Asthma and Ayurveda

Date Posted:1 July 2014 

Learn about the Ayurvedic perspective on asthma, causes, and triggers. Then see what you can do to help reduce the symptoms.

If you or a loved one experiences coughing (particularly at night) and after exercise has breathlessness (often with a wheeze) a productive cough and a tight feeling in the chest … then chances are high you are experiencing asthma.

When working with clients who have a tendency for asthma, or a child with this condition, I always start by giving an understanding of what causes asthma from the perspective of Ayurveda.

Dryness, irritation, inflammation and then mucous
Cold, windy weather, smoking, excessive travel, stress and lack of rest dries out the mucous membranes in our nose and reduces lubrication in our lungs.

This dryness creates a state where the body becomes sensitive to and irritated by pollutants - cigarette smoke, pollen, dust and chemicals - and becomes inflamed.

As inflammation increases the body takes action, in the form of mucous or fluid, to soothe the aggravated tissues and an excess of phlegm or a productive cough results.

Put simply, dryness increases sensitivity to irritation and when irritated the tissues become inflamed causing the body to moisten and cool down the inflamed tissue by producing mucous, which in turn becomes a productive cough. 

What to do …

Reduce Toxins and Improve Digestion

According to Ayurveda upper respiratory problems, including asthma, start in the digestive system. Strengthening digestive power and reducing ama or toxins is an important step in rectifying respiratory problems

  • Take Congest Assist to help relax the bronchial muscles, regulate the hyper-excitability of the vagus nerve to reduce bronchospasm or coughs and strengthen digestion to help reduce mucous
  • Eat a light evening meal and avoid leftovers, processed food and heavy foods such as meat, cheese and desserts (especially in the evening)
  • Favour a Kapha pacifying diet
  • Sip Sniffle Free Tea or Kapha Tea every 30 minutes throughout the day
  • Rise with the sun to help reduce the build up of mucous
  • Be active first thing in the morning to open the airways and warm your body up

Ways to soothe dryness and reduce inflammation and mucous

  • Take Clear Throat cough elixir to gently soothe a dry or irritated throat and to help break up chest congestion
  • Take 2 tablets of Breathe Easy 2 to help reduce the effects of allergens
  • Do a daily inhalation with 3-4 drops of Breathe Easy Essential Oil to open the channels of the respiratory track and to balance mucous
  • For a special treat rub Ayurvedic Balm over the chest for fast-acting relief

Reduce Stress

Keep the diaphragm relaxed and open to support easy and relaxed respiration.  When stressed the body automatically restricts diaphragm breathing in order to support short and quick chest breaths to aid the fight/flight response.

If you feel stressed then it is important to increase your resilience. My personal experience and experience with clients is that practising Transcendental Meditation is a fast route to decreasing the automatic stress response and building stress resilience. 

Pranayama

If you already practise TM then be sure to practise pranayama – alternate nostril breathing - for 5–10 minutes prior your meditation and see what a difference it makes.

Wishing you the bliss of balance.

Linda Sinden
Maharishi Ayurveda Practitioner

Get Balance Team