Bronchitis is a respiratory disease in which the mucus membrane in the lungs' bronchial passages becomes inflamed.
As the irritated membrane swells and grows thicker, it narrows or shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs, resulting in coughing spells that may be accompanied by phlegm and breathlessness. The disease comes in two forms: acute (lasting from one to three weeks) and chronic (lasting at least 3 months of the year for two years in a row).
Bronchial asthma is known as tamaka svassa in Ayurveda. This medical science emphasises on gastro-intestinal factors apart from the respiratory afflictions to be the cause for bronchial asthma. That is why in the preliminary stage of the disease or just before its onset, the patient complains of indigestion, constipation or diarrhoea.
It is mainly a kapha syndrome, though differentiation of humoural types also exists. In other words, bronchial asthma can be from any of the three humours—vaata, pitta or kapha. Most often, the disease is kapha in nature.
Vaata type asthma, is characterised by dry cough and wheezing. Additional symptoms are thirst, dry mouth, dry skin, constipation, anxiety and craving for warm drinks. Attacks occur predominantly at vaata time—dawn and dusk.
Pitta type asthma is characterised by cough and wheezing with yellow phlegm. Other symptoms are fever, sweating, irritability and need for cool air. Attacks are at pitta time—noon and midnight. Kapha type asthma is characterised by cough and wheezing with abundant clear or white phlegm. The lungs are often congested producing a whistling sound. Attacks are at kapha time—morning and evening.
• Eat the largest meal of the day at lunch, between 12:00 and 1:00 PM, when your digestion is strongest. The sun-- the heat element in nature-- enlivens agni, the fire of digestion and metabolism, making our digestion strongest at the height of the day. Ayurveda recommends eating the largest meal when you are most capable of digesting it.
• Avoid eating heavy meals in the evening. The single biggest contribution to toxins and clogging in the body comes from eating heavy evening meals, particularly after 7 PM. Since digestion is much weaker in the evening, it is vital to eat lighter, more easily digested meals at that time. Eat a warm, freshly cooked vegetarian evening meal without fried foods, desserts, cheese, yogurt or other curdled products, since these are heavy for digestion and cause more blockage, congestion and mucous.
• Eat warm food. Warm food is much easier to digest than cold food. Ayurveda recommends we eat fresh warm food, freshly prepared. Avoid micro-waving, which has been shown to destroy over 90% of the protective antioxidants in the food. Also, avoid cold drinks, ice cream, frozen yogurt and other cold foods.
• Avoid leftovers. Once food has been heated and then gets put back in the refrigerator it becomes hard to digest and very clogging in nature.
• Avoid excessively hot spices, sour and acidic foods. These foods are irritating to the body and promote inflammation, according to Ayurveda. Many people experience their allergies become worse when they eat foods with chilis, tomato sauces, hard or aged cheeses, refined sugar and sweets, and acidic foods. Bell pepper, eggplant and potato should also be avoided due to their channel-clogging effects.
• Do include detoxifying spices in your daily diet. Turmeric in particular has anti-allergy, immune-balancing effects. Coriander helps to detoxify on a cellular level; fennel cools and balances; ginger helps the digestion and dissolves ama, and black pepper clears the channels and increases bioavailability of nutrients. Make a spice mixture of 6 parts fennel, cumin and coriander, 4 parts turmeric and 1 part each of ginger and black pepper. Freshly grind the spices, sauté them in a pan without oil until lightly browned, and put in a small airtight container. Carry them with you and sprinkle _ to 1 tsp. on your food at each meal, and cook with them when at home.
• Do sip boiled warm or hot water about every half hour during the day around the change of seasons, to help your body purify and to support good digestion.