from other lung diseases, Allergy tests helpful in finding the allergen causing the asthma, Methacoline challenge test and nitric oxide tests are confirmatory tests in bronchial asthma.
TREATMENT MODALITIES IN AYURVEDA: As per the ayurveda bronchial asthma, it begins in the stomach, progresses to the lungs and bronchi. hence the aim of treatment is to move the excess phlegum back to stomach and then eliminate it for this purpose following methods are adopted.
In Ayurveda there are two types of treatment for Bronchial Asthma
SHODANA THERAPY : (Elimination of vitiated doshas from the body)
- swedana (sudation)
- vamana (therapeutic emesis)
- virechana (therapeutic purgation)
These procedures will be followed as per the need of individual patient.
practice of pranayama, laxatives, light diet in the night and use of warm water will helps in the treatment of asthma.These procedures will be followed as per the need of individual patient.
Management of Tamaka Swasa in Ayurveda is by advising a healthy life style and diet that are contrary to the cause of the disease and disease itself. As there is an involvement of Vata and Kapha imbalance, the therapy is directed at correcting this imbalance. In addition there are some therapies for controlling the acute symptoms. The text recommends that the patients should be given sudation and steaming therapy (Svedana) after anointing their bodies with oils processed with salt. With this method, the solidified phlegm adhering inside the channels gets liquefied and comes into the alimentary tract. The channels become soft and Vata attains its normal downward. The drugs, diet, and practices that aggravate the disease should be avoided. These include dust, smoke, residing in cold places, excessive use of cold water, seasonal changes, excessive walking, excessive use of dry foods, astringent food, irregular dietary habits, indigestion, trauma to vital organs, and habitual use of lablab-bean, black gram, tila paste, and other Kapha-producing articles.
SHAMANA THERAPY (Treatment With Drugs): The commonly used drugs are Talisadi Churna, Sitopaladi churna, Somalata churna, Kanakasava, Shringyadi churna, Trikatu churna, Vasavalehyam , Kantakaryavalehyam ,Vyaghriharitaki Avaleha, Agastya Haritaki Avaleha, Lavangadi vati, Swasakutara ras, Mahalakshmivilas ras etc. Some of Useful Ayurvedic drugs for Asthma: Talisadi Churna or Sitopaladi churna, Somalata churna, Kanakasava,Shringyadi churna, Trikatu churna, Vasavalehyam, Kantakaryavalehyam, Vyaghriharitaki Avaleha, Agastya Haritaki Avaleha,
Lavangadi vati, Swasakutara rasa, Mahalakshmivilas rasa,
USEFUL MEDICINAL PLANTS FOR ASTHMA: Kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum), Vasa (Adhatoda vasica), Sunthi (Zingiber officinalis), Bharangi (Clerodendrum serratum), Pushkaramoola (Innula racemosa), Karkataka Shringi (Pistacia inergerrima), Haridra (Curcuma longa).
Foods and drinks that restore the normal course are useful in treating asthma. If the Vata is greatly excited, syrup made up from old tamarind pulp is helpful. Sugar candy with lemon (Citrus medica) juice is beneficial. Light foods should be eaten at night. Heavy and rich foods, which are difficult to digest, foods that are dry, curds, fish, and chillies should all be avoided.
LIFESTYLE: Staying awake at night, exercising, labour, exposing oneself to the heat of the sun or fire, and anxieties, grief, wrath, and everything that disturbs peace of mind should be avoided. A healthy lifestyle would have a preventive role.
BREATHING EXERCISES: Breathing exercises, particularly Pranayam, reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms, improve exercise tolerance, and enhance lung function.
MEDITATION: Meditation helps in reducing the stress and may check recurrence. Sahaja Yoga is an Indian system of meditation based on traditional Yogic principles, which may be used for therapeutic purposes. Clinical trials of this therapy in patients with asthma have found evidence of improvement in lung function and reduced frequency of exacerbations.
- Godhuma (wheat), Old rice, Mudga (green gram), Kulattha (Horse gram),Yava (barley),Patola (snake gourd)
- Use of Garlic, Turmeric, Ginger, Black pepper
- Luke warm water, Goat milk, Honey.
- Respiratory exercise, Pranayama, Yoga
- Heavy, cold diet, Masha (black gram), Deep fried items, Mustard leaves, Fish
- Exposure to Cold & Humid atmosphere
- Sweets, Chilled water, Stored food items, Curd
- Suppression of natural urges
- Excessive physical exertion
- Exposure to Smoke, Dust and fumes, Pollutants and Pollens
CONCLUSION: Hundreds of herbal drugs are being screened at present for better therapeutic principles throughout world. Even though very less produce convincing answers for the use at clinical level. Complementary and alternative system of medicine (CAM) or traditional system of medicine like Ayurveda can serve sufficient in this regard to find out efficacious and safe herb as per as asthma like condition is concern. Traditional system may have unique and time tested approach for disease care carries better therapeutic sense. Implementation of Ayurveda approach as a whole directly at clinical level is determined to demonstrate potential efficacy of Ayurveda therapy, which may became basis for justification of prescribed specifications employed with treatment.
NOTE: Ayurvedic medicines and treatments should be taken under Qualified Ayurvedic Doctor/Physician. The drugs described in this article are for general information/educational purpose only. Anyone should not use these without consulting a qualified Ayurveda doctor/physician.