by Don Raddell
(Ware, Hertfordshire, UK)
Natural remedies for asthma can be helpful for some people in preventing asthma attacks. Of course, asthma is a dangerous condition. Any difficulty in breathing can lead to very serious complications, even death.
So always use the prescribed medications during an asthma attack. Do not rely on home remedies for that, only for prevention.
One of the most popular natural remedies for asthma that has become known in recent years is the Buteyko Breathing Method. This is a shallow breathing technique that raises carbon dioxide levels in the smooth muscles of the airways, increasing oxygen uptake.
One study of 60 asthma sufferers found that the Buteyko Breathing Method help sufferers to cut down their use of inhalers by an average of 2 puffs per day. However, it is important to remember that you will still need to carry the inhaler.
Other natural remedies focus on diet. In particular, you can help to reduce inflammation in the body (which may be a cause of asthma attacks) by taking the following steps in your diet:
1. Reduce consumption of arachidonic acid, linked to inflammation. Arachidonic acid is found especially in certain animal foods including egg yolks, meat and shellfish. Eating less of these may help to prevent asthma attacks.
2. Reduce uptake of arachidonic acid by increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA). These are found in oily fish but most people find it simpler to take an omega-3 supplement capsule.
3. Increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes, carrots, apples and leafy vegetables.
Bromelain is an extract from pineapples that appears to have anti inflammatory properties and may help to reduce the number or severity of asthma attacks.
Butterbur extract is a substance extracted from the root of a natural plant that has been found to reduce inflammation and reduce use of inhalers by asthma sufferers in one study. However, it has some side effects and should be used with care. These side effects include digestive upsets and headaches.
Butterbur extract should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, or by people with liver or kidney disease. Whole butterbur root should not be used at all, even to make herbal teas, because the plant contains other substances that are toxic and can cause kidney or liver damage.
If you decide to use butterbur, take a commercially prepared and regulated supplement where the anti inflammatory ingredient has been extracted from the root and is offered alone.
Remember too that with natural remedies for asthma that are based on herbs and plants, it is more difficult to know the concentration. This can lead to over or under use.