Introduction: Air pollution has been a topic of public health concern worldwide. Air pollution has various substantial adverse effects on the health of humans. Bad air quality can induce asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), increasing respiratory morbidity and mortality. The effect of air pollution depends on factors like type and mix of pollutants, their concentration and the amount of pollutants that get into the lungs. Various types of air pollutants are:
- Particulate matter (irritate and damage airways)
- Nitrogen dioxide (irritate airways and flare up asthma or copd)
- Sulfur dioxide (flares up asthma)
- Ozone (reduce air lung capacity)
Effects of air pollution:
- Airways irritation
- Shortness or difficulty in breathing
- Flare up asthma attacks
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Aggravated cardiovascular illnesses
- Lung cancer
Who are at risk:
- People with heart disease
- People with lung disease like asthma, COPD etc
- Children under 14 years
- Elderly and old people
- Pregnant women
- Athlete who exercise vigorously outside
Ayurveda while mentioning about the causative factors of air pollution emphasis on the human activities that produce impurities in the environment. And this was so explained some 2500 years ago. “Janpadodwamsa” is the title given to the unhealthy environment due to adharma (disharmony with nature). They mentioned four elements which are polluted by humans: vayu (air), jal (water), desh (land) and kala (time or season). Kala being the most powerful of all causing disaster. In Janpadodwamsa, person having distinct prakriti (constitution), deha (body), Aahara (diet), bala (strength), mana(mind), satmya (suitableness), vaya (age) are being suffered by the toxic pollutants.
Ancient protocols by Ayurveda to manage toxic air effects:
Rasayana are the herbs that are immunomodulator as well as rejuvenators to maintain overall health. Rasayan strengthens the immune system and provides proper nourishment to body tissues. It helps in delaying the aging process, increases longevity, increases intelligence and builds resistance power against diseases. Some rasayana herbs are:
Guduchi (Tinospora Cordifolia)
Amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica)
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)
Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza Glabra)
Dhupana karma (Fumigation) with herbs to purify surrounding air:
there are plenty of herbs that are helpful in purifying toxic air and improves the quality of breathing air. Some drugs used for fumigation are:
Guggulu (Commiphora Mukul)
Vacha (Acorus calamus)
Nimba (Azadirachta indica)
Haritaki (Terminalia chebula)
Kutha (Saussurea lappa)
Sarsapa (Brassica campestris)
Ghrita (cow ghee)
Nasya karma in panchakarma procedure in which the medicine is given through nasal route. It used to prevent allergies caused by pollutants in the air. It flushes out the toxins and prevents them from crossing the nasal pathway.
Herbs useful to combat air pollution:
- Haridra (curcumin): Haridra contains powerful antioxidants and anti allergic properties that strengthen the respiratory system. One can take regular turmeric milk or can take 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric mixed with cow ghee or honey.
- Tulsi (basil): tulsi is another powerful herb that fights infections and pollutant effects and strengthens the respiratory system. One can simply chew 2-3 tulsi leaves or take it with ginger juice and honey or can drink tulsi decoction or tulsi tea.
- Trikatu: three herbs that come under trikatu are Ginger, Black Pepper and Pipli. These herbs are very good for the respiratory system. It clears the respiratory passage. One can take trikatu powder with lukewarm water or honey.
- Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and has the quality to remove mucus, reducing lung damage.
- Triphala: triphala is the amalgam of three herbs amla, harad and baheda. Triphala reduces inflammation in the lungs and reduces the histamine release.
Managing respiratory health with Chandigarh Ayurved Centre:
1. Kapha Sachet:
The powder contains a mixture of herbal ingredients which are mainly made for the treatment of asthma. Their properties generally balance the vata and kapha dosha. The sachet contains ingredients like – Sitopaladi churna, Abhrak bhasma, Laxmi vilas ras, Godanti bhasma, etc. It is used mainly in chronic cough, whooping cough and trouble breathing. It also relieves congestion of chest, sore throat. The ingredients loosen the mucus accumulated in the chest thus making it easy to cough it out. Its main therapeutic effects appear on lungs, pleura, and airways.
Recommended Dosage – Take 1 Sachet twice a day with normal water.
2. Swas Kas Chintamani Ras:
Swas Kas Chintamani Ras is an Ayurvedic medicine in tablet form, used in the treatment of respiratory diseases. This medicine should be used under medical supervision. This medicine is most commonly used in north Indian Ayurvedic practice. These tablets are pure Ayurvedic preparation which contains pure herbal ingredients like swarna bhasma, shuddha parad, shuddha gandhak, swarnamakshik, abhrak, loha bhasma, yashtimadhu, kantakari, etc. It is used in the treatment of cough, cold, bronchitis, asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic bronchitis.
Recommended dosage: Take 1 tablet twice daily.
3. Anu Tailam:
Anu tailam is herbal and ayurvedic oil used for the nasal installation for curing various diseases. It is administered through the nasal passage to lubricate, protect and calm the mind. It includes – Sesame oil, Bael tree root, Solanum root, Cinnamon stem bark, Holostemma tuber, cardamom fruit, etc. It mainly balances the Kapha dosha and is beneficial in diseases of head, brain, face, nose, and eyes. Its use is generally recommended in chronic headaches, problems of migraine, sinusitis, improves the voice, and vocal cords. Anu tailam gives effective results to asthma patients.
Recommended Dosage – Put 2-3 drops of Anu tailam in each nostril.
4. Broncho care syrup:
Broncho care is ayurvedic syrup containing ingredients such as Vasa patra (Adhatoda vasica), Kantkari (Solanum surattense), Mulethi (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Bharangi (Clerodendrum serratum), Chitrakmool (Plumbago zeylanica), Sonth (Zingiber officinale), Pippali (Piper longum), etc. It is mainly used in chronic cough, bronchitis, whooping cough, common cold, etc.
Recommended Dosage – Take 2 teaspoons twice a day.
5. Cough Go Tablets:
These herbal tablets are beneficial in cough, cold, bronchitis, & other respiratory disorders. Cough Go Tablets are ayurvedic formulations containing Sonth (Zingiber officinale), Mulethi (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Pippali (Piper longum), Kali mirch (Piper nigrum), etc. All these ingredients show antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, & expectorant properties.
Recommended Dosage – Take 1 tablet twice a day with normal water.
6. Kantha Sudharak Vati:
The ingredients used for the preparation of the Kantha sudharak vati are Mulethi (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Karpura (Cinnamomum camphora), Ela (Elettaria cardamomum), Lavang (Syzygium aromaticum), Javitri (Myristica fragrans), Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi).This is prepared from soothing and expectorant herbs thus relief all throat problems. It gives very effective results in chronic laryngitis, bronchitis and asthma.
Recommended Dosage– Take 2 tablets thrice a day.
Dr. Vaidya Karanvir Singh is the younger Vaidya in Chandigarh Ayurved & Panchakarma Centre. He is the fourth generation in his family who is practicing as a general consultant in Ayurved & Panchakarma treatment at Chandigarh. In his practice, he had treated more than 1 Lakh Plus patients worldwide.