Natural Remedies for Asthma
by Tao Newsletter
Asthma is a serous disease of the respiratory system which is characterized by inflammation of the air passage which results in airway constriction and difficulty breathing. It is potentially life threatening illness. It is a disease that affects lungs and causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. In America, the number of people with asthma has been increasing which may be due to increased pollution, effects of emotional stress, and additives added to the diets.
Asthma is rapidly increasing prevalence, affecting people of any age and gender. According to Asthma and Allergy foundation of America; 30,000 people have an asthma attack and 4 people die from asthma every day in America. The symptoms arise from various types of triggering factors. Triggering Factors includes inhalation of allergens (dust mites, molds, pollens, pet dander);
respiratory infections; irritants (cold air; tobacco smoke and pollutants); stress; food (sulphates in dried fruits or beverages); drug allergies (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs provoke asthma in some cases and ß-Blockers); etc. Recent researches also have shown that tobacco smoke, infections and allergens increase the chance of developing asthma. Also one of the researches revealed that antibiotics given to infants may increase the risk of asthma in children.
In asthma, the inside walls of airways are inflamed, or swollen and hence inflammation makes them very sensitive. They tend to react strongly to things that are allergic to or find irritating. When they react, they get narrower and less air flows through to lungs and cause symptoms like wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing.
The symptoms may vary from person to person and also depends upon the severity of the condition. Sometimes symptoms might be mild and other times they can be serious and need emergency. The common symptoms in asthma include:
- Wheezing (usually begins suddenly and is episodic)
- Cough (condition is worst at night or early in the morning)
- Shortness of breath
- Extremely difficulty in breathing
- Severe anxiety
- Tightness in the chest
- Nasal Flaring
- Abnormal breathing pattern or faster and noisy breathing
- Increased mucus flow
- Increased heart rate
Asthma can be controlled if the symptoms are not severe. The first and foremost treatment strategies aim to avoid known allergens and respiratory irritants (or triggering factors) and controlling the symptoms with various medications and therapies available. Restoration of normal airway function and prevention of severe acute attack are the main goals of treatment. In addition, various medications are available in the markets which are either short tem relief or long term controlling type. Steroid Inhalers, bronchodilators, theophylline, and anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used. Furthermore alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage, yoga, herbal treatment, vitamin supplements, diet & life style changes are likely to be effective in preventing and relieving asthma.
Natural Remedies for Asthma
Nowadays people appear to look into natural remedies for asthma. Natural remedies have shown to provide safe and effective treatment and relief from the asthma related problems such as difficulty in breathing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, respiratory infections or cough. The combination of natural herbs may improve or relive symptoms. Massage and yoga can help reduce anxiety and stress, both of which can be asthma triggers. One of the researches at University of Sydney, Australia shows that regular consumption of oily fish can reduce risk of developing asthma in childhood.
Herbs and Vitamins: Various Chinese herbs can decrease inflammation and relieve bronchospasm associated with asthma. Some of the popular names of herbs used in asthma are; Ginkgo biloba, Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita), Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), Ephedra (Epehdra Sinica), Ginger (Zingiber Officinale), Green Tea, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza), Lobelia tincture, Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica), etc. These herbs have either antihistaminic, nasal decongestant or anti-allergic properties. Boswellia, an Indian herb has been found to inhibit the formation of leukorienes. Leutkotreines released in the lungs can cause narrowing of airways. Astragulus (Astragulus membranaceus) is used to prevent respiratory infections. Vitamin-C improves asthma symptoms. Similarly vitamins B6 and vitamin
B12 are very important nutrients to treat asthma. Many essential oils like that of lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree are commonly used in aromatherapy. They are helpful in opening airways, loosening congestion and relaxing breathing.
- James F.Balch, Mark Stengler. Prescription for Natural Cures. Johnson Wiley & Sons, Inc. New Jersey.pp306-308. 2004
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A (http://www.cdc.gov/)
- Hodge, Linda, et al. Consumption of oily fish and childhood asthma risk. Medical Journal of Australia, Vol. 164, February 5, 1996, pp. 137-40.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (http://www.aafa.org)
- National Institute of Health, USA (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/)
- Kathleen MacNaughton, Top 3 Asthma Triggers. 2006 (http://asthma.about.com/od/factsaboutasthma)
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov)
- The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. ”Alternative Therapy for Asthma” (http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/)
- National Jewish Patient Information (http://www.nationaljewish.org)