I was asked to do a post on Asthma, so here we go :)
There are many forms of asthma...so I will do my best to cover them and explain what we do to help.
First and foremost with Asthma, always comes diagnosing the cause...
Types of Asthma
Allergy induced (about 60% of all cases fall under allergies)
Non-Allergy (lung irritants such as smoke, perfumes, viral infections, etc...)
Medication-Induced (by prescription or over the counter meds - not typically mentioned but all medications do need to be considered)
Shortness of breath
Whiteness around mouth (lack of Oxygen)
Limbs feel heavy (lack of Oxygen)
The second step in treating Asthma, is always Prevention...
First we identify the allergen, either by eliminations, or testing
Second, we remove the allergen from the patient's environment
Third we prevent the allergen from entering their sleeping space, and daily space as much as possible
Fourth we treat remaining symptoms
Most allergens are very small, and Hepa filters will be needed.
Vacuums with hepa filters
Larger hepa air filter to remove the allergens from the sleeping space. These will have a carbon pre-filter as well
Dust covers on mattresses and especially Pillows, these can be washed on high heat as well as bleached
Remove carpets if possible
De-clutter...everything is a place for allergens to be trapped. All toys in a plastic bin while not in use, stuffed animals washed once a week and dried on high heat
Daily vacuum and damp cloth wipe down of sleeping room
Bathing daily before bed to remove allergens of the day
If the sleeping space is kept clear of allergens, the body can heal while sleeping and full blown asthma attacks in the day will be less likely.
Working with natural body cures...
With ALL types of Asthma, conscious breathing is very important while not in an attack. However it is especially important for Exercise induced asthma.
Buteyko Breathing, is an extremely good method to learn
Choose activities which require breath control...Swimming, Wind Instruments, Yoga
Practice abdomen breathing vs chest breathing
Being aware of sharp temperature changes in the air, how do the lungs respond? Does it help to buffer the air change with a cloth or scarf over the nose and mouth?
Most asthma can be traced back to a neck and/or upper spine misalignment. It can happen during birth, or at any time in life...but usually in childhood before the bones are set. The many bumps and falls kids have can move things out of place in the areas of the spine where the nerves connect to the lungs. It is always good to visit a chiropractor if you can where asthma is concerned.
Learning simple meditation along with breathing, and coping methods will be extremely helpful in emotional asthma. It can act much like a panic attack, and can be induced by panic, severe nervousness, or any sharp change of emotion. (and it can also help with the fear which comes when your airways are restricted in all types of asthma)
With emotional asthma, coping methods can be invaluable...and learning not to let the mind snowball can help one to avoid the asthma attack. Learning a simple mantra can work...and it can be as simple as, "This will pass, I am okay"...something to repeat over and over in the mind, or outloud, that will hold the mind's focus. (usually affirmations seem to work best, but it is very personal, so the one using it must decide)
Foods to Help prevent asthma attacks...
Eating one or more of these foods each day can help, as they all contain the antioxidant flavonoid quercetin. Quercetin is known to be an anti-viral, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic...and is called for to treat asthma.
(Organic to avoid chemicals if you can)
Dark cherries and berries (blueberries, bilberries, blackberries and others)
Broccoli, cabbage and sprouts
Leafy green veggies, including spinach, kale
Whole grains, including buckwheat
Raw red onion
Black and green tea
Of course one needs to be sure there are no food allergies as well...
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) is the best known herb to treat acute asthma attack. It is fast acting, and can stop an attack in progress. With an extract of Lobelia on hand, one can mix .5 to 1 ml of lobelia into an 8 oz cup of water to drink...or it can be made into a syrup --> for the herb, parts used are flowers and seeds.
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is a muscle relaxant, anti-spasmodic often used in asthma...it will help relieve the chest tightness
Ephedra (Ephedra sinica) contains a high amount of alkaloids, including ephedrine and norephedrine...it is a bronchial dilator, and vasodilator as well as anti-allergic (Unfortunately the FDA banned it, so finding it is a bit of a chore in the US.)
Pill-Bearing Spurge (Euphorbia pilulifera) can weakly substitute ephedra, as it is an anti-asthmatic, expectorant, and anti-spasmodic
A syrup made from;
1 Cup Honey
1 lemon juiced
1 ml Lobelia extract
Can be taken as is, 1 teaspoon daily...or 1 tsp added into a cup of tea made with
1 tsp Butterbur root (prepared as a 15 min Decoction)
1/2 tsp Pill-Bearing Spurge infused for 10 minutes in butterbur decoction
*These can both be used daily in small amounts (1tsp lobelia honey, 1 cup butterbur tea)
Accute attacks needing immediate relief, use 1 ml lobelia in 8 oz water...you can add a pinch of cayenne as well if needed (I only add cayenne if the skin is cold, or lips have a white pinched line around them...
*Hopefully all of the preventive measures will lead to never needing the herbal remedy :)
Well, that is it for today...I hope it is helpful! Please keep in mind, that as long as this post is, it is just an overview. There is so much more, so please dive in and research all of the aspects I touched on...