Learn all about asthma, a common and serious respiratory condition, and discover how to effectively manage its symptoms and triggers. This comprehensive article provides valuable insights into asthma, including its symptoms, triggers, and strategies for alleviating its effects.
Asthma is a respiratory condition characterized by inflammation and blockage of the bronchial passages, leading to breathing difficulties. When an asthma attack occurs, the muscles surrounding the airways constrict, restricting the airflow out of the lungs and causing symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness.
Symptoms of Asthma:
Asthma symptoms can vary in intensity, ranging from mild to severe. Common signs include coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. Various factors like allergies, environmental pollutants, stress, and viral infections can trigger these symptoms.
Causes of Asthma Attacks:
Asthma attacks can be triggered by irritants such as food additives, tobacco smoke, chemicals, stress, respiratory infections, and pollutants. Allergic disorders also play a significant role, with around 80% of individuals with asthma having allergies. The increasing prevalence of certain chemicals and environmental pollutants contributes to the rise in asthma cases.
Allergies and Asthma:
There is a close relationship between allergies and asthma. While allergies can manifest in various symptoms affecting the skin, eyes, nose, or sinuses, asthma primarily causes respiratory symptoms like wheezing and shortness of breath. Common allergens that trigger asthma include dust, dust mites, and molds.
Dietary Considerations for Asthma:
In some individuals, certain foods can trigger asthma symptoms. These include foods containing sulfites, such as vinegar, shrimp, dried fruits, grape juice, beer, and wine. It is also advisable to avoid dairy products, salty foods, processed foods, and those with preservatives and food additives.
Managing Asthma Attacks:
During an asthma attack, adopting an upright posture and practicing specific breathing exercises can help open up the airways. Other effective treatments include water therapy, inhalers, and neutral baths. Natural herbs like catnip, mullein oil, ginger tea, and supplements like magnesium can also provide relief from asthma symptoms.
Following a healthy asthma-friendly diet can significantly contribute to symptom management. This includes consuming foods rich in antioxidants, dark green and colorful vegetables, fatty acids from fish and flaxseed, and anti-inflammatory foods like purple onions. Eating small, frequent meals and staying hydrated are also beneficial.
Supplements for Asthma:
While asthma supplements should not replace prescribed medications, they can offer additional support. Magnesium supplements help reduce bronchial spasms, while pycnogenol, an extract from pine bark, has shown benefits for lung function and symptoms.
Natural Alkaline Herbs for Asthma:
Certain alkaline herbs may offer potential benefits for individuals with asthma. While it’s important to note that natural remedies should not replace prescribed medications, these herbs can be considered as complementary options. Here are some alkaline herbs that may be helpful for asthma:
- Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce airway inflammation associated with asthma. It can be consumed as a tea or added to dishes for its flavor and potential therapeutic effects.
- Turmeric: Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It may help alleviate symptoms of asthma and reduce airway inflammation when included in the diet or consumed as a supplement.
- Licorice Root: Licorice root has expectorant properties and may help soothe the airways and reduce coughing. It is available in tea form or as a supplement.
- Mullein: Mullein is traditionally used to support lung health and may help with respiratory conditions such as asthma. It can be consumed as a tea or taken as a supplement.
- Boswellia: Boswellia, also known as frankincense, has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce inflammation in the airways. It is available as a supplement.
- Lobelia: Lobelia is an herb that has been used to relieve bronchial spasms and improve breathing. However, it should be used with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as high doses can be toxic.
Remember, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or herbalist before incorporating any new herbs or supplements into your asthma management plan. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific health needs and ensure that any potential herb-drug interactions or contraindications are considered.
Gaining a comprehensive understanding of asthma, its symptoms, triggers, and effective management strategies is crucial for individuals living with this condition. By making lifestyle changes, exploring natural remedies, and following appropriate treatment plans, individuals can proactively manage their asthma and enhance their overall well-being. Developing a personalized asthma action plan, including a specialized diet, can contribute to long-term asthma control.
• Lorie Rice, The Everything guide of Food Remedies (2011)
• Natural Remedies Encyclopedia, Vance Ferrel, Harold M. Cherne, MD, 2021
• Peter N. Lee, Barbara A. Forey, Role of Environmental Tobacco Smoke in Asthma Induction and Exacerbation in Children and Adults
• Jeffrey C. May, My House is Killing Me, 2001
• Sherry Torkos—Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine – Wiley, 2007.
• Earthing, The most important health discovery ever? Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, Martin Zucker
• Dr. Afrika, Nutricide
• Nature’s Healing Power Through Food, Dr. Farokh J. Master M.D., 2000.