Bronchitis is an inflammation or swelling of the bronchial tubes (bronchi) the main air passage (large and medium-sized airways), between the nose and the lungs.
More specifically, bronchitis describes a condition where the lining of the bronchial tubes becomes inflamed or swelled. Individual with bronchitis have a reduced ability to breathe in air and oxygen into the lungs and problem of forming heavy mucus or phlegm in the airways.
Bronchitis may be sub-categorised into, Acute and Chronic and it remains for a long time and often recurs.
Acute bronchitis usually has a cough that lasts around three weeks. Acute bronchitis, also known as a chest cold, is short term inflammation of the bronchi of the lungs Acute bronchitis usually follows some viral respiratory infections. These viruses may be spread through the air or droplet infections usually when people cough or by direct contact. People who have history of smoking or exposure to smoke, dust or pollution are at great risk to get acute bronchitis infection. Acute bronchitis can be contagious, however, acute bronchitis caused by exposure to pollutants, tobacco smoke and other chemicals is not contagious.
Chronic bronchitis is defined as a productive cough that lasts for three months or more and occurs every year atleast for two years. Most people with chronic bronchitis have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Tobacco smoking is the most common cause, with a number of other factors such as air pollution, weak immune systems, old age and those who are exposed to irritants at work such as chemical fumes from ammonia, chlorine, hydrogen sulphide, sulphur dioxide etc and genetics playing a smaller role. Continuous coughing causes discomfort and damage to the lungs and airways.
According to ayurveda any disease is caused by the existence of a favourable environment for the disease causing organism. Due to a poor lifestyle and wrong eating habits the body loses its immunity and become susceptible to various diseases. According to ayurveda, poor diet and life style regimen causes poor digestion that leads to accumulation of toxins in the body. These accumulated toxins start vitiating the doshas. When the doshas get vitiated especially vata and kapha, then they start circulating in the whole body through the blood stream, causes imbalance in the nervous system, disruption of the biological rhythm. Finally, these circulating vitiated doshas reach the lungs and get lodge there itself and in the respiratory tract manifesting symptoms.
In ayurveda bronchitis is correlated with one of the types of Kasa or swasapranali sotha.
Bronchitis is caused by the inflammation of the bronchial tubes, by viruses, bacteria and other irritant particles. Repeated attacks of infections and irritants weaken and irritate bronchial lining over time, can result in severe symptoms.
Causes of acute bronchitis
Bronchitis is usually caused by viral infection.
Acute bronchitis is normally caused by viruses, typically those that also cause colds and flu.
It can also be caused by bacterial infection and exposure to substances that irritate the linning of the lungs and respiratory tract, such as tobacco, smoke, dust, fumes, vapors and air pollution.
Causes of chronic bronchitis
Chronic bronchitis is caused by repeated irritation and damage of the lung and airway tissue. Smoking is the most common causes of chronic bronchitis, with other causes including long-term exposure to air pollution, dust and fumes from the environment, and repeated episodes of acute bronchitis.
Signs and symptoms for both acute and chronic bronchitis include:
- Persistent cough, which may produce mucus
- shortness of breath
- Low fever and chills
- Chest tightening or discomfort
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Blocked nose and sinuses.
Bronchitis is characterized by persistent coughing.
Physical examination: On physical examination, whistling sound will be listening during breathing. This is the probable sign for the bronchitis. Apart from the complete medical history, personal history including allergic and habit history is necessary for making the diagnoses.
Clinically investigations needed are:
- X-Ray – It helps to diagnose certain conditions like pneumonia or other, that may explain the cause of cough.
- Sputum test – It helps to check Tuberculosis, whooping cough or any other related illness.
- Pulmonary function test – This helps to check the signs of asthma and certain other allergic manifestations. In this, the flow of air in and out the lungs are checked with the help of an instrument called Spirometer.
- Blood examination: CBC (complete blood count), ESR, etc
Ayurvedic treatments focus on not just curing the ailment but maintaining and restoring the natural viability of thr body. Ayurveda work on the root cause of the disease. Once the disease gets diagnosed, then ayurveda utilizes many approaches like herbal medicines, dietary changes, yoga, oil massages and meditation in treating the disease.
So, according to ayurveda bronchitis develops due to many imbalances, including poor nutrition, poor digestion, accumulation of toxins resulting in poor circulation, and lowered immunity. The first step is to remove the toxins from the body, especially from the respiratory system with the help of purification processes called Panchakarma therapy.
The next step is to open the channels of circulation so that the system gets maximum nourishment. For this, ayurvedic massages are there which helps a lot in increasing the circulation in the body which ultimately leads to rich nourishment to every cell of the body.
Along with panchakarma therapies, there are several ayurvedic medicines available, which helps in improving the symptoms, and restores the health naturally.
Meditation and certain yogas helps in maintaining the balance of body and mind, by removing the imbalances of the doshas especially tha vata dosha, whhch is the prime factor for maintaining the stability of the nervous system. Yoga allows more oxygen to enter the lungs thereby increasing its capacity.
Panchakarma procedures beneficial are:
- Vamana karma with, vacha choorna, yashtimadhu choorna, madanaphala pippali etc.
- Laghu snigdha virechana especially with any type of eranda taila.
- upnaha sweda (poultices) with herbal drugs
- some type of medicated smoke inhalations (dhoompana) are beneficial
Herbal medicines effective in bronchitis are:
- Silopaladi Churna
- Talisadi choorna
- Trikatu choorna
- Panchakola choorna
- Abhrak bhasma
- Shring bhasma
- Swaskuthar rasa
- Swasakasachintamani rasa
- Kasachintamani rasa
- Bharingi chooorna
- Rasa Sindur
- Pravala Pisthi
- Kaphaketu Rasa
- Shringyadi Churna.
- Khadiradi Vati
Home Remedies for Bronchitis:
- Haridra choorna (turmeric powder) is the most common and quite effective home remedy for bronchitis. One teaspoon haridra choorna with luke warm milk or water twice or thrice a day relieves symptoms of bronchitis.
- Take fresh ginger and extract the juice from it. Take about 4-5 spoons of juice and mix with 2-3 spoon of honey. Take this suspension 3-4 times a day. It provides good soothing effect from dry cough.
- Take equal amounts of dried ginger, black pepper, and long pepper (pippali). Now powder them all. This collectively called as Trikatu choorna in classics. Take this mixture thrice daily with honey or luke warm water.
- Juice of vasa (Adhatoda vasica) may be taken thrice daily, in two teaspoonful doses.
- Two teaspoonfuls of honey daily for few days followed by hot water intake, also relieves the symptoms.
- During the acute attack steam inhalation of the yashtimadhu or mulethi ksheerapaka (steam coming from the decoction prepared out of glichiriza glabra and milk) should be inhaled. It provides significant relief.
- Apply eucalyptus oil over the chest. This will provide warmth ness and ease the chest from congestion.
- Boil water with leaves of tulsi. Use this for thepurpose of gargles and drinking repeatedly throughout the day.
- Curd, pickles etc sour substances should be strictly avoided.
- Fruits like banana, guava should be avoided.
- Potato, rice etc should also be avoided.
- Avoid smoking and consumption of liquor should be reduced to the minimum.
- Vigorous and staining exercises should be avoided.
- Avoid exposure to cold and damp weather.
- All the cold beverages like cold drinks, cold milk, coffee etc should be avoided.
- As the children are more sensitive, extra care should be given to them.
Bronchitis is a disease of respiratory system, characterised by persistent cough.
- Bronchitis is mainly caused by infections such as viral, bacterial etc or by some irritants or allergens that irritate the bronchial tubes.
- Acute bronchitis is a short-term illness that often follows a cold or viral infection.
- Chronic bronchitis is a long-term illness and can be the result of environmental factors, allergens or extended illness.
- Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis.
- Certain Occupations like farming or agriculture, where the exposure to pesticides or dust is associated with an increased risk of chronic bronchitis.
- X-ray chest, blood tests, Pulmonary function test are commonly used to diagnose bronchitis.
- Bronchitis shares many symptoms with the common cold, such as coughing, mucus production and blocked or running nose.
- Acute bronchitis some times require no active treatment and get cured without any direct treatment.
- There are many ways to reduce the risk of developing bronchitis, like:
- By removing the source of irritation to the lungs – for example, by quit smoking
- Using a humidifier – this can loosen mucus and relieve limited airflow and wheezing
- Yoga and breathing Exercise – this will strengthen the muscles involved in breathing.