What is Asthma?
Asthma is a recurrent condition affecting the air ways that carry air to and from lungs. People who suffer from this condition are said to be asthmatics. Asthmatics airways are swollen and inflamed, they are extremely sensitive to irritants and allergens. As the airways become more inflamed it narrows and less air can pass to and from the lungs causing chest tightness, coughing, and breathing problems.
What causes Asthma?
Allergies - Most Asthma suffers have allergies. Allergic reaction often lead to airway inflammation associated with Asthma. Common sources of indoor allergens include: pets, dogs and cats, dust mites, cockroaches, and mold.
Tobacco Smoke - can cause wheezing and respiratory infections increasing risk and aggravating asthmatic conditions. Mothers who smoke while pregnant increase the risk of asthma in there children.
Environmental Factors - such as air pollution and toxins, cold temperatures, high humidity. There are also many indoor environmental factors such as fumes from a gas stove (Did you know that people with a gas stove are more likely to have symptoms of Asthma? I did not know this!) and mold that can also exacerbate the instances of Asthma.
Obesity - overweight adults have twice the risk for non allergic-asthma.
Birth - the way we enter into the world matters. Babies that were delivered by C-section are 20% more likely to have asthma that those delivered by vaginally. Babies that are premature are also at risk.
Stress - important in our times. Stress and impact the immune system, therefore people who undergo stress have a higher risk of suffering from asthma.
Eczema - 40-50% of children with eczema has asthma. Research also show that these children will then develop severe and persistent cases of asthma as they grow into adulthood.
An Overall herbal approach to treating Asthma:
Anti-inflammatory for the lungs and airways:
Licorice Root (Glycrrhiza glabra) - has anti-inflammatory properties and can be taken on a regular basis for prevention.
Mullein Leaf (Verbascum thapsus)- Tones the lining of the lungs and reduces inflammation.
Cumin Seed (Cuminum cyminum)- It acts a a powerful bronchial-dilator. It makes breathing easy and free of obstruction.
Lobelia (Lobelia inflate)- A powerful bronchial dilator that relaxes the muscles of the lung and decreases spasms.
Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) (Tulsi): Tulsi has strong anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties which are responsible for smooth functioning of respiratory and bronchial system.
Herbs that build the immune, oxygenate and promote overall lung health:
Reshi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum)- Used to strengthen the immune system, protect against allergies, wheezing, weakness and strengthen lungs. Has oxygenating properties and has been used for altitude sickness.
Astragulus Root (Astragulus membranaceus)- It a potent immune builder, prevents fatigue, low energy, and keeps cold and damp out strengthens the lungs.
Osha (Ligusticum porterii) - The supreme lung herb. Calms the muscle of the respiratory tract and research has show that Osha can increase the oxygen in the blood up to 10-15%.
Condonopsis (Codonopsis Root) - "Vital Energy & Restorative Herb" - Builds the immune, prevents frequent infections, build weak lungs and helps with chronic allergies.
In our follow up series of posts we will have more detailed information on the treatment for specific asthmatic conditions: allergic/atopic asthma (in this post we will also examine the link between childhood eczema and asthma), in additional posts we will also examine the link between c-section babies and asthma; and herbs for bronchial asthma.