Ayurveda has described cures for respiratory diseases. As far as acute respiratory diseases like pneumonia, acute bronchitis and recurrent attacks of asthma are concerned, the Allopathic system of medicine has definite advantages. Once the acute phase of the disease is over, Ayurvedic remedies should be tried for radical cure. Here a word of caution is must as mixing of steroids with Ayurvedic mixtures have been reported particularly in anti asthmatic preparations. Always take professional advice before trying Ayurvedic remedies for the treatment of respiratory diseases. From here, we will discuss some common respiratory diseases and remedies.
The Respiratory System
The respiratory system provides oxygen to the body and removes carbon dioxide from it. For convenience the respiratory system is divided into upper (respiratory tract) and lower (respiratory organs) parts as shown in the diagram. The respiratory tract includes pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi and bronchioles (division of the bronchi).
Cough occurs when obstruction of apana vata (one of the five classifications of the biological air...vata) occurs which results in an increase in upward motion. Aggravation of udana vata (one of the five classifications of the biological air...vata) propels the air out and upward of the human body. The biological air...vata gets lodged in the chest or back or head resulting in repeated coughing.
According to the Ayurveda, the physical origin of cough is from the digestive tract. The digestive tract is in fact the site of accumulation and aggravation of the three biological humours....vata, pitta and kapha. Cough begins with vitiation of apana vata (one of the five classifications of the biological air...vata) in the purishavaha srota...large intestine. The biological air...vata) overflows into raktavaha srota...circulation and relocates to the pranavaha srota...respiratory system. Other biological humours may mix with the biological air...vata or play dominant in the pathologensis.
Types of Kasa
According to the Ayurveda, Kasa (Cough) is of Five Types:-
- Vata (Cough caused by the vitiation of the biological air)
- Pitta (Cough caused by the vitiation of the biological fire)
- Kapha (Cough caused by the vitiation of the biological water)
- Ksataja (Due to injury)
- Ksaya (Due to wasting diseases)
- Vataja kasa: Cough due to aggravation of vata is called vataja kasa. Vataja kasa present as a dry cough with negligible production of the mucous. Small quantity of hard mucous occasionally accompanies the cough. Mucous is gray in color and not very sticky. Vataja kasa may be accompanied by severe chest pain and loss of voice. The frequency of vataja kasa is episodic in nature.
- Pittaja kasa: Cough due to aggravation of pitta is called pittaja kasa. Pittaja kasa present with a large amount of mucous. Mucous is of yellow color and may be contaminated with blood giving it a rusty appearance. Pittaja kasa is usually accompanied by fever.
- Kaphaja kasa: Cough due to aggravation of kapha is called kaphaja kasa. Kaphaja kasa is characterised by the greatest amount of mucous production. Mucous is white color, cloudy, sticky and thick. Kaphaja kasa is often accompanied by a nasal coryza, and vomiting. Fever is absent in kaphaja kasa and coughing is continuous affair.
- Ksataja kasa: Coughs due to injury is termed as ksataja kasa. Ksataja kasa reveals a combination of symptoms allied to vata and pitta. Mucus is either of red, yellow or black colour, indicative of infection and hemorrhage. Fever is common and may be associated with joint pains. Due to injury, one can see hematuria.
- Ksayaja kasa: Cough due to Ksaya is seen in wasting disease like tuberculosis. Ksayaja kasa results in a drying up and depletion of the tissue. While the biological air, vata plays vital role in ksayaja kasa, but the condition is sannipataja in nature as there is vitiation of all three biological humours.
Chronic bronchitis is chronic inflammation (swelling) of the bronchus (see diagram) and air passages. This disease is more common in damp and cold conditions. Mucus (phlegm) collects and adheres to the bronchial tubes and irritates the throat.
Signs and Symptoms
Cough is the chief feature of this disease. Cough can be dry or productive (with mucus). The patient has difficulty in expelling mucus. Sometimes the condition resembles with bronchial asthma. According to the Ayurvedic concept if cough is not cured properly, it can lead to asthma. Loss of appetite and fever is also encountered in advance cases.
- Shringadi churana is best remedy for chronic bronchitis. One teaspoonful (5g) mixed with honey, three times a day, is prescribed to the patient of chronic bronchitis.
- Agastya haritaki, one teaspoonful (5g), twice a day, should be consumed for building the immunity.
- Drakshasva (wine prepared from grapes) of a good brand, six teaspoonfuls (30 ml), with equal quantity of water for seven days provide relief.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an expert Ayurveda consultant in Chandigarh (India). Call us at Phone No. 0172-521-4030 (India), +91-172-521-4030 (Outside India), or E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org