Your asthma may be an annoyance, or it may be a life-threatening condition – but either way, new ways to help you control it are always welcome. I had asthma as a baby; my mother claims that the Chihuahua took it away by the time I was a year old. But I’ve always had trouble breathing, or exercising without chest pain. Over time, I found several things that helped my asthma; and though today I need some asthma medication in order to function well, I still credit several good behaviors and home remedies for my relative good functioning.
As always, discuss any new treatments with your doctor, no matter how innocuous they may seem – but don’t be afraid of trying the following home asthma remedies.
Home Asthma Remedies
Tea has been shown to be an effective asthma treatment. Theophylline is an extract that’s been used in asthma medications for years, and it’s also found in caffeinated teas, where it can act as a bronchodilators. Your body probably can’t tell the difference between theophylline and caffeine, so drinking hot black coffee can work the same way.
Teas made of sage or cherry bark may also be efficacious against asthma. Both these herbs have been used for thousands of years by Native American healers to combat asthma and other lung conditions.
Use acetaminophen instead of aspirin – aspirin and related substances like ibuprofen can trigger severe asthma attacks in some people. This is a possibility that you should definitely discuss with your doctor.
Take vitamin B6. No one’s certain about the action of this vitamin on asthma, but clinical studies have shown that reasonable doses of B6 (about 50 mg/day) have shown some impact on asthma sufferers; in some cases, asthmatics have been able to discontinue daily inhaler use just by taking B6.
Eucalyptus oil is a very old treatment for asthma, and one of the active ingredients in Vick’s salve. Use only pure eucalyptus oil, inhaled to open nasal passages. If you use a steam humidifier, pure eucalyptus oil can give you a peaceful night’s sleep.
Take an antacid, and sleep with your upper body propped up or on your left side. Acid reflux has recently been demonstrated to have significant negative impact on asthma. An antacid taken just before bedtime – as well as not eating too near your bedtime – has been shown to decrease acid reflux in your sleep, which will help your asthma. If you prop your upper torso up at least at a 15-degree angle, or if you sleep on your left side, you will mechanically decrease the probability of acid reflux.
Activities and Lifestyle Changes To Decrease Asthma Attacks
Swim for exercise. Asthmatics need to exercise, perhaps more than others, simply to strengthen the pulmonary system and encourage good circulation – but with most asthmatics, exercise hurts. If you swim, the high humidity will keep your lungs lubricated while your body gets a good workout. It’s probably the ideal exercise for asthmatics.
Steamy bathrooms – or cold air – both can help clear blocked passages. Part of the cause of asthma is spasming bronchial tubes, but the other part is thicker-than-normal phlegm. Steamy bathrooms – with no fan vent on – can loosen phlegm deposited in your lungs and blocking bronchiae. Short doses of cold air, on the other hand, can work to calm spasming bronchial tubes in some people, provided the air is also clean and free of bacteria. Experiment with a combination to see which works better for you.
Keep your weight down to at least high-normal weights, and especially keep weight off your midsection. Every pound you put on forces all your muscles to work harder, which requires your overtaxed lungs to come up with more oxygen. And if you’re short – like me – and put weight on around the middle, your diaphragm is forced upward gradually, robbing your lungs of room they need to supply that extra weight with oxygen. (It also worsens acid reflux.) The result: you gradually grow more sedentary – and fatter. The only solution is to keep your weight down.
By using these simple tips – exercise, weight moderation, antacids, etc. – you may find that over time, you can reduce or even eliminate your use of prescription asthma medications. There is nothing better than being free of the inhaler jitters, or of being able to walk briskly without pain.