Notable Herbs for Asthma Relief
Notable Herbs for Asthma Relief
by Laurie S Roth Donnell, Master Herbalist and Holistic Health Practitioner
Asthma is a chronic upper respiratory disease affecting the lungs and airways of roughly 20 million people worldwide, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). More than 50% of asthmatics are children, and I was diagnosed with this affliction in pre-school and rushed to the emergency room many times for shots of adrenalin and emergency treatments! After years of pharmaceutical treatments, I am glad to share that I am completely OFF all asthma medications and rarely use my rescue inhaler! I credit this to incorporating a few herbs and yoga into my life.
I know firsthand, conventional breathing treatments often produce unwanted side effects and can lead to the development of a dependency or tolerance to the drugs. Below we will explore several all-star herbs that have been credited for natural relief of asthmatic symptoms such as constrained breathing, inflamed air passages, coughing, wheezing, restricted air passages, and loss of consciousness in extreme severe attacks.
This popular Ayurvedic spice helps relieve asthmatic inflammation that causes swelling in the lungs and trouble breathing. It helps dilate blood vessels allowing for better airflow and relaxes muscle spasms, restoring normal breathing patterns. Turmeric acts as a blood thinner and should only be used under professional administration and supervision.
Another Ayurvedic herb, Boswellia works to improve asthma, strengthen the lungs, and lessen the recurrence of acute asthma attacks. Although Boswellia has been used as a breathing treatment for centuries in India, there is little scientific research, and its efficacy is anecdotal. Boswellia is contraindicated for people taking drugs to lower cholesterol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS).
Parsley leaf helps relieve coughing during asthma attacks and acts as an expectorant, enabling the patient to cough up mucous trapped in the airways. It relieves tightness in the muscles of the chest and soothes the throat and cough. Parsley leaf is best used as an herbal tea. Parsley is also a natural diuretic, increasing the quantity of urine and frequency of urination. Use with caution if you currently take a diuretic.
Mullein is an excellent breathing treatment to help relax acute asthmatic spasms and constriction in the airways. It is an old-time herb, well known for relieving coughing and many other upper respiratory conditions. Mullein is found in a variety of cough and herbal asthma preparations, relieving shortness of breath and lessening wheezing.
Ginkgo biloba helps reduce the mechanism that causes wheezing and may be of benefit as a breathing treatment to some asthma patients. Gingko may produce some mild side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. A lower dose often resolves these effects allowing patients to continue using the herb as a natural treatment for asthma.
Reishi mushroom as a potent anti-inflammatory that helps strengthen the lungs. Used in Chinese medicine as an immune booster, the mushrooms help reduce swelling in the airways and are simple to incorporate into your daily diet.
Try any of these gently healing herbs and remember to consult your primary physician before you embark on a new path of health exploration!
Traditional Chinese Medicine—TCM: Gingko Biloba
University of Maryland Medical Center: Asthma
Gaiamlife: 7 Nondrug Asthma Treatments + 5 Herbal Remedies
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