Amrita Bindu Helps Children with Asthma
Amrita Bindu, a traditional Ayurvedic preparation made from mineral salts, spices, and herbs, improves lung function in children with severe asthma, reports the Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2004;90:105–14).
Ayurvedic medicine has been used in India for thousands of years. The Ayurvedic tradition recognizes weaknesses inherent to certain constitutions and uses specific preparations to address them. Preparations of mineral salts, herbs, and spices used as food additives are believed to have rejuvenating, nourishing, invigorating, cleansing, and other health-promoting qualities. Amrita Bindu is one such mineral salt–spice–herb mixture based on these principles that has been reported to have antioxidant effects.
Asthma, a respiratory disease marked by inflammation and spasm of the airways, restricts breathing, which can result in poor oxygenation of the blood and body tissues. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, cough, and chest tightness. Medical treatment can include the use of inhaled bronchodilators, antihistamines, inhaled or oral steroids, and other anti-inflammatory medicines. The prevalence of childhood asthma has been increasing worldwide for more than 20 years. Recent research has made clear that oxidative stress plays an important role in the development and increases in asthma severity. (Oxidative stress is the tendency for oxygen molecules to promote the formation of potentially damaging, highly reactive molecules called free radicals.) High levels of pro-oxidant air pollutants have been shown to aggravate asthma, and some studies have found that, compared with healthy people, asthma sufferers have lower levels of antioxidants in their blood. Furthermore, some studies have linked low dietary intake of antioxidants to increased severity of asthma in children.
In the current study, 30 children diagnosed with severe asthma were treated with Amrita Bindu and their progress was monitored for one year. The children selected for the study were experiencing respiratory distress three to five days per week and their asthma symptoms were insufficiently managed with inhaled bronchodilators, oral steroids, and other anti-inflammatory medications. Children between 5 and 10 years of age were given 250 mg of Amrita Bindu mixed with honey twice a day, and children 11 to 18 years of age were given one 500 mg capsule of Amrita Bindu twice a day. Symptoms and medication use were monitored throughout the study. Blood levels of hemoglobin, antioxidants, and free radicals were measured at the beginning of the study and at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months, and lung function was assessed at the beginning of the study and at 6 and 12 months. These measurements were also performed in healthy children for comparison.
Average hemoglobin and antioxidant levels were significantly lower and free radical levels were significantly higher in the asthmatic children than in the healthy children at the beginning of the study. All of these levels improved in the treated children and were the same as in healthy children by the end of the study. The lung function of the asthmatic children improved consistently during the study and was near that of healthy children at 12 months. Within 3 months of the start of the study, 25 of the 30 children were symptom-free and had discontinued use of all other medications. At 9 months, all of the children had stopped their other medications.
The dramatic improvements observed in this study suggest that Amrita Bindu might be a powerful tool in the treatment of childhood asthma. Controlled trials to confirm the significance of these findings are warranted. The combined effect of Amrita Bindu and other antioxidant supplements could also be explored.
Maureen Williams, ND, received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, WA. She has a private practice in Quechee, VT, and does extensive work with traditional herbal medicine in Guatemala and Honduras. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.
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