Asthma is known as a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that leads to recurrent episodes of wheezing and breathlessness. In this article, Acharya Balkrishna, talks about how this difficult but curable disease can be treated with the help of Ayurveda.
Asthma is a psychosomatic disease and statistics say that approximately 1.5 to 2.0 crore people in India have it. In Ayurveda, asthma is known as Tamak Swash and is understood to be caused due to certain issues in the stomach. Ayurveda says that when the food taken in is not digested properly, the toxic juices produced in the rectum hamper the breathing process leading to what is known as asthma. The most common symptoms of asthma are consistent coughs and a stuffy nose. Considered a genetic disease the chances of getting it are high if it runs in the family. Other than genetics, environmental conditions and certain specific illnesses can also be the cause for asthma.
Difficulty in breathing, heaviness in the chest, bloated stomach, anxiety, nervousness in the entire body, cold, cough, weakness, short breathing intervals, are few of the many symptoms of this disease. Also, asthma cannot be cured by a single therapeutic treatment and so the patient needs to undergo different kinds of therapeutic treatments to get cured from this disease. As a treatment process, the patient is advised to take organic food and undergo yoga therapy. It is good for the patient to follow some principles of naturopathy and Ayurveda therapy to treat this disease. In certain ideal cases, it is seen that ‘Asthma is completely curable’.
- Asthma patients should start the day by cleaning their bowel (Virechana) for which fasting is a very good option. One should also strictly follow a routine of doing breathing process (Pranayama) every morning.
- After fasting for 1-2 days the patient should gradually move to a liquid or fruit diet. Light diet is advised and only thick wheat Rotis with wheat bran mixed with bottle gourd (Lauki) is allowed.
- Hip bath, a warm feet bath and massaging the chest with a paste prescribed by the physician gives a lot of relief in the case of Asthma.
- During an asthmatic attack, hot feet bath is known to give immediate relief.
- Asthma patients are advised to take the evening meal before sunset.
- Lukewarm water should be consumed with meals.
- Asthma patients should not use addictive substances like tobacco, cigarette, pan masala, zarda, etc.
- Honey should be replaced with sugar for these patients.
- Going for morning walks is advised for asthma patients. While walking, deep breathing should be practiced.
- An anxious asthma patient coughs a lot and so kunjal is advised to be taken along with lukewarm water and a pinch of salt. This helps to decrease the severity of the cough and gives the immediate and appropriate relief required.
If the asthmatic patient is able to do yoga and parnayam, then Tadasan, Katichakrasan, Sarvangasan, Chakrasan, Bhujangasan, Dhanurasan, Brajrasan, Ustrasan, goumukhasan, Ardhamatsyedrasan, Matsyasan, and Savasan are useful. The time duration for doing yoga and parnayam should be increased eventually as and when the stamina and strength of the patient increases. Pranayam, Kpalbhati, Bhsastrika and Suryabhedi should be practiced and Shavasan should definitely be practiced for atleast half an hour. The more the body is calmed and relaxed, the faster the patient will be cured.
Asthmatic patients should exercise kunjal, jalneti, mutraneti, and vastradhoti with an empty stomach every morning. However, the above processes should be practiced by the asthma patient only after consulting a yoga expert.
For this disease, utmost care should be given to the patient’s diet. It is possible to make slight adjustments in the therapies advised to the patient but there should be no compromise made with regard to diet. Cough-free food is advised for all patients suffering from lung-related diseases. Such a diet should be followed strictly for atleast 5-6 months. The following is a sample diet advised for asthmatic patients.
- At 7 am, take lemon juice and honey with warm water.
- At 9 am, take kismis (raisins), munakka (not for diabetic patients), 5 almonds, 2 walnuts, 6 tea spoon sprouts (Moong and Black Gram) and anjeer (dried figs) which have been soaked in water the previous night. This should be had for breakfast along with a cup of ginger, black pepper, long pepper and cardamom tea.
- At 11.30 am, drink any fruit juice or vegetable soup.
- At 1.30 pm, take fruits, then vegetable soup or salad and boiled vegetables.
- At 4 pm, take fruit juice (apple, papaya or any seasonal fruits). Do not take cold or sour fruits.
- At 7.00 pm, take vegetable soup with any fruit.
- At 8.30 pm, have a cup of ginger, long pepper and cardamom tea.
If the patient follows this diet strictly for 1-2 months, he/she will experience a lot of relief.
- After considering the above diet for 1-2 months, the patient should take another diet for 3-4 months. In this diet the patient should take vegetables and chapatti (with wheat bran and saag) and salad every afternoon. For the rest of the day, the earlier mentioned food routine can be followed.
- Asthma patients should avoid curd at all costs. Potatoes should be taken with other vegetables in a soup. These patients should keep away from eating colocassia (arbi), potato, lady finger, cauliflower and cabbage or any food stuff made from refined flour.
- They should have mixed vegetable soups to which tomato and lady’s finger can be added and at other times take Bengal gram (Kale Channa) soup.
- After four weeks of following this routine, keep away from having chapatti and try to spend a whole week without it.
- Before going to bed at night, make sure to sleep in a room that is well-ventilated.
- Asthma patients should never sleep with their face and head covered. They should wear loose clothes while hitting the bed at night. Feet should be kept warm at all times. It is advised that these patients should either sleep on their right or left side as per their preference although sleeping on the left -side is more advised.
- Never sleep during the day.
- If the respiratory problem is normal, then grate and grind suhagaphool and mulathi Mix equal quantities of these two powders and bottle it. Take half to one spoon of this powder with honey or warm water 2-3 times daily. Children should be given one ratio of this medication or a little more, according to their age. Avoid consuming any types of cold items like curd, ice-cream etc. Also, avoid eating banana and rice.
- For children above 1 year of age suffering from asthma: Grind five leaves of tulsi and give it with a little honey during morning and evening as per the requirement for 3-4 weeks. For children below the age of 1 year, mix juice of tulsi leaves with two drops of honey and make the infant lick it twice a day. Apart from asthma, this will also help in curing a number of respiratory related diseases in children.
- In ‘kalai’ utensils, soak 3 anjeers (dried figs) for 24 hours. In the morning, boil the anjeer in the same water. Chew them well and eat them and also drink the water in which it was boiled. This gives asthma patients a lot of relief.
- Before sunrise, complete your excretion, take a bath and then sit in front of the rising sun and do the pranayam with deep breathing for atleast 10-15 times. This kriya should be practiced for a few months regularly to get the best results. One cannot expect good results if the exercise is done for just few days.
- Roast turmeric in sand and grind it. Take ¼ spoon of this powder along with hot water for good relief.
- Boil four spoons methi (fenugreek) in a glass of water. Strain and drink it for good results.
- Powder the bark of Harsingar (night jasmine) in betel leaf and have this for immediate relief from asthma.
- Make a paste from four cloves, four black pepper corns and four leaves of Have this daily for good results.
- Boil 5 gm mulathi, one spoon ghee, 5 gm misri, and half spoon rock salt in one cup of water and consume it daily. This is seen to give great results.
- Mix 5 gm of honey, adusa and ginger juice and take this juice after every three hours for a few days for good relief.
- Mix one cup of turnip juice, carrot juice and cabbage juice and drink this for a few days. This is a nourishing medicine for asthma patients.
The author is an exponent of Ayurveda and an eminent botanist. He is also the co-founder of Patanjali Yogpeeth.