My mother has been suffering from a persistent dry cough for the past year. She does not have any another health problems. What could be the cause? Please suggest a suitable Ayurvedic treatment for her.
N.S., via email
The most common causes of chronic dry cough in adults are gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), post-nasal drip from allergies, asthma and complications from taking medication.
If she starts coughing soon after taking medication she should consult her doctor. Coughing is a common initial symptom of many lung diseases.
In the case of GERD, contact between acid and digestive enzymes with the vocal cords and windpipe (trachea) will almost always cause a cough. Other symptoms include hoarseness and ‘lump in throat' feeling. Allergies and chronic sinusitis can also cause a dry cough.
Your mother will need to meet an Ayurveda doctor in person for a detailed consultation. Here are a few tips that should help ease her symptoms:
- Boil water in a pan and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the hot water. Inhale steam to sooth a dry cough.
- Drink plenty of liquids including juice, water and broth.
- A glass of milk boiled with 2-3 grams of turmeric can be taken at bedtime.
- Drink a cup of water boiled with Vasaka (Adhatoda vasika) leaves flavoured with some honey.
Faisal Hussain, via email
Chalazion (cyst in the eyelid) can be associated with seborrhoea (dry, flaky skin), dry eyes, chronic lid inflammation and acne. A chalazion is not an infection but an inflammation of meibomian glands (the 30-40 small glands located in the upper and lower lids). A relatively painless lump is caused by the oil in the gland becoming too thick to flow or the opening of the gland being obstructed. When the outlet is blocked, the oil builds up inside the gland and forms a lump in the eyelid. The gland wall may break, releasing the oil into the tissue of the eyelid, causing inflammation and sometimes scar tissue. A sty is an acute infection of the gland. Here are a few tips to ease the condition:
- Apply a warm, wet towel on the eyelid three to four times a day. Doing this just prior to sleeping decreases the chances of chalazion formation.
- Gently massage the area several times a day.
- Grind Mukkadi Porampoda (pill form) to a fine paste and apply over the eyelid. Rinse off when it dries. Repeat two to three times a day.
- Apply a drop of Ilaneer kuzhampu* in each eye twice daily.
Dr V.L. Shyam, MD (Ay), M Phil, a certified Ayurvedic consultant, answers queries.