Only a few of the more effective home remedies for asthma can be found among either herbal supplements or over-the-counter drugs or medications. There is no natural cure for asthma, and serious cases of the disease should always be treated in accordance with the advice and direction of a physician. A physician may well recommend some home remedies that can help you cope with your asthma since many effective remedies have more to do with your lifestyle than what you put in your mouth.
That's not to say that there is nothing at all you can do for your asthma without having to talk to a physician. There are in fact a number of things that you can do on your own to make your life a bit easier. Some of these different things have to do with lessening the risks of an asthma attack, preventing one from occurring, or reducing the severity of episodes that do occur, while other actions you can take are primarily designed to provide a measure of relief. There are indeed a number of remedies that can safely be recommended, but it's important to understand that a remedy and a cure are not necessarily one and the same thing.
The first step you might want to take is to gain as much knowledge as you can about the disease. When it comes to combating asthma, knowledge is power. If you know what can trigger an attack, you will often be able to determine how to avoid that trigger. Not all triggers can be avoided completely however unless you want to spend the rest of your life in a clean room, although you still may have to be careful of what you eat, but there are definitely a number of things you can do.
Asthma is a disease that affects your airways. An asthmatic attack can often make breathing difficult – in some cases dangerously so. The difficulty in breathing you may experience is caused by the narrowing of your airways due to the tightening of muscles surrounding those airways when an allergen has been detected by your immune system. These muscles are normally relaxed when you breathe, allowing your airways to stay open. This tightening of these airway muscles is just one of the characteristics of the disease however and happens to be a characteristic that often is easily treatable and even reversible.
Another characteristic of the disease affecting your airways is swelling. Swelling occurs when the linings in your air passages have become inflamed. Inflammation can be a more serious problem in the long run than is the case with muscle tightening since inflammation can over time cause damage in both your bronchial tubes and your lungs. In the short term, both muscle tightening and inflammation episodes can vary from mild to severe.
Those who have the disease are often overly sensitive to those things that can trigger an attack, which of course merely compounds the problem.
Asthma is more common in children than in adults. Children often outgrow the disease. Adults on the other hand can come down with the disease even if they did not have it when they were children. The latter case is referred to as adult-onset asthma. Genetics are often involved since those with family members who have or have had the disease are generally at a higher risk of getting it themselves.
Treating Asthma – Have a Plan
Action plans aren't just for businesses or project managers; they can be valuable for asthma sufferers to follow as well. Just as some businesses will hire a professional to help them put a plan together to reach certain goals and objectives, you can benefit by hiring a professional to develop an action plan that will enable you to lead a normal, healthy life. In your case, the professional in question is a doctor, preferably an asthma specialist.
It can take some time to put such a plan together since one of the first things that need to be done is to compile a list of the triggers that lead to your asthma attacks. The planner will also need to know your history with the disease: when and where you have experienced the attacks and their severity. A plan is most likely to include daily monitoring using a peak flow meter. This can provide valuable information as to how well your medications are performing, what the dosages should be, and how well you are able to avoid the allergens that can trigger an attack. Peak flow meters can also provide warnings of impending asthma attacks. Your plan would also contain information on what medications will be most appropriate for dealing with specific symptoms as well as which medications should be taken in emergencies and who to contact or where to go in those situations.
Precautions You Can Take to Avoid Asthma Attacks
Along with food allergies, one of the more common causes of these attacks could be summed up as a presence of airborne particles. There are and always will be particles of one kind or another floating around in the air you breathe. Fortunately, most of those particles are both microscopic in size and harmless. Some types of particles can however act as allergens and can trigger an asthma attack. One way to avoid contact with at least some of these particles is to keep your home spic and span. That may be frequent vacuuming and dusting, doing so in a manner that doesn't stir up even more particles.
1) Eliminate Pet Dandruff – Other common allergens are pet dandruff, dust mites, mold, and pollen. There are many pet owners who are unfortunately allergic to one of their pets. In most cases, such allergy causes only mild reactions and perhaps none at all if you don't allow your pet to sleep on your pillow or on your chest at night. There are a few, but fortunately not to many people, who end up having had to give a pet away simply because the pet's presence causes severe allergic reactions. Taking steps to reduce or eliminate dandruff in a pet's coat will often pay dividends.
2) Eliminate Dust Mites – Keeping your house as clean as possible lessens the chances of dust mites causing problems for you. While it's usually impossible to reduce the population of dust mites to zero, keeping their population as low as possible can make a difference.
3) Discourage Mold – Mold is a common allergen and is more likely to become a problem in an older house in which certain areas, especially basements, may have a tendency to become damp. Keeping your home both clean and dry should be one of your objectives, since mold requires moisture to thrive and will also tend to thrive in areas where debris has been allowed to accumulate.
4) Avoid Pollen – Pollen is more of an outdoor problem, and pollen can be difficult to avoid at certain times of the year. While wearing a facemask might be one solution, being informed of your area's pollen count and adjusting your outdoor activities accordingly, as well as your travel plans when the situation dictates, are often the best way to deal with pollen. Fortunately, most people who are allergic to pollen are only allergic to certain types, and the problems they can face are often seasonal.
5) Install Filters – Another preventive measure is to install filters in your HVAC system and use vacuum cleaners or air filters that are equipped with a HEPA filter that traps particles rather than redistributing them. An air filter or room air cleaner can be especially beneficial if you have a smoker in your house, although a preferable approach would be to have that person enjoy his or her cigarettes or cigars out of doors. Air filters are only beneficial up to a point however as they will only trap particles that have been disturbed and tossed into the air. They can still prove helpful though when used in a bedroom or another room where you spend much of your time.
Natural Remedies for Asthma
It's always best to let your doctor or asthma specialist determine which medications will be effective in treating your asthma. There are a number of natural remedies you can take upon yourself to try, although it is still a good idea to get a doctor's advice, especially if you are considering herbal medications and you're already on prescription medications. One of the problems with using herbal remedies to treat asthma is that the majority of them have not been tested and those that have in most cases have proved to be of little or no help. The same is true with dietary supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and various supplements containing antioxidants may improve your overall health or be of some use in treating some other diseases, but none of these have been shown to have any appreciable effects when it comes to treating asthma or asthmatic symptoms.
Other natural remedies include yoga, acupuncture, dietary changes, and heart rate biofeedback. Practicing yoga can be of some benefit in that yoga can definitely help to both avoid and relieve stress, and stress is known to significantly increase the risk of experiencing an asthma attack. The deep breathing practices you learn in yoga can be especially helpful, not only in dealing with stress but also in helping you to relax while experiencing an asthma attack, which can sometimes help to reduce the severity of the attack. Progressive muscle relaxing exercises, also taught in yoga classes, are potentially beneficial as well.
Some people claim to have benefited from acupuncture. This approach has not been clinically proven to benefit asthma sufferers, but should not be ruled out either. Dietary changes can definitely be of help if certain foods are known to contain allergens, and controlling your heart rate is thought to be of some benefit, although as in the case with acupuncture, there is as yet no clinical proof to attest to its effectiveness.
Home Remedies for Asthma
If you rely on blogs to discover the best home remedies for asthma, you're likely to find almost anything you could think of mentioned, including claims that certain remedies have been able to cure the disease practically overnight. A common thread that runs through the majority of these remedies is that what works for one person may not have any appreciable effect on another, or could even make matters worse. There are a few home remedies however that appear to be beneficial in most instances. These include:
1) Chili Peppers – Those who have an asthma condition but enjoy Mexican or Thai dishes may have a slight advantage over those who only care for meat and potatoes in that hot and spicy foods are usually quite effective in clearing out mucus that can accumulate during an asthma attack. In addition, the capsicum that is contained within chili peppers has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. More is not always better when it comes to ingesting the hot stuff, so switching from jalapeno peppers to habanero peppers may not necessarily be in your best interest. You don't want to pay the price of having a badly burned mouth or throat in exchange for some temporary relief from swollen or mucus-clogged air passages.
2) Coffee – Coffee won't burn your mouth, unless it's too hot of course, but the caffeine in the beverage can definitely be of help when it comes to relieving and even preventing asthma attacks. It just so happens that when you have your morning cup of coffee, the caffeine in your cup not only helps you start your day but also dilates your bronchial passages, or would do so if they required it. Since most of the time your bronchial passages don't need to be dilated, drinking a cup of coffee does not produce any noticeable effect, but if your asthmatic condition happens to be chronic, you may find coffee to be of great help.
3) Onions – If you've ever taken a bite out of a raw onion, particularly a strong one, you may have been made aware of two things. First, you may never want to do so again, and second, any sign of either bronchial or nasal congestion will have immediately disappeared, at least temporarily. Raw onions have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown to have the ability to open up your airways during an asthma attack. Cooked onions will do so as well, although not necessarily as quickly or completely.
4) Foods Containing Fatty Acids – Supplements that contain omega-2 fatty acids appear to be of little value in preventing or treating asthma. Curiously, the foods that contain these fatty acids seem to have quite the opposite effect. Eating foods such as salmon, tuna, and sardines appear to lessen a person's risk of having asthma attacks and to lessen the symptoms and the amount of irritation in those who do have an attack. Natural fish oil appears to lessen the risk of having an attack as well.
5) Salt – Salt is not a remedy, but a lack of it can be. It is generally believed that too much salt in your diet will make your airways more sensitive to many of those allergens that can precipitate an attack.
6) Dairy Products – For some people, eliminating milk or other dairy products from their diet can prove to be beneficial. Dairy products contain a higher number of potential food allergens than many other types of foods. Eliminating dairy products from your diet may decrease your risk of having an allergy attack, but only if a food allergen is at the root of the problem. If you do cut back on dairy products, make certain your diet provides you with sufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin D.
7) Turmeric and Ginger – Both of these spices have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is often an ingredient in yellow mustard as well as in Indian curries. It can also be added to foods as a spice or taken as a tea. As an anti-inflammatory agent, dried turmeric is usually more effective than curry powder.
While the focus here has been on home remedies for asthma as well as several other natural remedies, the importance of peak flow meters, inhalers, and medication cannot be overemphasized. There are many home remedies as well as other natural remedies that will provide temporary relief, and a few of them can be beneficial in treating the disease over the long term. It would be a mistake however to rely wholly on home remedies to 'treat asthma.' The disease is potentially too serious and often too disruptive to be left to anyone but trained specialist to deal with. Whatever course of action you decide to take, having a plan and following through on that plan is of the best way to ensure success.