Bronchial asthma is a disorder in which the air passages in the lungs become inflamed and narrow. This creates respiratory distress and can lead to difficulty in sleeping, shortness of breath, chest congestion, and coughing. Asthma attacks can be triggered by exposure to allergens, exercise, cold air, or other irritants.
While there is no cure for asthma, it can be reversed and managed with Ayurvedic herbal medicine, panchakarma therapies, diet and lifestyle changes. Ayurvedic treatment focuses on detoxification of the lungs to clear the breathing pathways and restoring balance with holistic natural ways.
This helps to treat the root cause of Asthma, thus reduce the intensity of the symptoms and prevent future attacks.
In this post, you will learn about causes, symptoms and triggers of bronchial asthma. Thus, with a clear understanding of the breathing problems caused by Asthma, you will then learn about Ayurvedic natural treatment to reverse and prevent the condition.
What is Bronchial Asthma?
Bronchial asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways to the lungs. In this condition, the airways narrow down, swell up, and produce excess mucus. This results in difficulties in breathing and the person cannot comfortably do physical activities and sometimes it is even impossible.
Generally, with every breath, the air goes into the nose and through the airways, it reaches the lungs. Bronchioles are the tiny airways in the lungs that help transport oxygen from the air to the bloodstream.
However, when the inner layers of the airways swell and the muscles around them tighten, they become narrow. This makes it difficult for the required amount of air to pass through the airways.
In addition, the bronchioles may be filled with mucus. In this situation, symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath occur.
Some people with asthma experience minor irritations. But for others, it can be a major problem in which they become unable to do daily activities and sometimes it may also cause a life-threatening attack.
The occurrence of asthma symptoms may depend on the intensity of the health disorder that you have. The symptoms of asthma are not the same for every person. If you experience the symptoms of bronchial asthma, you need to see your doctor.
- Coughing mainly at night and also during exercise and laughing
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing, a whistling sound comes during breathing
- Feeling of tightness in the chest
- Difficulty in sleeping because of coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath
Types of Asthma
Sometimes, the signs and symptoms of asthma get aggravated or triggered in certain situations as listed below:
Exercise-induced asthma occurs when someone does strenuous exercises. It may get worse if the air is cold and dry. Long-distance running, swimming or soccer game may trigger this type.
Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by substances present in the air, for example, pollen, mold spores, minute particles of skin or dried saliva shed by pets (pet dander) or cockroach wastes. Along with the asthma symptoms which primarily consist of wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness, you may also face the common allergy symptoms such as sneezing and itchy eyes. This type of asthma is more likely to be seasonal as these occur with seasonal allergies.
Occupational asthma usually triggered by workplace nuisances such as chemical fumes, gases, dust, dyes, industrial chemicals, rubber latex, animal proteins etc. Employees of different industries like farming, textiles, woodworking, and manufacturing, are get affected by the irritants produced from these industries.
Causes and Risk Factors of Asthma
There is not a single cause behind the occurrence of asthma. Rather, researchers believe that there are certain factors which affect the breathing conditions. These factors include:
- Hereditary: If a parent has it, then the children are more likely to have this problem.
- Past record of viral infections: People who had been attacked by viral infections during childhood may develop this condition.
- Hygiene Hypothesis: According to this hypothesis, if babies aren’t exposed to sufficient microbes in their early months and years through the environment, then their immune system doesn’t grow strong enough to resist inflammation-related health disorders such as Asthma.
- Frequent allergen exposure: If you frequently come in contact with airborne allergens and irritants such as smoke, fumes and pollution, then you may be more susceptible to develop asthma.
- Chronic inflammatory disease like hay fever, allergic bronchitis or atopic dermatitis
- Being a smoker
- Being overweight
- Exposure to workplace triggers, for example, chemicals used in manufacturing, farming, and hairdressing.
Asthma Prevention and Treatment
Treatments for asthma are comprised of three main categories: breathing exercises, rescue or first aid treatments, and long-term asthma control medications. The doctor prescribes the treatments according to the type of asthma, the age of asthmatic patient and also by checking the triggers of asthmatic attack.
It is a common tendency to depend on nebulizers and proton inhibitors, which often starts from an emergency use and becomes a lifelong dependency. However, they come with multiple side effects on immunity and bones. Often, regular use of nebulisers inhibits our body’s systems to adapt and resolve the condition on its own.
While nebulizers are lifesavers in multiple cases, one should also work towards addressing the causes of Asthma (which is primarily inflammation) and hence prevent this respiratory system disorder with changes in lifestyle and diet. This will help you slowly reduce and eventually remove the dependency on the inhalers.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Bronchial Asthma
Bronchial Asthma is described as “Tamaka swasa” in Ayurvedic texts such as Charaka Samhita.
Ayurveda offers a unique perspective on bronchial asthma and its causes. According to Ayurvedic medicine, asthma is caused by poor digestive fire that leads to “Ama” toxin build up and Kapha dosha imbalance in the body.
Kapha being dosha of earth and water, blocks the pranavaha srotas, the minute channels that circulate prana, the life force inside the body. This reduces the passage of prana inside the respiratory system. In addition, kapha dosha imbalance movement of vata dosha and pitta dosha functions.
This leads to irregularities in breathing and build up of mucus in the body. Thus, depending on the combination of dosha involved, one may struggle with different symptoms for Asthma.
Ayurvedic treatment for Asthma focuses on systematic detoxification of the lungs and digestive system to get rid of toxins and expel out excess Kapha from the body. In addition, there will specific Ayurvedic medicine prescribed for balancing the dosha that are aggravated in a patient’s case.
Ayurvedic Remedies and Herbal Medicine for Asthma
- Ayurvedic Rasayanas made from the herbs such as Chayavanprash, Triphala, and Sitopladi have been known to help pacify aggravated Kapha and Vata Dosha. In addition they have anti inflammatory properties that can reduce the inflammation inside the bronchioles. Consult your Ayurvedic doctor and include them in your daily regime.
- Bolster your Immune System with Adaptogens: Adaptogens such as Licorice, Amla, Ashwagandha, Holy Basil – Tulsi, and Giloy have a positive effect towards lowering the intensity of the symptoms and triggers. One needs to include them in diet or as a medication.
- Consume Licorice (Mulethi) tea by boiling 1 tsp licorice powder in water. Add ginger (1/2 inch) and tulasi leaves (1-2 leaves) once a day, preferably in morning time. It will help to relieve Ama and relieve spasms in the bronchioles. Take when you anticipate tightness in the chest indicating Asthma attack.
- 1/3 cup of Spinach juice with 1/4 tsp pippali everyday.
- Add 1 tsp Cinnamon powder, ¼ tsp Trikatu into a cup of boiling water. Let it settle for 10 minutes. Strain and consume. This can be done once a day.
- ¼ cup Onion juice with 1 tsp Honey, and 1/8 tsp black pepper for immediate relief of Asthma.
- ½ tsp Bayleaf, ¼ tsp Pippali, and 1 tsp Honey to be taken 2-3 times a day.
- Nasya with Ghee or Sesame oil – introduce 5 drops of warm ghee or sesame oil in each nostril before sleeping everyday. This is specifically good, when suffering from infection induced Asthma.
- Rub warm Mustard oil on chest and soles of the feet two times a day. You can also add garlic cloves to this oil, heat it till garlic oil seeps into the mustard oil. Let it cool down and then rub onto chest and soles.
Ayurvedic Lifestyle to Prevent and Manage Asthma
- Sweating for Kapha balance: Sweating by brisk walking or physical activity that your body permits without triggering attack. You can also go for sauna or sun bath to promote sweating.
- Support a healthy gut flora: Since asthma is an inflammatory disorder, one needs to work backward to groom a healthy microbiome in the gut. There are certain microbes in our digestive system that can help to bring the symptoms and body’s response in control; hence one needs to nurture them by taking a healthy and gut-friendly diet or with probiotics.
- Avoid triggers and reduce exposure to allergens: Stay away from chemicals, smells, or products which have caused breathing difficulties before. If you experience certain asthma symptoms with exposure to some allergens, like dust or mold, avoid them as much as you can.
- Manage Stress: Stress has been known to hamper the functioning of the body and mind in innumerable ways. Extreme physical stress as stated earlier can trigger an attack. However, chronic mental stress also takes you towards inflammation-related health disorders and Asthma is number one amongst them along with digestive disorders.
- Vata balancing lifestyle: Follow a strict daily routine to pacify vata dosha. Sleep by 10 PM and get up by 6 AM. Eat meals regularly and same time everyday.
Yoga and Pranayama for Asthma
Breathing exercises such as Pranayama help you facilitate transportation of more air into and out of your lungs. If you do this exercise for a long time, your lung capacity will increase and also the numbers of severe asthma symptoms get decreased.
Yoga poses such as Downward Facing Dog, Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, Bound Angle Pose, Bow Pose, Bridge Pose, Camel Pose, and Cat poses are great to bring the disorder in control. Additionally, Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation works wonders when practiced on a daily basis.
Ayurvedic Diet to Reverse Bronchial Asthma
There is no one-size-fits-all diet for people with bronchial asthma, but there are some general principles that can help.
Ayurveda suggests that one should consume warm and light to digest foods such as khichadi with ginger, warm soups and digestive fire promoting curries. The best diet for bronchial asthma is one that is anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants.
Foods that are high in these nutrients include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and certain plant foods, are also beneficial for asthmatics as they have anti-inflammatory properties. Some specific foods that may be helpful for people with bronchial asthma include:
• Fruits and vegetables: Citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, and tomatoes are all good choices.
• Whole grains: Oats , whole wheat bread, and brown rice are all excellent options.
• Lean protein sources: Fish, chicken, tofu, and legumes are all good choices.
• Omega-3 fatty acids: Salmon, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are all good sources of omega-3s.
Foods to Avoid for Asthma Treatment
In addition to choosing the right foods, it is also important to avoid triggers that can exacerbate bronchial asthma symptoms. Common triggers include dairy products, gluten, soy, eggs, nuts, and shellfish.
If you have bronchial asthma, it is important to work with an Ayurvedic practitioner or dietitian to create an individualized plan that takes into account your specific needs and triggers.
- Remove dairy from diet for 2-3 weeks and slowly introduce once symptoms subside.
- Avoid cooling foods such as melons, gourds, squashes and cucumbers etc in your diet.
- Heavy meals or hard to digest foods are prohibited all the time, specifically in the night.
An asthma attack is when you have a lot of trouble breathing. You might feel like you can’t fill your lungs with air, and you might start coughing a lot. Your heart rate might also go up, and you might start sweating. The attack usually ends with a productive cough that brings up thick mucus.
Some people have an attack that goes away after a few days. But other people have an attack that lasts for weeks without any symptoms. The severity of the attack may be different each time, and it could be life-threatening. If this happens, you will need to go to the hospital right away.
If you have asthma and it keeps happening, the lungs can get damaged. This makes it harder for you to breathe and you might get tired easily.
The Triggers for an Asthma Attack
Exposure to certain irritants and substances activate our immune response and it can trigger severe Asthma symptoms. The triggers of an asthma attack vary from person to person. Here are some of them:
- Respiratory infections, for example, pneumonia, flu, or the common cold
- Strenuous physical activity or exercise, for example, long-distance walking, swimming etc
- Extreme weather conditions like the cold or very high humidity of the air
- Minute particles present in the air, such as pollen, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander and particles of cockroach waste
- Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke and strong fumes of chemicals
- Certain medications like beta blockers, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen etc
- Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids come up into your throat
- Strong emotions, such as shouting, laughing, crying etc and excess stress
- Some foods and beverages, which contain sulfites and preservatives, such as shrimp, dried fruit, processed foods, beer and wine
Finding Relief in case of Asthmatic Attack
Anybody can help an asthmatic patient having an attack. You can advise them to sit upright and help them in using their inhaler or nebulizer.
Two to five puffs of medication can reduce their symptoms. In case of severity and when the symptoms continue for 20 minutes, help the patient in getting medical treatment.
First aid treatments
These treatments are only given when the patient has an asthmatic attack. After the treatment, you can feel quick relief and breathe again comfortably. Some examples of these treatments include:
- Nebulizers or rescue inhalers contain medicines and the patient use them to take deep breaths into the lungs.
- Bronchodilators help relax the tightened muscles in your lung.
- Anti-inflammatories are given to reduce inflammation in the lungs which stops your breathing.
Bronchial Asthma is both uncomfortable and dangerous if not treated at the right time. While it may seem difficult to find relief from the symptoms when you are struggling; you should know that it is possible to reverse and manage this condition with holistic measures that Ayurveda offers.
Consult with Medhya Herbals’ Ayurvedic experts to begin your healing journey with Ayurvedic treatment for Asthma and pave the way for effortless breathing going forward!
1. What is the best Ayurvedic treatment for asthma?
Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that has been practiced in India for thousands of years. Unlike Western medicine, which seeks to treat the symptoms of disease, Ayurveda focuses on balancing the body’s energy to promote wellness.
While there is no cure for asthma, Ayurvedic treatments can help to reverse and control the symptoms and prevent attacks. One of the most effective Ayurvedic treatments for asthma is abhyanga, a type of massage that uses warm, medicated oil to relax the muscles and clear the lungs.
Abhyanga is usually done daily, and it can be combined with other therapies such as herbs and acupuncture. With regular treatment, abhyanga can help to control asthma symptoms and improve quality of life. In addition to the abhyanga, other effective Ayurvedic treatments for asthma include pranayama (yogic breathing), steam inhalation, and certain herbs such as ginger, turmeric, and licorice root.
2. Can Ayurveda cure asthma?
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of medicine that dates back thousands of years. Its approach to healing is based on the belief that health and well being are determined by a balance of mind, body, and spirit.
While Ayurveda cannot “cure” asthma, it can help to reverse the condition and reduce the frequency and severity of attacks. Ayurvedic treatments for asthma focus on cleansing the lungs and strengthening the respiratory channels.
Herbal teas, steam inhalations, and massage are all commonly used therapies. In addition, Ayurveda recommends avoiding triggers such as cold weather, dust, and smoke. By following these simple guidelines, asthma sufferers can experience significant relief from their symptoms.
3. Is Ashwagandha good for asthma?
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including asthma. The roots and leaves of the Ashwagandha plant are used to make a powerful extract that is thought to help improve lung function and reduce inflammation. In addition, Ashwagandha is known to contain high levels of the antioxidant quercetin, which is believed to help protect the lungs from damage. While there is no cure for asthma, many people find that Ashwagandha can help to relieve symptoms and improve their quality of life. If you are interested in trying Ashwagandha for your asthma, be sure to talk to your doctor first to ensure it is safe for you.
4. What is the difference between asthma and bronchial asthma?
Both bronchial asthma and asthma are inflammatory conditions of the air passages characterized by episodes of airflow obstruction. The similarity in the names of these conditions can be confusing, but there are important differences between them.
Bronchial asthma is a chronic reversible condition in which the airways become inflamed and narrowed on a long-term basis, resulting in recurrent episodes of breathlessness and wheezing.
In contrast, asthma is a less severe condition that typically only causes short-term inflammation of the airways. Asthma attacks can be triggered by environmental or lifestyle factors such as dust, cold air, or exercise, but bronchial asthma is often caused by an underlying medical condition such as allergies or COPD. As a result, it is important to consult a doctor if you think you may have either condition.
5. How can I treat asthma permanently at home?
Asthma is a chronic condition that can be difficult to manage. While there is no cure for asthma, there are many ways to effectively control symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. Some simple lifestyle changes, such as avoiding triggers and keeping the air clean, can make a big difference. There are also a number of herbs and supplements that can help to soothe the lungs and keep asthma under control. In addition, regular exercise and stress-reduction techniques can also be helpful. With a little effort, it is possible to obtain lasting relief from asthma symptoms.