Difficulty in breathing, caused partly by kapha and partly by váyu, is the symptom of this disease. The attack is usually felt towards the end of the night.
Causes: When the fine bronchial tubes through which air flows to the lungs become full of phlegm or mucus due to weakness of the glands connected to the Anáhata Cakra,(1) the passage of air becomes obstructed. Due to contraction of the weak bronchial tubes, the carbon dioxide of the body cannot come out as it should, and that poisonous gas, trapped in the body, is to a large extent responsible for the breeding of disease germs.
The weakening of the glands connected to the Anáhata Cakra cannot alone be responsible for permanent respiratory trouble. When weakness of the glands related to the Mańipura Cakra(2) – as a primary cause – and of those related to the Vishuddha Cakra(3) – as a secondary cause – is added to the weakness of the glands of the Anáhata Cakra, then only does a respiratory disease express itself. If, due to weakness of the digestive fluids, the blood gets contaminated by acids, or if one is suffering from constipation, then different organs of the body also become weak. In such a condition, due to weakness of the lungs, the nervous system controlling the lungs also suffers from debility and finally the bronchial tubes as well become weak. That is the time when asthma becomes fully manifest.
Treatment: Morning – Utkśepa Mudrá, Naokásana, Padahastásana, Matsyendrásana and Váyavii Mudrá. Vyápaka Snána should be taken at morning and noon.
Evening – Sarváuṋgásana, Pashcimottánásana, Yogamudrá, Bhastrikásana and Ud́d́ayana Mudrá.
Diet: For breakfast patients should eat local sweet or sour fruits, or meoyá fruits soaked in water for a few hours. A little lemon juice should be consumed a number of times during the day. The patient should never completely fill the stomach. The bowels should be cleared carefully, because constipation aggravates asthma. As for food, a small quantity of hot boiled rice or rut́i, together with sufficient leafy-vegetable soup, milk, curd (yogurt) or curd-water should be used. In fact all alkaline foods are beneficial in this disease. Ghee, oil, rice, pulses, rut́is, and all non-vegetarian foods are acidic, therefore the less these are taken the better.
Dos and don’ts: Milk should be the main drink for asthma patients. It is better for them to finish the evening meal as early as possible, certainly by an hour and a half after sunset, that is, by 7:30 or 8 PM, because it will keep the stomach light, having digested the food well before dawn. Then acute asthmatic spasms cannot occur. Remember that asthmatic spasms cannot occur when one’s stomach hungers for food, so in a severe attack of asthma, the more one fasts, the better.
Asthma patients should strictly abstain from all sorts of intoxicants. Anyone who drinks less than three-fourths seer of milk a day should not drink even one cup of tea. Also, all non-vegetarian types of food are to rejected.
For a person who cannot avoid eating non-vegetarian food, a little soup of small and freshly-caught fish is permissible. In those countries where it is almost impossible to obtain vegetarian types of food, patients should use myrobalan or some other laxative agent after meals in order to save themselves from constipation. Sweet and fried foods are also harmful for asthma patients. In summer, winter and in all seasons, patients should take a long walk in the open air.
Some remedies: 1. Excellent results can be achieved if the patient takes one tola of the branch roots of white punarnavá ground together in river water with 2 1/2 pieces of black pepper. Do this on an empty stomach while sitting facing north, on any Monday, after bathing.
2. Boil 5 tolas of cow’s ghee in a káṋsá pot. In another pot heat 2-1/2 tolas of ginger extract, and mix it into the boiled ghee and cover with a káṋsá plate. When the mixture has stopped simmering, take about 2 tolas and pour it into 1/8 seer of hot milk and give it to the asthma patient to drink when his/her suffering is acute. Plenty of mucus and phlegm will immediately be brought up, and the patient will feel relieved. If the mixture can be taken continuously for fifteen days, the disease will be completely cured.
3. Catch a frog and take out its heart. Cut the heart into four parts. For four consecutive mornings, after having a bath, eat one piece together with a banana on a completely empty stomach. It will bring good results.
4. Catch 6 or 7 cockroaches and boil them in half a seer of water. When the water has boiled down to 1/8 seer (10 tolas), strain it carefully and drink it hot twice a day, 5 tolas each time. This relieves asthma. 5. Burn a peacock feather to ashes and take 1/16 tola of the ashes by slowly licking with honey. This will relieve the suffering of asthma within a short time. 6. Aged raw cane sugar and pure mustard oil mixed in equal quantities (preferably one tola each), if taken by licking them each day early in the morning for twenty-one days continuously on an empty stomach, will give excellent results in asthma.