Asthma is a chronic or acute condition most commonly manifesting as shortness of breath. Asthma may occur gradually or get precipitated suddenly by certain factors, most often allergens, cold climate or strong smells. The airway passages in an asthma patient get clogged with mucus, causing one to gasp for breath. Asthma attacks are often severely debilitating, and may even be fatal if not attended to immediately. Constantly carrying inhalers and emergency medicine is a must for most patients of chronic asthma. Natural treatment aims to reduce this dependency on drugs by strengthening and cleansing the lungs in a slow but permanent fashion.
Causes of Asthma
Before moving on to the treatment of asthma, its very important to understand the underlying causes. The main reason why people suffer from asthma is due to allergies - hypersensitivity reactions to a host of factors, be it strong smells, air pollution, dust or pollen in the air, food items like milk, eggs or peanuts. Asthma also has a genetic component, which means it can ‘run in the family’ and may also be precipitated by emotional stress, weakness of the lung muscle or certain imbalances in lung physiological enzymes.
Chronic Asthma: Natural Treatment Can Do Wonders!
Most patients of asthma have to constantly carry with them medications, as attacks can never really be predicted. A natural and drug-free remedy to asthma would be a boon to every such person. As you’d have made out from the previous paragraph, the immediate cause of most asthma attacks is allergy. This indicates that the person has low resistance and underlying internal disharmony. The main reasons for such a disharmony can be traced to faulty eating habits, and by simply rectifying them, one can get significant relief from the symptoms of asthma.
One thing to understand here is that stimulating proper function of slack excretory organs - the skin, digestive and respiratory systems - will do a world of good to asthma patients. Natural cure for asthma involves:
- An enema to remove morbid matter from the colon
- Mud packs over the abdomen and wet packs over the chest, to relieve congestion of both the digestive system and the respiratory system.
- Stimulating the skin by making the patient perspire. This is usually done by a steam bath or a hot foot bath.
Adopting Healthy Food Habits
You are what you eat. And nothing could be farther from the truth for patients of chronic asthma. Natural treatment aims to eliminate morbid matter from the body by changing one’s food habits in a subtle but significant manner.
- A conscious effort to have an alkaline diet rather than an acidic one. This would involve going slow on sugars, proteins and fatty foods while increasing consumption of fresh fruits, green vegetables, sprouts and honey.
- One should also not eat to one’s full - its always good to leave some space in your tummy! To aid in this, try to eat slowly, chewing the food well, and not gulping it down.
- Certain foods are known to promote phlegm formation - rice, bananas, curds, oily foods, lentils - try to reduce or avoid such foods.
- Water is one of the best remedies for asthma - aim to drink around 20 glasses of fresh water each day. Water dilutes the phlegm and keeps the lungs open.
- Nature’s gift to asthma patients is honey. Honey contains natural pollen, in minute quantities, and when consumed regularly, either directly, or with water or milk, honey helps boost immunity, reduce mucus and nourish the lung parenchyma tissue. Simply breathing the air over a jar of honey is known to provide immediate relief from an attack of asthma.
- There are certain ‘grandma’s recipes’ for treating asthma. These include minced garlic with milk, ginger and garlic in tea. Turmeric in warm milk each morning on an empty stomach is a common home remedy for asthma in parts of India.
- During an asthma attack, rubbing a mixture of camphor in mustard oil over the back of the chest provides relief from the congestion. Steam inhalation of caraway oil or caraway seeds in boiling water immediately opens the lungs and facilitates breathing.
Prevention, Always Better Than Cure
Couldn’t be farther from the truth! And asthma patients would very much appreciate that by regular exercise, its possible to prevent asthma attacks, or at least reduce its severity. But its not hitting the gym that we’re talking about. Exercise meant to strengthen the lungs and the respiratory system and improve blood circulation is the key. And yoga in asthma patients, is a form of exercise which does exactly that.
As a disclaimer, I should mention that its not advisable to try out Yoga by yourself - always consult a qualified Yoga practitioner. That said, one would get immense relief on regular practice of ‘Pranayam’ (systematic breathing), Padmasana (Lotus position), Bhujangasana (Serpent position), Dhanurasana (bow position), Vakrasana, Savasana and Paschimottanasana.
To conclude, all these techniques will bear no fruit if a constant effort to lead a ‘natural’ life is not made. By that, I mean that one should not restrict oneself to air-conditioned rooms, but head out and take in the fresh morning air. Its best to avoid cold, damp, musty and smelly places, and try to be cheerful to avoid stress. Asthma is not as debilitating a disease as its made out to be, and with a few adjustments to one’s way of life, asthma patients can lead an extremely healthy and normal life.
It is important that you consult your doctor about any type of asthma treatment.
- Mosby’s complementary and alternative medicine by Lynda W. Freeman, 2nd Edition, 2004
- Herbal Remedies for Asthma by A. K. Mehta, 1st Edition, 1999, (Jain Publishers, New Delhi)
- The Everything Guide to Herbal Remedies by Martha Schindler Connors, Larry Altshuler, 2009
- The Yoga Site: Introduction to Pranayama and Yogic Breathing (https://www.yogasite.com/pranayama.htm)
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