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Asthma is a disease that causes inflammation of the airways of the lungs and it can be caused by a range of factors such as genetics, the environment, infections, allergies, emotions, and even the foods that we eat.  The commonest symptoms of asthma are wheezing, coughing, a shortness of breath, and an increase in the amount of mucus that is produced.  However, if you suffer from asthma, or have a family member that does, there is no need to suffer. There are plenty of natural remedies that you can use.

Allergens that can Trigger Asthma

There are many different allergens that can trigger an asthmatic attack.  These include pet dander, chemicals, drugs, dust mites, pollutants, feathers, food additives, mildew, mould, and cigarette smoke.  Even the foods that you can eat can trigger an asthma attack, with milk, eggs, nuts, and seafood being some of the most common triggers.

If you suspect that an allergen is triggering your asthma attack, whether it is dietary or found in the environment, you can choose to eliminate the allergen from the diet or your environment and see if symptoms clear up.  To be able to correctly identify the allergen, it is important that you remove all potential irritants and re-introduce them one by one.

Nutrition and Supplements for Asthma

There are some supplements that are useful in helping to manage asthma.  Vitamin C works with vitamin E to help increase its function.  Vitamin C protects lung tissue, increases air flow, fights inflammation and lowers the rate of infection.  Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that works with vitamin E.  Taking primrose oil, flaxseed, flaxseed oil or fish oils is also very useful.  This is because these are all good sources of omega 3 fatty acids which produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins in the body.

It is also important to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  This is due to the high levels of antioxidants that they contain. Fruits and vegetables that are thought to be particularly good for helping asthma include carrots, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, and apples.

Herbal Medicine for Asthma

There are many herbs that are useful for asthma management (see herbal medicine for more).  Some include:

  • Bee Pollen – has been proven to strengthen the immune system, and it is soothing for the mucous membranes.
  • Angelica – relaxes the windpipe, which is helpful in asthma.
  • Anise – contains substances known as creosol and alpha-pinene which help to loosen bronchial secretions.
  • Cocoa – theophylline is the compound that is used in standard inhalers.  Caffeine and theobromine are chemically related to theophylline and are two components of cocoa.  It is useful for helping to open the airways to the lungs.
  • Coffee – is very effective at opening the airways to the lungs.
  • Gingko Biloba – helps to dilate and tone blood vessels and it prevents membrane damage.
  • Elecampane Root – can help to diffuse asthma attacks, especially if you are prone to them.
  • Parsley Leaf – is an expectorant and helps to fight both coughs and asthma.
  • Turmeric – is a bronchodilator.
  • Butterbur – contains chemicals that can reduce smooth muscle spasms and it is also an anti-inflammatory.
  • Bromelain – is an anti-inflammatory.
  • Boswellia – interferes with chemicals called leukotrienes – these chemicals play a role in the inflammatory processes in the body.

Aromatherapy for Asthma

Aromatherapy uses essential oils and there are several essential oils that can be helpful for asthma.  Some of these are:

  • Clary Sage – contains several estrogen-like oils that help asthma when they are blended together. Use them in a bath or as a massage oil.
  • Rose Absolute – is an anti-spasmodic that can be used to calm stress-related asthma attacks.  Use it as a steam inhalation.
  • Pine Needle – used in the bath, diffuser, or as a steam inhalation, this oil can help reduce the incidence of attacks.
  • Bergamot, Chamomile and Lavender – these oils are anti-inflammatory and help to ease asthma symptoms.  To use, blend the oils into a carrier oil and massage onto the chest.

Homoeopathy for Asthma

The goal of homoeopathy is to stimulate the body’s natural defense system by resetting the immune system and functioning of the cells.  It can be helpful for asthma.

  • Arsenicum Album – this is useful for people that have breathing problems that are worse when they  are laying down, and better when sitting up.  The person may feel exhausted yet be restless and anxious.
  • Carbo Vegetabilis – this is useful for people that feel weak or faint, with a hollow feeling in the chest.  Coughing may lead to gagging.
  • Ipecacuanha – this remedy is useful for people that suffer from coughing spasms that lead to retching or vomiting.  Wheezing may come on suddenly with the person feeling like they may suffocate or they feel heavy in the chest.
  • Natrum Sulphuricum – can be helpful for asthma attacks that are brought on by mould or dampness, and for those who find that wheezing and breathing problems occur with exertion.

Meditation for Asthma

Meditation is very useful for reducing the amount of stress, both physical and emotional, that a person suffers – making it helpful for those that suffer from emotionally-related asthma or stress-induced asthma in particular.  Meditation may be active or passive, and the point of meditation is to direct your awareness onto a particular thing, whether it is your breath, a phrase or word that has meaning to you, or an image that you can see in your mind.  Meditation is useful as it lowers blood pressure, decreases the heart rate and rate of breathing, increases blood flow, and calms the mind.

Exercise for Asthma

While exercise can be a trigger for asthma, there is no reason why you should not undertake exercise at all.  There are milder forms of exercise such as swimming, light aerobic activity or weight training that you should be able to do without many problems.  Just stay away from the more strenuous forms of exercise, as strenuous exercise often makes us breathe through our mouths, which dries out the back of the throat, causing it to become cool and triggering asthma.  Swimming is actually ideal for asthma as the humidity means that your mouth will not dry out.

The Buteyko Technique for Asthma

The Buteyko breathing technique is one of the best known breathing methods that is used for controlling asthma.  It is designed to retrain the breath so that normal breathing rates and depths are achieved.  In the Buteyko technique, it is believed that people actually breathe too much.  Normal breathing sees an oxygen level in the blood of around 96 to 98 percent.  By breathing more, people think they are getting more oxygen, but they’re actually losing more carbon dioxide, which is necessary for the body to be able to use oxygen properly.  If carbon dioxide levels drop, oxygen levels drop as well, causing oxygen starvation.  The Buteyko technique corrects this problem.  There are no complicated breathing exercises involved, so it can be done by anyone at any time of day.


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