Asthma is a lung disease that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and constrict. This constricting of the airways could lead to symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.
Asthma could be chronic or acute.
The exact cause of asthma is unknown. However, asthma symptoms can be triggered by air pollution, exercise, allergies, tobacco smoke, chemicals in the air, weather conditions, strong emotions, respiratory infections and allergens such as dust mites, pollen, mold, pet hair or dander.
Some emergency symptoms of asthma that would need immediate doctor’s attention include; bluish color of lips and face, rapid pulse, extreme difficulty in breathing, sweating, severe anxiety due to shortness of breath, and increased level of giddiness or confusion.
There is no cure for asthma although symptoms could improve over time. Also, with proper self-management and proper medication, most asthma patients can live a normal life.
Here are some tips, and good practices, to consider, when dealing with asthma;
- Know the asthma symptoms to watch for in your specific case.
- You should know how to take your peak flow reading and understand what it means.
- You should also know which triggers cause the worst asthmatic attacks for you and what to do when these happen.
- You should know how to care for your asthma when you exercise.
Below are home remedies and natural treatments for asthma;
Evidence-based research has confirmed that coffee is a bronchodilator. It helps to clear the airways 2-3 hours after ingestion. When you drink coffee on a daily basis, you’ll not only get the energy to kickstart your day, but also reduce the symptoms associated with bronchial asthma. To keep asthma at bay, you should drink up to three cups of coffee every day. Try not to substitute the beverage with your prescribed medication.
2. Licorice Root
Licorice root is a valued herb in Chinese medicine. It helps to curb asthma symptoms caused by short-term respiratory illness. Furthermore, licorice inhibits histamine release and soothes swollen airways to restore normal breathing. This root has a well-documented history of treating viral infections, bronchitis, and fungal infections. To prepare the concoction, boil licorice root in a cup of hot water for 15 minutes, strain off and drink twice a day.
Just like walnuts, figs have a low glycemic index. They provide some comfort to asthma patients by draining off phlegm to alleviate the breathing difficulties. Simply soak some figs overnight and eat them in the morning. Alternatively, you can drink a fig brew when on an empty stomach. Consume the concoction two times a day until you get some relief.
4. Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
Indian gooseberry is rich in vitamin C which helps to fight harmful free radicals in the lungs. Additionally, Indian gooseberry contains anti-inflammatory properties for soothing the air passage. To prepare a medicinal expectorant, mix 5 grams of Amla with one teaspoon of honey. Consume the mixture early in the morning before taking breakfast.
5. Lemon Juice
Lemon possesses high amounts of vitamin C which aid in strengthening the immune system. Also, lemon works as a powerful antiseptic by killing pathogens that cause mucus buildup. Furthermore, it constricts the bronchioles when exposed to allergens. To alleviate asthma symptoms, squeeze some lemon juice in a glass of water and drink in the morning. Since lemon juice is acidic, you should rinse your mouth with warm water to avoid damaging your teeth enamel.
Apart from its immune-boosting abilities, honey helps to relieve the symptoms associated with an asthma attack like wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. Scientific study confirms that the sweetness of honey makes the salivary glands produce saliva to soothe the mucous membranes. Simply add one tablespoon of natural honey in 500ml of water and drink 2-3 times in a day. Alternatively, you can mix one spoonful of honey with cinnamon powder and eat before going to bed. For some people, inhaling the smell of honey can give some positive results.
7. Carom Seeds (Bishop’s Weed)
Carom (Ajwain) is a popular herb in Indian cuisines. It helps to treat numerous respiratory disorders including chest congestion, bronchitis, asthma, and more. Carom seeds dilate the bronchial tube and, most importantly, promote discharge of phlegm. To make this concoction, just boil some carom seeds in water for 15 minutes. You can either drink the solution or inhale the steam. Another method is to heat some seeds for 5 minutes, wrap with a cotton cloth and place on your chest. Avoid consuming the seeds if you have diabetes.
Apart from their culinary use, onions can help in the prevention of asthma. They are loaded with sulfur compounds and vitamin C which reduce the frequency of asthma attacks. Furthermore, onions contain quercetin which works as an antioxidant. To clear the air passage, eat some slices of raw onions every day. However, if you can’t handle the taste you can include them in your meals.
9. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus helps to cure a number of respiratory problems including tuberculosis, pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma. It dilates the blood vessels thanks to the decongestant properties. Besides that, the eucalyptol compound, present in eucalyptus, breaks the mucus in the nasal passage. Just pour 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil in hot water and inhale the steam. You can also put a few eucalyptus oil drops on a towel and then place it on your head for 2-3 hours.
Garlic possesses high amounts of vitamin C which help to reduce histamine release. It also contains allicin compound which aids in neutralizing free radicals. When consumed on daily basis, it boosts your body’s ability to produce prostacyclins (lipid molecules that promote easier breathing). To combat asthma attacks, boil 2-3 garlic cloves in a half cup of milk and then drink two times a day.
Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects. This herbal root helps to alleviate symptoms such as chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing. In other words, ginger works like anti-asthma drugs by reducing airway contractions and clearing any obstruction. Add one tablespoon of grated ginger in water, boil for 10-15 minutes and drink before going to bed. Use this regimen for 2-3 consecutive weeks.
Turmeric has curcumin compound that helps to reduce mucus secretions and inhibits the constriction of the airways. For this reason, turmeric is without a doubt a viable alternative to other conventional treatments. Just prepare the concoction by adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder in water, stir well, then drink once a day for up to 5 days. Alternatively, you can take 500mg of turmeric supplements twice a day. The supplements should not be consumed by pregnant or lactating women.
13. Eat Oily Fish
One of the contributing factors of asthma is a deficiency of omega-3 in the body. Fishes such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, and sardines, helps to combat the symptoms related to an asthma attack. Out of these, salmon responds best to irritants. These fish would not cure the condition but will alleviate the inflammation of the airway. That being said, you should include fish in your meal 2-3 times a week. If you don’t have access to fish, you can go for omega-3 supplements.
14. Parsley Leaf
Parsley leaf is known for its therapeutic uses. It strengthens the chest muscles and works as an expectorant by loosening the mucus. To make parsley leaf tea, boil dried or fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes, strain off and drink while still hot. If you’re not comfortable with the taste, you can add some lemon or honey. Make sure you talk to your doctor if you are under high-blood pressure medication.
15. St John’s Wort
St John’s Wort is rich in flavonoids, resin, tannin, and hypericin compounds which help to open the airways. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties making it effective in combating asthma. Furthermore, St John’s Wort acts as a bronchodilator by widening the bronchial tubes and relaxing the muscles. To make this concoction, steep the herb in hot water for 10-15 minutes and drink the tea. Consume St John’s Wort tea twice a day for 2-3 weeks.
16. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba helps to neutralize free radical damage, treats dementia, and slows down the aging process. It’s also rich in anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties that aid in relieving asthmatic symptoms. You can use this herb as a treatment or a preventive measure if the asthmatic condition is caused by dust mites. Just boil the leaves in hot water for 20 minutes, strain off and drink the solution 1-2 times for one week.
If you’re suffering from a serious respiratory problem that can cause chest congestion, ginseng, especially Panax ginseng, can provide some temporary relief. This herb contains ginsenosides which have inhibitory and anti-inflammatory properties. To relieve asthma symptoms, boil ginseng in water for 20 minutes, allow it to cool and drink once a day. The herb may not be suitable for lactating mothers.
18. Salt Water Gargle
Salt water helps to clean the respiratory system, especially when the asthmatic condition is associated with wheezing or coughing. Apart from eliminating harmful bacteria, salt water gargle helps in muscle contraction, adrenal gland function, and balances the body pH. To make the solution, dissolve one tablespoon of salt in a cup of warm water. Then, gargle at 30-second intervals a couple of times until you get some relief.
19. Mustard Oil
Apart from its culinary use in kitchens, mustard oil comes with multiple medicinal benefits. For instance, mustard oil restores the normal breathing by dilating the bronchial tubes. To reduce asthmatic symptoms, heat some mustard oil and rub it on your chest up to three times a day.
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