Ayurveda for Common Respiratory Disorders

Respiration is life. Through respiration, the body gets the required oxygen and removes the unwanted CO2.

The common diseases that affect the respiratory tract are cold, sinusitis, flu, cough, whooping cough, bronchitis, asthma, tonsillitis, hiccough, tuberculosis and pneumonia etc.

A closer look at these common conditions
a. Cold – Usually bacterial or viral with common symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, cough, headache, body ache, and fever. In Ayurveda, it is termed as ‘Pratishyaya’
b. Sinusitis – Causes inflammation of the sinus glands. In most cases, sinusitis can lead to asthma or is connected to asthma. Common symptoms include headache, tenderness of the head and eyes, watery or purulent discharges from the nose, nasal blocks, bad breath, facial pain, sore throat, swelling around the eyes and continuous sneezes in the early mornings.
c. Tonsillitis – Inflammation of tonsils, common in children
d. Cough – Reflex or sudden explosive movement to bring out the foreign body is termed as cough. Usually any respiratory disorder is connected with cough. It is of two types. Wet and Dry cough.
e. Whooping cough – It is a deadly bacterial infectious disease which affects mostly children. Symptoms start with running nose, sneezing, watery eyes, throat pain or irritation, fever and cough. In the later stages, the cough becomes persistent.
f. Bronchitis – A common condition that affects all age groups especially children due to external irritants and infections (viral and bacterial). This condition is associated with fever, clear or purulent sputum, vomiting etc. Repeated bronchial infection could lead to emaciation and weakness. Tuberculosis in adults and the elderly is usually connected to bronchitis.
g. Asthma – Literally means short breath. It is an allergic disorder usually caused by weather conditions, food, drugs, dust, smoke, perfumes, insect repellents etc. Stress, physical exertion, anxiety and anger also contribute. Breathing difficulty, shortness of breath, repeated cold, fatigue, itching or heaviness of the chest, stomach, loss of appetite is commonly seen. It can affect any age and can strike at any time.

Why Ayurveda for common respiratory disorders?
Ayurveda treats not just the symptom but the cause itself. It does not see a condition as confined to the respiratory tract alone but as a derangement of the body’s functional elements and immune deficiency. A very important factor is that Ayurveda not only heals the disease but also enhances the body’s immune system, which in turn helps in the prevention of diseases.

Herbs effective in treating respiratory disorders
Following are the common Ayurveda herbs that are effective in preventing and healing respiratory disorders and in building immunity
a. Vasa – Adathoda vasica
b. Thulasi – Ocimum sanctum
c. Pippali – Piper longum
d. Madhu Yashti – Glycyrrhiza glabra
e. Pudina – Mentha Arvensis
f. Tagara – Tylophora indica
g. Rasna – Alpinia galanga
h. Omam – Hyoscyamus niger
i. Shunti – Zingiber officinale
j. Black pepper – Piper nigrum
k. Jatipatri – Myrstica fragrans
l. Talisapatra – Abies webbiana
m. Katntakari – Solanum xanthocarpum / Indicum

Home relief measures
a. Inhaling the smoke of burning turmeric is one of the best home remedies for asthma.
b. Milk mixed with 1 gm of long pepper, palm sugar, black pepper and turmeric is effective to improve respiratory tract immunity.
c. Betel leaf juice 5 ml with 2 gm of honey is effective for cold, cough, fever and to improve appetite and immunity.
d. Inhaling hot steam or a full body steam bath cleanses the channels in no time and removes blockages.
e. Vitamin C and D play an important role in protecting the respiratory tract, so keep a check on your diet.
f. Avoid pouring very hot or cold water on your head.
g. For dry and whooping cough – A combination of 10 ml of warm milk and 2 gm of melted ghee improves the dryness of the tract and removes weakness. This also helps easy removal of sputum
h. For wet cough, drinking a mix of 2 gm of black pepper, long pepper and honey each helps.
i. Black pepper with ghee helps to improve both wet and dry cough.
j. Onion juice mixed with jaggery is a very good expectorant for both dry and wet cough.
k. Fresh juice of Coleus aromaticus and fresh basil is good to prevent, heal and rejuvenate the respiratory system.
l. Ginger juice mixed with honey improves congestion and cures a runny nose.
m. Warm milk with a pinch of turmeric powder is good to improve the respiratory tract function.
n. Daily intake of honey mixed with milk is good for the respiratory tract.
o. Juice of Adathoda vasica is a very good remedy for cough, cold and all kinds of respiratory infections.
p. Add orange, pineapple, custard apple, drum stick and mint to your diet to protect you from cold and improve immunity.

Precautions to avoid respiratory tract infections
a. Avoid house dust, mites.
b. Avoid exposure to excessive cold weather, moisture.
c. Pets could be a cause. Check your allergy status.
d. Avoid banana, curd, ladies finger, deep fried, salty, sour, spicy foods and drinks.
e. Avoid alcohol and smoking

Dr K Gowthaman, Medical Director, rVita (rVita Ayurveda Centers)

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