Running out of breath is scary and no one can imagine having to deal with it in their lives.You generally do not pay any heed to your breathing abilities. The power of being able to inhale fresh air (Oxygen) and simultaneously exhale the toxins out has a significant role to play in your lives. ‘Oxygen’ regulates our body, keeps our brain active and healthy.Hence, the role of lungs not to mention is an integral part of our system. Today we shall discuss the most common inflammatory disease of the airways known as Asthma. Sometimes people ignore these symptoms for a common cold or dust allergy.
According to a latest research by World Health Organisation, Asthma symptoms affect an estimated 26 million population in the U.S — 19 million adults and 7 million children and is continuing to affect even more.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a disease that affects the breathing passages of the lungs (bronchioles). Asthma is chronic or long-term inflammation of these breathing passages. They can be categorized into two types.
- Allergic ( which is usually caused by exposure to an allergen) and
- Non-allergic ( this develops due to long-term illnesses like a chronic cold, flu that doesn’t go away easily, chronic stress, illnesses like a cold or the flu, exposure to extreme weather conditions, dust or irritants in the air, medications taken for long periods of time)
Triggers of Asthma
- Allergens like dust, pollen from grass, seeds and weeds
- Long-term illnesses that requires bouts of medicines
- Frequent episodes of Cold, Cough, Flu or Sinus infection can be a symptom of asthma in children.
- Chronic stress that has been poorly managed
- There are some Indoor allergens like dust mites and irritants in the air, chemical fumes, deodorants and strong odors that can cause Asthma.
- Exercise induced Asthma (there are some people who experience episodes of asthma from exercising)
- Some times weather conditions, such as cold or dry air, wet or winds do trigger asthma
If you suspect your attack to be an asthma attack, do not take it lightly. It can worsen or become chronic asthma (difficult to treat). Severe attacks of Asthma may require immediate medical help. They are less common but the episodes of breathlessness can be longer. In case of a Mild Asthma attack, the episodes are comparatively brief and the airways usually open up within a few minutes to a couple of hours. So, it is important to learn about the Asthma symptoms so that you can easily keep a check and manage the initial symptoms.Let me share with you some of the symptoms of an Asthma attack;
Symptoms of an Asthma Attack
- This is the most commonly reported symptom of a person suffering from Asthma. Wheezing sound (kind of a whistling or crackling sound from the chest area while exhaling)
- Cough that doesn’t seem to go away or gets triggered especially during night or while exercising, daily walk or laughing
- Difficulty in breathing or feeling of a blockage while breathing
- Feeling of tightness in the chest area
- Shortness of breath
Home Remedies For curing Asthma
These are some natural remedies that can be followed to address Asthma exacerbation.
It is not unknown that Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Gingerol is the main bio active compound in ginger. The numerous benefits of ginger for your heath and body easily makes it a super food. It is highly effective against Asthma, as it reduces the inflammation caused by it. You can prepare a potion with equal quantities of ginger and honey and consume it 3-4 times a day for quick results.
Honey is used for different purposes in our households. Right from treating a bad cold or cough to losing weight and maintaining a supple and youthful skin, honey has always been my favorite. Due to it’s high nutritional value, it can be easily used as an Asthma cure. You can have 2 teaspoons of honey with a glass of warm water. You can also have Honey with Ginger or with cinnamon powder before bedtime to catch a good night’s sleep. In case you do not get cinnamon powder, you can allow few sticks of cinnamon to infuse in the boiled water and have it with honey 3-4 times a day.
Turmeric besides fighting inflammation, also contains curcumin as one of its main components. It helps alleviate the inflammation of the airways. This will reduce the soreness that is prominent during Asthma. Gargling with warm turmeric water and ingesting a glass of warm turmeric water can boost up the healing process. You can continue this for 3 weeks as it completely natural and does not cause any side effects.
Mustard oil as discussed in my previous article, is an effective remedy to deal with breathlessness and helps clear respiratory tract and the build up of phlegm. Mustard oil mixed with camphor is a powerful combination for Asthma treatment. You can massage this warm mixture all over the chest area for better results. This helps in restoring normal breathing patterns. You can also use mustard oil in your diet for best results.
Living with Asthma can be painful and frustrating, but coffee can give you some hope. According to a healthy study, Coffee not only reduces suicide risk and depression, it also activates your brain cells, keeps you sharp and going. The Caffeine in coffee is good for asthma patients. It not only clears the nasal passage allowing you to breathe easily but it also reduces the pain and congestion caused due to a stuffy nose or congested throat. SO, brew a cup or two of coffee and have it to beat asthma.
Note: People who are suffering from IBS, Ulcers or any Digestive issues or f you have any reaction to caffeine, do not follow this remedy. You can have Black tea instead of coffee.
Garlic consists of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and expectorant properties, which is useful for the reducing and preventing breathing disorders like Asthma and Bronchitis. ‘Allicin’, the main compound found in garlic can attack bacteria that causes life threatening lung infections.
For many years, garlic has been used to treat and cure shortness of breath and many others. You can have raw garlic first thing in the morning or sprinkle over your soup or food and consume it.
Note: incase you are allergic to garlic, please avoid it or consult your doctor before practicing this remedy.
Vitamin C not only helps repair our damaged tissues, it also helps in reducing oxidative damage that can occur due to Asthma. As per a study in the British Medical Journal, those with Exercise-
So, you can include Oranges, Lemon, Guavas, Kiwis, Green and Red peppers, Tomato juice, Gooseberry etc. to help reduce asthma symptoms.
Magnesium rich food
Foods,such spinach , avocado, banana, dark leafy vegetables, dried fruits, lentils, soybeans, pumpkin seeds can help manage the symptoms of Asthma as they are rich in Magnesium. Magnesium helps in relaxing the muscle fibers present in your lungs thereby allowing you to breathe better.
You can also include magnesium supplement after consulting your health practitioner.
Onions maybe a turn off for many but it has definitely powerful anti-inflammatory properties that aids in clearing the airways. You can include raw onions in your daily diet for better results.
Black seed oil
Black seed oil contains phytochemicals which yields same results as modern synthetic anti-allergic drugs. It has been used traditionally since centuries for easing respiratory problems. Besides, it also has anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic effects and therefore it helps reduce the symptoms of asthma. You can have a teaspoon everyday to manage Asthma symptoms.
Chamomile Flower or Tea is widely used by people for treating anxiety issues or who have hard time catching a sound sleep. This tea is very soothing, has sedative effects and is very helpful in managing symptoms of asthma. It opens up the nasal passage and provides instant relief and induces sleep.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally found in fish oil and can be used for managing the mild breathing issues related with asthma. They contain anti-inflammatory nutrients that can alleviate symptoms of asthma and allergies.
It helps reduce the production of IGE, the antibodies that usually triggers allergic reactions. However, in case of severe asthma, this may not be very effective as corticosteroids block the beneficial effects of these fatty acids.
Essential Oils For Asthma
Tea tree oil
This can reduce allergic response and therefore is helpful in relieving stuffy and blocked nose by reducing inflammation. It enables you to breathe freely and of course Tea Tree oil can be used for various purposes as it has powerful medicinal properties. So, keep a bottle and use it when you feel the congestion building up!
Peppermint acts as a decongestant and a natural antihistamine and therefore improves breathing.
Eucalyptus has a powerful aroma and the compound present it in can help clear up phlegm and mucous that can jam the airways.
Lavender is known for its sedative properties. It also helps reduce inflammation and restore normal breathing pattern.
Clove oil is not only excellent for tooth pain but also it can act powerfully to reduce inflammation which is caused due to asthma and it helps open up the clogs and reduces pain.
Breathing techniques for managing Asthma
Pursed lip breathing
This technique involves inhaling through the nose slowly and then exhaling through pursed lips so that there is a whistling sound. This yoga form helps release trapped air out and enables easy breathing.
This is a Russian Breathing technique that emphasizes the importance of nasal breathing and helps alleviate the symptoms of asthma, anxiety, sleep apnoea. For this, you need to sit straight in an upright position. Keep your muscles relaxed and inhale taking long shallow breaths and exhale slowly. Hold your breath as long as you can and then again repeat the process for 15 minutes.
For this technique, you need to sit with straight. Do not slouch. Now, gently breathe in and out slowly. During inhalation, you can notice your stomach bulging out and while exhaling your stomach would go in. Repeat this technique regularly for managing asthma effectively.
Remember Asthma is no fun. It is a life-long condition. If you suspect you or your loved one has any related symptoms, it is important to chart out an asthma action plan. Do not ignore the early signs of Asthma! We wish you good health and an Asthma free life.