Home remedy for asthma

Contents

Ten home remedies for wheezing

Share on PinterestSteam inhalation is an effective home remedy for wheezing.

The following home treatments for wheezing aim to open up the airways, reduce the irritants or pollution that a person breathes in, or treat the underlying causes of the wheezing.

If a person has asthma or another medical condition that causes wheezing, they should speak to their doctor and use the medications prescribed for it, such as an asthma inhaler.

Effective home remedies for wheezing include:

1. Steam inhalation

Inhaling warm, moisture-rich air can be very effective for clearing the sinuses and opening up the airways.

To do this, a person can use the following method:

  1. Pour hot water into a large bowl and breathe in the steam.
  2. Place a towel over the head to trap extra moisture.
  3. Add a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus oil to the water to make the stream more powerful.

Peppermint essential oil may have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Research from 2013 suggests that it may relax the muscles of the respiratory system, which could help to relieve wheezing and other respiratory problems.

Peppermint essential oils can be purchased from drug stores or online.

If a steam bath does not appeal to you, a sauna room or hot shower can also help loosen congestion. Gently tapping on the back or chest and breathing deeply can help the steam work even better.

2. Hot drinks

Warm and hot drinks can help to loosen up the airways and relieve congestion.

Honey is a natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, so adding a teaspoon of honey to a hot drink may further improve a person’s symptoms.

A 2017 study found that eating one tablespoon of honey twice a day, along with other treatments, helped to relieve throat congestion.

Some people find that peppermint or other menthol teas work well. A person can try experimenting with different teas to find one that helps.

3. Breathing exercises

Breathing exercises may help with COPD, bronchitis, allergies, and other common causes of wheezing.

A 2009 study found that certain yoga-inspired breathing techniques could help with breathing difficulties related to bronchial asthma, including wheezing.

Breathing exercises often include deep, regular inhalations and exhalations. A doctor or respiratory therapist can help with deciding the most effective breathing techniques.

A person may find that they have trouble breathing during a panic attack. Deep breathing exercises can also assist here. It may help to try slow breathing, focusing on breathing deeply into the stomach, and counting breathes.

4. Humidifiers

Share on PinterestA humidifier may help to reduce wheezing.

During the dry winter months, wheezing often gets worse. A humidifier in the bedroom can help loosen congestion and reduce the severity of wheezing.

A person can add peppermint or other oils to the water in the humidifier, though they should check the humidifier’s instructions before adding anything other than water.

Air humidifiers can be found at some supermarkets or online stores.

5. Air filters

Many conditions that cause wheezing can get worse when the air is polluted or in response to allergens. A home air filter can reduce the presence of irritants that may trigger wheezing and breathing trouble.

6. Identifying and removing triggers

Chronic illnesses such as asthma and allergies may get worse in response to certain triggers, such as stress or allergens. Controlling these triggers, as much as possible, can help.

For instance, a person with a chronic respiratory condition who also has allergies might take allergy medication and avoid allergy triggers.

7. Allergy medications

People with allergies can benefit from a wide variety of allergy medications, including decongestants, corticosteroid tablets, and antihistamines.

Nasal sprays may be especially helpful to relieve a tight chest, congestion, and inflammation that can cause wheezing.

More severe allergies may require prescription allergy medication.

8. Allergy immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a process of retraining the immune system not to react to allergens.

The most common form of immunotherapy is allergy shots. A person may need several treatments, but over time, immunotherapy can reduce the frequency of wheezing.

Immunotherapy may also be helpful for people with other chronic conditions, such as COPD, who also have allergies.

9. Bronchodilators

Bronchodilators are medications that help relax the lungs and prevent the airways from narrowing. They can help with wheezing caused by COPD and asthma.

Bronchodilators come in two forms:

  • Short-acting bronchodilators. Sometimes known as rescue inhalers, these can stop an asthma or COPD attack.
  • Long-acting bronchodilators. This variety helps relax the airways over the long-term, reducing the frequency and severity of wheezing episodes.

Bronchodilators should be obtained from a doctor and can then be used at home, as needed.

10. Other medications

A wide variety of medications can treat wheezing that is due to underlying illness. A person who experiences wheezing due to a severe allergic reaction, for instance, may require epinephrine or corticosteroids.

People with heart health issues may take blood pressure medication or blood thinners to prevent further damage to the heart.

It is vital to discuss with a doctor whether medication might help, and how various medications may interact with one another.

The Best Home Remedy for an Asthma Attack

If you’re one of the roughly 25 million people who have been diagnosed with asthma, it’s only natural that you’d want to seek out home remedies to help you manage your condition on your own. This respiratory illness can interfere with daily activities and there is no cure known. So what’s a sufferer to do?

Home Remedies

While none of these options can cure your asthma, some sufferers report that they may help alongside manage your condition when used in conjunction with the medications your doctor prescribes. The science is still out, and some herbal solutions may actually lower the effectiveness of your prescribed medications, so be sure to talk to your doctor before trying any new method of treatment.

  • Herbs such as echinacea, ginger, turmeric and garlic
  • Over the counter (OTC) supplements and vitamins such as probiotics, vitamin C, zinc and magnesium
  • Homeopathic treatments like aconite, kali-carb, pulsatilla or blatta orientalis
  • Acupuncture or chiropractic therapies
  • Stress-lowering therapies such as deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation

If you do a quick internet search for ways to treat your asthma on your own, you’ll find no shortage of solutions for sale. Some may help slightly, others are little more than snake oil remedies. Because asthma can be a very serious, life-threatening illness, it’s really best to seek qualified medical help rather than attempting to handle your condition on your own.

The Only Proven Way to Treat Asthma at Home

If your asthma has been flaring up, just walking out your door could trigger an attack. This is because environmental triggers such as allergens or pollution can be unavoidable. So it’s only sensible to seek a form of treatment that doesn’t require you to leave the house.

Of course, there is one home treatment that has been proven to help control your asthma symptoms and provide relief for breathing troubles. The medical house call is making a comeback in modern day life, and could make all the difference for those who find it difficult to seek treatment in a normal clinical setting.

Get your medical treatment delivered from DispatchHealth and you’ll find a wealth of benefits. There’s no germy waiting room — you can relax in the comfort of your own home or office. Wait times are shorter, and time spent with your clinician is longer, so you get better treatment faster than your local ER. And the cost is significantly less too, plus they accept all the major health insurance plans, even Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare!

So what can DispatchHealth do for you when your asthma is flaring up? They can start by listening to your lungs and using a peak flow meter to measure how well air moves out of your lungs. Then they can administer breathing treatments, and offer both immediate or long-acting medications such as inhalers or nebulizers. They’re also ready and able to answer your questions, help you understand your condition and recommend preventative measures as appropriate.

Best of all, they can help you get back to life quickly, with convenient care from ER-trained clinicians who will work around your schedule and lifestyle. It’s better care, in the comfort of home!

Top 9 Effective Home Remedies To Cure Asthma Kushneet Kukreja Hyderabd040-395603080 May 28, 2019

Breathing is life – something most of us take for granted. But, only a person suffering from asthma can understand the true value of this simple life-giving process. Breathing problems can lead to all sorts of conditions, like bronchitis and asthma. Asthma can be life-threatening and is cause for serious concern. But with just a few natural home remedies, the recurrence of asthmatic attacks can be reduced to a great extent. You will be surprised to know that stuff off your kitchen shelves can help you keep those asthma attacks at bay.

Before we delve into the home remedies, let us know a few basics about asthma.

Table Of Contents

What Is Asthma?

When the airways get inflamed, they become narrower and very sensitive, causing a long-term lung disease called asthma. Even the minutest irritant can trigger asthma as the airways are already inflamed. Also, excess mucus is produced, which may further constrict your airways and cause difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and also a tightness in the chest (1).

Types Of Asthma

Asthma can develop due to different reasons and under different conditions. The various types of asthma, as classified by doctors, are listed below:

  • Allergic Asthma – Allergens in the environment can cause allergic rhinitis. When this leads to asthma, it is called allergic asthma.
  • Exercise-induced Asthma – When physical exertion leads to asthma, it is called exercise-induced asthma. The airways begin to constrict usually between five to 20 minutes of starting the exercise.
  • Cough-variant Asthma – With coughing as the main symptom, this type of asthma is usually triggered by respiratory infections and exercise.
  • Occupational Asthma – When the asthma is triggered only in your work surroundings, it is called occupational asthma. Animal breeders, farmers, hairdressers, and woodworkers are some of the common professionals who develop this type of asthma.
  • Nocturnal Asthma – Symptoms of asthma are aggravated during the night and can turn out to be very dangerous (2).

Let us now look at the various home remedies that you can use to get relief from asthma and its symptoms.

Home Remedies For Asthma Attack

  1. Essential Oils
  2. Honey
  3. Turmeric
  4. Coffee
  5. Vitamins
  6. Ginger
  7. Garlic
  8. Onions
  9. Khella

1. Essential Oils For Asthma

(a) Eucalyptus Essential Oil For Asthma

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You Will Need
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • A towel
What You Have To Do

To use this, put a few drops of the oil on the towel and keep it beside you when you sleep. Position the napkin so that you can breathe in the aroma.

How Often You Should Do This

Use this remedy every night as a preventive measure for asthma attacks.

Why This Works

One of the best remedies for relieving congestion and a blocked nose, eucalyptus oil is an effective remedy for breathing problems. Eucalyptol, a chemical present in eucalyptus oil, helps break down mucus (3).

(b) Lavender Oil For Asthma

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  • 5-6 drops lavender oil
  • A bowl of hot water

Add lavender oil to the hot water and inhale the steam for 5-10 minutes.

Do this once every day.

Lavender oil has been to shown to inhibit the inflammation of the airways and control mucus production. It soothes the air passages and strengthens the immune system (4).

(c) Tea Tree Oil For Asthma

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  • A few drops of tea tree oil
  • Face cloth
  • Warm water

1. Dip the face cloth in the warm water completely and then wring out the excess.
2. Pour the essential oil randomly on this damp cloth and inhale the vapors until the cloth comes back to room temperature.

Repeat this a few times until the asthma symptoms have vanished and you feel better.

The expectorant and decongestant properties of tea tree oil will work in relieving the wheezing and coughing and eliminating the excess mucus. This essential oil also possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which will help reduce the inflammation in the airways and treat any infections that are present in the respiratory system (5).

(d) Kalonji Oil For Asthma

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  • 1/2 teaspoon kalonji oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • A cup of warm water

Add the kalonji oil and honey to the water, and drink this once before breakfast and once again after dinner.

Repeat this for 40 days for best results.

Kalonji oil is also called Black Seed Oil. The list of its benefits is endless. Its anti-inflammatory properties prove beneficial in the treatment of asthma. It is also used for the treatment of bronchitis (6).

(e) Oregano Oil For Asthma

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  • A few drops of oregano oil
  • Essential oil diffuser

Put the essential oil in the diffuser and inhale the vapors. Let the diffuser use up all the oil.

You can use this remedy every day to keep asthma symptoms at bay.

Oregano oil cleanses the lungs and the air passages. It thins the mucus and eliminates infection-causing bacteria and viruses (7).

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2. Honey For Asthma

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  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • A glass of warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1. Mix one teaspoon of honey in the water and drink this slowly.
2. Swallow another teaspoon of honey with the cinnamon powder before going to bed.

Drink this honey water three times in a day. Have the honey and cinnamon mix every night before going to bed.

Honey is one of the oldest and most natural remedies for breathing problems. It contains alcohol and other oils that help alleviate the symptoms of asthma. It will help remove phlegm from your throat and allow you to sleep better (8).

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3. Turmeric For Asthma

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  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • A glass of water

Ingest the turmeric along with water.

Repeat this thrice a day for 10-14 days. If there is no improvement in the symptoms, double the dosage.

Turmeric contains curcumin as one of its main components. This phytochemical is very beneficial as an add-on therapy to relieve asthma. It modulates the inflammatory response of the body and alleviates the inflammation of the airways. Turmeric is also an excellent antimicrobial agent (9).

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4. Coffee For Asthma

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A cup of hot coffee

Brew a hot, steaming cup of your favorite coffee and drink it.

Drink hot coffee as an immediate remedy to get relief from asthma.

Drinking coffee is the easiest way to treat asthma as it immediately eases up the airways and helps you breathe. Many swear by the positive effects of drinking coffee and recommend it as the quickest antidote for asthma. Caffeine in the coffee acts as a bronchodilator and opens up the constricted airways (10).

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5. Vitamins For Asthma

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  • Vitamin D supplements
  • Vitamin C supplements

Take a tablet of each of these vitamin supplements every day.

Continue taking these supplements for a month. If there is still no difference, please consult your doctor.

Vitamin D supplementation has shown effective results in alleviating asthma symptoms. This is because of its anti-inflammatory action and its ability to enhance the body’s innate antimicrobial response (11). Even though sufficient data could not be collected to know if vitamin C helps in treating bronchial asthma, it did help in alleviating exercise-induced asthma symptoms. It was shown to improve the functioning of the lungs (12).

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6. Ginger For Asthma

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  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • A cup of hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  1. Grate fresh ginger and add it to the hot water. Let it steep for five to seven minutes.
  2. Strain the water, add honey, and drink this herbal tea while it is warm.

You can also chew on a small piece of ginger a few times during the day.

Drink two to three cups of ginger tea in a day.

A herb famed for its anti-inflammatory properties for decades, ginger consumption is the best way to keep your respiratory tract healthy. This is the most common home remedy for asthma. Ginger relaxes the airway muscles and regulates calcium uptake, which in turn relieve the constriction and give relief from asthma (13).

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7. Garlic For Asthma

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  • 10-12 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup milk

Boil the cloves of garlic in the milk and drink this concoction.

Drink this once a day.

Garlic helps clear the congestion in your lungs and is a sure shot remedy that provides quick relief from asthma symptoms. It also reduces the inflammation of the airways (14).

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8. Onions For Asthma

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Raw onion

Chomp a few slices of raw onion with your supper to reap the benefits of this veggie.

Include onions in your daily diet.

Yes, onions are pungent, and can be a big turn-off to many. However, those suffering from asthma can benefit from onions. This vegetable that makes many cry can be a boon to asthmatics. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps clear the airways (15).

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9. Khella For Asthma

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  • 30 to 60 drops khella tincture
  • A cup of water

Add the khella tincture to the water and drink it.

Take this thrice a day and once before going to bed. Continue taking this for a couple of weeks to notice the benefits.

Otherwise known as Bishop’s weed, this herb is often used for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, and heart disease in Ayurvedic and Egyptian medicine. It has anti-histamine properties and prevents allergic asthma. It antispasmodic properties dilate the constricted bronchioles (16).

Caution

Khella is a preventive remedy for asthma. Khella is not for use in asthma attacks.

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Before using any of these remedies, make sure that you are not even slightly allergic to any of them. And if you are, using them will only prove to be counter-productive in treating the asthma symptoms. If you are still doubtful, consult your doctor before using the remedy.

FAQs

1. What Causes Asthma?

They are many factors that can trigger and cause asthma. These include:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Allergens like fur, mold, pollen, dust, etc.
  • Medicines such as aspirin or similar drugs
  • Irritants like pollution particles, chemicals in the environment, certain sprays, cigarette smoke, etc.
  • Physical activity
  • Certain chemicals in food can also trigger asthma (for example, sulfites) (17)

2. Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma

The signs and symptoms of asthma are:

  • Coughing that gets worse in the night
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty in breathing

The severity of these symptoms varies from person to person (17).

3. List Of Foods That Trigger Asthma

Foods that are allergens around the world are found to be responsible for triggering an asthma attack. The common ones are listed below:

  • Soy and its products
  • Milk and milk products
  • Peanuts and other nuts
  • Fish, shrimp, and other shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Gluten
  • Eggs

Food additives such as MSG (Monosodium glutamate) can also trigger asthma.

4. Diet To Follow For Asthma

The importance of a healthy diet cannot be contested. Incorporate fresh and organic fruits and vegetables in your daily diet and see the difference. Food rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals will ensure healthy functioning of the respiratory system. Some foods that are good for asthmatics are given below:

Fruits – apples, cantaloupes, bananas, kiwi, pineapple, and berries.
Vegetables – carrots, garlic, avocado, Broccoli sprouts, spinach, sweet potatoes, ginger, tomatoes, kale, and Swiss chard.
Juices – make a healthy concoction by using any of the fruits and vegetables listed above.

Steer clear of junk food and fried fatty food that can act as a trigger for an asthma attack.

5. What Exercises Control Asthma?

Just because you have asthma, it does not mean that you cannot lead an active life. Exercising daily, doing yoga, or going for walks and swims will help you to keep asthma attacks at bay. Cardio workouts like walking, cycling, or light running will keep your body fluids flowing and prevent excess mucus build-up in the airways.

Try to do these breathing exercises to keep your asthma under control:

(a) Simple breathing – Also known as diaphragmatic breathing. Lie down or sit with your back straight. Breathe in and out slowly. Your stomach should go out during inhalation, not your chest. While exhaling, your stomach should go in.
(b) Buteyko breathing – Sit in an upright position with the chest and belly muscles relaxed. Take a long shallow breath and exhale slowly. Hold your breath for as long as possible. Then, continue breathing gently.
(c) Pursed lip breathing – While in the simple breathing position, exhale through pursed lips like you are blowing a whistle. Exhaling should ideally be twice as long as inhaling.

These exercises can also be called chest exercises as they involve your chest muscles. Remember to not overexert yourself and your lungs while doing any type of exercise.

6. Are There Things I Can Change In My Life To Reduce My Risk Of An Asthma Attack?

A healthy lifestyle, which includes a decent diet and optimum levels of exercise, can definitely help reduce the risk of an asthma attack. Using home remedies such as garlic or khella can be effective preventive measures against asthma.

7. Does Stress Trigger Asthma?

Stress does not specifically trigger asthma, but it can make dealing with its symptoms worse and unbearable.

8. Can You Grow Into Asthma?

Asthma can affect anybody at any age. Usually, children develop asthma due to allergies, and adults grow into it due to lung infections or exposure to an irritant, especially at the workplace.

9. What Does Asthma Feel Like?

During an attack, an asthmatic experiences regular cough and wheezing, which leads to shortness of breath and tightness of chest.

10. Can You Get Lung Cancer From Asthma?

No! Asthma cannot develop into lung cancer. It can, however, lead to a severe respiratory condition known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

11. At What Age Do You Get Asthma?

People can develop asthma at any age, be it 5 or 50.

12. Is It True That Asthma Can Be Cured By Fish Therapy?

The fish therapy is administered in the city of Hyderabad, India, for asthma sufferers. The family that holds the secret of the herbs that are used and also many patients claim that this therapy, when taken for three consecutive years, can cure asthma. No research has been conducted on this therapy, and its effectiveness hasn’t been verified by experts. This therapy has become famous only by word-of-mouth and from patients who have benefitted from it.

We hope we have answered all your doubts about asthma, including the best home remedies for asthma/breathing problems. So, what are you waiting for? If you or your loved ones face breathing problems, you might want to think about including these in your daily routine.

Please share with us if you have any other cure or remedy in mind. Leave a comment below.

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Kushneet Kukreja

She is a Biotechnologist, what we in normal English would call Scientist. While she is an expert in experimenting, she also holds an exceptional talent in juggling words and churning out content with just the right amount of sass added to it. When not saving the world with her articles, she likes to hang around with her Siberian Husky (because, aren’t dogs the best?). In her spare time, she likes a little ‘jibber-jabber, full of chatter’ time with her friends. So, what gives her the energy to do all this? If you ask her, she would say,”My cup of sanity – an extra large mug of coffee!”

Natural Remedy Options for Asthma Treatment

In fact, as many as 40 percent of people with an allergic disease will try a natural remedy, says Dr. Peters. “Most people use it in conjunction with traditional ,” she explains.

So what does the research show about natural remedies, and why are people giving them a shot? “Many of these have shown benefits as being anti-inflammatory in animals,” says Peters, but unfortunately, they haven’t necessarily been found to be effective in studies conducted on people.

Steam Baths as Asthma Treatment

While warm steam baths have often been used to help alleviate nasal congestion and airway irritation associated with asthma, Peters points out that there’s never been a study that proves that steam treatments help improve asthma symptoms. It’s important to understand that “it’s not a cure for asthma,” she says. Even so, just because the studies haven’t established a definite benefit doesn’t mean that steam baths won’t be of benefit to some people.

Peters says steam baths “may relieve some of the symptoms because it may provide moisture to the airways.” She cautions though that steam can be dangerously hot, “so in some asthmatics, it can exacerbate symptoms.”

Steam baths may help offset some symptoms, particularly nasal stuffiness, but Peters stresses that steam baths are not “a substitute for asthma medications.”

Herbs and Other Alternative Asthma Treatment Options

A number of herbs have been touted as natural remedies for asthma, but Peters suggests that people should be wary before using these asthma treatments. Some alternative treatment options and their associated risks and benefits include:

  • Garlic. Garlic has been used as a natural remedy to manage many diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Since asthma is an inflammatory disease, it would make sense that garlic may also help relieve asthma symptoms. Peters notes, however, that there have never been any controlled studies investigating the effect of garlic on asthma symptoms, so its role in asthma treatment is unknown. The use of garlic as an alternative treatment for asthma is, however, currently being studied.
  • Ginger. Ginger is also thought to decrease inflammation, and a recent study did show that oral ginger supplements were linked to improvement in asthma symptoms. The study didn’t show, however, that ginger use led to any improvement in actual lung function. As a result, Peters cautions against using this study to draw any conclusions about the use of ginger as an alternative treatment for asthma. Additional studies are now being conducted to evaluate more fully whether or not ginger may help manage asthma symptoms.
  • Echinacea and Licorice Root. One study that examined the use of a number of different herbs to treat asthma found that Echinacea — an herb often used to treat upper respiratory infections — was not only ineffective, but was also associated with a number of side effects. Worsening asthma symptoms, skin rashes and possible liver damage when taken with other medications are risks linked to Echinacea use. Likewise, licorice root — which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is sometimes used by people with asthma to soothe their lungs — was found to be ineffective as an alternative treatment for asthma and was also associated with side effects such as high blood pressure. Peters says that there have not been any clinical trials that have shown either Echinacea or licorice root to be an effective asthma treatment and she notes that there have been some reports that Echinacea may worsen asthma symptoms in some people.
  • Turmeric. Turmeric has been the subject of a number of studies, says Peters, and it has been found to have some anti-allergy properties. It’s thought that turmeric has an effect on histamines, which can cause inflammation. Nevertheless, much more research needs to be done before turmeric can be established as a safe and effective natural remedy for asthma.
  • Honey. Honey is an ingredient in many cough and cold remedies, used to help sooth an irritated throat and calm a cough. Many people with asthma may try mixing honey with a hot drink for relief, but again, Peters notes that there are no studies to support the use of honey as an alternative treatment for asthma symptoms.
  • Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids are often used as a natural remedy to help prevent and treat heart disease. Though some research suggests that omega-3s may also help to decrease airway inflammation and boost lung function, there’s still a lot that isn’t known about their role in asthma treatment. “There is some literature to say that supplements may also be beneficial in people with asthma,” but as of right now, more research needs to be done, Peters cautions.

Natural Remedy Asthma Treatments: Are They Safe?

Since we don’t know a lot about the possible side effects of many natural remedies, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, Peters points out.

“There’s just not enough data to routinely say use in patients,” she says. Although many natural remedy options are well tolerated, there may still be long term side effects that are as of yet unknown. “Many of these herbal supplements, just because they have not been well-studied, may potentially cause harm,” Peters stresses.

If you are going to try a natural remedy to treat your asthma, never use one in place of your conventional asthma medication, Peters advises. Also, don’t use any alternative treatment without talking to your doctor first. It’s important to keep in mind that “natural” doesn’t always mean safe.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Asthma Center.

Breathe Easy: Tips to Support Respiratory Health

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Sign up for our free newsletterBy Dr. Heidi Henson, DC February 6, 2014 — Updated January 3rd, 2019

Everyday, without much notice, each of us breathe in approximately 8,500 liters of outside air into our respiratory tracts.1 However, with each breath in, we are unknowingly taking more into our bodies than just oxygen. We are breathing air that also contains air-borne pollutants, bacteria, chemicals, and allergens, poised to attack our bodies. Thus, through our respiratory system’s interaction with the air we breathe, each of us is exposing ourselves to a tremendous amount of potential microbes and irritants everyday. Luckily, we also have a defense system in place that functions to stop these irritants before they become a problem. This defense hinges upon the ability of our body to mount the appropriate immune response within our respiratory system to neutralize, eliminate, and protect against these invaders.2 If a person has an immune system that reacts too heartily, this can predispose them to asthma or reactive airway disease, which can induce difficulty breathing and wheezing associated with an allergic reaction. Conversely, if someone’s immune system is underactive, this can predispose them to infection. Here are some tips, on how you can use plant-based nutrition to support your immune system and promote respiratory health:

Vitamin D

Evidence suggests a link between people with reactive airway disease and low Vitamin D levels. Studies demonstrate that a patient may experience a reduction of symptoms by reversing the Vitamin D deficiency.3 Further research links the anti-inflammatory properties of Vitamin D with improvement in asthma symptoms through, “improvement in immune function of lung tissue.”4 While exposing skin to sunlight is an excellent, natural way for your body to get Vitamin D, many of us are unable to fulfill our need in this manner due to time, weather, or skin condition restraints. If you are concerned about your Vitamin D levels, consult your healthcare provider who can accurately test your levels. Due to a lack of naturally occurring plant-based sources of Vitamin D, many are turning to fortified products and Vitamin D3 supplements to help them when they are unable to spend time in the sun. If you are utilizing supplementation, it is best to combine your intake of these supplements with naturally occurring fats such as nuts, seeds, coconut, and avocado, which can aide in absorption since Vitamin D is fat-soluble.

Eucalyptus

At some point in our lives, many of us have experienced the nagging annoyance an itchy throat or upper airway. Next time, instead of reaching for the cough syrup to quell the irritation, you may want to consider herbal tea instead. Eucalyptus leaf can aide in dilating bronchioles, clearing nasal passages, and has antiseptic properties.5 It is important to consult a qualified healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy and be aware of potential interactions, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

N-Acetyl Cysteine

N-acetyl cysteine is a powerful antioxidant that can help your body defend itself against free-radical damage. It has also been used to break up mucous in the respiratory system that can cause discomfort or disease.6 Try incorporating the following plant foods into your diet for a natural boost to your cysteine levels. High cysteine foods include: broccoli, red pepper, onion, and granola. Other cysteine containing foods to try are: bananas, garlic, soybeans, and wheat germ.7 While adding Vitamin D, Eucalyptus, or N-Acetyl Cysteine may help promote health by protecting your immune and respiratory systems, the best method is to consistently provide your body with the benefit of a whole foods, plant-­based diet. At this time, “there is convincing evidence that plant foods and non-nutritive constituents associated with these foods modulate immunological and inflammatory processes,” leading to a better functioning immune system and subsequent protection against the invaders that your respiratory system must deal with on a daily basis.8 Enjoy a plant-based diet, and breathe easy. *This article is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary/health changes, you should seek the advice of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Natural Asthma Treatment in Vermont

Asthma is a common condition which leads to breathing difficulty, coughing, and wheezing. It is caused by a combination of spasm of the small airways of the lung and inflammation, both of which impair the ability of the lungs to exchange air. The severity of asthma symptoms can range from mild wheezing to life threatening breathing difficulties. It affects about 3% of the US population, with children under the age of 10 being most at risk.

The natural treatment of asthma focuses on several key principles:

  • Reduce allergic exposure
  • Reduce the sensitivity and spasticity of the airways of the lungs
  • Balance the allergic/inflammatory pathways in the body
  • Correct nutrient imbalances
  • Reduce histamine exposure

Reducing Allergic Exposure in Natural Asthma Treatment

More than 90% of asthmatic children under the age of 16 are allergic, about 70% of asthmatics between the ages of 16 and 30 are allergic, and one half of those over 30 are allergic. Reducing allergic exposure is therefore key to the treatment of asthma and includes avoiding not only airborne allergens such as molds, pollens, animal dander, and dust, but also food allergens such as dairy, eggs, gluten, and other foods.

Food Allergies in Natural Asthma Treatment

Food allergies are very common in people with asthma, especially when the asthma starts early in life. A 1981 study of 284 asthmatic children found food sensitivities in 75% of the children, and other studies have identified food allergy as the sole cause of asthma in up to 40% of adults. Food allergies occur when the immune system reacts to foods in the same way it would to foreign bacteria.

Food allergies occur most commonly to dairy, wheat, citrus, soy, peanuts, corn, yeast, chocolate, nightshades (potato, tomato, pepper, eggplant) and eggs. The list of potentially allergic foods, however, includes pretty much everything a person eats. The more frequently a food is eaten, the more likely it is to be a food allergen.

While most people think of a food allergy as an immediate, severe reaction such as when someone eats a peanut or strawberry and can’t breathe, this reaction is relatively rare compared to the much more common delayed allergic reaction. Delayed reactions are caused by an IgG or IgA antibody (rather than the IgE antibody that causes the immediate and severe reactions), and can occur anywhere from a few minutes to a couple days after eating the allergic food. The reaction is generally much more insidious, and can include things such as asthma, eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, ear infections, sinusitis, irritable bowel, inflammatory bowel disease, anxiety, depression, fatigue, hyperactivity, obesity, and post nasal drip. Most often people with delayed allergies don’t realize they are allergic because of this and because they may be eating a variety of food allergens frequently.

There are many different options when it comes to diagnosing food allergies. The best is a blood antibody test, which is more accurate for this type of allergy than a skin prick test. Blood tests are available to check up to 96 or more foods all at once and are covered by most health insurance plans.

Environmental Allergies in Natural Asthma Treatment

The first step in reducing exposure to airborne allergens is to determine what the individual is reacting to. There are two basic options to determine this: skin allergy testing and blood allergy testing. Skin allergy testing, however, is considered the gold standard and can sometimes identify allergens that blood testing misses.

Once the allergic triggers have been identified, a plan should be developed to reduce exposure to those allergens. Dust mites, for example, can be found in especially high amounts in carpets and bedding. These items can be removed, treated, or covered to reduce dust mite populations. Air filters can be an effective way to remove some allergens from the air as well. Air filters can remove pollen, mold and animal dander, but not dust mite allergen. Both HEPA and ionizing air purifiers work well, but ionization units should be chosen carefully for low ozone output, which is itself an irritant.

Reducing Airway Spasticity in Natural Asthma Treatment

Reducing the spasticity of the airway is also an important goal. Magnesium is well known for its ability to relieve muscle spasm, and this includes the muscles that surround the airways of the lung. Green tea and the herbal medicine lobelia are also effective bronchodilators.

Reducing Inflammation in Natural Asthma Treatment

Balancing the allergic/inflammatory pathways in the body is also very important. Omega 3 oils, which are found in fish and flax seeds, can be an effective way to do this. One study found that children who eat fish more than once per week have one third the risk of developing asthma as those who don’t eat fish regularly. Avoiding tartrazine dyes (found in many artificial colorings), preservatives, aspirin, ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is also important as these substances promote the production of leukotrienes, which are potent inflammatory substances involved in asthma. Identifying and eliminating food allergens can also be a very effective way to lower inflammation throughout the body.

Nutrients in Natural Asthma Treatment

Nutrients that are important in the treatment of asthma include vitamins C, B6, and B12, and the minerals selenium and molybdenum. There have been 11 clinical studies since 1973 which have studied the use of vitamin C in the treatment of asthma, seven of which showed significant improvement. Vitamin B12 and molybdenum both act to reduce sensitivity to sulfites, a common ingredient of restaurant foods which aggravates asthma in an estimated 5-10% of people with asthma. Urine testing is available in our office to determine if someone has sulfite sensitivity that may be contributing to their asthma.

Histamine Intolerance in Natural Asthma Treatment

Histamine intolerance is a condition in which the body cannot adequately metabolize the compound histamine. Histamine is best known for its role in allergic diseases such as hay fever, hives, and asthma. When histamine is released by cells in the body it causes a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, and itching. Histamine is also found in many of the foods we eat, however, and can build up to excessive levels without allergen exposure when an individual has a decreased capacity to get rid of excessive histamine. One of the main causes of this is an impairment in the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO), which is responsible for metabolizing histamine. There are common known genetic variations which can impair the function of this and other enzymes and cause histamine intolerance. When this happens, it can also cause symptoms of IBS, headaches, flushing, and asthma in addition to the typical allergy symptoms listed above. Food allergies, however, can also cause all of these allergic symptoms, so this alone is not enough to confirm histamine intolerance. A low histamine diet, which restricts fermented foods such as beer, wine, hard cheese, vinegar, and sauerkraut, as well as bananas, avocadoes, cured meats, dried fruits, and other high histamine foods, can be an effective tool in the diagnosis and treatment of histamine intolerance.

Finally, many people with asthma don’t produce enough stomach acid, a condition which can lead to food allergies and decreased nutrient absorption. A 1931 study found that 80% of asthmatic children produce insufficient amounts of stomach acid. This problem can be corrected with hydrochloric acid supplements.

Bottom Line in Natural Asthma Treatment

While all of the above natural substances can be used individually, the greatest benefit comes from a comprehensive treatment program which includes the following:

  • Get blood testing for food allergies
  • Get skin testing for environmental allergies
  • Get urine testing for sulfite sensitivity
  • Try a low histamine diet for histamine intolerance
  • Reduce airway spasticity with magnesium, green tea, and lobelia
  • Reduce inflammation with fish oils
  • Take selected nutrients such as selenium and vitamins C, B6, and B12

Many people with mild to moderate asthma are able to reduce or even eliminate their need for prescription medications by following this approach. Asthma medications should not, however, be discontinued without first consulting a physician, as this can lead to a life threatening emergency.

How We Can Help

Naturopathic doctors are physician experts in treating the underlying cause of disease and using natural medicines to help people get and stay well. To find out which natural treatments are appropriate for you or to be tested for food allergies or other causes of asthma, schedule an office visit or food allergy test, or make a selection below.

non pharmacological interventions for asthma

As part of our ongoing seminar series, the Centre of Excellence in Severe Asthma hosted Prof. Helen Reddel for a webinar on “How to Design and Interpret Studies of Non-Pharmacological Interventions for Asthma” on 28 July, 2015.

Presentation Summary:

Non-pharmacological approaches are an important aspect of asthma management. These approaches are used in combination with medications. Approaches include avoidance of environmental exposures, physical activity and educational interventions.

High-level evidence is available for some non-pharmacological approaches. These include avoidance of tobacco smoke exposure, physical activity, healthy diet and avoidance of medications that worsen asthma. Unfortunately, high-level evidence is limited for most non-pharmacological strategies.

To generate high-quality evidence, careful consideration must be made to study design and analysis. Useful guidance for non-pharmacological treatment trials is available in from the CONSORT Group (Boutron, Ann Intern Med, 2008).

This presentation outlines factors that to consider when in non-pharmacological trials for asthma. Key factors include a clear statement of the research question, the choice of comparator groups, outcome measures, study blinding and patient involvement. Through careful consideration of these factors high quality research of non-pharmacological interventions is possible.

Key Points:

  • Asthma management is not just about drug treatment
  • Many non-pharmacological strategies have been proposed in asthma management
  • High-quality evidence for many of these interventions is limited
  • High-level evidence is available for avoidance of tobacco smoke exposure and medications that worsen asthma and promotion of physical activity and healthy diet
  • Quality issues in non-pharmacological studies relate to study design, selection of patient populations, recruitment, intervention approaches, outcome measures, analysis and meta-analysis
  • A CONSORT checklist extension provides guidance for non-pharmacological treatment trials (Boutron, Ann Intern Med, 2008)
  • When planning a study, it is important to consider whether the study is a proof-of-concept (efficacy) versus an implementation study (effectiveness)
  • Selection of the treatment comparator can be active or inactive
  • Active comparators include current best practice, matched interventions for non-specific components and alternative treatment
  • Inactive comparators include placebo or sham treatment
  • Selection of the same comparator groups as other clinical trial studies can facilitate meta-analysis
  • It is desirable that comparator groups be matched for the level of contact with health professionals, as healthcare contact has effects on outcomes
  • Including sufficient detail in study methods is important, to ensure reproducibility across sites and to support blinding
  • Regulatory requirements are lacking for non-pharmacological interventions, compared to drugs and medical devices
  • There is less ability to blind non-pharmaceutical interventions, which increases the potential for sampling bias. Blinding the specific study hypothesis can help with this concern
  • How the intervention is described, and patient expectation of outcomes can have large effects on study outcomes
  • In asthma studies, treatment outcomes for symptom control and exacerbations are often discordant
  • Short-term responses do not necessarily reflect long-term safety in asthma trials
  • Asthma symptoms are modifiable by placebo or sham treatment, but are often used as outcome measures in trials of non-pharmacological treatments
  • Example case: A pharmacist-delivered inhaler technique education intervention resulted in improved inhaler technique, asthma control and asthma-related quality of life (Basheti et al. Patient Educ Couns, 2008)
  • Example case: A double-blinded RCT trial of breathing technique exercises with shallow nasal breathing failed to improve asthma outcomes, when compared to non-specific exercises with no evidence of benefit (Slader, Thorax, 2006)
  • High quality research of non-pharmacological interventions is possible using standardised outcomes, achieving blinding where possible and considering cost-effectiveness
  • Involving patients in study concept and design can be beneficial

About Prof. Helen Reddel:

Prof. Reddel’s research focuses on strategies to improve the management of airways disease, and population level monitoring of asthma and COPD outcomes. She has a strong focus on improving communication between patients and health professionals, and on making guidelines not only evidence-based, but also practical and patient-centred.

She is Chair of the Science Committee of the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), a member of the Guidelines Committee for the Australian Asthma Handbook, and clinical adviser to the Australian Centre for Airways disease Monitoring (ACAM).

Ayurveda For Asthma: 5 Effective Home Remedies To Control Symptoms Of Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disorder which is caused due to inflammation in the airways. The airways become narrower and are filled with mucus, blocking the airflow which then results in short gasping breaths, recurring periods of wheezing, coughing and chest tightness. If an asthma attack is not controlled in time, it can leave a person breathless. An attack could be triggered due to allergic reactions to irritants, or some other triggers or stimuli like dust, smoke, fumes or chemical allergens like pollen, grass. According to ‘The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies’ by Dr. Vasant Lad, “The underlying cause of all asthmatic conditions is increased Kapha dosha in stomach. From there it moves into the lungs , trachea and bronchi. The increased kapha blocks the natural flow of air, creating spasm in the bronchial tree and resulting in asthma and wheezing.” Kapha is one of the three energies or doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) responsible for maintaining balance of overall health. Ayurvedic treatments for asthma focus on wiping out the Kapha lodged in the lungs .Dr. Ashutosh Gautam, Ayurvedic Expert and Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager at Baidyanath, tells us, “Herbal remedies taken on a regular basis in the long run. Herbs like vasa, pushkarmula and yastimadhu have been known to control the symptoms of asthma”

Here are some Ayurvedic home remedies that could help in reducing the symptoms of asthma and controlling the frequency of asthma attacks.

Mucus collected due to severe cold and flu can also result in an asthma attack.

1.Ginger and Garlic Cloves:
Ginger is one of the most trusted herb when it comes to deal with inflammation. Half cup of ginger tea mixed with 2-3 crushed garlic cloves could prove to be an effective remedy to release the kapha accumulation in the airways, thereby preventing asthmatic attacks.

Home remedies for asthma: Ginger tea can help in preventing asthma attacks

2.Ginger and Turmeric Powder
You can also make yourself a quick ginger and turmeric tea too. Boil a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in a glass of milk and add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder to it. If taken twice a day, this Ayurvedic remedy could reduce the frequency of asthma attacks.

3. Cinnamon and Honey
“Mix one teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4th teaspoon trikatu into a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes and add 1 teaspoon of honey before drinking,” suggests Dr. Vasant Lad in his book on Ayurvedic remedies. Take this twice a day for maximum benefits.
(Also Read: 6 Simple And Natural Remedies To Treat Asthma)

Home remedies for asthma: Cinnamon helps to alleviate the symptoms of asthma

4. Licorice and Ginger
Licorice also known as mulethi in Hindi is also loaded with anti- inflammatory properties. Dr. Lad in his book also suggests drinking a tea made with half teaspoon licorice and half teaspoon of ginger for managing asthma and it’s symptoms.

Home remedies for asthma: Ginger tea normalizes airways to enable proper breathing.

5. Bay leaf
CommentsHalf teaspoon of bay leaf and 1/4th teaspoon of pippali mixed with 1 teaspoon of honey taken two to three times a day may also help prevent chronic symptoms of asthma.

Home remedies for asthma: Bay leaf helps to prevent chronic symptoms of asthma.

You must consult a medical practitioner before trying these home remedies.

About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.

*Sudden life-threatening allergic reaction; signs of anaphylaxis include sudden signs of allergy such as rash, itching or hives on the skin, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body, shortness of breath, wheezing or trouble breathing.

Complementary (unconventional) tests

Complementary approaches include more than just healing practices and treatments – they also include tests, such as those used to diagnose and assess a condition.

Allergic diseases such as asthma can be accurately diagnosed and treated using scientifically proven tests like spirometry (see the brochure “Asthma and Lung Function Tests” via our website nationalasthma.org.au). However a number of scientifically unproven tests are also becoming popular. Research has shown that these tests, such as vega testing, iridology, kinesiology, cytotoxic food testing and IgG (food allergy) testing, are not reliable. They are also not regulated in Australia/New Zealand or currently covered by Medicare.

The Australasian Society for Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA- the expert health organisation for immunological and allergic conditions) advises against using these tests to diagnose conditions or guide treatment. British, American and European allergy and immunology organisations also give the same advice.

You should be cautious about accepting the results of such tests for diagnosis and treatment without first discussing them with your doctor.

You can find more information on the ASCIA website allergy.org.au.

Complementary Therapy resources

National Prescribing Service nps.org.au
1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 247)
Monday to Friday 9am–5pm AEST – the call will be answered by healthdirect Australia

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) tga.gov.au

Additional information on the research papers examined as part of the development of this publication can be found on this website.

Additional information

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist
  • Visit the National Asthma Council Australia website at: nationalasthma.org.au
  • Contact your local Asthma Foundation 1800 645 130 asthmaaustralia.org.au
  • Visit the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy website at: allergy.org.au

For Health Professionals

Visit the National Asthma Council Australia website to:

  • order printed copies of this brochure
  • access the related information paper for health professionals

Acknowledgments

Developed by the National Asthma Council Australia in consultation with an expert panel of respiratory and allergy clinicians with a special interest in allergies and asthma.

Supported through funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.

Recommended Citation

National Asthma Council Australia. Asthma & Complementary Therapies: A guide to the use of complementary therapies for those living with asthma. Melbourne. National Asthma Council Australia, 2012.

Correction (May 2013)

Please note a production error has been corrected in this online version. The overall ranking (symbol) for Qigong should be square as seen below:

Disclaimer

Although all care has been taken, this brochure is only a general guide; it is not a substitute for individual medical advice/treatment. The National Asthma Council Australia expressly disclaims all responsibility (including negligence) for any loss, damage or personal injury resulting from reliance on the information contained.

© 2012

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