Asthma is a chronic respiratory tract disorder that obstructs the normal airflow in the lungs. When you have asthma, the bronchial tubes are obstructed and inflamed, and the inner tissues are swollen, causing wheezing and difficulty breathing. Having an asthma attack can be a scary and uncomfortable experience!
Ayurveda has a similar disorder called shwasa, described by Caraka in Chikitsa Sthana Chapter 17. Shwasa is caused by aggravated vayu along with vitiated kapha, obstructing the channels of prana, udaka and annavaha .
The increased kapha dosa causes avarodha in the pranavaha strotas (blockage of channels of respiratory system) leading to vata dosa obstruction. The blocked vata dosa moves in the reverse direction, or pratilomana vayu. Vata dosa increases dryness and the moist smooth tissues of the air passages are disturbed, causing constriction and difficulty breathing.
Symptoms of maha shwasa is heavy, loud breathing during the night caused by the upward movement of aggravated vata and becomes obstructed. Fainting, distorted vision, abnormal face expressions, obstruction of bowel movements, feeble voice and fatigue. This type is not considered curable by Ayurveda.[46-48].
Urdhava shwasa has symptoms including prolonged, upward breathing caused by kapha obstructing the channels of respiration, leading to the aggravation of vata. This causes a longer expiration with shallow inspiration (difficulty breathing inward) and the person experiences fear, fainting, extreme dryness of mouth and restlessness. If the upward movement of vayu is aggravated enough and completely obstructs the downward movement of vayu, the person will become unconscious. This type is not considered curable by Ayurveda[49-51].
The symptoms of china shwasa include when the breath is completely interrupted due to prana vayu. The person has an obstruction in the airway and suffers great feeling of cutting the marma or vital energy, sweating, unconsciousness and red, teary eyes. The person struggles to breathe, there is discoloration of the skin. It can be fatal if the obstruction is not removed[52-54].
Tamak shwasa is chronic asthma, and is indicated by vata moving in the opposite direction and obstructing the respiratory tract. This person experiences neck stiffness, kapha rhinorrhoea (thin mucus)and rhonchi (rattling wheezing sound). Chronic attacks overtime deplete prana. During an attack the person has prominent eyeballs, faintness, sweating, severe cough, difficulty expelling phlegm, the voice is hoarse, and there is difficulty speaking. It’s hard to sleep lying down. The symptoms increase during cold, cloudy, rainy weather and easterly winds. The person’s symptoms are relieved with heat. This type is potentially controllable with a healthy lifestyle[55-62].
Kshudra shwasa is allergic asthma, and will subside on its own and is caused by the intake of dry food and over exertion. Vata is mildly vitiated in the kostha and moves in an upward direction to the respiratory tract. The person does not have any other bodily symptoms. It is not very painful as it does not affect the digestive system nor does it cause pain to the sense organs. This type is potentially curable witha healthy lifestyle[65-67].
Tamak shwasa (chronic asthma) is controllable and kshudra shwasa (allergic asthma) is curable. More than 70% of people with asthma have these two types. Maha, urdhava and china shwasa are more rare and are difficult to cure. For healthy people, shodhana virechana and shaman chikitsa are recommended, along with diet management and herbal remedies. For weaker people, vatanashak and kaphanashak is recommended along with anupān. With proper diet, lifestyle and Ayurvedic remedies, shwasa rog may be managed for a long time.
Kutki is a significant herb in Ayurveda because it’s used in virechana. There is sloka "Tamake Tu Virechanam," which says in the case of asthma, virechana therapy is best. For daily virechana (purgation treatment) in asthma and bronchitis, take 1-3 grams of Kutki1-2 times per day with honey.
Vasa (adathoda vasica), Kantakari (solanum indicum), Sunthi (zingibar officinale), Black pepper (pipper nigrum), Jatapatri (myrstica tragrans), Oman (hyscoyamus niger), Tagara (trylophera indica), Madhu yashti (glycyrrhia glabra), Rasna (alpinia galangal), Pippli (piper longum), Tulsi (ocimum sanctum), Vanaschlochan, Nagkeshar.
For more information about Ayurvedic protocols, CHIKITSA SAMGRAHAM- VAIDYARATNAM by P. S. VARRIER, is available for purchase. This book by Ayurvedic experts from Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, is available on our online store.
Original source: Dr JV Hebbar, EasyAyurveda.com
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