Bronchitis is a well-defined disorder of the respiratory tract in contemporary medical science. In India, it is more common in adult male population than in females due to smoking.
In bronchitis, there is a chronic inflammation of the bronchial mucosa, leading to chronic bronchitis. It is characterized by chronic cough with expectoration for a continuous period of three months in a year. This condition may be advanced into COPD only when chronic airflow obstruction occurs.
What are the causes of Bronchitis?
According to Ayurveda, it begins with the impairment of the digestive fire.
The common causes of Bronchitis are:
- Exposure to chemicals and pollutants
- Mental and physical stress
- Low resistance and immunity
- Poor nutrition
- Accumulation of toxins
- Suppression of natural urges
What are the symptoms of Bronchitis?
- Kasa (Cough)
- Kapha Nishteevana (Sputum)
- Shwasa Kriccharata (Dyspnoea)
Bronchitis according to Ayurveda:
In Ayurveda, Kasa, Shwasa and Hikka are the three major diseases explained under Pranavaha Sroto-Vikara (Respiratory disorders). It is known as Kasa in Ayurveda.
It is caused due to the morbid Vata and Kapha doshas in the Pranavaha Srotas due to its pathological process of Doshadushti, Avarana of Prana Vayu or Vimargamana of Prana Vayu.
In Ayurvedic classics, Master Charak has clearly specified that that avarana of Kapha to gati (movement) of Prana Vata ultimately leads to the problem of Kaphaj Kasa. In bronchitis, there is also the production of mucus due to inflammation of mucosa of the respiratory tract.
Agni dushti (impairment of digestive fire) may also be a contributing factor in the Samprapti (pathogenesis) of the disease. The involvement of Rasa Dhatu plays a major role.
What is the treatment of Bronchitis?
In modern medicine, antibiotics, anti-histamines, expectorants, bronchodilators etc. are commonly prescribed for the management of bronchitis. Although, these medications are effective in reducing the severity of the disease and suppressing the symptoms but none of these modalities of treatment provide a permanent solution. Therefore, these have limitations owing to their unwanted effects.
What is the Ayurvedic treatment of Bronchitis?
The treatment principle of Bronchitis in Ayurveda is Kasahara (anti-tussive), Kaphahara (mucolytic), Shwashara (anti-asthmatics), Vata-Shamaka (pacification of Vata dosha), Agnideepana (stimulation of the digestive fire) and Rasayana (rejuvenation).
The herbs and herbal remedies which have Snigdha, Anabhishyandi and Srotoshodhana properties are prescribed.
Some Home Remedies for Bronchitis are:
- Mustard and Camphor: Take 2 tablespoons of mustard oil and warm it well. Dissolve about 2 grams of camphor in it. Apply this oil gently on the chest region, neck as well as back. Do not massage. After 10-15 minutes, give a dry fomentation. This is an effective and simple remedy for getting relief in bronchitis.
- Turmeric and Milk: Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk and boil it for a few minutes. Drink this golden milk twice a day.
- Tomato Soup: Tomato Soup is a rich source of Vitamin C which helps in reducing the excessive formation of mucus. Drink homemade tomato soup regularly to get rid of bronchitis cough.
- Sesame Seeds: Mix ½ teaspoon of sesame seed powder and 2 tablespoons of water and take it twice a day. The medicinal properties of Sesame seeds help in the treatment of bronchitis and help in relieving chest congestion associated with it.
- Salt Water: Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and use it to gargle several times a day. This will soothe the inflammation in the throat. It will also reduce the mucus that may be irritating to the throat. Don’t use too much salt as it may cause burning sensation in the throat. Be sure to spit out water after gargling.
- Ginger and Black Pepper: Add 1 teaspoon each of ginger powder and black pepper to a cup of boiling water. Boil it for a few minutes and when it becomes lukewarm, add some honey and drink this mixture twice a day.
- Steam Inhalation: Inhaling steam will help to loosen the mucus in the lungs. You can add few drops of eucalyptus oil to the hot water and take steam for 10-15 minutes. Eucalyptus oil helps in softening the mucus that obstructs the respiratory tract and it has anti-bacterial properties as well.
- Isabgol Seeds: Isabgol seeds is also known as Psyllium husk. In Ayurveda, it is also mentioned that constipation triggers the bronchial attacks. To prevent these attacks, make sure that you have regular bowel movements. Take a teaspoon of spogel seeds with plain water to prevent constipation.
- Epsom Salt: Epsom Salt bath helps in relieving bronchitis symptoms especially when a person is suffering from acute bronchitis. You can take Epsom salt bath by adding a few tablespoons of Epsom Salt in the bathing water.
- Pippali (Piper longum): Take 25 grams long pepper powder, 25 grams jaggery, 25 grams cow ghee and ½ cup water. Take jaggery in a wide mouthed vessel. Add ½ cup water to it. Heat it to dissolve it. Now add cow ghee and long pepper fruit fine powder to the vessel. Continue heating until all the water content evaporates. When water is evaporated, stop heating and filter when it is hot. Take ½ -1 teaspoon of this ghee once or twice a day followed by a cup of warm water for a period of 1-2 months.
Some Ayurvedic herbs useful in the treatment of Bronchitis are:
- Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)
- Shunthi (Zingiber officinale)
- Haridra (Curcuma longa)
- Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia)
- Pippali (Piper longum)
Diet and Lifestyle:
- Use spices such as garlic, turmeric, black pepper, ginger in cooking.
- Pranayama under expert guidance is also beneficial.
- Avoid exposure to cold and humid atmosphere.
- Excessive exposure to smoke, dust, fumes, pollutants and pollens should be avoided.
- Suppression of natural urges should be avoided.
- Intake of heavy and cold food should be strictly eliminated from the diet.
- Sweets, curd, stored food items, junk, processed foods having preservatives should not be consumed.
- Intake of lukewarm water is recommended.
Proper Ayurvedic treatment under expert Ayurvedic physician along with changes in diet and lifestyle help in successful management of bronchitis through Ayurveda.