ASTHMA is of many types. The one commonly found is called bronchial asthma. In Ayurveda, this disease is known as tamaka svasa. In Ayurveda it is considered tonoriginate from the affliction of the stomach and other parts of gastro-intestinal tract. In most of the cases, therefore, either in the beginning of the disease or before each attack, the patient suffers from the indigestion, constipation or even diarrhoea.
The seat of manifestation of the disease is lungs. Because of pressure, the heart also gets involved. Usually before the attacks, the patient gets nasal congestion, even obstruction and sneezing. In Ayurveda, therefore, both for the prevention and cure of this disease, primary attention is given to stomach, bowels, nose and lungs. Simultaneously, in chronic cases care is taken to strengthen the heart.
For this disease, the medicine commonly used in Ayurveda are Chyavanaprasa and agastya rasayana. Both these medicines are composed of many drugs. But the chief ingredient of Chyavanaprasa is the fruit of amalaki. This is one of the important sources of Vitamin C. Ordinarily Vitamin C is found in many citrus fruits. But they get destroyed
when they are exposed to the heat of sun or fire. Amalaki, however, is an exception, and the Vitamin C content of it does not get destroyed even after boiling for considerable
period for this formulation. The fruit of haritaki is the main ingredient of the other medicine, viz., agastya rasayana. This is also known as. agastya haritaki in some classics. Of these two, viz., Chavanaprasa and agastya rasayana, the former is used more as a tonic and specifically indicated in the cases of bronchial asthma, where the patient is emaciated and weak.
Agastya rasayana is given to patient of bronchial asthma who are constipated and also to those who often complain of sneezing, blocking of the nostrils and congestion of the throat.
Both these drugs are in the form of a linctus and can be taken in a dose of up to two teaspoonfuls three times a day. Care should be taken to see that the normal appetite of the patient is maintained. If taken in heavy doses, at times there is suppression of appetite, and in that case the dose of the medicine should be reduced.
Agastya rasayana if taken in heavy dose, may cause loose motions and in that case the dose of this medicine should also be reduced.
Both these medicines are to be taken before food. preferably in the empty stomach, and at bed time. A cup of warm milk or even warm water should be given after these medicines. They are to be taken during and even after the attack of asthma. They have both preventive and curative value. It takes some time for the action of these medicines to be noticed. Even though they might give some relief immediately after their intake, they usually take two to three weeks to act fully. In chronic cases, they may take· still more time. Therefore, one should not doubt their utility if the attack is not stopped immediately after their intake. But they will certainly reduce the acuteness of the attack immediately, and the duration of the attack will be comparatively shorter. Even the gap between two attacks will increase and the patient will have time to restore his health in order to successfully fight the next attack.
Along with this sitopa!adi churna may be taken, three to four times a day, in one teaspoonful dose, mixed with honey.
The powder if taken alone may cause a little irritation in the throat. Therefore it should be thoroughly mixed with honey and made to a Iinctus consistency before intake. This makes
the medicine palatable and easy to take. In the same manner, and same dose, pippali powder may be used.
There are many other medicines in Ayurveda, for the treatment of bronchial asthma. Some medicines containing mineral products are useful in reducing the attacks of asthma. immediately., They are Svasa Kasa Chintamanirasa, SuvarnaPuspasuga rasa, Kanakasava, etc. These medicines may at times produce side effects. Therefore, they should preferably be taken under the supervision of an expert physician.
The patient should strictly avoid curd, butter-milk, banana, guava and fried things. At night, he should take light food and as far as possible should avoid all sour things.
Dry grapes, pulses like kulatha are useful in this condition. Smoking should be avoided and intake of tea or coffee should be reduced to the minimum-not more than two cups in any case. Alcoholic beverages can be taken but only in small quantity.
The patient should not expose himself to rain and severe cold-wind. He should not indulge in hard exercise.