Traditional Ayurvedic Treatment for Asthma (Tamaka shwasa)

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Asthma is a chronic inflammatory respiratory disorder of the airway indicated by narrowing of the airways  results in tightness of the chest, snoring noise while breathing, shortness of breath, and cough specially at night or early morning. This arises when the body reacts to an irritating factor or trigger such as exposure to cold air, allergens in the air, emotional stress heavy exercise, etc.

As per Ayurveda, Asthma is known as “Tamak-Shwasa”, a dispute in breathing or shortness of breath. It may be essential – which is arising from the respiratory system, secondary – which is originating from other systems of the body but the impact is seen on the respiratory system. As per Ayurveda, Tamaka Shwasa is a type of Shwasa; which is mainly caused by the Vata and Kapha doshas.

Types of Asthma

  • Mahashwasa (Dyspnoea major)
  • Urdhawashwasa (Expiratory Dyspnoea)
  • Chinna shwasa (Chyne- stroke respiration)
  • Kshudra shwasa (Dyspnoea minor)
  • Tamaka shwasa (Bronchial Asthma)

Causes of Asthma

  • Intake of dry, cold, heavy, incompatible food and irregular intake of food (vata &Kapha aggravating food)
  • Excessive Intake of black gram, beans, sesame & the meat of aquatic animals
  • Intake of cold water
  • Exposure to cold climate
  • Exposure to dust, smoke, and wind
  • Excessive exercise & overindulge in the sexual activity
  • Trauma to throat, chest, or vital organs
  • Suppression of natural urges
  • Contact with air containing dust, irritant gases, pollens & smoke

These factors can cause symptoms like, an increase in the undigested materials or toxins (ama), diarrhea, vomiting (Vamathu), fever (jvara). Poison (visa), anemia (Pandu)

Symptoms of Asthma

Symptoms of Asthma may vary from person to person and can increase when exercising or may experience symptoms all the time.

Signs and symptoms include

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Chest tightness
  3. Difficulty in sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  4. A wheezing or whistling sound when exhaling
  5. Coughing or wheezing attacks that get worsened by common cold or the flu

Ayurvedic Treatment of Asthma

As per the Ayurveda, Bronchial Asthma is Vatakaphaja disorder and it is the only type of shwasa that requires efficient and timely management.  It occurs in the stomach, increases to the lungs and then to bronchi. Hence treatment aims to bring back the excess Kapha to the stomach and then get rid of it.

 Principle Management of Asthma

  • Snehana ( using medicated oil) & Swedana (Sudation- like Nadi Sweda, prastara, or Sankara) – as pre-treatment procedures
  • Vamana (Therapeutic emesis) – morbid Kapha is eliminated by giving Vamana. After vamana, the secretions accumulated in the trachea due to decrease of respiratory muscles come out lucidly in the form of expectorant.
  • Virechana (Therapeutic purgation) – aids in cleaning srotas (channels), burn digestive fire and eliminate the mala from the body.
  • Dhumapana- after the exclusion of Kapha by vamana, further exclusion of kanthasata Kapha is done with Dhumapana, kavala and gandusha.

These plans will be adhered to as instructed for the individual patient.

Single Herb Preparations

  • Powder of Talisa (Abies  webbiana) blended with the juice of paste of haritaki and shunthi or pushkaramula, Yavakshara  and  Maricha  should  be taken by one suffering from Hiccough and Asthma
  • Decoction of nirgundi, guduchi, haritaki, and maricha in equal quantity blended with salt aids in asthma.
  • Intake of flower sirisha, kadali, and kunda with pippali supported by rice water alleviates all types of asthma.
  • One inch ginger cut into short chunks and stewed in 500 ml of water can be consumed whenever thirsty – this aids in increasing the digestion and reduces asthma symptoms.
  • Mix 10 – 15 drops of garlic juice in lukewarm water and take internally.

Dos and Don’ts in Asthma

Do’s (Pathya)

  • Have godhuma (wheat), mudga (green gram), kulattha (Horse gram), yava (barley), old rice, patola (snake gourd)
  • Use of garlic, turmeric, ginger & black pepper
  • Respiratory exercise, pranayama & yoga

Don’ts (Apathya)

  • Heavy, cold diet, Fish,  Masha (black gram), Deep-fried items & Mustard leaves
  • Exposure to Cold & Humid atmosphere
  • Sweets, Chilled water, Stored food items & Curd
  • Suppression of natural urges
  • Excessive physical exertion
  • Exposure to Smoke, Dust, and fumes
  • Pollutants and Pollens

Yoga for Asthma (Tamaka shwasa)

Asanas that are helpful in asthma are Pavanamukta Asana (Wind relieving pose), Adhomukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog), Setubandhasana (Bridge pose), Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Ardha Matsyandriyasana (sitting half spine twist) and Shavasana (Deep relaxation).

 Pranayama – Kapalabhati, Nadishuddhi Pranayama (Alternate nostril breathing) is also recommended.


Asthma is a type of shwasa needs a prompt, early and timely management. Careless and negligent nature from the patient side will evidently result in relapses and complications. This holistic approach of Ayurveda is needed for the better management of Tamaka shwasa. The key is to keep a natural way to limit disorders, and this can be controlled by taking on Ayurveda practices and medicines.  In case you have a query or if you’d like to know about the right methods to treat your asthama consult our online Ayurvedic doctors at Total Ayurveda Care and start your health journey today. Book your Appointments now!

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