Daruharidra (Berberis aristata/ Indian Barberry), when used in proper combination with other herbs, is able to support the immune system to regain balance. If, at the same time, you slowly improve digestion and gradually detoxify the blood and liver, the immune system will eventually return to a normal, relaxed state and the acquired intolerances will disappear.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways characterized by airways obstruction, airways hyper-responsiveness, excessive mucous secretion and cough. A patient of Asthma feels uncomfortable in breathing. Difficulty in breathing may be due to allergic reactions or use of causative factors, which we describe in this article. Nowadays asthma is amongst the most common chronic diseases worldwide. The prevalence of asthma has increased considerably over the past 20 years, especially in children. Bronchial Asthma is one of the distressing diseases which are relatively widespread in all the socio-economic groups of all the age groups and approximately all over the world.
Asthma finds its mention in Ayurvedic texts by the name of Swasa Roga. Ancient texts of Charak Samhita holds Asthma as a disease which is difficult to cure. Asthma has been categorized into five types. Symptoms of tamak shwas’s are almost the same as of bronchial Asthma. So Ayurveda refers to Bronchial Asthma as Tamaka Swasa. Bronchial asthma is chronic debilitating disease of diverse aetiology which is characterized by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person. Tamaka Swasa is analogous to bronchial asthma due to similarity in symptoms, onset, causes, precipitating factors and pathogenesis.
The book “Asthma (Swasa Roga) and Ayurveda” written by the well known author – Professor Ajay Kumar Sharma is a complete and comprehensive treatise on the subject. The author of the book is a senior professor of Ayurvedic medicine (kayacikitsa) in national Institute of Ayurveda in Jaipur, India and a reputed teacher, clinician and researcher, his book has been richly benefited by his scholarship and professional experience. In this book the problem of asthma have been described by various acharyas (scholars). Among them Acharya Charaka, he discussed the various nidana (causative factors) which directly or indirectly act as triggers for tamaka swasa (Bronchial asthma) as exposure to various allergens and irritant gases (dust, smoke), excessive physical exertion, undue exposure to cold air and water, rough food, irregular meals, too much fasting, general debility, excessive use of purification procedures like vaman and virechna, prolonged stage of diseases like diarrhea, certain drugs and distressing emotional circumstances etc.
So, let us understand what are the main triggers of causing Asthma?
In modern life, it is easy to acquire lots of toxins. Garavisha(pesticides and xenobiotics) in the food we eat, in the water we drink and in the air we breathe build up in the liver and tissues of the body.
Weak digestion, due to lack of exercise and bad food also makes toxins build-up in the system. Regular consumption of processed foods, leftovers and heavy foods cooked without spices causes semi-digested material (ama) to accumulate in the body and to slowly become chemically a charged toxin (amavisha).
Toxic emotions, skipping or delaying meals and type-A behavior all create reactive toxins (amavisha) immediately in the system.
Electromagnetic radiation (indravajravijanyavisha), disturbs the subtle vibrational intelligence of the body, weakening digestion and metabolism, constricting the channels of elimination and creating a cascade of chemical toxicity in the body.
All of these toxins place a heavy load on the liver and kidneys. If the liver gets backed up with toxins, and toxins spill over into the blood and tissues of the body, the immune system can easily become overtaxed and confused.
The highly reactive nature of amavisha (free-radicals and strongly acidic toxins) easily damages or kills normal cells in the body, which the immune system then has to clean up. If there is a great abundance of toxins floating in the blood, the effects of these reactive toxins on the tissues will be widespread, and the immune system will become overactive in its attempt to maintain order. This is a fertile ground for acquired intolerances.
What is acquired food intolerances?
When you combine an overactive immune system with poor digestion and metabolism, acquired food intolerances are a natural result. When a person with an overactive immune system eats certain foods that he or she has trouble digesting, such as wheat or milk, the body produces ama (semi-digested material). All of us produce this kind of amawhen we cannot digest something well. But for a person with an overactive immune system, the particles of ama(thick, heavy, sticky material) are immediately attacked by the immune system, which gives an allergic reaction.
So, nowadays the WHO recognizes Asthma as a major public health problem caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Various trigger factors such as dust, fumes and pollen grains along with genetic factors have been studied and investigated which have immensely helped in managing the disease. The pathogenic mechanisms of asthma include the infiltration of leukocytes and release of cytokines in the respiratory tract resulting ultimately into a transient obstructive pulmonary disorder.
Modern management of Asthma includes prevention by avoiding exposure to the triggering factors and pharmacologic intervention. Asthma being a chronic inflammatory disease of airways with unheralded acute attacks requires specific medications classified into fast-acting and long-acting categories. The most commonly used antiasthmatic drugs are – salbutamol, terbutaline, theophylline, tiotropium bromide, montelukast, corticosteroids etc. These synthetic drugs are used to treat acute symptoms of bronchial asthma as well as for long term control to prevent exacerbations. Yet these have safety issues especially when employed for long term use due to their various adverse effects. In this scenario, use of herbal medications as documented in Ayurveda for Swasa Roga can prove helpful in form of adjuvant or maybe even as primary therapy for asthma. Many related research works has been carried out in this direction using traditional medicine with encouraging results.
In Ayurveda, the prognosis of Tamaka Swasa, a disease of prana vaha srotas (according to Vagbhat, “Prana vaha srotas’ chief organs are hridaya (the heart) and maha srotas (alimentary tract), is said to be sadhya (curable) in its initial stage of onset if diagnosed and treated promptly. Otherwise as time elapses it becomes yapya (a disease controlled only by regular use of medicine). Further, its Ayurvedic line of treatment includes Vamana and Virecana (Sodhana Chikitsha) followed by Pathya, Dhumapaana of medicated drugs, Leha and other Shamana Chikitsha. Shamana Chikitsha is a therapy of Panchakarma ayurvedic treatment (https://www.vedichealers.com/), which is also known as palliative type of treatment.