The scope for Ayurvedic treatment for asthma is often overlooked as it is simply regarded as an alternative therapy. However, modern science is beginning to recognize the value of Ayurvedic wisdom that has been accumulated over millennia, suggesting it as a complementary therapy. Some also believe that we may even be able to find a permanent cure for asthma in Ayurveda. Whether there is an asthma cure in Ayurveda or not, it is clear that classical Ayurvedic texts like the Charaka Samhita provide valuable insights into the management of asthma, which is described as Svasa Roga. These texts not only delve into the pathology of the disease, but they also provide us with a wide range of Ayurvedic medicine for allergy and asthma, using a combination of therapies, herbs, and home remedies.
Despite our rich Ayurvedic tradition, there are still many myths about asthma that persist across the country. We’ll address some of these most common asthma and Ayurvedic treatment myths.
This myth is actually linked to the use of antihistamine and corticosteroid treatments in conventional medicine, but it is simply not true in the case of Ayurvedic medicine for asthma. This is because every Ayurvedic medicine for allergy and asthma relief is prepared exclusively with natural ingredients, including organic compounds and herbs. In fact, you will typically find ingredients like Sunth, Harda, Kalonji, Mulethi, Eucalyptus, and Tulsi used in the best Ayurvedic medicine for asthma. These herbal formulations are so effective because of their proven therapeutic effects. For example, research suggests that Sunth can relieve allergic symptoms because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, even exhibiting broncho-relaxant effects on the smooth airway muscles (1). Similarly, studies have shown Mulethi to be effective as an asthma treatment with significant anti-allergenic effects (2). Most importantly, all of these herbs are regarded as safe for regular consumption and are even used as dietary ingredients, so they are clearly not habit-forming.
One of the fundamental principles of Ayurveda is disease prevention and promotion of good health, rather than disease treatment. This is worth noting in the case of asthma, as the efficacy of Ayurveda for asthma depends on consistent use of herbal treatments, diet modifications, and lifestyle changes. The use of such a combination of Ayurvedic strategies can reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. Ayurvedic medicines for breathing problems contain herbs that don’t just provide relief, but some herbs like Kalonji and Harda are known to have anti-inflammatory effects that reduce airway obstruction, lowering the risk of asthma attacks (3).
In conventional care, diseases have often been seen and understood simply on the basis of visible symptoms. However, Ayurveda has always recognized the mind-body connection and this is also seen to play a role in different types of asthma, including bronchial asthma. This ancient insight of Ayurvedic medicine and asthma is only now being recognized, with modern studies highlighting the impact of stress and anxiety disorders in asthma symptoms, in terms of frequency and severity (4). This is why the Ayurvedic treatment for bronchial asthma and other allergic respiratory disorders also includes the adoption of practices like meditation to lower stress levels. Studies have also shown this technique to be effective at promoting improvements in the quality of life in asthma sufferers (5).
Gluten-free and dairy-free diets have increasingly been promoted as an antidote to asthma, however, there is no merit to this myth. Gluten and dairy should only be avoided by individuals who suffer from gluten allergy or lactose intolerance. Ayurveda strongly advises against such restrictive diets that would exclude entire food groups – most grains and cereals and all dairy products. In addition to emphasizing the importance of balanced nutrition, Ayurveda has also always recognized the uniqueness of the individual. Each person’s asthma is seen to be unique with different triggers. It is best to identify and only avoid foods or behaviors that trigger your asthma.
This is another common myth or misconception that is based on a half-truth. High-intensity exercise and suddenly switching to an active lifestyle can trigger asthma attacks, but low to moderate intensity activities are actually regarded as beneficial for asthmatics. Gradually adopting and increasing the intensity of exercise can help to strengthen the lungs, improving the management of asthma. This has long been recognized in Ayurveda, with recommendations for gentle yoga routines and pranayamas or breathing exercises, such as Brahmari, Kapalabhati, and Omkara. In fact, studies have found that such practices can strengthen lung function and they are now recommended in conventional treatment too (6).
If you still have any doubts about asthma or need more information on specific Ayurvedic medicines and practices that can help, it would be best to consult a qualified Ayurvedic physician.