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Asthma

General characteristics

General characteristics

The smooth muscle lining the tubules of the lungs go into spasm, narrowing the air passages. Airflow is impeded and results in difficulty with breathing, wheezing or coughing (often worse at night). The cough can be both dry and unproductive or chesty and produce mucous. Triggers can include emotional tension and stress, allergic reactions (food, pollution, pollen, dust etc.), common colds or chest infections and physical exertion.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

General health needs to be improved overall using fresh organic fruits, vegetables and grains. Foods from the allium family are particularly healing eg. onions, garlic, leeks.

Avoid processed foods and limit mucous forming foods such as dairy, wheat and sugar. It is vital to keep the bowels healthy and regular. Daily gentle exercise should be encouraged especially outdoors in the fresh air to encourage deeper breathing and improve circulation. Relaxation techniques can be practised to alleviate stress and tension and reduce the asthmatic episodes. Keeping calm around a child or person suffering an attack will often reduce the severity.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Herbs to strengthen the lungs and expectorate mucous include mullein leaves, comfrey leaf, elecampagne root, chickweed, white horehound, wild cherry bark, peach leaves, liquorice root, myrrh, ground ivy, plantain leaves, sage, coltsfoot.

Herbs to soothe sore and irritated air passages include marshmallow root, slippery elm.

Herbs to strengthen and relax the nervous system include vervain, oats, skullcap, chamomile, hops, valerian, damiana.

Herbs to relive the spasm include lobelia*, crampbark, wild thyme, hyssop, ephedra*.

Herbs which help improve general resistance to infections and raise the vitality include echinacea, astragalus, Siberian ginseng, elderberries, barberry.

Chilli/cayenne has a profound effect on the lungs and has helped many people overcome their deep seated asthma.

Celery seeds as a tea may help.

Ginkgo leaves can help reduce the dependence on an inhaler.

Herbs to support a strained heart include hawthorn berries and flowers and motherwort.

 

(* both these herbs contain potent active antispasmodic components and are only available through consultation with a qualified Herbalist)

Natural healing

Natural healing

Raising the head and chest at night time can help alleviate coughing, use extra pillows to prop up and ensure the bedroom is well ventilated. If the asthma is triggered by allergies, ensure the room is dust and mould free and that pets are kept out at all times.

Ionisers in the room can also help.

Use an oil burner at night with essential oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint, cypress, benzoin, tea tree, frankincense or lavender. These will help to decongest and enable a good nights sleep.

Practise deep belly breathing daily and before going to bed ( see 'breathing exercises' in the natural healing section of this site).

Castor oil packs mixed with warming herbs such as ginger or mustard powder placed over the chest will encourage blood flow to the lungs (see 'castor oil packs' in the natural healing section of this site). These can be done 2 or 3 times weekly.

Hot and cold water showered over the chest area will also do the same ( see 'Hydrotherapy' in the natural healing section of this site).

Relaxation and rest are very important as tension and stress are very often implicated as triggers for an attack.

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