Asthma – Part 2. Supplements and Herbs
Supplements are intended to go together with the usual asthma treatment. It is important to note that you should never discontinue taking medications that have been prescribed to treat asthma without talking to your physician. In effect, people enduring asthma generally suffers from a scarcity of essential nourishments, particularly vitamin C, vitamin B6 and magnesium. Vitamin C is a major antioxidant that is naturally present in the respiratory tract lining and it seems to work instantaneously to fight against oxidants that have been inhaled by an individual. Moreover, vitamin C is also likely to stop an allergic reaction by thwarting the cells from discharging histamine. According to the findings of a number of researchers, vitamin C is also extremely helpful for asthma caused by the workout. The researchers have also established that taking 2,000 mg of vitamin C prior to an exercise may even prevent an asthma attack.
Even the mineral magnesium has the aptitude to thwart asthma attacks by means of slowing down the tightening of the muscles of the bronchial system. Findings of many other studies have demonstrated that taking supplements containing vitamin B6 facilitate in lessening breathlessness or wheezing or the other symptoms of the ailment.
Apart from vitamin C, vitamin B 6 and magnesium, even flavonoid quercetin too is effective in curing asthma. In effect, flavonoid quercetin has two main impacts – while it slows down the release of histamine, it also works as an antioxidant and combats volatile oxygen molecules that may result in the inflammation of the bronchial tract. Additionally, the Chinese herb Ma huang (generally known as ephedra), also has the aptitude to dilate the respiratory passages or the airways to the lungs. Ma huang actually works best when it is used in combination with other herbal products that help in drawing out phlegm (the dense mucus exuded in the respiratory passages and released through the mouth), for instance, horehound or licorice. However, it is very important to note that you should not use licorice continuously for more than a month. In addition, using ephedra or Ma huang may result in several adverse aftereffects. In case you are taking this herb to cure asthma, it is essential that you consult your doctor before you start taking it and if you take it, you should always do so under the care of a doctor.
A number of homeopathic remedies are also effective in preventing as well as treating asthma. The dosage of these homeopathic medications depends on the intensity of the symptoms experienced by the patient. Nevertheless, based on the force of the symptoms, initially these homeopathic remedies may be taken once every 30 minutes and subsequently reduced to one dose every hour and as the conditions improve, the medications may be taken once in every two or three hours or even less. If you are taking the right homeopathic remedy, you should see the results as early as within half an hour. If you are using homeopathic remedies for long-term management of asthma, they may be taken once to three times every day.
Some of the homeopathic remedies that may be used to manage your asthma are discussed in brief below.
- Arsenicum album
This homeopathic remedy is effective when an individual develops asthma after being exposed to cold, following bronchitis or due to allergic reactions to smoke, dust, animals and other allergens. Arsenicum album is effective in alleviating asthma symptoms, such as constriction of the chest, wheezing, shortness of breath accompanied by sweating and when the patient starts feeling very cold. In addition, it is also beneficial for asthma patients who have a thirst for small sips of liquid, have a burning sensation in the chest, are nervous, restive and endure a fear of death.
In such cases, the condition generally deteriorates after midnight, precisely between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. when they are lying on their bed when they are exposed to cold or have any type of mobility. This type of asthma flare-ups occurs once in every two weeks.
The patients feel better when they are sitting in an erect position or bending forward. In addition, exposure to heat, having warm drinks and receiving hot compresses improves their condition.
This homeopathic remedy is effective when asthmatics rattle a cough and find it difficult to throw out mucus, they are vomiting or retching. Ipecac is also useful to patients who develop asthma following bronchitis. It helps to alleviate asthma symptoms, such as feeling heaviness and tightening in the chest, breathlessness, have a shortness of breath and feel suffocated. Ipecac is effective for asthma patients who become pale, are nervous, feel cold and sweaty, do not have any thirst and suffer from giddiness, but have a clear tongue.
The condition of such asthma patients worsen when they are exposed to heat, moisture, and humidity, undertake hard physical activity/ exercise or are mobile, eat excessively, consume rich food and when they are lying down. Their condition generally deteriorated during the night.
The patients feel better when they are resting, are out in the open air, sitting in an upright position or standing.
- Kali carb.
This homeopathic remedy is effective for asthma patients with symptoms like difficulty breathing, wheezing and stitching pains in the chest that extend to the back. It is also useful for asthma patients, both children and elderly, who suffer from a headache, nausea, sweat profusely and are very feeble. Even asthma patients having vertigo or diarrhea and a loathing for seclusion may benefit from the use of Kali carb.
The condition of such asthma patients deteriorates after midnight, especially between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., when they are exposed to chilly air, drafts, they walk or even do the minimum mobility, are lying down, exposed to open air, are touched by someone and even when they have their menstruation cycles.
The patients feel better when they are sitting in an upright position or bending to the fore, rocking or exposed to warm conditions.
Lobelia is an excellent homeopathic remedy for asthma patients who experience a tightening in the chest, breathlessness, hyperventilation (extremely fast and deep breathing) and rattle too much mucus. Such asthma patients generally suffer attacks accompanied by a weak feeling in the pit of the stomach and stinging throughout their body. They also experience symptoms like gaping, giddiness, weakness, continuous salivation, cold sweats and are always apprehensive.
The condition of such asthma patients deteriorates when they undertake hard physical activities or exercise, following sleep, using tobacco, taking a cold bath, drinking tea and alcohol as well as when someone touches them.
The patients feel much better when they are exposed to warm conditions, during the evening, when they walk briskly, drink beer and consume very small quantities of food.
- Nat sulph.
Nat sulph. is a homeopathic medication that is useful for asthma patients who endure symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing, have a heavy sensation in their chest and experience sore and raw chest. Such asthma patients usually cough dense yellowish-green mucus and have a heavy rattling in the chest. They always have an empty sensation, experience piercing or stitching pains in the chest and the asthma is accompanied by diarrhea. Such asthma patients feel depressed and have a tendency to commit suicide.
The condition of such asthma patients deteriorates when they are in damp conditions be it at home or outdoors and also when there is dampness in the weather. In addition to pressure, even the least exertion worsens their condition. Generally, they feel worst just before day break – between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.
These asthma patients feel better when they are in dry, open air; sitting in an upright position, taking rest or holding their chest with their hands.
In addition to using drugs, herbs, and supplements, you can do several other things to prevent as well as cure asthma. First and foremost, you should ensure that your home is free from pollen and dust. In addition, if you smoke, quit smoking cigarettes and also keep away from cats, as their dander is known to be extremely allergic. You also ought to remain composed if you have developed this ailment, since your ability to manage stress will help you to combat asthma better.
In case you catch a cold or have the flu, take immediate actions to treat these conditions as it will help you to diminish the possibilities of an asthma attack. Avoid exposure to the cold winter air and keep your nose warm by wearing a scarf over your mouth throughout the season, especially whenever you are outdoors. In addition, maintain a diary regarding the asthma attacks you have already experienced. Doing so will help you to decide on when the symptoms of asthma aggravate so that you may be extra careful during those periods. Although it may seem to be insignificant, you should also drink a minimum of eight glasses of water every day with a view to maintaining the mucus loose.
Vitamin C is an important nutrient in preventing as well as treating asthma. The normal dosage of taking vitamin C is a dose of 1,000 mg of the nutrient taken thrice daily. However, lower the dosage if it has an adverse after-effect, for instance, diarrhea. You may also take vitamin B6 to prevent and cure asthma. The standard dose of this nutrient is 50 mg taken two times daily. It is essential to take vitamin B6 provided you are taking theophylline, the prescribed medication for asthma.
Supplements enclosing the mineral magnesium are also beneficial for asthma patients and they ought to take it in the dosage of 400 mg two times every day. It should be taken for a minimum of six weeks to attain sufficient levels.
You may take also quercetin in the dosage of 500 mg thrice daily. Quercetin is generally sold with vitamin C and you ought to take it at least 20 minutes prior to taking meals. Ephedra or Ma huang helps to avoid as well as cure asthma and standardized extracts of this herb ought to be taken in dosage of 130 mg thrice daily. Here is a word of caution – taking this herbal preparation may cause sleeplessness or insomnia. Moreover, it is advisable that you should never use this herb if you have any heart ailment, high blood pressure (hypertension), suffer from nervousness or are taking any MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitor.
Using preparations of licorice roots also help in preventing as well as treating asthma and related symptoms. Standardized extracts of licorice roots should be taken in the dosage of 200 mg thrice every day. However, you should be aware that taking this herb may increase your blood pressure. Hence, it is advisable that you consult your physician before you start taking this herbal preparation.
It may be noted that instead of curing a severe bout of an asthma attack, all herbal therapies for asthma actually aim at preventing the occurrence of the ailment or supporting a patient to recuperate from an asthma attack. Therefore, it is advisable that if your child suffers from a severe asthma attack, you should look for instantaneous medical care, rather than depending on herbal treatments.
Kids who have suffered asthma attacks may be given astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous), a Chinese herb, which is known to facilitate in enhancing what the Chinese describe as wei chi or the internal protective energy of an individual. This herb also aids in making the lungs stronger. The standard dosage of this herb for children is one dose given two times every day consecutively for two weeks every month. This herb may be given to your child for six months after he/ she has suffered an asthma attack. Here is a word of caution. Despite the benefits of the herb in helping a child to recuperate from an asthma attack, it should never be given to a child if he is suffering from a fever or has any symptoms of infection.
The roots of licorice help in comforting the lungs as well as facilitate in reinforcing the functioning of the adrenal glands. Following an asthma attack, you may give your child one dose of licorice root once every day for every alternate month. The herbal medication should be continued for six months. Here is a word of caution. Children who are enduring high blood pressure (hypertension) should never be given preparations of licorice roots.
Another Chinese herbal combination medicine that facilitates in reinstating as well as developing the immune system is minor bupleurum. After an asthma attack, you may give one dose of this combination herbal preparation to your child continuously for three months. Stop the medication after three months and repeat it after three months for another three months. Note: Despite its benefits, you should not give minor bupleurum to your child if he/ she is having a fever or any symptoms of a severe infection.
Other Beneficial Herbs:
- Acai Berries
- American Spikenard
- Baical Skullcap
- Balsam Fir
- Benzoin Gum
- Black Cohosh
- Cat’s Claw
- Evening Primrose
- Gotu Kola
- Ground Ivy
- Kava Kava
- Kombucha Tea
- Lemon Balm
- Maidenhair Fern
- Mormon Tea
- Opium Poppy
- Passion Flower
- Pau d’Arco
- Peruvian Balsam
- Pill-Bearing Spurge
- Prickly Poppy
- Red Clover
- Red Poppy
- Saw Palmetto
- Scotch Pine
- Senega Root
- Thorn Apple
- Wild Black Cherry
- Yellow Dock
- Yellow Jessamine
- Yerba Santa