Bronchitis is the inflammation of the air passages between the nose and the lungs. It may also include the trachea and the windpipe and also the larger air tubes of the lungs that bring in air from the trachea. The interior linings of the bronchial tubes swell thereby reducing their effective diameter. Due to this the amount of air passing through the trachea into the lungs is reduced and so does the amount of waste gas coming from the lungs. This triggers the production of thicker mucous which further blocks the air passages. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. Acute bronchitis is of short duration and is cured within two weeks while chronic bronchitis persists for much longer duration.
When chronic bronchitis proceeds breathing may become more difficult and you may feel tightness in your chest. Due to breathing difficulties less oxygen is inhaled into your body. This may cause your lips and body to turn blue and cause overall tiredness. In the advanced stages you will get chest pains and your feet and ankles may become swollen. Many tend to lose weight and have trouble sleeping. The damaged lungs may force the heart to work harder leading to its failure.
Many causes have been suggested for bronchitis like influenza virus A and B, bacteria like the Mycoplasma pneumoniae, lung irritants like fumes, dusts, chemical solvents, smoking. When a cough brings up large quantities of yellow, green or discolored mucus for more than three months of a year, then a case of bronchitis can be suspected. The main symptoms accompanying an upper respiratory tract infection may include: sore throat, chest congestion, soreness or burning sensation in the chest, fullness of the sinus, wheezing, breathlessness, slight fever, frequent cold or flu.
According to ayurveda bronchitis develops due to many imbalances in the human body including poor nutrition, poor digestion, accumulation of toxins resulting in poor circulation, imbalance in the nervous system, disruption of the biological rhythm and lowered immunity. The first step is to remove the toxins from the respiratory system. This involves loosening the impurities embedded in the trachea and helping them to liquefy so as to allow smooth elimination. The next step is to open the channels of circulation so that the system gets maximum nourishment. Massage increases the circulation in the body and helps remove any impurities present in the tissues. Another important point is regarding nutrition. The food must be highly nutritious as well as easily digestible. Excess bananas, sugar, white flour, processed foods, milk and dairy products- all have mucus forming tendency. One should also avoid coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol as they tend to take away fluid from the body. Drinking water in sufficient quantity is a must for any bronchial patient. One should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet.
Meditation removes vata imbalance, which is the physiological basis for the stability of the nervous system. Yoga allows more oxygen to enter the lungs thereby increasing its vascularity. Ayurveda has many remedies for treating bronchitis. Tulsi or Holy Basil is one such wonderful medicine. Chewing two or three basil leaves is the best way to keep away bronchitis. It is also used in many ayurvedic preparations. Another primary herb used in the treatment of bronchitis is Adhatoda. It can either be chewed in raw form or mixed with tulsi or ginger as done in various ayurvedic formulations. The main active components in it include the alkaloids vasicinone and vasicine which act as antispasmodic. Coprid is another formulation containing Adhatoda. There are many other ayurvedic supplements for bronchitis like vasavaleh, talisadi churna, kantakaryavaleha,
kanakas, karpooradi choorna etc.