Saturday, November 9, 2013


Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways. It is an inflammatory disease that leads to a variety of symptoms. The causes of asthma may vary from one individual to another. The main cause of the inflammation is exposure to asthma triggers. The airways fill with mucus and become narrow and inflamed when they come into contact with such triggers. When an individual experiences an asthma attack, the mucus membranes swell and become inflamed. There are also spasms in the muscles of the airways. The increased production of mucus makes the airways narrow and this leads to difficulty in breathing. Symptoms such as coughing and wheezing also occur as the body reacts to the irritants present in the airways and tries to eliminate them through the mucus.

Symptoms of Asthma

An asthma attack takes place when the airways get irritated or inflamed. Asthma attacks may occur suddenly or develop gradually over a few hours or days. The primary symptoms of an asthma attack include:

Tightness in the chest
Breathing difficulty
Pain or a sensation of pressure in the chest

The symptoms of asthma are likely to vary from case to case. You may not necessarily experience all the symptoms. The symptoms may also vary from one asthma attack to another. Many individuals with asthma may remain symptom-free for some time and then experience periodic attacks. Some people may develop symptoms only during physical activity or when they come in contact with irritants. In most cases, asthma attacks are mild as the airways open up after a brief period of time. Severe attacks may persist for longer periods of time and require medical attention.

There are some signs and symptoms which occur when an asthma episode is about to occur. These are not very severe, but addressing them can help to prevent an attack from worsening. They early warning signs include:

Shortness of breath
Coughing especially at night
Tiredness while performing any physical activity
Symptoms of allergies or a cold such as nasal discharge
sore throat and headache
Difficulty in sleeping

If the above symptoms are not treated in a timely manner, severe symptoms are likely to follow. These symptoms may affect your daily functioning.

Persistent cough during the day and night
Severe wheezing
Poor response to asthma medications
Rapid breathing
Pale appearance of the skin
Difficulty in talking

Causes of Asthma

Asthma episodes occur when the airways become blocked and inflamed due to exposure to certain triggers. The airways are highly sensitive and there is a reaction whenever there is contact with an external factor. An asthma attack may occur immediately after exposure to an irritant or a few hours or days later. Different people may react to different triggers. It is essential to identify and avoid contact with triggers so that asthma episodes are prevented.

The most common triggers include:

Colds or respiratory infections
Pollen from grass, trees and weeds
Mold spores
Pet dander
Certain foods
Detergents or other cleaning agents
Cold weather
Anxiety or strong emotions
Intake of certain medications

Some individuals may also have a genetic predisposition to asthma.

Home Remedies for Asthma

Ginger - is a well-known natural treatment for various ailments including asthma.

Mix equal quantities of ginger juice, pomegranate juice and honey. Take one tablespoon of this mixture twice or three times a day.

Alternatively, you could mix one teaspoon ground ginger in one and a half cups of water and take one tablespoon of this mixture at bedtime.

Cut one inch of ginger into small pieces and add it to a pot of boiling water. Let it steep for five minutes, allow it to cool down and then drink it.

To detoxify your lungs, mix one tablespoon of ginger juice and one tablespoon of honey with two tablespoon of fenugreek seeds soaked in water overnight. Drink this solution every morning and evening.

You can also eat raw ginger mixed with salt.

Honey - is one of the most common home remedies for asthma. It is said that if a jug of honey is held under the nose of an asthma patient and he inhales the air that comes into contact with it, he starts breathing easier and deeper.

Honey is one of the oldest natural cures for asthma. The alcohol and ethereal oils in honey help reduce asthma symptoms.

You can also mix one teaspoon of honey into a glass of hot water and drink it slowly at least three times a day.

Before going to bed, swallow one teaspoon of honey with one-half teaspoon of cinnamon powder. This will help remove phlegm from your throat and allow you to sleep better.

Mustard Oil - When having an asthma attack, massing with mustard oil will help clear the respiratory passages and restore normal breathing.

Heat some mustard oil with a little camphor and gently massage it into the chest and upper back.

Do this several times a day until the symptoms subside.

Figs - The nutritional properties of figs promote respiratory health and help drain phlegm and alleviate breathing difficulties.

Wash three dried figs and soak them in a cup of water overnight.

In the morning, eat the soaked figs and drink the fig water on an empty stomach.
This method helps the nutrients quickly enter your bloodstream and provide relief from asthma symptoms.

Eucalyptus Oil - Pure eucalyptus oil is an effective treatment for asthma symptoms.

Just put a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a paper towel and keep it by your head when sleeping so that you breathe in the aroma.
You can also put two to three drops of eucalyptus oil in a pot of boiling water and breathe in the steam. Try to take deep breaths for faster results.

Garlic - The following garlic remedies will clear congestion in your lungs, giving you quick relief from asthma symptoms.

Boil 10 to 15 cloves of garlic in one-half cup of milk. Drink this once a day.
You can also make garlic tea by adding three to four cloves of garlic to a pot of hot water and letting it steep for five minutes. Allow it to cool to room temperature and then drink it.

Coffee - The caffeine in regular coffee can help prevent and control asthma attacks. Hot coffee also will relax and clear the airways to help you to breathe easier. The stronger the coffee, the better the result. But try not to drink more than three cups of black coffee in a day. If you do not like coffee, you can opt for a cup of hot black tea.

Lemon - People with asthma often have low levels of vitamin C. Lemons are rich in this vitamin and antioxidants that can help reduce asthma symptoms. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon in a glass of water and add some sugar according to your taste. Drink this when you are suffering from an asthma attack. Oranges, papayas, blueberries and strawberries are also rich in nutrients that help minimize asthma symptoms.

Onions - Onions have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce constriction of the airways when suffering from asthma. Also, the sulfur content in onions help decrease inflammation in the lungs. Simply eat raw onions to clear your air passage ways for better breathing. If you cannot bear the taste of raw onions, try eating cooked onions.

Salmon - Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon will help your lungs react better to irritants that cause asthma symptoms. It can also reduce airway narrowing and inflammation. Along with salmon, you can eat other fishes such as cod, sardines, mackerel and tuna. If raw salmon is not readily available, you can try salmon oil.

The most important step in controlling your asthma is to reduce exposure to allergens and triggers. Here are some helpful tips:

The pollen count is high during certain seasons and this is when you are most prone to asthma attacks. Therefore keep your windows shut during these times. You can also use air conditioning to restrict the entry of pollen. An air conditioner will also help to reduce humidity and will protect you from exposure to dust mites. Make sure that you have your air conditioner cleaned regularly and have the filters changed.

Dust can worsen asthma symptoms especially at night. Use dust-proof covers on your pillows and mattresses. Carpets can collect a great deal of dust and therefore it is advisable to opt for linoleum flooring instead. Also ensure that you wash your curtains regularly to get rid of dust.

Use a dehumidifier if you live in regions with damp weather

Avoid exposure to animals if you are allergic to animal dander. If you have pets, ensure that they are groomed well and bathed regularly.

Protect your nose and mouth with a mask while cleaning or dusting the home

Cold air can worsen asthma symptom and may even bring on an episode. Therefore it is advisable to cover your face when stepping out.
You can also effectively manage asthma symptoms by staying healthy. Here are some ways to improve your health:

While there are no natural cures for asthma, some methods of natural treatment can help to keep the symptoms in check. Some common asthma home remedies include:

Diet for Asthma

Certain foods are known to help in easing an asthma attack. These include:

Caffeine dilates the bronchial passages and thus alleviates the symptoms of an asthma attack.

Pungent foods help in thinning the mucus and this prevents the air passages from becoming narrow. These foods include onions, garlic and chili.

Foods such as tuna, sardines and other fatty fish contain anti-inflammatory compounds which reduce inflammation. Onions and foods which contain vitamin C also help in this regard.

The B vitamins are beneficial for asthmatic individuals. They are contained in foods such as pulses, leafy green vegetables, dried figs, millets, green banana and bitter gourd. Fruits such as green papaya and grapes are also helpful in keeping asthma in check.

Vitamins C and E are known to reduce inflammation in the lungs and air passages which usually occurs during asthma attacks. A diet rich in these vitamins will help to protect from colds and respiratory infections which are asthma triggers.

Suggestion for Asthma

Flu is a common asthma trigger and can also worsen the symptoms once an episode occurs. Therefore it is advisable to get a flu shot on a yearly basis. An annual flu shot is recommended for asthmatic individuals above 6 years. The side effects of the vaccine are minor such as mild fever, soreness or redness at the injection site.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor.

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