Natural healings can be used in addition to medical treatment for those with asthma.
According to the Mayo Clinic, asthma is a “condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, a whistling sound (wheezing) when you breathe out and shortness of breath.”
While often thought to be oxygen-related, the issue lies in the ability to release CO2. Hyperventilation can occur with asthma while trying to catch the breath taking quick breaths.
The Mayo Clinic recommends early treatment to possibly prevent long-term lung damage and to stop the condition from getting worse. In addition to seeing a provider, there are some natural therapies thath may prove beneficial in preventing asthma attacks:
Breathing techniques are used to help alleviate or prevent attacks. Positive results in a breathing study include nose breathing and deep diaphragmatic breathing.
Deep diaphragmatic breathing is also known as belly breathing, which is breathing deeply into the belly and lungs and slowly exhaling. While breathing, place one hand on the chest and one hand on the belly. You will see the belly rise. The hand on your chest will either be still or move very little, and the belly should expand out.
Inhale through the nose and watch the belly expand. Then exhale slowly either through the nose or the mouth if nose breathing is not an option. Do this several times to help release the CO2 and help strengthen the diaphragm muscles for easier breathing.
There are different levels of asthma, from mild to severe, and some people require medication as part of their treatment plan. There are some nutrients that one may try to see if it helps in preventing future attacks.
While none of these methods claims to be a cure there are some studies that indicate adding these nutrients may help in addition to the treatment plan by a provider. Some studies even showed reduced steroid use with the addition of these nutients.
Vitamins A, C, D, E and the Mineral Zinc
According to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, a study revealed that children with asthma had lower intakes of fruits and vegetables and were deficient in vitamins A, C, D, E and zinc. Other studies revealed that pregnant women who had high dietary intake of vitamins D and E while pregnant showed protection in the prevention of wheezing.
Magnesium in other studies also showed that some asthma patients were deficient in magnesium and that adding the magnesium helped the lungs ability to move air out of the lungs.
Fish oil has been shown to help reduce inflammation and also help provide relief to patients with asthma.
According to a study in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, ginger has been shown to assist with asthma by relaxing airways smoothing muscle and reducing inflammation.
An article in the Frontiers in Pharmacology showed that basil has been used in old traditional medicines for the treatment of respiratory disorders and lung issues across many cultures.
The last and final alternative treatment listed here for asthma includes adding an air purifier. According to the Yonsei Medical Journal, utilizing air purifiers can significantly help with asthma patients.
While some people are utilizing medical regimens, these adjective therapies — in addition to the medical treatment — may offer additional benefits in helping to control and prevent attacks. In some studies, participants were able to reduce the volume of steroids used with the additional dietary treatments.
Finally, in some cases, preventing vitamin deficiencies and adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet may prevent the development of asthma. Patients should talk with their doctor or health-care provider to see what’s best for them.
— Marcy DiGregorio is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator who loves helping people with their nutritional needs, enjoys cooking, and also teaches yoga. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.