What is asthma?
Asthma is a word derived from Greek, meaning panting or sharp breath.
Increase of pollutants in the atmosphere is linked to increased asthma cases.
There has been a surge of asthmatic cases especially in the US and that has been attributed to increased pollution in the country.
Asthma can be categorized into two classes: intrinsic and extrinsic.
Extrinsic asthma begins at childhood, between ages of 2 and 17. It is caused by specific substances. Half of all asthmatic cases fall in this class. A third of cases are diagnosed after 30 and a sixth of cases do not belong to any class. These are cases that develop after 30 years and reprisals only occur seasonally after exposure to specific allergens.
Intrinsic asthma is more severe, and often starts after the age of 30.
It is also important to note that asthma is difficult to diagnose as symptoms are similar to other respiratory infections such as bronchitis, emphysema and other lung infections. Once you are diagnosed with the disease, keep note of the specific substances that you are allergic to.
People with asthma are sensitive to several specific allergens such as cold, dust, air or even emotional stress. About half of all asthmatic cases in US are related to allergic reactions.
The disease is immunological. This means that immune system overreacts towards these substances such as dust, pollen, pollen that it considers as dangerous. This overreaction leads to several events that lead to inflammation in the lungs and further narrowing of air passages.
When they develop asthmatic attacks, it means air passageways have been narrowed. They need to be dilated to enable free flow of air to lungs. You might have noticed wheezing in people when asthmatic attacks occur and they have to reach for their vaporizer.
How to manage asthma at home
Living with asthma or a person suffering from asthma can be demanding. This is because they have to be kept out of triggers as much as possible. The situation can get out of hand if you do not know any home remedies for asthma to contain the situation.
When asthma does not become responsive to drugs, it is considered as severe, which can be equally dangerous. Chronic cases of asthma need to be addressed using medications prescribed by a doctor.
But you need to reduce the number of medications that you take. There are natural ways remedies for asthma that you should consider taking to remedy the condition. It may not be cured completely but episodic attacks will subside considerably.
Since asthma is a condition related to inflammation, it makes sense that one takes a lot of anti-inflammatory foods such as vegetables and fruits. Some of these include apricot, prune, pineapple, peach, carrot, radish and celery.
Home remedies for asthma also require a person to avoid making dietary errors, which means minimizing exposure to potential allergens including foods.
It is recommended to take limited quantities of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These are acid forming foods likely to cause, which can aggravate the condition. Avoid or limit foods such as rice, sugar, lentils and curds and fried foods that are difficult to digest.
On the other hand, you should take copious amounts of alkaline foods if you have this condition.
Mineral and vitamins Supplements for Asthma
Several studies have been done on some of supplements that can be taken to provide relief for all those living asthma.
It has antispasmodic properties on the smooth muscle of the upper respiratory tract. Spasms in the smooth muscles is what worsens asthma condition. Magnesium works against that.
It is recommended to take 600mg as a supplement with other drugs as prescribed by a doctor. If it works for you, continue with this treatment by taking the dose daily.
There are potential side effects that you need to be beware. Don’t take these if you have either low blood pressure. If you are suffering from kidney problem, do not take these supplements before seeking medical advice.
This is especially useful for people that are physically active. Asthma that is aggravated by periods of intense exercise are likely to benefit from vitamin C supplements.
In one study, asthmatic people that were given 2000 milligrams of vitamin C before engaging in intense exercises were found to be less hypersensitive in their airways compared to those that did not.
Vitamin C has ability to squelch the activity of inflammatory substances that are produced in overactive lungs. It is recommended to take these supplements before engaging in any exercise if you are a person that is physically active and you suffer from chronic asthma.
Vitamin C has also been shown to reduce antihistamine produced by white blood cells (WBCs). It increases action of detoxification of histamines.
There may be certain side effects such a diarrhoea for some people. There is no need to overly worried if this happens. Just reduce the dosage by small bits until you reach a dose that does not cause these side effects.
Omega 3 fatty oils
Omega 3 fatty oils have been mentioned in other areas where it is used as a supplement. It is also useful in prevention of inflammation that cause constriction of bronchitis. It is in the class of drugs leukotriene inhibitors whose function is to reduce action of compounds that are responsible for narrowing of air passages to the lungs. They also prevent other allergic reactions.
Drugs based on omega-3 oils are quick in action and are recommended in emergency situations. They can also be used as a mechanism for long term control of the disease.
To take advantage of these omega-3 oils, you need to consume foods that contain it. You guessed right! Fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon have plenty of these nutrients, which you need to consume. Besides, some plants such as flax also contain it. Consume whichever source is available to you to as a simple and affordable remedy to asthma at home.
If you cannot obtain enough of these nutrients from foods, you may need to consume supplements based on omega-3 oils. They are plenty and readily available in many brands. In case you opt for supplements with copious amount of omega-3 fatty oils, you need to take between 1000mg to 3000mg daily. Alternatively, you can take a tablespoonful of flaxseed oil. Its effectiveness may not match omega-3 fatty oils but if it is all get, it is better than nothing.
These are growth inhibitors in plants. Certain plants have pigments that contain bioflavonoids.
Plants which contain these nutrients include quercetin, pycnogenol, grapeseed extract and ginkgo extract. They are not easy to find in their raw form in most areas; you may need to take commercially packed bottles with blends of these product available in drugstores.
It is recommended to take other vitamin supplements such as vitamin D, E. Others are Selenium (rich in vitamin C).
This is known to stabilize mast cells during attacks. It relaxes them. A person suffering from such attacks is likely to benefit massively from this supplement.
It is available in apple peels, and it what prevents UV rays from sunlight.
You can get this from nutrient supplements containing it.
What should you do to reduce asthmatic attacks?
Asthmatic attacks can be controlled; they need not be a threat to a person’s life as long as you take necessary precautions.
But how can you avoid that? The easiest and simplest solution would be to avoid contact with potential allergens.
Some of these include exposure to cold, dust and dumpy or moist environments. Remembers conditions that can throw you into coughing fits can be the same one that trigger asthma.
Conventional medical expert asserts that asthma is incurable. But it can be cured.
If you got asthma, I recommend you do the following:
- Learn to breathe from your nose as much as possible. Breathing from your mouth is one the reasons you are prone to attacks.
- Avoid very spicy foods. If spices in foods make your eyes watery, you should consider avoiding them altogether.
- Avoid all foods containing sulfite additives. Such foods include potassium metabisulfite, sulfur dioxide, potassium bisulfite, sodium bisulfite, etc
- Avoid places that are damp and moist. They encourage growth and multiplication of bacteria in lungs and in your respiratory system.
- Learn to relax and rest. Find fulfilment from wherever source to avoid stressful and strenuous conditions.
- During the attack, you should consider hot fomentations
Herbal medications to treat asthma
There are some traditional medicines that have been used to treat asthma. They are generally safe and are considered a safe remedy for asthma at home.
Ephedra sinensis (Ma huang) is the most popular and is often used with other expectorants. However, it is no longer sold in some countries such as USA because of some safety concerns. Though not available in its raw form, its extracts (ephedrine) are common and legally sold.
Foods to avoid when having asthma
If you are prone to attacks avoid or limit these foods as much as possible.
- Dairy foods such as milk, ice cream and cold fluids
- Corn citrus
- Some fruits such as bananas and melon (especially if you are allergic to ragweed).
- Some types of fish
- Lobelia inflata (Indian tobacco)
- Capsicum frutescens (cayenne pepper ingredient)
- Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorine root)
Lifestyle adaptations for people living with asthma
- Take 8-10 glasses of water daily
- Eat slowly and chew all food properly
- Do not take water or other liquids with foods
- Don’t take too spiced foods, chilies or pickles
- Avoid taking too much tea or coffee
- Develop a habit of eating onions and garlic
- Learn to sing and do sing, play a wind musical instrument if you can
There are some cases when asthma attacks are severe. There are proven home remedies for such conditions that you can observe. You should consider professional advice before undertaking any of them.
Home remedies for severe asthma
In severe cases, asthmatic patients lose appetite. They should not be forced to eat. Instead, such patients are advised to fast until the illness subsides.
- Fasting patients can take a cup of warm water every after two hours. A juice fast, 3 days each month while taking distilled water and lemon-juice. This helps flush out toxins from the body and clearing mucous from the body
- Consider doing an enema.
- Take honey as it eases breathing problems quite fast.
First aid during asthmatic attacks
If an attack occurs, do this first-aid:
Consider doing or administering hot fomentations on the back of the neck, thorax and front of the chest. Do also a hot footpath. Cool the head using a sponge with cold water. If possible, use a fan to cool the head.
Pour cold water on the back of the neck. This is done by having the person bend over as cold water in a sizeable container is poured on the neck. This is done around 24 inches above the neck and pouring of water is done for 30-90 seconds. Repeat is three times a day.
Give a cup of water mixed with garlic. This will induce a person to vomit. It is important to loosen the phlegm. You can give an additional cup if necessary.
Give hot water after recovery from sudden attack.
Immediately you notice an attack, make a person to sit upright in a chair for around 10 minutes while inhaling through the nose an exhaling through the lips.
Medicines that you can use to treat asthma
Asthmatic people usually have a handy vaporizer with menthol and or any other decongestant. Salbutamol (albutemol) should be used to help decongest the chest. When using it, make sure you breathe in the spay as deep as possible. You can also add eucalyptus oil to the water.
Where salbutamol is out of reach in an emergency situation, inject a person with epinephrine (adrenaline) under the skin.
Check temperature of a person with asthma attack. If the person has fever for three days, given amoxicillin or erythromycin.
Use controller inhaler such as beclomethasone. This can prevent attacks and can save you a lot of money. Use a spacer to allow more medicines into your lungs.
There are cases where asthma has been linked to worms. In such a case, give mebandozole to a child that is developing asthma.
Textbook of Natural Medicine By Joseph E. Pizzorno, Michael T. Murray
Where There is No Doctor: A village health care handbook by David Wernerto