The word 'asthma' is derived from
the Greek meaning ' panting' or 'labored breathing'. Asthma is
a condition characterized by a paroxysmal wheezing dyspnoea (difficulty
in breathing), mainly expiratory.
Asthma - CAUSE
According to the etiology, bronchial asthma is divided in the following
1. Allergic (extrinsic/ atopic) -
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 i this. In this type of asthma the allergen leads to production
of excessive (IgE) immunoglobulins.
2. Infective or Intrinsic - 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Asthma - MECHANISM - WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS?
What ever 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.
Asthma - SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- Recurrent episode of paroxysmal dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing)
- The breathing is laboured, with a wheezing sound, mainly on
- Asthma attacks often occur in the early hours of morning (when
there is no immediate precipitating cause). During the attack
patients often prefers to sit then lie down.
Asthma - HOW DIAGNOSIS IS DONE?
Diagnosis can usually be made clinically by a competent doctor.
Allergen sensitivity tests, X-ray, spirometry, sputum and blood
tests etc may be of use in finding the cause and severity of the
Asthma - WHAT TO DIFFERENTIATE FROM?
- Cardiac asthma
- Renal asthma
- Isolated attacks of non-paroxysmal dyspnoea.
Asthma - COMPLICATIONS
- Apart from chronicity, usually no complications.
- Pneumothorax, emphysema, or areas of consolidation or pulmonary
collapse may occur in very advanced cases.
Asthma - Homeopathy Treatment & Homeopathic Remedies
General Approach - As far as I know homeopathy is the only system
of medicine which tries to 'cure' this disease, instead of trying
to provide symptomatic relief. 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.
Homeopaths believe that when there is a tendency or predisposition
for a disease - it first manifests on the less vital organs, towards
the periphery (like skin). If this manifestation is suppressed than
the disease shifts inwards, towards the more vital organs (like
lungs, heart, brain etc).
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
Now after ascertaining the symptoms and the cause, the homeopath
tries to find a medicine which matches the symptoms as well as the
general characteristics of the person. The medicine so selected
is administered to the patient.
It is often (not necessarily) observed by homeopaths that when
a right medicine is given, the asthma disappears but the old eczema
(if it was there originally) reappears for some time, before finally
disappearing itself. This reappearance of old symptoms is seen as
a reversal of disease process and is considered a very good prognostic
sign by homeopaths.
MEDICINES - There are lots of medicines in homeopathy for asthma
and it is not possible to list them all here. Some of the common
medicines are ars-alb, ipecac, lachesis, pulsatilla, spongia, sulphur,
ignatia, antim-tart, hepar-sulph, nat-sulph, tuberculinum etc. The
selection of medicine varies from patient to patient.
Asthma - CONVENTIONAL TREATMENT
Bronchodilators, anti-allergic drugs, and corticosteroids are commonly
used to provide symptomatic relief.
Asthma - WHAT ELSE CAN I DO? - LIFESTYLE
AND ACCESSORY MANAGEMENT
- Avoid the allergen you are sensitive to.
- Do regular light exercise like brisk walking or jogging. Heavy
exercise can precipitate an attack of asthma, so always do mild
exercise without putting too much strain on your body.
- Learn breathing exercises to improve your lung capacity. Of
especial use is 'pranayam', a yoga exercise.
- Learn some stress relieving exercises, meditation, or yoga to
minimize the psychological factors related to disease.
- Eat healthy, nourishing and well balanced diet.
WHERE ELSE TO FIND MORE INFO? -
Davidson's Principles and Practise of Medicine, 17th ed, 1996,
A primer of Medicine, M.H.Pappworth, 5th ed, 1993, Butterworths
Hutchinson's Clinical Methods, Michael Swash, 20th ed, 1995, W
New Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica & Repertory, William
Boericke, 2nd revised ed., 2001, B. Jain
Select Your remedy, Rai Bahdur Bishambhar Das, 19th ed, 1999, Bishambar
Free Homeo Dispensary
A Concise Repertory of Homeopathic Medicines, S.R.Phatak, 3rd ed,
Practical Homeopathic Therapeutics, Dewey, reprint ed, 1993, B.Jain