Childhood Asthma – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and the leading cause of childhood morbidity from chronic disease as measured by school absences, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations. Childhood asthma isn’t a different disease from asthma in adults, but children face unique challenges Asthma leads to recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing (particularly at night or early morning). Clinical symptoms in children 5 years and younger are variable and non-specific. Unfortunately, childhood asthma can’t be cured, and symptoms can continue into adulthood. But with the right treatment, we can keep symptoms under control and prevent damage to growing lungs In Ayurveda, Asthma may be included in Swasa roga mentioned in Ayurvedic classics. As per the Ayurvedic principles, respiratory diseases have the predominance of Vata dosha (one among the functional pillars of body) along with vitiation of Kapha dosha and Pranavaha srotas (cardio-respiratory system).

Causes of Childhood Asthma

Childhood asthma causes aren’t fully understood. Some factors thought to be involved include:

  • Inherited tendency to develop allergies
  • Parents with asthma
  • Some types of airway infections at a very young age
  • Exposure to environmental factors, such as cigarette smoke or other air pollution
  • Increased immune system sensitivity causes the lungs and airways to swell and produce mucus when exposed to certain triggers

Triggers vary from child to child and can include:

  • Viral infections such as the common cold
  • Exposure to air pollutants, such as tobacco smoke
  • Allergies to dust mites, pet dander, pollen or mold
  • Physical activity
  • Weather changes or cold air

Symptoms of Childhood Asthma

Symptoms include,

  • Recurrent Wheeze
  • Recurrent Cough
  • Recurrent Breathlessness
  • Activity Induced Cough/Wheeze
  • Nocturnal Cough/Breathlessness
  • Tightness of Chest

Ayurvedic reference of Childhood Asthma

Childhood Asthma - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Ayurvedic Treatment for Childhood Asthma

As per Ayurveda, treatment principle for respiratory disorders is to balance both vata and kapha, so the drugs used for these diseases should possess qualities like vata kapha samana (alleviating vata & kapha dosha), ushna (hot by potency) and vatanulomana(carminative). Ayurveda has also potent single drugs and compound formulations for breaking the pathology of these respiratory ailments.

Internal Medicines for Childhood Asthma

  • Dashmoola Katutraya Kashaya  
  • Bharangyadi Kashaya
  • Vasa Vyaghri Kashaya
  • Pathyashadanga Kashaya
  • Elakanadi Kashaya  
  • Talisadi churna 
  • Sitopaladi churna 
  • Shringyadi churna 
  • Vyaghri haritaki 
  • Vasavleha
  • Kantkaryavleha 
  • Vasa ghrita
  • Kantakari ghrita
  • Baraka bhasma
  • Sameerpannaga rasa  
  • Swasa kuthara rasa
  • Swasnanda gutika
  • Haridra khanda
  • Kankasava

External therapies for Childhood Asthma

  • Abhyanga (massage) with Sarsapa taila (mixed with saindhava lavana) on chest
  • Swedana (hot fomentation) 

Purificatory Therapies

  • Vamana (emesis therapy), 
  • Virechna (purgation therapy) 

Single drugs used in Childhood Asthma

  • Vasa (Adhatoda vasica)
  • Madhuyasti (Glycirrhiza glabra)
  • Bharangi (Clerodendrum serratum)
  • Pushkarmoola (Inula racemosa)
  • Vibhitaka (Terminalia bellerica)
  • Shati (Hedychium spicatium)
  • Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum)
  • Shirisha (Albizia lebbek)
  • Haridra (Curcuma longa)
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Diet in Childhood Asthma

Pathya (Do’s)

  • Limit exposure to asthma triggers. Help your child avoid the allergens and irritants that trigger asthma symptoms.
  • Encourage your child to be active. As long as your child’s asthma is well-controlled, regular physical activity can help the lungs to work more efficiently.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen asthma symptoms, and it puts your child at risk of other health problems.
  • Keep heartburn under control
  • Godhuma (wheat), Old rice, Mudga (green gram), Kulattha (Horse gram), Yava (barley), Patola (snake gourd) 
  • Use of Garlic, Turmeric, Ginger, Black pepper 

Apathya (Don’ts)

  • Don’t allow smoking around your child. Exposure to tobacco smoke during infancy is a strong risk factor for childhood asthma, as well as a common trigger of asthma attacks.
  • Exposure to Cold & Humid atmosphere 
  • Sweets, Chilled water, Stored food items, Curd 
  • Heavy, cold diet, Masha (black gram)
  • Exposure to Smoke, Dust and fumes, Pollutants and Pollens
  • Deep fried items, Mustard leaves, Fish 
  • If the child is allergic to house dust mite, don’t let them be surrounded by loads of teddy bears at night, and put their favourite one in the freezer overnight every month to kill off the mites.
  • Consider if the stresses of life are making the child more anxious and worsening their asthma

Yoga Therapy for Childhood Asthma

Postures include,

  • Ustrasana
  • Dhanurasana 
  • Baddha konasana

Pranayama include,

Nadi-shodhana Pranayama leads to marked improvement in the lung functions by strengthening the respiratory muscles and decreasing the resistance to the air flow in the lungs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is Childhood Asthma?

Answer: Childhood asthma is the same lung disease adults get, but kids often have different symptoms.

Question: What are the causes of Childhood Asthma?

Answer: Airway infections, Allergens, Irritants, Exercise. Stress etc are the risk factors which leads to asthma.

Question: What is the Ayurvedic treatment for Childhood Asthma?

Answer: Ayurvedic classics have dealt with various procedures and medications including palliative and purificatory treatments to manage the disease Childhood Asthma

Question: What Ayurveda says about Childhood Asthma?

Answer: Ayurveda refers Childhood Asthma as Tamak Shwasa and it is very well explained in Charak Samhita (ancient Ayurvedic text).

Question: What are the symptoms of Asthma in children?

Answer: Asthma symptoms do not widely differ in children as compared to adults, but often it causes fatigue in children rather than full blown breathlessness. Some common signs and symptoms of asthma in children are – regular coughing, wheezing sounds while breathing, repeated bronchitis, breathlessness etc.

Question: How Ayurveda treats asthma in children?

Answer: The main aim of Ayurvedic treatment of asthma in children is to improve the elasticity of alveoli which further reduces severity and frequency of asthmatic attacks. The Ayurvedic treatment also increases the threshold of various allergies.

Question: Is Ayurvedic treatment of childhood asthma is effective?

Answer: Yes, there are various internal and external procedures available in Ayurveda for the safe and effective treatment. Various medications like Vati, kwath, avaleha etc. are quite effective but these should be administered under the guidance of the expert.

Question: What is the cause of asthma in children?

Answer: Tamak – Shwasa is caused due to an increase in kasa (cough), increase in ama (undigested materials or toxins), increase in kapha dosha which affect immunity of the child.


  1. Ashtanga Hridaya Nidana Sthana, Swasahidma Nidana, Chapter 4, Shloka 3.
  2. Vidyadhar Shukla, Ravi Datt Tripathi, Charak Samhita, Vol. 2. Chikitsasthana Varanasi: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Pratishthan; 2010. p. 416 – 438.
  3. Yadav S, Ravishankar G, Prajapati PK.  Anti-inflammatory activity of Shirishavaleha: An Ayurvedic compound formulation. Int J Ayurveda Res. 2010 Oct-Dec; 1 (4): p. 205-207.
  4. Child Health and Ayurveda, Edition 2021, by Sahil Gupta, Childhood Asthma Chapter No. 44, Page No. 186-189. 

Dr. Gupta’s IAFA aspires to be the destination of choice for people seeking authentic Ayurveda healthcare. IAFA ensures that our health care system better meets the needs of   all about your child’s health. 

Making a difference today…for a brighter tomorrow…!!! Dr. Gupta’s IAFA for your child’s health.

Dr. Sahil Gupta completed his Bachelor of Ayurveda in Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.) and Master’s Degree in Health Administration (MHA) India. He is Registered Ayurvedic Doctor & Vaidya in India having Registration No. 23780. He is the CEO and founder of IAFA. After completing BAMS, Dr. Sahil Gupta started practicing Ayruveda by giving prime importance to allergic disorders management. He became the first Ayurvedic doctor to cure Food Allergies through Ayurveda. Read More About Dr. Sahil Gupta.

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