Treatment Options for Asthma Symptoms
Asthma is a condition that affects millions of people in the U.S. The following are treatments you can add to your daily routine to improve symptoms.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a respiratory disease that causes your airways to swell and narrow, making it difficult for you to breathe. Asthma may range in severity, and people are typically given inhalers and other prescription medications to help them manage their symptoms.
In addition to the medications that you may be prescribed, there are a variety of natural treatments that might help to minimize your symptoms and help to increase the effectiveness of the other treatments that you are taking.
Warm steam baths can help people who have asthma to reduce the irritation of their airways and nasal congestion that are associated with asthma. Steam baths might help to alleviate some of the symptoms that can lead to an asthma attack because it helps to provide moisture for your airways. Some people with asthma may find that steam may worsen symptoms because of its heat, however.
Steam baths are especially good to offset symptoms such as sinus congestion, but they should be viewed as complementary treatments to be used in conjunction with your asthma medications.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in oily fish, including tuna, trout, salmon, orange roughy, mackerel, and sardines. These fatty acids are recognized as offering benefits to people in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. They work by helping to reduce your immune system reactivity and your airway inflammation and may offer help for the management and treatment of asthma.
Including foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids several times per week may help you to boost your lung function and reduce the inflammation of your airways. If you dislike eating fatty fish, you can try including dark, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach in your diet. Green, leafy vegetables, nuts, and vegetable oils such as olive and avocado oil all contain small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, but they do not offer as much of these substances as do fatty fish. You can also supplement with fish oil tablets, but their efficacy is not as well understood.
Turmeric is the spice that lends a yellow hue to curry and is popular in many Indian dishes. It has been used in India for thousands of years for its health benefits.
Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. However, the turmeric spice that you might have in your spice cabinet likely does not contain sufficient concentrations of curcumin. You can purchase turmeric supplements that contain higher concentrations of curcumin for greater benefit.
While curcumin is highly beneficial, it is difficult for your body to absorb it into your bloodstream. Taking it together with pepper can help your body to absorb it. You might try taking your turmeric supplement together with a couple of peppercorns. Curcumin is also fat-soluble, so taking it along with a fatty meal might also help your body to absorb more of it. Curcumin may help to manage your asthma symptoms by reducing the inflammation of your airways that can trigger an asthma attack.
Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for nausea. Studies have also demonstrated that ginger is helpful for the treatment of other conditions, including asthma, because of its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. When ginger is taken along with your regular asthma medication, ginger may help to increase the bronchodilation effects from your medicine.
Ginger contains compounds that are strong anti-inflammatory agents and that have similar effects as NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. You can take ginger supplements, eat foods that contain ginger, or brew it in a tea to obtain the benefits from this highly beneficial substance.
A powerful natural remedy, garlic is recognized for its numerous health benefits. It is helpful in the management of many different diseases and is especially recognized for its help in managing cardiovascular disease because it is an anti-inflammatory agent. Asthma is also a condition that causes inflammation, meaning that garlic may offer help in relieving and managing the symptoms of the disease.
Garlic contains a substance called quercetin, which may help to reduce inflammation. It also has some antibacterial properties, helping you to fight off respiratory illnesses that might lead to a worsening of your asthma symptoms.
Vapor Rubs Made of Essential Oils
It is possible to help to manage the common symptoms of asthma, including wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Because these symptoms occur as reflexive actions to the accumulation of mucus in the air passageways, making a homemade vapor rub out of certain essential oils can help by thinning and clearing the buildup.
You can make your own vapor rub out of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, frankincense oil, and lavender oil. Eucalyptus oil helps to thin the mucous and acts as an expectorant so that you can clear it out. Peppermint oil helps by unclogging your sinuses and assists the eucalyptus oil in its function as an expectorant. Frankincense oil helps by reducing inflammation of your airways and your lymph nodes. Finally, lavender oil can help to reduce some of the triggers of an asthma attack such as anxiety and changes in the mood.
Carotenoid foods include foods that are rich in vitamin A such as carrots, berries, sweet potatoes, and leafy green vegetables. Asthma's severity has been shown to be correlated with having a low concentration of vitamin A. By increasing the amount of vitamin A that you include in your normal diet, you might be able to help to moderate the severity of your asthma symptoms. You can also take vitamin A supplements, but it is best for you to try to include foods that are rich in vitamin A in your daily diet.
Honey and Echinacea
The combination of honey and echinacea may help control asthma symptoms. Honey does an especially great job of helping to relieve the nighttime coughing that often accompanies an asthma flair-up. Researchers believe honey’s sweet taste triggers your glands to produce more saliva. This helps better lubricate your airways. Because honey contains so many powerful antioxidants, it also effectively helps break up mucus.
The echinacea portion of the mixture is just as important. It has long been used to treat upper respiratory infections. This herb’s anti-inflammatory properties help open your airways. However, some health organizations are not certain about Echinacea’s safeness. An allergic reaction could actually trigger a severe asthma attack.
Licorice is more than just a sweet ingredient found in some candies. It’s also a highly recommended root for treating asthma and several other respiratory disorders. Most importantly, this herb is affordable. Even a small amount of licorice contains soothing antioxidants like nitric oxide.
Although you can chew on a licorice root, many people gain even more relief from sipping on licorice tea. The warm licorice will quickly help clear out excess phlegm. It’ll also help sooth swollen airways.
While licorice is deemed to be safe in low doses, definitely avoid over-consumption. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, you should avoid using licorice for longer than a week. Too much licorice can lead to high blood pressure and headaches. Pregnant women should be especially cautious.
Africa Studio / Shutterstock