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Chest pain, also known as urah shula, is a symptom that presents with varying severity and at different locations in the chest, based on the underlying causes. Cough and congestion are two of the most common condition that may lead to chest pain. Other causes of chest pain include indigestion, hyperacidity, ulcerative lesions in the chest, fluid accumulation in the lungs, asthma, and heart disease. Treatment of these conditions can help in the management of all their associated symptoms including chest pain.

Ayurveda describes purification procedures like vamana (medical emesis), virechana (purgation) and basti (enema) for the management of the above-mentioned conditions. Herbs and medicines that are used to treat the common underlying causes of chest pain are tulsi (holy basil), vasa (malabar nut), haridra (turmeric), pippali (long pepper), punarnava (red hogweed), katuki (kutki), sitopaladi churna, sootshekhara, hingvastaka churna and rasonadi vati.

  1. Ayurvedic view of chest pain
  2. Ayurvedic treatment for chest pain
  3. Ayurvedic herbs and medicines for chest pain
  4. Dietary and lifestyle changes for chest pain patient as per ayurveda
  5. How effective are ayurvedic medicines and treatments for chest pain
  6. Side effects and risks of ayurvedic medicine and treatments for chest pain
  7. Takeaway
  8. Doctors for Ayurvedic medicine, treatment and remedies for Chest Pain

According to Ayurveda, chest pain may be caused due to one of the following conditions:

  • Urah kshata: Urah kshata refers to ulcerative lesions or injury in the chest, causing acute chest pain at the site of the lesion. Sometimes it is accompanied by the presence of blood in cough.
  • Urastoya: Urastoya is the accumulation of fluid in the pleura (outer membrane of lungs), which leads to pain in chest, difficulty in breathing, low-grade fever and discomfort while lying down.
  • Shwasa (bronchial asthma): Bronchial asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder that causes difficulty in breathing and chest pain. Asthma is mainly caused due to an aggravation of vata and kapha dosha. Increased kapha obstructs the movement of increased vata, which causes an imbalance in vata. This vata then disturbs respiratory channels, causing asthma. Asthma may also occur due to increased kasa (cough), and ama (toxins). 
  • Ajirna (indigestion): Indigestion occurs due to imbalances or obstruction in the process of breakdown, absorption and elimination of food. It is mainly caused by an imbalance in doshas and accumulation of ama in the gastrointestinal system. Discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen/lower chest is one of the most common symptoms of indigestion. Other symptoms of indigestion include causing abdominal bloating, nausea and vomiting.
  • Ischemic heart disease: Ayurveda defines this condition as chest pain in the heart region caused by excessive stress on heart. It can be caused due to vitiation of vata, pitta or kapha. Panchakarma (five therapies) procedures are generally recommended for the treatment of all types of heart diseases.
  • Amlapitta (hyperacidity): Hyperacidity refers to the excessive secretion of acid in stomach, which occurs due to stimulation of vata and imbalance in pitta. This acid rises up into the oesophagous, causing pain and burning sensation in the area near heart and throat. Though pitta is considered to be the root cause of this condition. It can also occur due to aggravated levels of kapha, which causes expectoration of sputum and heaviness in the body.

Apart from the above-mentioned conditions, other common causes of chest pain are kasa, irritable bowel syndrome, psychiatric disorders and kshayaja kasa (cough related to wasting conditions).

  • Vamana
    • It is an Ayurvedic therapy, in which, stomach contents including the vitiated kapha and pitta doshas are eliminated by inducing vomiting.
    • Vamana also helps in expelling ama.
    • Depending on disease symptoms and individual prakriti, different herbs and their combinations are used to induce vomiting in vamana karma.
    • Expulsion of excess kapha clears body channels, helping vata to move in the right direction. This is especially helpful in treating bronchial asthma.
    • Pippali can be used to induce vamana in individuals with cough and bronchial asthma for eliminatin aggravated kapha.
    • Removal of excess kapha can also help in the management of indigestion due to the aggravation of kapha.
    • Water extracts of neem or snake gourd are used to induce emesis in individuals with hyperacidity.
  • Virechana
    • In this process, excess doshas and ama are eliminated from the body through the rectal route.
    • Virechana is primarily helpful in the removal of aggravated pitta from body. Various herbs and their combinations are used to induce evacuation of the bowel in virechana procedure.
    • This procedure is especially effective in the management of bronchial asthma.
    • Virechana using castor oil and haritaki (chebulic myrobalan) aids in treating indigestion due to excess pitta.
    • Virechana with trivrita churna, abhayarishta or triphala churna is helpful for the treatment of hyperacidity.
  • Basti
    • Basti is an Ayurvedic enema that cleanses large intestine and rectum.
    • In this procedure, herbs in the form of a decoction, oil or paste are administered through the rectal route for cleansing bowels.
    • Bastii also balances vitiated doshas and expels ama out of the body.
    • It makes an excellent treatment procedure for relieving constipation and indigestion.

Ayurvedic herbs for chest pain

  • Tulsi
    • Tulsi acts on the digestive, nervous and respiratory systems and has pain-relieving, antispasmodic, antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
    • It aids in the treatment of all types of cough including cough due to tuberculosis and respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis. Tulsi also improves digestion and eliminates ama.
    • It can be used in the form of infusion, juice, ghee (clarified butter), powder or shampoo.
  • Vasa
    • Vasa acts on all the systems of the human body. It has anti-diabetic and diuretic properties and helps in relieving pain and reducing fever.
    • Vasa enhances the properties of many other herbs. So, it can be given as an adjunct to other ayurvedic herbs for relieving disease symptoms.
    • It helps in treating heart disease and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, throat and stomach.
    • Powder or juice of vasa leaves is useful in the management of urah kshata. It can also treat bronchial asthma. Thus, chest pain caused by these conditions can be effectively managed with vasa.
  • Haridra
    • Haridra acts on the digestive, respiratory, urinary and circulatory systems and can be used to manage conditions like bronchial asthma, cough and indigestion. Thus, it can treat chest pain caused by these conditions.
    • It can be used in the form of decoction, infusion or milk decoction.
  • Pippali
    • Pippali acts on the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems and has anthelmintic, expectorant (expels phlegm), pain-relieving and carminative (reduces flatulence) properties.
    • It is a common ingredient in many Ayurvedic formulations that are used to manage cough. It can also be useful for reducing increased kapha, which is responsible for respiratory disorders leading to chest pain.
    • Pippali can be used with salt and lemon juice for the treatment of indigestion.
    • Studies suggest that this herb contains a chemical constituent called dehydropipernonaline, which relaxes coronary arteries, thus relieving chest pain due to heart conditions.
    • Pippali can be used in the form of oil, powder or infusion.
  • Punarnava
    • Punarnava acts on the digestive, circulatory, nervous and female reproductive systems and has diuretic, expectorant, rejuvenating and emetic (induces vomiting) properties.
    • A decoction prepared from punarnava roots can be used in the treatment of urastoya, asthma, heart disease and internal inflammation.
    • This herb can be taken in the form of juice, decoction, powder, oil or paste.
  • Katuki
    • Katuki acts on the digestive, circulatory, nervous, excretory and female reproductive systems.
    • It is effective in the management of asthma and bronchitis and has potent cardioprotective properties (protects heart).
    • Katuki can be taken in the form of a tincture, powder, pill or extracts.
  • Haritaki
    • Haritaki works well on the digestive, respiratory, circulatory, nervous and female reproductive systems and has rejuvenating, expectorant, and anthelmintic properties.
    • It is known to be effective in the management of asthma, cough, abdominal distension and diarrhoea.
    • Haritaki can be taken in the form of a decoction, paste, powder or gargle.

Ayurvedic medicines for chest pain

  • Sitopaladi churna
    • Some ingredients in this powder formulation are vanshlochan (bamboo resin), mishri (rock sugar), chhoti elaichi (green cardamom), chhoti pippali (a smaller variety of long pepper) and dalchini (cinnamon).
    • It is used in the treatment of fevers and flu associated with different respiratory disorders. With the right treatment, this formulation is effective in managing disease symptoms within 3 to 4 days.
    • Sitopaladi churna is useful in balancing vitiated kapha and treating its associated symptoms such as cough, bronchial asthma, and chest pain.
  • Sootshekhara
    • Some of the ingredients of sootshekhara are shunthi (dried ginger), gandhaka (brimstone), cinnamon and bhasmas (calcined preparations) of shankha (conch), tamra (copper) and lauha (iron).
    • Sootshekhar is a cardiotonic medicine, which acts by pacifying vata and pitta doshas thereby reducing stress on the circulatory system.
    • This medicine is helpful in treating fever when it is present with delirium and high fevers caused due to aggravated pitta dosha.
    • It has antacid and antispasmodic properties which makes it an effective medicine for hyperacidity.
    • Sootshekhara is generally taken with honey and water.
  • Hingvastaka churna
    • Some of the components of hingvastaka churna are shunthi, pippali, cumin and hingu (asafoetida).
    • It is helpful in the treatment of cough, asthma, indigestion, and pain due to vitiation of vata and kapha.
    • This medicine has carminative and anti-flatulent properties, which makes it effective in alleviating chest pain caused due to indigestion.
    • Hingvastaka churna can be taken before meals or with meals along with buttermilk, warm water or ghee.
  • Rasonadi vati
    • It is a tablet formulation with digestive and anti-flatulent properties and is primarily helpful in treating chest pain caused due to indigestion.
    • Fennel, one of the ingredients in this tablet formulation, is especially useful in treating indigestion due to reduced levels of digestive enzymes.
    • Rasonadi vati is generally taken before meals with warm water.

As treatments vary according to numerous factors and an individual’s prakriti (constitution), consult a qualified Ayurvedic doctor for the appropriate medications and treatments for your specific complaints.

Do’s

  • Include breathing exercises like pranayama in your routine, which can help improve lung function.
  • If the chest pain is due to urastoya or urah kshata, include wheat, mudga (green gram), special varieties of rice that are easy to digest, along with cow milk or goat milk in your regular diet.
  • Eat light and easily digestible food.
  • Take your meals at regular times.

Don’ts

  • Avoid smoking and stay away from dust and smoke.
  • Do not stay awake at night.
  • Do not consume kapha-increasing food items like lablab bean, black gram and til (sesame) paste.
  • Avoid excessive exposure to direct sunlight or heat.
  • Avoid stress and anxiety, which disturb mental peace.
  • Avoid living in cold places, use of cold water and eating oily, heavy and cold foods like curd and cold drinks.
  • Avoid overexertion, e.g., too much walking.
  • Avoid eating excessively dry or astringent food items.

A clinical study including 40 participants with bronchial asthma indicated the effectiveness of two different ayurvedic formulations on the symptoms of asthma such as chest pain, difficulty in breathing and cough.

The participants were divided into two groups of 20. Group A was treated with shwasahara leha and group B was treated with vasa haritaki avaleha. Both the medicines were given in equal amounts for an equal period of time, that is 5 g twice a day for a total period of 2 months. Clinical symptoms of all the participants were evaluated after the completion of the study, and it was found that both the formulations were effective in managing common symptoms of asthma. However, vasa haritaki avaleha was suggested to be more effective than shwasahara leha.

Ayurvedic treatments work in a holistic manner and aim towards overall improvement in individual health. However, depending on individual prakriti, some specific precautions and contraindications should always be taken care of, e.g.,

  • Vamana is not advisable in children and pregnant women.
  • Virechana is not recommended during pregnancy and it is not given to children, and elderly. individuals with anorectal injury or diarrhoea should not undergo virechana.
  • Basti is contraindicated in individuals with intestinal obstruction or perforation and in those with anaemia, cholera, dysentery and anal inflammation;
  • Tulsi, pippali and haridra should be used in moderation in individuals with excess pitta.
  • Vasa should be used with caution as it can be poisonous if not taken in purified form.

Chest pain can occur due to a broad range of underlying conditions. It can be a symptom of cough caused by cold temperatures and food, an effect of indigestion and hyperacidity or due to heart disease. If you experience chest pain, consult a doctor immediately to identify the cause.

Ayurvedic treatment procedures, herbs and medicines used for treating chest pain should always be taken after consulting an experienced physician. It will not only help you prevent or manage the side effects of these medicines but also aids in quick and effective recovery.

Dr. Hariom Verma

Dr. Hariom Verma

आयुर्वेदा

 Dr. Sarita Singh

Dr. Sarita Singh

आयुर्वेदा

Dr. Amit Kumar

Dr. Amit Kumar

आयुर्वेदा

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