It’s frightening to not be able to catch your breath. It’s down-right terrifying to see your child struggle to breathe. Asthma is inflammation of the bronchial passages of the respiratory system and is accompanied by excessive mucous production in the lungs. Spasms in the smooth muscles of the respiratory system lead to the classic wheezing when trying to get a breath of air.
Asthma usually begins in childhood but can persist into adulthood. Other symptoms are tiredness (from lack of oxygen), chest pain, loss of appetite, and watery, itchy eyes. Attacks can last for several hours or even days. Acute and severe attacks are life-threatening and require medical attention but here are some natural things you can do at home to lessen the severity and frequency of attacks.
Reduce exposure to allergens – Food allergens are one of the largest and most overlooked culprits. Consider getting tested and eliminate the foods that are on your allergen list. Reducing exposure to outdoor allergens and environmental pollutants is also critical.
Reduce Stress – Asthmatics often find that their symptoms are worse under stress or during emotional times. Find ways to reduce tension and practice deep breathing to strengthen the airways.
Herbs for the Respiratory System – There are a variety of herbs that reduce inflammation in the airways, reduce congestion, and even strengthen the tissue in the respiratory tract. Try this home remedy to reduce inflammation, relax the smooth muscles, and aids in thinning the mucous.
1 ounce vegetable glycerin
1 ounce cramp bark tincture
½ ounce black cohosh tincture
½ ounce licorice tincture
½ ounce lobelia tincture
¼ ounce mullein tincture
Combine all ingredients in a dark jar
Dose: ¼ – ½ teaspoon every 15 minutes during an acute attack. Shake well before each use. If there is no improvement in 2 hours, or if symptoms worsen, seek medical attention.
If you or your child prefer tea then my favorite is a blend of licorice, eucalyptus, fennel, peppermint, calendula, pleurisy root, and ginger. I use this as a daily preventative tea but also double strength for acute situations.
Each person’s asthma is unique and has a different trigger. It is important to consider lifestyle interventions as well as herbal remedies and asthma medication when needed.
For more information about Kris Vaughan and her herbalism practice visit her website.