Asthma is a chronic disorder in which there is inflammation of the bronchial tubes causing variable airflow obstruction. It affects the airway that carries air to and from our lungs.
Swelling and inflammation makes the airway extremely sensitive to irritation and increases susceptibility to an allergic reaction. As inflammation causes the airway to become narrower, less air can pass through them, both to and from lungs.
These airways carry oxygen to the blood, and the length of the severity of an attack can be fatal. Physiologically, it is a complex cascade of conditions and interactions that lead to acute airflow obstruction, increased mucus production, bronchial hyper-responsiveness, and airway inflammation.
Each of these interactions and their manifestations can be slightly different depending on the individual and can even vary in severity in the same individual due to their internal physiological environment and external factors. It is these physiologic interactions that result in the wheezing and breathing difficulties that the individual experiences and we call asthma.
“The clinical characteristics of asthma are defined as the occurrence of symptoms and the presence of airway obstruction, inflammation, and hyperresponsiveness”.
According to the etiology, bronchial asthma is divided into the following groups:
Allergic (extrinsic/ atopic) Asthma – This type of asthma usually starts in childhood and is often preceded by eczema. But most of the young adults (<35 yrs) developing asthma also fall in this category. Genetic factors also play a significant role in i this. In this type of asthma, the allergen leads to the production of excessive (IgE) immunoglobulins. Infective or Intrinsic Asthma – This is not hereditary or allergic, but may be caused by, or at least associated with upper respiratory tract or bronchial infection which is usually viral.
Emotional Asthma – Psychological factors (like anxiety, emotional stress etc) are often considered to be the sole cause of some asthmatic attacks, but it is still not certain whether it can be the sole cause or is only a precipitating factor.
Occupational asthma – This can occur in certain industries in which there is exposure to metallic dusts (esp. platinum salts), biological detergents, toluene diisocyanate, polyurethane, flour and dust from grains etc.
Whatever may be the cause, it ultimately leads to paroxysms of bronchial obstruction produced by widespread bronchial spasm accentuated by plugging of the bronchi with excessive mucus.
Symptoms of asthma can be summarized as:
• Shortness of breath
• Chest tightness
• Rapid pulse
• Shallow breathing
• Feeling of suffocation
• Cold extremities
• Short inspiration
• Prolonged expiration
HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT FOR ASTHMA
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc.
While dealing with a case of asthma, a homeopath not only records the symptoms of the disease but also studies the medical history, family history, physical and psychological characteristics of a person. This helps to find the cause, the precipitating factors, and the hereditary tendency, etc. Of special interest to a homeopath is the history of suppression of skin disease.
The fact that in children asthma is often preceded by eczema is observed by the allopaths also. This fact is written in all their textbooks of medicine. They say that children often ‘move-out’ of eczema and ‘move-into’ asthma. But they are unable to make a correlation. Homeopaths believe that the suppression of eczema with topical preparations, does not cure the disease/sensitivity of the person, it merely drives it inwards.
HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINES FOR ASTHMA
Aconite, Kali Carb, Thuja, Natrum Sulph, Belladonna, Ipecac, Aspidosperma, Blatta O, Kali Bi, Kali Phos, Sulphur, Lycopodium, Lachesis, Arsenic Album, Bryonia, Antim Tart, Medorrhinum and many other medicines.
Aconite – excellent remedy during acute attacks of asthma, which will ease the breathing and cough. Symptoms of dyspnoea are often accompanied by marked anxiety, fear, and restlessness.
Arsenic alb – Asthma with great anxiety and restlessness, often worse around midnight and lying down, better by sitting up and warm drinks.
Antimonium tart – is a good asthma remedy for children and the elderly especially useful when asthma has been caused by an infection. The cough will have coarse rattling in the chest on both inspiration and expiration. The patient will be worse lying down and at night generally. They may be irritable and want to be left alone.
Aralia racemosa: Cough associated with constriction of chest, worse lying down, after the first sleep, has to sit up and cough violently; asthma, with oppression as from a weight on stomach, worse night on lying down, better by raising a little tough mucus.
Ephedra vulgaris: Mother tincture is used to control asthmatic attack; in reduced doses, it is also helpful in pulmonary heart disease.
Ipecac -Asthma patients who suffer from coughing spasms resulting in vomiting or retching. Cough with violent wheezing; chest feels full of phlegm, but does not come out on coughing; acts well in cases of asthma in children, the child becomes stiff with a blue face.
Kali carb – this remedy often indicated when the attack comes at night, after midnight, from 2 to 4 am. Symptoms worse from 3.AM – 5 AM; pain in chest with dry hard cough; scanty, offensive and tenacious cough; wheezing ameliorated in warm weather.
Belladonna – this remedy works when there are violent spasms of asthmatic breathing attended by constriction of chest. Redness of face during an acute bout of cough.
Blatta orientalis – It is often used as palliative. Complaints get worse in the rainy season, cough with much pus-like mucus.
Pothos foetidus: Asthma worse from any inhalation of dust.
Pulsatilla – Cough with green discharge. The patient must sit up during the crisis and is better for fresh open air. Even fanning may help them feel better. Rich oily food aggravates.
Natrum sulph. – attacks during wet weather or in the rainy season. This remedy acts well when the patient gets attacks every change of season. Cough is relieved by holding chest by hands; asthma with bronchitis; humid asthma; attacks in the morning with a loose and copious cough.
Cuprum met – cough with a gurgling sound, relieved by drinking cold water; vomiting of cough; attacks of suffocation aggravates 3 AM and cold weather.
Thuja – asthma in children; face become pale, sickly, and shiny; asthma following vaccination.