You feel as though you cant breathe. The muscles around your airways tighten up, narrowing the airway. That means less air flow. Inflammation increases and the airway narrows even more. Then mucus is produced in the airway and even less air flows through. The wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest bring on overwhelming panic and anxiety.
Youre having an asthma attack.
Asthma is a serious disease and should be discussed with your doctor. You may need an inhaler to deliver an immediate metered dose of medication. But there are effective natural treatments for asthma, along with herbs and natural supplements for asthma treatment. These may help to reduce the frequency and severity of your attacks, and help manage the debilitating symptoms when they happen.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. The inflammation causes the airways to become swollen and sensitive. Thats why the airways tend to react strongly to certain inhaled substances. For example, the following are common triggers for asthma, says the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:
Common triggers for asthma
- Allergens from dust, animal fur, cockroaches, mold, and pollens from trees, grasses and flowers
- Irritants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemicals or dust in the workplace, compounds in home decor products, and sprays (such as hairspray)
- Medicines such as aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and nonselective beta-blockers
- Sulfites in foods and drinks
- Viral upper respiratory infections, such as colds
- Physical activity, including exercise.
The disease causes recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing, which happens most often at night or early in the morning.
Its all too common a condition and can take hold at any point in your life, but it most often starts in childhood. More than 25 million Americans are known to have asthma, and about 7 million of them are children.
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Its important to spot the signs and symptoms, and take action. The most common symptoms are as follows, from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:
Most common symptoms of asthma
- Coughing: Coughing from asthma often is worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep.
- Wheezing: Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound that happens when you breathe.
- Chest tightness: This may feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.
- Shortness of breath: Some people who have asthma say they cant catch their breath or they feel out of breath. You may feel as though you cant get air out of your lungs.
But not all people who have asthma have these symptoms, and having these symptoms isnt a definitive indicator that you have asthma. You need to see your doctor for a lung function test, a medical history, and a physical exam.
The sad news is asthma is incurable. So if youre looking for the best natural cures for asthma, you wont find them. There is no magic herb or treatment that will clear your airways for good. But there are effective home remedies for asthma to try.
Natural treatments for asthma
While those with severe asthma attacks should have their doctors telephone number close at hand, there are strategies for natural asthma treatment to lessen the frequency and severity of attacks. Consider the following:
- Remain calm: When an asthma attack strikes, panic can make your symptoms worse. You need to take a moment to try to relax. Close your eyes and visualize your lungs expanding and filling with white light, and feel your breathing become easier. Then repeat a few times before opening your eyes.
- Try caffeine: If you feel an attack coming on, drink a strong cup of coffee, tea, or two cans of caffeinated soda to help open your airways. Caffeine is chemically related to theophylline, which is a standard medication for asthma.
- Eat more bright-colored fruits and vegetables: Bioflavonoids are the compounds that give fruits and vegetables their wonderful hues. These compounds have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties. Start eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables at every meal!
- Keep a food journal: Make a note of everything you eat for a month and record your symptoms. Food allergies could be connected to your attacks. Try to determine if any food could be triggering the frequency or severity of your asthma symptoms.
- Try acupuncture: This therapy, used in traditional Chinese medicine, places fine needles in strategic points on the body to promote self-healing. Its used to treat many conditions, and may help to ease the symptoms of asthma.
Herbs and natural supplements for treating asthma
Additional home remedies for asthma can be found in your spice rack or local health food store. Lets take a look at some popular natural remedies for asthma:
Evening primrose oil: This natural oil from the seed of the evening primrose plant is rich in essential fatty acid. Its commonly used to treat skin problems but it may help promote open airway passages for easier breathing. Its available in capsule form.
Lobelia (Indian tobacco) was used by Native Americans to treat respiratory disorders, including asthma.
Mullein: This easy to grow herb is also that common sidewalk weed youve seen on vacant lots and overgrown yards. The leaves are pale green and fuzzy. You can find it as an herbal tea for respiratory irritation. Its known as antimicrobial and antispasmodic for coughs.
Black seed: Black seed is a plant. People have used the seed to make medicine for over 2,000 years for headache, toothache, nasal congestion, and intestinal worms. It was even discovered in the tomb of King Tut. More modern medicinal uses include digestive tract conditions and respiratory conditions including asthma.
Pycnogenol: This is the registered trademark name for a product from the bark of a tree called Pinus pinaster. Pycnogenol contains substances which may stimulate the immune system and improve blood flow.
While you may require prescription medication for your asthma, these natural treatments for asthma can help lessen the severity and frequency of your symptoms. Remember, asthma is different for each person. Different triggers may set off an attack. With these home remedies for asthma on hand, you can help make life just a little easier.
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