World Asthma Day 2022: Living with asthma means dreading the attacks that could leave one breathless, with chest tightness or a shooting pain, along with coughing or wheezing due to narrowed airways. Having these attacks frequently can leave one tired, low on energy and even interfere with one's ability to sleep soundly at night. Bronchial asthma, the chronic inflammation of airways, is also known as Tamaka in Sanskrit which means darkness, maybe because the asthma symptoms are known to become worse in the evening. There could be various triggers for asthma attacks from sinus infections, dust, smoke, pollen, acid reflux to name a few. (Also read: World Asthma Day 2022: Pollution to Covid; common triggers of asthma as per experts)
According to Ayurveda, imbalance of kapha, pitta and dosha causes symptoms like wheezing, coughing and irritability. Breathing difficulties (dyspnea) are referred to as 'Svasa roga' in Ayurveda. Although they manifest as respiratory distress, it originates from the Amashaya or the stomach. So one's diet plays an important role in managing asthma.
Dr Archana Sukumaran, Ayurveda Doctor (BAMS) at Kerala Ayurveda Ltd says the most prevalent entity that causes asthma is kapha. She says that along with genetic predisposition, an abundance of cold, heavy, damp foods are triggers of the disease.
"An asthmatic episode is characterised by a wet, productive cough. Mucus is hazy and whitish in appearance. Patients may struggle with weight gain, and further symptoms of Kapha vitiation can be found," says Dr Sukumaran.
Herbs to manage asthma
There are a multitude of herbs and spices that help to boost immunity against repeated attacks of asthma and also help to reduce the complexity of the disease.
Dr Sukumar suggests few herbs:
● Turmeric: This bright yellow spice may already be an active member of your kitchen. Curcumin gives turmeric its colour, and this natural colouring ingredient also has anti-inflammatory properties that relieves asthmatic symptoms.
● Honey: This delicious and natural ingredient may aid in the treatment of many asthma symptoms. To make honey even more effective, combine it with herbs like turmeric.
● Dasamoola: Dasamoola is the combination of roots of 10 herbs, that is very effective in treating respiratory ailments. Agasthya rasayanam is a classical Ayurvedic formulation with the power of Dasamoola and is widely used to ease symptoms of Asthma.
● Kapura: Camphor is a decongestant that helps in soothing respiratory ailments. Karpooradi thailam is another mix of herbs made from the recipes written in the 5,000 years old Ayurveda scriptures. It is a chest rub oil with camphor that provides instant relief in congestion.
Tips to tackle asthma symptoms:
• Yogic postures of Ustrasana, Sarvangasana
• Regular Pranayama techniques
• Consumption of light and hot food
• Consumption of herbs that helps to reduce the abundance of Kapha
• Avoid dairy, processed food and refined sugars
"While alongside these methods, the right management of your mind is equally important to enhance your immunity. In case your asthma attacks are serious, do seek medical help," concludes Dr Archana Sukumaran.