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Herbal remedies to ease asthma
Asthma is caused by the constriction of the airways within the Lungs. Some of its distressing symptoms can be relieved by using herbal treatments. Rates of asthma are on the increase, and now many children suffer the chronic wheezing and breathing difficulties associated with this condition. Common triggers are dust mites, and pollen, animal hair, and even stress. Conventional inhalers alleviate the symptoms associated with asthma, but herbal treatments can provide similar relief.
Lobelia and visnaga herbs help to relax the muscles of the bronchial tubes and make breathing easier. Other herbs such as elecampane and nettle interrupt the body’s overproduction of anti-inflammatory compounds, and expectorant herbs such as thyme and honeysuckle are also useful.
Speak with your doctor to make sure that herbal remedies will not interfere with your prescribed medication.
What causes an asthma attack?
During an asthma attack, the muscle fibers lining the airways of the lungs go into spasm. As the airways (bronchioles) constrict, less air travels into the lungs, making breathing difficult. The lining of the bronchioles is covered in a layer of mucus, which thickens during an attack and restricts breathing even more.
External, environmental forces are often the dominant contributing factors to asthma attack. Pollution and pollen are the two biggest irritants of sensitive airways and if you’re living somewhere in which these conditions are prevalent, you may fall victim to repeated asthma attacks. Unfortunately, you can seldom avoid these triggers in a city or during hay fever season.
Herbs to treat asthma
Herbs that have anti-spasmodic and expectorant properties are good for relieving the tightness in your chest brought on during an asthma attack.
Also known as crampbark, the guelder rose is a familiar small tree growing throughout Europe and North America. Bark from the tree, which is stripped in spring, is used in tinctures to help with breathing difficulties and to ease a tight chest. It contains coumarins and salicin. Gather strips and shavings of the guelder rose for your tincture.
Native to Mexico, the gumplant is a perennial herb with colorful orange, Daisy like flowers. Its leaves and flower tops are harvested and dried. Infusions of gumplant are rich in diterpenes, including grindelic acid, resins and flavonoids. It has valuable anti-spasmodic and expectorant properties, helping to clear phlegm from the bronchial passages. It is also believed to desensitize the nerve endings in the bronchioles, helping to slow the heart rate and easing breathing during asthma attacks. An infusion helps ease anxiety caused by stress.
A traditional Chinese herbal medicine, baical skullcap has shown promising results in clinical trials. The root of this perennial herb is harvested when the plant is 3 to 4 years old to prepare decoctions and tinctures. The roots contain flavonoids, which reduce inflammation in the lungs triggered by allergic reactions. Baical skullcap is rich in plant sterols.
The delicate, fragrant blossoms of this climbing plant are dried and used in infusions to treat asthma and chesty coughs. Honeysuckle flowers contain iridoids, volatile oils and tannins, which have an antispasmodic effect on phlegm. Honeysuckle berries are toxic so only pedals should be used.
Native to the Middle East and North Africa, the seeds of this herb are collected in fall and dried. Infusions and powders are prepared to treat asthma. The herb is rich in powerful antispasmodics such askhellins and visnagin. Both compounds are now chemically derived and used in conventional medicine. A visnaga infusion can calm spasm attacks.
The pretty blue flowers of this annual herb make a potent respiratory stimulant. Valued for their antispasmodic and expectorant properties, they ate stronger, deeper breathing. Active ingredients are piperidine alkaloids and carboxylic acid. Lobelia can often be found growing wild in summer.
Take care to check dosage levels of store bought tinctures, as high levels can result in vomiting.
Soup for asthma
Combine Mullen leaves with honeysuckle flowers to create a sweet and easy asthma remedy.
Try this simple recipe for an herbal soup to ease the symptoms of asthma. You will need:
1 ounce chopped dried honeysuckle flowers
1 ounce chopped dried Mullen leaves
Half cup organic honey
Place the chopped dried honeysuckle flowers and Mullen leaves with the organic honey in a small saucepan or double boiler. Simmer over very low heat for 15 to 20 min., ensuring that it doesn’t burn. Pour the mixture into sterilized glass bottles store in a cool, dark place. Take a tablespoon three times a day to relieve the symptoms of asthma and chesty coughs.