Q&A: Natural Asthma Treatment for Children

The best way to end up healthy is to stay healthy.

| May/June 2003

My son has asthma and is currently on a nebulizer to treat his “attacks.” I just hate the thought of keeping him on a sustained regime of medications. Can you please give me some information on a natural asthma treatment?
—C. S., Fallbrook, California 

Keville responds: How about having your son inhale a steam of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil? In between attacks, bring 2 to 3 cups of water to a simmer in a pan, then add about 5 drops of the oil. Have him deeply inhale the steam for about 5 minutes. The treatment can be intensified by placing a towel over the back of his head to capture the steam, but use caution — the steam can burn. Lavender often works like magic if you use it at the first signs of an attack, but no one wants to hover over a pan of steam while they’re trying to catch their breath. If this is the case, set the pan nearby. Very young children can be held over a bathtub of steaming water to which 10 drops of lavender oil have been added. Sometimes this will completely stop the attack; at the very least it can lessen the severity of an attack.

Another idea is to give your son herbs that strengthen the lungs, particularly the bronchioles, as well as the immune system. You can find combinations in a health-food store similar to the tea blend I suggest, or you can buy the herbs and blend them yourself. Some of my favorites for asthma and lung congestion are very common herbs. Blend the following dried herbs:

• Mullein leaf (Verbascum spp.), for the lungs, 1 teaspoon

• Elecampane root (Inula helenium), for the bronchioles, 1 teaspoon

• Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), to ease the allergic-type reaction, 1/2 teaspoon

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