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Immunity & Wellness

What is The Ayurvedic Treatment for Cough at Home as Per Your Dosha?

Published on Sep 05, 2021

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By Dr. Surya Bhagwati
Chief In- House Doctor
BAMS, DHA, DHHCM, DHBTC | 30+ Years of Experience

What is The Ayurvedic Treatment for Cough at Home as Per Your Dosha?

Cough is one of the most common symptoms presented in any clinical setting. Ayurved has mentioned cough as ‘Kasa’. Ayurvedic texts describe causes, types based on doshas, complications, prognosis, and doshas specific treatment for cough and related issues in detail.  Ayurvedic treatment for cough is becoming popular due to its effectiveness as well as safety.

In this article, we will see what cough is from Ayurved's perspective, its types, and symptoms according to dosha and Ayurvedic treatment for cough.

ayurvedic kadha for cough & cold

 

What is a Cough?

A cough is a natural way of protecting the throat or airways from pollutants, foreign material, infections, or an attempt at clearing the secretions. A prolonged, vigorous cough associated with mucus or blood indicates an underlying disease that needs medical attention.

What is cough

Relationship between Cough and Doshas

In Ayurveda, coughs are related to imbalances within the 3 doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each dosha influences the type of cough and its symptoms. For instance, Vataja Kasa (dry cough) is caused by Vata dosha and produces no phlegm. Pittaj Kasa is the result of Pitta dosha and it usually generates yellow or green mucus, and Kaphaj Kasa (wet cough) is a result of Kapha dosha, which produces thick and white mucus.

Vataja Kasa or Dry Cough

This type of cough has Vata dosha dominance. It does not produce phlegm or mucus and is hence called dry cough or unproductive cough. Symptoms of Vataja Kasa or dry cough are frequent urge for coughing and dry cough, pain in the chest, and weakness.

Pittaj Kasa

Caused mainly by Pitta dosha, this type of cough produces yellowish or greenish mucus or phlegm in a small quantity. Its main symptoms are burning sensation in the chest or whole body, dryness in the mouth, and occasional vomiting of yellow mucus.

Kaphaj Kasa or Wet Cough

This Kapha dominant type produces a lot of white, thick mucus or phlegm on coughing. Its chief symptoms are sticky mouth, headache, heaviness in the body and loss of appetite.

Kshataja (caused by injury) Kasa

This type of cough is caused by injury or trauma and shows a combination of symptoms related to Vata and Pitta. The sputum is red, yellow, or black indicating infection and bleeding and the mucous is abundant but not unctuous. This also may be accompanied by fever and joint pains.

Kshayaja (caused by wasting diseases) Kasa

This type of cough or Kasa occurs with wasting diseases such as tuberculosis. The condition results in a drying up and loss of tissue (ksaya). It occurs due to the vitiation of all three doshas, but Vata is more dominant here. Symptoms of Kshayaja Kasa depend on the dominance of dosha and include Foul-smelling phlegm with green, red colour, excess weight loss despite high appetite and intense pain in the sides of the chest.

An Effective Ayurvedic Treatment For Cough

To treat cough most effectively, you need to determine whether it is a dry cough (Vata) or a productive cough (Kapha) with mucus coming up, or Pitta has also become involved.

You can consult an Ayurvedic doctor to know which dosha is involved in cough and suitable ayurvedic cough medicine according to that. It may also help to learn how to get instant relief from cough.

ayurvedic treatment for cough

Ayurvedic Medicine For Vataj Kasa

Vataj Kasa or  dry cough treatment in Ayurved includes the use of herbs and procedures that pacify Vata dosha.

Here Is A List Of Herbs For Dry Cough or Vataj Kasa


1. Tulsi

Tulsi or Holy basil is a popular remedy for a dry cough. In Ayurved, Tulsi is called the “queen of herbs” and is known for its Vata and Kapha pacifying properties.

Tulsi helps to remove phlegm or mucus and improves cough symptoms caused by allergies, asthma, or respiratory infections. Tulsi also helps improve immunity to fight recurrent cough and cold.

Drinking homemade Tulsi tea 2 to 3 times a day is an easy way of managing dry cough. Brew four to six fresh Tulsi leaves with about a cup of water. Let it steep for about 15 minutes. Strain, add a pinch of black salt and squeeze ½ lemon to it, and drink it.

2. Mulethi

Mulethi or licorice is a common ingredient of many Ayurvedic dry cough medicine. It pacifies all three doshas and soothes a sore throat. It helps in easing chest and nasal congestion and reduces inflammation of the respiratory tract. All these give you fast and long-lasting relief from dry cough.

Keep a small piece of Mulethi or licorice stick in your mouth and chew it to combat dry cough. Its soothing effect provides relief from throat soreness and pain.

3. Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is an excellent Vata pacifying remedy. In chronic dry cough, massaging lukewarm sesame oil into the chest followed by fomentation is recommended in Ayurved.

Ayurved has prescribed medicated ghee prepared using warm expectorant herbs like Kantakari, Adulsa, and Mulethi. For the digestive system anuvasana basti (oil enema) or niruha basti (decoction enema) is recommended.

Ayurvedic Medicine For Pittaj Kasa

For Pitta type of cough, cough relieving, cooling, and bitter herbs are preferred.

1. Kutki

This bitter herb is a well-known traditional remedy for all sorts of respiratory troubles. It pacifies Pitta dosha, thins and loosens mucus within the chest and nasal cavities to facilitate mucus removal and ease breathing.   

Mix ¼ teaspoon Kutki powder with an equal amount of turmeric and ginger powders and 1 teaspoon of honey. Take this mixture thrice daily with lukewarm water.

2. Neem

Neem is renowned for its medicinal properties for centuries. Its bitter taste and cooling nature pacify Pitta and its burning sensation. It has antimicrobial properties and reduces fever. Neem also boosts immunity.

Gargling with neem water helps relieve cough and sore throat.

3. Mishri (Rock Sugar)

It has sweet taste, cough relieving, cooling, and Pitta pacifying properties. It helps break down the phlegm and clears cough. Soothing property of Mishri helps reduce irritation in the throat.

Place a small quantity of Mishri in mouth and swallow gradually. You can mix rock sugar and black pepper in equal quantities. Grind the mixture into a smooth powder and consume 2 to 3 times a day.

With these herbs, the use of medicated ghrita (ghee) prepared with cough relieving and expectorant herbs like Vasa or Adulsa is recommended. Virechana (Purgation) is beneficial in the early stages to alleviate Pitta at its root.

Ayurvedic Medicine For Kaphaj Kasa or Wet Cough

A cough with phlegm or mucus is called a Wet or Productive cough. It has Kapha dosha dominance. Ayurvedic medicine for wet cough uses herbs that pacify Kapha as well as Pitta.

Here Are Few Herbs For Wet Cough

1. Ginger

Ginger or Adrak is well-known for its Kapha balancing and warming properties. It facilitates the removal of excess mucus to ease congestion in the chest. Even dry ginger, known as Sunthi, is one of the main ingredients of the best ayurvedic cough syrup.

Drink a ginger tea 3 to 4 times a day with a teaspoon of honey to remove excess mucus and get relief from wet cough.

2. Honey

Honey is the best remedy for Kapha, according to Ayurved. Apart from good taste, honey has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties that help you reduce wet cough.

Take a teaspoonful of honey at night before sleeping to reduce cough intensity. You can continue to take it till you do not get relief from a cough. Honey is an effective and safe natural cough remedy for children.

3. Hot fluids

A 2008 study found that consuming drinks at room temperature may relieve coughing, runny nose, and sneezing.

However, individuals with extra cold or flu symptoms may benefit from warming their beverages. According to the same study, hot beverages relieve even more symptoms, such as a sore throat, chills, and exhaustion.

After consuming the hot beverage, the symptoms were relieved immediately and for an extended period of time.

The following hot beverages may be comforting:

  • Clear broths
  •  Herbal teas
  •  Decaffeinated black tea
  •  Warm water
  • Warm fruit juices 

4. Steam

A cough that generates mucus or phlegm may be alleviated by using steam.

To utilise this technique, one must take a hot shower or bath and allow the bathroom to fill with steam. They should remain in this steam for a few minutes, or until their symptoms diminish. They can then consume a glass of water to chill themselves and avoid dehydration.

Alternately, individuals might prepare a steam bowl. To accomplish this, one should:

  • Pour an ample dish with boiling water
  • Add herbs or essential oils, such as rosemary or eucalyptus. They might alleviate congestion
  • Place a towel over the head while leaning over the bowl. This allows the individual to inhale the steam
  • Continue to breathe in the steam for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Daily steaming may be beneficial if performed once or twice

While many feel that steam can alleviate cough and other symptoms, not all evidence supports this notion. For instance, a 2017 study examining the use of steam for typical cold symptoms revealed that it did not significantly alleviate the symptoms. Learn how to get instant relief from cough

5. Adulsa (Vasa)

This Kapha and Pitta balancing herb is a key ingredient of many Ayurvedic cough syrups for wet or productive cough. Its bitter taste and dryness help to balance aggravated Kapha dosha. It relieves the burning sensation due to its cooling property.

Take one teaspoon of Adulsa leaf juice with two teaspoons of honey to relieve wet cough and hoarseness of voice.

Along with these wet cough medicine, Ayurved has recommended purification procedures like Vamana (emesis), Virechana (purgative), and Niruha basti (enema of decoction of Kapha-Pitta pacifying herbs). Nasya or nasal administration of medicated oil is also mentioned as a treatment to relieve nasal and sinus congestion.

Ayurvedic Medicine For Kshataj Kasa

This type of cough is caused by injuries and hence requires immediate treatment. Herbs having Madhura (sweet) taste and Jivaneey (strength and muscle promoting) properties like Draksha, Yashtimadhu, Amalaki are used in the treatment.

Management of associated symptoms is done based on the dominant dosha. Generally, milk, honey, and medicated ghee are used as per dosha symptoms.

Ayurvedic Medicine For Kshayaj Kasa  

In the beginning, when symptoms are not severe, the patient is given nourishing therapy using strengthening herbs like Bala, Atibala to stimulate agni or metabolism.  Mild purgation using medicated ghee is advised for patients having over aggravation of doshas.

However, if all signs and symptoms of Kshayaj Kasa are present in a weak patient, then the condition becomes incurable.

When should you see the doctor for a cough?

You should visit the doctor when a cough lasts more than 3 weeks, or when you’re facing severe disruptions in your sleep cycle and day-to-day activities. When symptoms such as fever, chest pain, blood while coughing or difficulty in breathing arise, it is highly advisable to immediately visit your healthcare provider. We also suggest high-risk individuals with pre-existing conditions to seek prompt medical attention when you see the above symptoms arising.

Consult a doctor

In conclusion, cough, known as 'Kasa' in Ayurveda, has a strong correlation to ‘doshas’ in Ayurvedic texts. We’ve covered different types of coughs and its causes based on doshas, complications, and prognosis. Ayurvedic remedies for cough are gaining popularity for their effectiveness and safety by offering a holistic relief. Watch this space to know more. 

FAQs on How to Treat Cough at Home

What is the fastest way to cure a cough?

  • Use an Expectorant
  • Get a Cough Suppressant
  • Sip a Warm Drink
  • Increase Your Fluid Consumption
  • Sucking on hard candy
  • Drinking Kadha Sips
  • Contemplate a Nighttime-Formulated Cough Medication
  • Drink Some Honey
  • Use a Vaporizer to Cure Your Cough

How can I stop coughing at night naturally?

  • Before bed, humidify the air with a humidifier or inhale steam from a hot shower or teakettle
  • Use an extra pillow to prop your head up a bit
  • Use a nasal saline or saltwater spray
  • Take one spoonful of honey
  • Drink hot tea or soup.

What can I drink to stop coughing?

Honey and saltwater gargles are common home remedies for coughs. Herbal teas made of peppermint, ginger, slippery elm, thyme, turmeric, or marshmallow root are also good. Kadha Sips is a popular product for dealing with all types of cough and colds. 

Does hot water stop coughing?

Drinking lots of warm fluids can help ease a cough. Dryness in the throat is a common reason why people cough, and drinking fluids can help relieve it. It also helps thin mucus, which can make coughing and stuffy noses easier to deal with. Taking small sips of hot liquids like broth or tea may help ease a cough.

Is cough considered a dosha imbalance in Ayurveda?

Yes, it is; it is usually correlated with Vata, Pitta, or Kapha dominance.

How long does it take to see results with Ayurvedic home treatment for cough?

You may see improvements within a span of a few days to weeks, depending on the intensity of your cough. 

What Ayurvedic herbs are effective for wet cough?

Certain herbs such as licorice (Yashtimadhu), ginger (Adrak), tulsi (Holy Basil), and vasaka (Malabar nut) can prove to be an effective Ayurvedic treatment for cough. 

Does coughing worsen at night and are Ayurvedic treatment for cough effective?

Unfortunately, yes. Coughing can get worse at night however, Ayurvedic treatments such as herbal decoctions, steam inhalation, and dietary changes can provide temporary cough relief at night.

Can coughing cause headaches?

Yes, coughing can cause headaches, especially with prolonged or severe coughing. Ayurvedic treatment for cough target both, cough, and its associated symptoms such as headaches.

References:

  1. Rastogi Sanjeev, Management of dry cough through Ayurved, 2018 / Volume 8 / Issue 1 / e2.
  2. Pranita K Shinde et al: Concept Of Doshaja Kasa – A Review Article, International Ayurvedic Medical Journal, India 2020.
  3. Hand Book Of Domestic Medicine And Common Ayurvedic Remedies, Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS), New Delhi 2005.
  4. Pandit Kashinath Shastri & Dr. Gorakhnath Chaturvedi, Hindi commentary on Charaka Samhita of Agnivesha revised by Charaka and Dridbala, chikitsasthan 18/11- 13,15-16,18-19, Edition 2009, Chaukhambha Bharti Academy, Varanasi
  5. Pattanayak P, Behera P, Das D, Panda SK, Ocimum sanctum Linn. A reservoir plant for therapeutic applications An overview, Pharmacognosy Review, 4(7), 2010, 95-105.
  6. Kuang, Yi & Li, Bin & Fan, Jingran & Qiao, Xue & Ye, Min. (2017). Antitussive and expectorant activities of licorice and its major compounds. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry. 26. 10.1016/j.bmc.2017.11.046.
  7. Mao QQ, Xu XY, Cao SY, et al. Bioactive Compounds and Bioactivities of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Foods. 2019;8(6):185.  
  8. Sarker, Ahamed, Chowdhury and Begum, Characterization of an Expectorant Herbal Basak, Bangladesh J. Sci. Ind. Res. 2009, 44(2): 211-214.

Dr. Surya Bhagwati
BAMS (Ayurveda), DHA (Hospital Admin), DHHCM (Health Management), DHBTC (Herbal Beauty and Cosmetology)

Dr. Surya Bhagwati is an established, well-known Ayurvedic expert with over 30 years of experience in treating and consulting in the field of Ayurveda. She is known for the timely, efficient, and patient-centred delivery of quality health care. The patients under her care receive a unique holistic treatment comprising not only medicinal treatment but also spiritual empowerment.

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