Asthma is a disease that affects the respiratory system, inducing frequency bouts of breathlessness and wheezing. Difficulty in breathing is experienced because of an inflammation in the air passages that reduces the space available for free flow of air to and from the lungs. This inflammation – swelling, irritation, fluid accumulation etc., is believed to be caused by several factors such as exposure to allergens, dust, pollen, toxic fumes, chemicals, drugs, infections or even stress. When not treated in a timely manner, restricted respiratory passages may not respond to dilation.
Asthma is known as Swasa roga in Ayurveda and is suitably treated using a combination of herbal formulations, diet, yoga and pranayama on a case to case basis.
While Ayurveda treatments are focused on clearing congested airways and restore a steady flow of air through the respiratory system, they first aim to rid accumulated toxins or Ama from the system.
This is because according to Ayurveda the root or predisposing cause of Asthma is located in the digestive system and not in the respiratory system as popularly believed. The Ama or endotoxins are the main reason for any health issues in the human body. In an effort to protect itself from the toxins, the immune system kicks into action and eventually works overtime resulting in inflammation, fluid or mucous build up. The result of such hyperactivity is more pronounced in the respiratory system as it is exposed to pollutants, irritants and allergens in the outside environment. Mucous build up restricts movement of air, leading to erratic breathing further aggravated by outside factors such as dust and cold.
Internal predisposition and external factors together trigger a sudden breathlessness which usually subsides with or without medications.
Natural Ayurvedic treatments for Asthma typically include medications to eliminate Ama, balance the elements of liquid (Kapha) and air (Vata) in the body, reduce free radicals, strengthen the respiratory system and improve lung capacity through yoga and pranayama. Meditation and Oil massages also figure in the treatment to de-stress and detox the system. A healthy diet is also prescribed to nourish the respiratory system, boost immunity to combat allergies and counter the effect of free radicals known to trigger respiratory diseases.
Ayurveda treatments thus help address the underlying root cause and the immediate cause in an effective manner.