One can have a temporary relief from pain even with challenging health problems related to heart and joints but minor problems such as cold and cough will make us suffer at least for a week even if one is treated with drugs. One cannot sleep well or concentrate on the tasks in hand if one suffers from cold and respiratory infection. Hence, more than any other common ailments, people tend to be aversive and finicky about cold and related infections. It’s more pronounced among those who have been suffering from dust allergy, chronic sinusitis, bronchitis and other respiratory infections. Especially those who suffer from sinusitis and other lung infections and diseases invariably all types of seasonal changes make their life miserable.
Adding to the agony is the growing environmental degradation due to deforestation, urbanization, automobile and industrial pollution, smoking that exacerbate the respiratory problems of the common. Naturally, the atmospheric pollution aggravates the already existing respiratory problems and infections, particularly, worsening the conditions of asthma and bronchial diseases. Therefore it is very important for us to protect our lungs from any kind of respiratory problems and infections. An Ayurvedic practitioner, Dr Balamurugan emphasizes the importance of keeping the lungs healthier and describes the means of protecting the lungs from respiratory problems.
Thulsi leaves (Holy basil, Ocimum sp) are precious herbal drugs against any type of lung diseases. The Ayurvedhic literature recommends that by way of consuming the extract of leaves, or as raw leaves and sometimes by smelling the leaves deeply into the lungs, the leaves protect us from tuberculosis and prevent any damage to the lungs and their functions. That is the reason for keeping a pot of Thulsi plants at each household in olden days as a traditional practice, implying that any type of old practice is purported towards protecting our health.
Even at present, people use firewood for cooking in the rural areas. The smoke emanating from burning the firewood causes severe respiratory problems and worsens disease conditions such as asthma and tuberculosis. Thulsi plants traditionally recommended to be grown in households is purported to protect those who could get exposed to kitchen smoke.
Consuming Agathikeerai (August tree, Sesbania sp) along with food, adding Sundaikai (Pea egg plant, Solanum sp), ginger, garlic and, onion in the food items that we consume daily will help us keep our lungs healthier. Juice of apple, carrot, lemon and oranges improve lung functioning. Cardamom mixed with camphor in water can be consumed. Flowers of pineapple can be boiled in water and consumed to cure bronchial diseases.
Daily breath exercise, meditation and yoga are also essential to maintain the lungs in good condition.
Inhaling the steam of eucalyptus oil drops suspended in hot water helps in removing toxins accumulated in the bronchial tubes. Camphor, omam (Ajwain, Trachyspermum), pineapple flowers can be ground together and tied in a cloth or kerchief and it can be smelt regularly to keep the lungs healthier as it purifies the lungs.
Mix Raasnathi chooranam (available in Ayurvedhic medical shops) with water and apply the paste on a piece of cloth or kerchief and keep it air dried under a shade. After drying, roll the cloth like a thread and burn the tip of it. Inhale the thin smoke emanating from it deeply, closing the other nasal opening with your fingers. Then repeat it in the other nasal opening in a similar fashion. Do it twice every time, for thrice a week. Turmeric powder can also be used instead of Raasnathi chooranam. If this practice is followed continuously, it can cure us immediately from sinusitis, breathlessness and other respiratory infections.
(This article written in Tamil by G Lakshmanan has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)