Asthma: Symptoms, Causes & Natural Remedies
Asthma and persistent breathing irritation can be a burden and even downright scary.
Asthma is a dis-ease that affects a large number of people in today's world, but the bigger problem is that Doctors really only know to prescribe chemical "inhalers" as a solution.
You may not realise it, but there are a number of natural remedies, lifestyle changes and even whole foods that can help support and restore respiratory function and assist Asthma sufferers to breathe easy again.
First, what is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the tubes which carry air in and out of your lungs.
It manifests when the inside walls of your airways become infected or inflamed, making them sensitive to virtually everything that enters the lungs.
Over time, the airways get even narrower (as they become more inflamed), allowing less oxygen to flow through to your lung tissues, causing wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, troubled breathing and even 'Asthma attacks'.
Before long, you have a debilitating condition that needs to be treated in order to create breathing relief and to perform the simplest of daily functions.
If you go to the Doctor, in all likelihood he/she will diagnose you with Asthma, and with that you'll probably be prescribed the only known medical treatment - a chemical inhaler (which you'll probably be told you need to be on for the rest of your life, unless you begin to make some significant lifestyle changes).
What are the symptoms of Asthma?
As irritation of the airways occurs, inflammation grows, causing the pipes to become narrower and the cells to produce more mucus than usual as a protective response.
The problem is when mucus increases, it narrows the airways, even more, causing a vicious cycle, making it even harder to breathe and leading to symptoms of asthma like these:
- Coughing: Most often worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep
- Wheezing: A whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
- Chest tightness: A sensation of feeling cramped for air or compression like someone is squeezing or sitting on your chest
- Shortness of breath: Some people say they can’t catch their breath, or they feel breathless or out of breath. You may feel like you can’t get enough air in or out of your lungs
- Erratic or noisy breathing: A sign that there is constant congestion in the respiratory tract that needs support to clear.
What causes Asthma?The common causes of Asthmatic symptoms and respiratory conditions are constant exposure to everyday irritants like these:
- Animal dander (from the skin, hair, or feathers of animals)
- Polluted air, air conditioning or chemically-infused factory air
- Cigarette smoke
- Cold air or abrupt changes in weather conditions
- Dust mites (contained in household dust)
- Mold (indoor & outdoor)
- Pollen from trees & grass
- Synthetic fragrances and artificially scented products e.g. chemical laundry detergents, soaps, cosmetics and personal care products
- Poor emotional wellbeing and stress
- A lack of regular exposure to clean, electrified air on a daily basis and at night when you sleep.
- A condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that causes heartburn and can worsen asthma symptoms, especially at night
- Medications such as aspirin & beta-blockers
- Sulphates in food (dried fruit) or beverages (wine).
Once the symptoms of Asthma have developed, the problem can compound further with high-intensity exercise, viral infections and repeated exposure to pollutants, electrically 'dead' air and irritants.
In a severe asthma attack, the airways can close so much that not enough oxygen gets to vital organs causing a medical emergency. This needs to be taken seriously since people can die from severe asthma attacks.
Before I share some natural remedies and solutions, here are some levels of Asthma severity to keep in mind.
Four Levels of Asthma Severity
- Mild Intermittent (comes and goes) – Symptoms twice a week or less, and you have symptoms at night twice a month or less.
- Mild Persistent Asthma – Symptoms more than twice a week, but no more than once in a single day. You have symptoms at night more than twice a month. You also may have asthma attacks that affect your activities
- Moderate Persistent Asthma – Symptoms every day, and you have symptoms at night for more than once a week. Asthma attacks may affect your daily activities
- Severe Persistent Asthma – Symptoms throughout the day on most days, and you have nighttime symptoms often. In severe Asthma, your physical activity is likely to be limited.
Foods that can help
A plant-based diet significantly improves the symptoms of Asthma because it increases helpful botanical compounds that naturally support the respiratory system of the body.
Wholefoods counteract the pro-inflammatory chemicals that are abundant in animal foods.
Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and grains while drastically cutting down (or eliminating altogether) all meat. If you're going to eat dairy, just make sure it's all organic with no gelatin or animal rennet.
Kick up your daily intake of Sea Salt and ingest 1-2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar each day.
Red skin potatoes target the health and repair of the lungs and should be included regularly in your diet. For serious respiratory conditions like Asthma, a daily protocol I recommend is to eat one raw sliced red skin potato each day covered in fresh squeezed lemon juice and sprinkled with sea salt.
Citrus fruits (grapefruit, oranges, limes, tangerines and lemons) and orange and yellow vegetables like squash, pumpkin etc are rich in Vitamin C making them especially beneficial for reducing inflammation and healing respiratory function.
Include plenty of Onions and Garlic in your diet also as these are mother nature's anti-viral and anti-bacterial foods, rich in sulphur compounds that help to clear the bronchioles and knock out inflammation in the body!
Radishes, Chilli Peppers and Jalapeños are also very effective at helping to clear the airways and create relief from all kinds of breathing-related problems.
A 4-Day Natural Colon Cleanse will also help to cleanse the digestive tract of accumulated waste which will allow ALL systems of the body - including your respiratory system - to function at their best.
Natural Remedies for Asthma
As mentioned above onions have long been used in the treatment of asthma because they contain compounds that relax bronchiole muscles and prevent spasms.
Suggested Elixir: Blend 60 mls of onion juice with 60 mls of carrot juice and 60 mls of parsley juice. Then drink this blend twice daily.
Learn more in Fruit & Vegetable Juicing: What You Should Know
Natural Nasal Spray & Washes
You can also mix water with Sea Salt and Peppermint Pure Essential Oil to make your own nasal spray with a small glass spray bottle or get my Breathe EZ Decongestant Nasal Spray already premixed and bottled up for you.
Perform routine nasal washes which will clean mucus and irritants from the nose and decrease swelling. Spray and breathe it in 5-6 times per day.
Things to note when doing a nasal wash:
- Wash your hands;
- Make a fresh nasal wash solution out of saltwater or saline. Mix one-half teaspoon unionised salt in a 250ml glass of warm water with a pinch of baking soda. Use the entire 250ml of saltwater during the nasal wash if you are congested, otherwise, half a glass should be enough;
- Do not reuse the solution and make a new one every time;
- Make sure to use a bulb syringe.
Pure essential oils are a must if you're trying to prevent or heal any type of respiratory condition naturally. Three of the most effective ones are:
- Peppermint - Take a drop or two orally each day of Pure Peppermint Essential Oil as well as rubbing into the palms and inhaling deeply and exhaling several times morning and night;
- Eucalyptus - A powerful natural decongestant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent, add a few drops of Pure Eucalyptus Oil to 2-3 drops of Peppermint oil, then add a small amount of Olive Oil before rubbing onto the chest each night before bed;
- Lavender - Place a diffuser next to your bed and add a few drops of Pure Lavender Essential Oil to water and allow it to run whilst you sleep. It's also a good idea to use a diffuser in your office or anywhere where the air does not flow freely e.g. hotel rooms when you travel. This will relax your bronchioles and create respiratory relief.
In addition to the above, make sure you sleep in air that moves, which means opening your windows and/or having a ceiling or box fan operating whilst you sleep.
Walk daily outdoors and try activities like yoga which will encourage better breathing habits, relaxation as well as overall emotional balance and wellbeing, all of which helps to heal Asthma and restore respiratory wellness.