It was serendipity. While sitting at the Integrative Medicine conference trade show, a doctor shared some stories about his travels. I’m always looking for tips, so when he mentioned that he used an Ayurvedic remedy to counteract high altitude sickness while hiking in the Himalayas, I paid attention.

I won’t stop climbing peaks or visiting the higher World Heritage sites because  of A.S. – as long as there’s a simple, healthy way to deal with it. So, the next time I head up to higher elevations, I look forward to trying a Maharishi Ayurvedic formula that the doctor had great results with: Asthomap. Please note: This is in no way a prescription or to suggest that this is the cure – but offered only as educational information

Asthomap, as related on the India Abundance site, “Contains no steroids hence is safe for a long term use and in fact, prolonged use reduces hypersensitivity to allergens and reduces intensity and frequency of asthmatic attacks. Long term use doesn’t increase tolerance.”

The formula is created by Maharishi Ayurveda products IN INDIA. The Himalayas are India and the product was created for use in that country. All MAPI products are created according to ancient Vedic texts, harvested and grown accordingly. The products are extensively tested several times when selling in the U.S. to ensure that trace metals and impurities are not present.

Asthomap is not currently distributed in the United States due to the recognition of ingredients not included in U. S. products. Still, in India, MAPI tests before sending the formulation to market. At this time it’s available ONLY ONLINE, from agents outside of the U.S. There are several links below, but if you do a search online for ASTHOMAP, you’ll find many others as well. I have no commercial interest in any of this.

A few notes about Altitude Sickness:

There is no way to predict who will or will not suffer from A.S. If you’ve had the symptoms before, you may be more susceptible in the future.

Symptoms: The symptoms of mild A.S. usually include: headaches, nausea, breathlessness, palpitations (irregular or rapid heart beats) and difficulty exercising. This “acute mountain sickness” affects many visitors who are staying at ski resorts.It usually dissipates within a few days and can be ‘treated’ by returning to a lower altitude. Drinking plenty of fluids, taking pain killers (analgesics) or having a prescription for Diamox may help.

More chronic A.S. can be life threatening and requires immediate attention. Severe breathing difficulties, vomiting, frequent cough, lack of coordination and loss of consciousness are among the more serious symptoms. This is a form of high altitude pulmonary edema when the lungs are affected, and high altitude cerebral edema which affects the brain. Although both these conditions are uncommon, they are potentially fatal and may require immediate medical assistance.

Why use an Asthma medication for Altitude Sickness?

Peter Bartsch, while working for PBS, has experience with and researched the effects of high altitude for years. In an article for SwissInfo.ch, he suggests that at high altitudes: “The reduction of asthma is attributed to 2 major factors: 1) reduction of allergens in the air, and 2) reduced air density.”

David Shlim, of High Altitude Medical Advice for Travelers, adds that: “People with asthma have been thought to be at theoretically increased risk at altitude due to the possible adverse effects of cold and exercise. However, asthmatics have generally done very well at altitude, possibly due to the greatly decreased presence of allergens at high altitude. However, people with asthma should be cautioned to carry their medications with them at all times”.

In a related Swiss test conducted with experienced climbers, the drug, Salmeterol, which has been known to help evacuate sodium from the lungs of animals – and was tested on climbers who had suffered previously from altitude sickness.

Urs Scherrer, a researcher from the Lausanne University hospital, was part of the study. He suggests that to avoid Altitude Sickness, “People shouldn’t climb too quickly,” and that “They should take the time to acclimatise slowly, especially if they have suffered from altitude sickness, to avoid taking too many risks. This can only be a supportive treatment.” Regarding using Salmeterol for altitude sickness, “This asthma drug is a reasonable alternative to others that been used for the last 10 years to treat pulmonary edemas,” Scherrer told swissinfo.

Hopefully this discussion may help you and fellow travelers consider new ways to avoid the discomfort of high altitude sickness. Your comments and further suggestions are most welcome.

Helpful Links and Articles:

Asthma and High Altitude: Body Results.com

MyMD.com: http://www.mydr.com.au/travel-health/altitude-sickness

High Altitude Medical Advice for Travelers:  http://www.ciwec-clinic.com

Swiss Study on Asthma medication for Altitude Sickness.

India Abundance : Asthomap Formulation

India Mart, a franchisee of Maharishi Ayurveda: Asthomap Formulation