Ayurveda Treatment Of Respiratory Disorders

Respiratory disorders, or respiratory disease, is a term that includes a variety of pathogenic conditions that infect the respiratory system in a living organism. These include the infections occurring in upper respiratory tract (nose, trachea) and lower respiratory tract (bronchi, lungs, pleura).Respiratory disorders are one of the most common infections among human beings. All of us must have experienced at least one of these infections in our lifetime, be it a simple infection like common cold ,cough or more severe ones like respiratory distress because of asthma or allergies. Ayurveda diagnoses respiratory diseases not according to the pathogens and the infections which they cause, but it describes them in terms of the nature of systemic imbalance influenced by the state of mind, metabolism and excretory function in our body. Avalambaka kapha, a sub-type of kapha dosha governs the lungs, respiratory system and heart. This controls the flow of Udana Vata and Prana Vayu. An imbalance in these fundamental doshas lead to respiratory problems such as Asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Bronchitis, Pneumonia as well as seasonal allergies.

Acute Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is the inflammation of bronchial tubes which carry air to lungs. It usually is caused by a viral or bacterial infection and expresses in the form of dry/productive cough, breathlessness, fever, chest pain, fatigue. In Ayurveda, bronchitis is described as ‘ kasa roga’ and its origin is in the digestive system, which is the site of accumulation and aggravation of the doshas. Poor diet, improper digestion and incomplete elimination of waste lead to the formation of ama (toxins) in the lungs. This creates a favorable ground for the growth of infecting organisms in the lungs. It can reflect in the form of different symptoms based on the type of dominant dosha like ‘Vataja Kasa’, ‘Pittaja Kasa’ and ‘Kaphaja kasa’, or according to the etiology like ‘ Kshataja kasa’ (because of some injury to any part of the respiratory tract) or ‘Kshayaja kasa’ (cough due to the depletion of dhatus like tuberculosis).


Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses that can cause them to get blocked and filled with fluid. It is usually caused by recurrent cold and allergies. In Ayurveda, it is described as Peenasa or Apeenasa, which is a disease of the nose caused by combined vitiation of vata and kapha. It presents with headache, facial pain, nasal discharges, stuffy nose, congestion, fever, loss of smell, sore throat, fatigue, eye pain symptoms.

Bronchial Asthma

Bronchial asthma is an infection of the airway path of the respiratory tract which makes it swollen and narrow. Due to this swelling, the airway produces excess mucus, which blocks the airways and causes cough, shortness of breath and wheezing. Breathing disorders are referred to as ‘Shwasa’ in Ayurveda and bronchial asthma comes close to one of its sub-types which is ‘ Tamaka Shwasa’. It is caused due to vitiation of Vatha and kapha dosha, pathology of which lies in gastrointestinal tract. It can be triggered due to multiple environmental and genetic factors. Attacks typically occur early in the morning with the patient waking up with an apprehension and alarm, associated with difficulty to breathe while lying down.

How Ayurveda can help

Respiratory diseases like common cold, cough, allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, dyspnea, bronchial asthma, nasal polyps etc are very effectively managed by Ayurveda. Kapha is the dominant vitiated dosha in pathogensis of respiratory diseases along with Vata. Classical management of vitiated kapha along with Vata in respiratory diseases involves improving the digestive fire (agni), adopting purification therapies like Vamana (medicated emesis), Virechana (Purgation), Vasti( medicated enema), Nasyam (instilling nasal drops) to pacify the aggravated dosha. Therapies like Sirodhara, Siropichu, Sirovasthi are used for patients with prescribed oils and medication. Weak patients are prescribed immunity booster herbal medicine preparations like Turmeric, Vasa, dried ginger etc along with palliative therapies as per their symptoms. Yogic techniques like Pranayama are taught to patients which relieves the distress and teaches them to take control of their autonomous nervous system, thus helping them to prevent the repeated constriction of the bronchial tubes. Along with that, variety of Ayurveda herbal tonics are prescribed to strengthen the person’s immune system and prevent the recurrence of symptoms.

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