COUGH – A VIEW IN AYURVEDA
Cough is a reflex mechanism that constitutes of sudden expulsion of air which helps in eliminating foreign particles from the breathing passages and lungs. Common triggers are- viruses (irritate the lungs), allergies (lung tissues overreact), irritants like cold air, cigarette smoke, strong perfumes, etc, Acid reflux, postnasal drip.
A doctor’s attention is required immediately if it gets associated with breathing difficulties, chest pain, heartburn, coughing up blood, fever, or night sweats.
Common diseases where cough is a symptom includes- Flu/ influenza, Pneumonia, whooping cough, bronchitis, sinusitis, heart failure, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, Lung cancer.
DESCRIPTION OF COUGH IN AYURVEDIC PERSPECTIVES
In Ayurveda, cough is called KAASA. Vata dosha is expelled through mouth producing a broken bronze vessel sound. It is considered as an independent disease as well as an associated symptom in many other diseases. Kaasa may be accompanied by symptoms like pain and discomfort in the chest, head, dryness of mouth, diminution of strength, bitter taste in the mouth, expectoration of yellow or whitish sputum, fever, anorexia, itching in the body.
HOW AYURVEDA MANAGES COUGH?
-Avoid the cause.
– Purificatory therapies- emesis, purgation, oil enemas
– Palliative therapies- Internal medicines. Dhooma, dhoopa
- Purificatory therapies depending upon the dosha helps in treating the condition from its root. The basic pathology will be tackled and thus an individual finds relief from his complaints. When there is excessive mucus and the cough is productive in nature, Vamana and Virechana benefit the patient. When there is little mucus and cough is drier in nature, Sneha basti is beneficial.
- Palliative therapy includes internal medicines in the form of decoctions, pills, Aasavas, and Arishtas(fermented preparations) and also mineral preparations.
Herbs of choice in KAASA are-
Vaasa(ADATHODA VASICA), Kantakaari(SOLANUM XANTHOCARPUM), Trikatu(PIPER LONGUM, PIPER NIGRUM, ZINGIBER OFFICINALE), Yashtimadhu(GLYCYRRHIZA GLABRA), Shrunga Bhasma(Powder of horns.
For fumigation as well as inhalation (depends upon the type of Kaasa)-
Maricha(PIPER NIGRUM), Vamsha vruksha (BAMBOO), Pippali(PIPER LONGUM, Twak (CINNAMON), Bruhati(SOLANUM VIOLACEUM ), Karpasa(GOSSYPIUM HERBACEUM ), Vacha (ACHORUS CALAMUS), Haridra(CURCUMA LONGA), Vasa Patra
These drugs can be mixed with ghee and smoke can be inhaled to reduce cough.
Diet can include Kulattha yusha (Gruel of horse gram), mulaka yusha(Raddish), drumsticks. Milk processed with turmeric is beneficial rather than plain milk. Honey is sometimes beneficial when the cough is productive. However, in all conditions, hot water is best advised.
Immunity boosters– Guduchi, Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu, Tulasi, Amla in the form of Tea, or with honey strengthens the immune system to naturally fight against the invading foreign organisms and makes body no reactant to allergens.