Dr. Zubin S Dehmeri, MD(Hom.)
Prevalence of asthma
100-150 million people around the globe are suffering from asthma according to World Health Organization (WHO). 15-20 million asthmatics are there in India.
Worldwide 180,000 people die of asthma annually.
Asthma is the chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that causes periodic attacks of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Asthma can occur at all age groups but usually starts in childhood.
The pathophysiology of asthma is complex and involves airway inflammation, intermittent airflow obstruction, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness. Asthma is associated with mast cells, eosinophils, and T lymphocytes. Mast cells release chemicals like histamine which in turn causes nasal stuffiness and dripping in cold or hay fever, constriction of airway in asthma, and itching in skin allergy. These cells along with other inflammatory cells cause airway inflammation leading to airway hyperresponsiveness and obstruction leading to symptoms of asthma.
What causes asthma?
Exposure especially in infancy to indoor allergens (such as mites in bedding and carpets stuffed furniture, cats and cockroaches)
- Family history of asthma and allergy.
- Viral respiratory tract infections
- Weather changes (cold air)
- Exercise, hyperventilation
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Chronic sinusitis or rhinitis
- Aspirin or NSAID hypersensitivity, sulfite sensitivity
- Use of beta-adrenergic receptor blockers (including ophthalmic preparations)
- Occupational exposure
- Irritants (e.g., household sprays, paint fumes)
- Emotional factors or stress
Allergies are strongly associated with asthma such as chronic sinusitis, rhinitis, nasal polyps, middle ear infections, and eczema.
What are the treatment options in modern medicine?
It is a chronic condition requiring continuous medical care. Treatment includes long term medications to control inflammation of airways and prevent the symptoms and attacks. If symptoms do appear short-term medications (inhaled short-acting beta2-agonists) are used to relieve them. Also important is to avoid asthma triggers. Each person should learn to avoid those triggers that can lead to acute attack of asthma.
Role of homeopathy
Homoeopathy, how it works?
Homeopathy is a science based on laws of similar, which means it treats the disease with medicines producing similar symptoms when given in healthy individuals.
There are medicines given to treat the acute attacks of asthma as well as to prevent the recurrence of it, also to treat the allergies which may trigger the attack of asthma.
Most importantly the homeopath first records the symptoms as told by patient and his relatives.
Medicine prescribed on definite homeopathic principles should sure and definitely help the patient. The prescribed medicine can bring about relief in matter of hours or minutes in case of acute asthma, such is the magic of homeopathy.
Some medicines which can be helpful in acute exacerbations of asthma, but it is strongly recommended to take them under advice of competent homeopathic doctors as earlier mentioned it requires special skills to prescribe them. Also not all can be given at once; only one medicine is to be given at a time in a given patient.
Some homeopathic remedies for acute asthma with few indications:
Antimonium tart: Great rattling in chest, with shortness of breath. Drowsiness. Asthma in elderly and children with difficulty to expectorate. The patient must sit up, with sensation as if not able to get enough air into the lungs.
Arsenic alb: Asthma is worse from lying down with fear of suffocation and extreme restlessness. Attacks of asthma are worse during and after midnight. There are burning pains which is relieved by heat.
Blatta orientalis: It is specific for asthma when the causative factor or triggers of asthma are lacking. Asthma with bronchitis and much pus-like mucus. During attack low potencies and mother tincture acts better.
Carbo veg: Coldness of breath. Desperate cases of asthma with blue and cold skin. Air hunger with desire to be fanned rapidly. Better by eructations, worse from sitting or lying down. Weakness in chest as if could not get enough breath. Asthma reflex from accumulation of flatus in abdomen.
Cuprum metallicum: Spasmodic asthma, constriction in throat, face gets blue and convulsions thereafter. Asthma brought on from mental emotions.
Dulcamara: Humid asthma from a cold, worse during cold wet weather.
Ipecac: Loses breath with cough. Difficult expiration. Cough is rattling and asthmatic. The patient gags when he coughs. Chest seems full of phlegm but does not yield to coughing.
Kali carb: Asthma awakening the patient at night, especially worse in the morning 3-4 am. Asthma better from rocking. The only comfort the patient finds is by leaning forward with his elbows resting upon chair. There is rattling in chest with rattling cough worse in rainy weather.
Lobelia: Respiration difficult from constriction in chest, worse from exertion. There is sensation of pressure or weight in chest which is better by rapid walking. Asthma with disordered stomach. Feeling of weakness in stomach.
Mephitis: Inhalation difficult, exhalation almost impossible. Asthma with spasmodic cough. Cough is so violent that it seems as if each spell would terminate life. Cough is worse at night.
Moschus: Intense fear, anxiety and smothering sensation. Difficult respiration, chest oppressed, hysterical spasm of chest.
Pulsatilla: Dyspnea worse night, evening, after dinner, lying on back. Respiration difficult worse from walking rapidly. Asthma after suppressed eruptions, from suppressed menses. This remedy is especially indicated in females of a mild, timid, sensitive or fretful disposition.
Sambucus: Suffocative cough, coming at about midnight. Respiration obstructed when lying down. Asthma with suffocative attacks, maybe well when awake but sleeps into trouble. Snuffles in babies cannot breathe through nose.
Spongia: Dryness of all air passages. Dry, barking, asthmatic cough. Respiration short, panting. Cough better by eating and drinking especially warm drinks. Asthmatic cough worse from cold air, lying with head low.
There are many more remedies which are indicated for the treatment of asthma and given depending on the symptoms of the patient. So the complete cure of patients suffering from asthma is possible with homeopathy.
NOTE: strongly recommended to take homoeopathic medicine under advice of competent homeopathic doctors
- World Health Organization. Bronchial asthma. Cited on 2014 September 15. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs206/en/
- Cited on 2014 September 15. Available from: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/296301-overview
- Asthma. Cited on 2014 September. Available from: http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/bronchial-asthma