Ayurveda has got elaborate mentions about respiratory distress or dyspnea. As much as five varieties have been as Svasa Roga, out of which Tamaka Svasa corresponds to chronic persistent bronchial asthma. In comparison to other four – maha svasa, urdhva svasa, chinna svasa and ksudra svasa – tamaka svasa is considered to be the only type which can be controlled by an active partnership of physician and patient. Ayurveda treats asthma as a condition characterised by dyspnea, cough, airflow obstruction, and wheezing.
As always, Ayurveda attributes and identifies environmental and emotional factors to understand the ailment. It is assumed that asthma is caused by the aggravation of both Vata and Kapha doshas. If the symptoms are identified as at the early stage itself, the aggravation of doshas can be stopped and thus the manifestation of the disease arrested. Ayurveda has a clear outline of how the patient progresses from symptomatic stage to the full-blown manifestation of the disease.
Evolution of Bronchial Asthma
If the symptoms are ignored and left untreated, Kapha dosha will get aggravated and obstruct the movement of Vata in the chest area. Once obstructed, Vata will find channels other than its normal ones or srotas. This will cause the Vata to carry vitiated Kapha dosha to all parts of the body, where it is normally not expected. This will eventually make the three major channels in the chest region – Prana Vaha Srota (meant for respiration), Anna Vaha Srota (meant for intake and digestion of food), and Udaka Vaha Srota (meant for distribution of water distribution) – dysfunctional. At this stage, the disease becomes fully manifested on the body of the patient.
Ayurveda also treats the role of psychological stress in asthma as important. It has been observed that stress can precipitate asthmatic exacerbations. Advanced studies are being made in this directions to bring in more clarity on the relation between psychological status and illness of the patient.
Signs and Symptoms of Bronchial Asthma
Ayurveda texts like Charaka Samhita and Astanga Hridayam have clearly identified the symptoms characteristic to Bronchial Asthma.
When the disease has been fully manifested, breathing becomes very fast and audible, with chronic nasal discharge and stiffness of the head and neck. The patient becomes tremulous on occasion, the mouth will be dry, the throat will be inflamed and will experience excessive thirst. There will be a constant cough, even to the point of rendering the patient senseless. Obstruction of phlegm and it’s not coming out along with a cough can make the condition of the patient worse. Monsoon or cold climate can aggravate the condition along with the use of drinks and food which are cold in quality.