Chronic asthma is a condition in which the lining of the lungs becomes inflamed, causing the bronchial tubes and surrounding muscles to swell, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma sufferers can experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe, and attacks can come at any time. It is currently estimated that at least 20 million children and adults are asthmatic, with that number predicted to rise significantly in the next decade. Conventional medicine treats the symptoms of asthma with inhalers and steroids. While these treatments are effective, they can also be problematic for many asthmatics. Conventional treatments often carry unwanted side effects. Moreover, these therapies can cause patients to develop a dependency on the very drugs that are meant to bring them relief. As with any drug dependency, this can lead to a vicious cycle of growing resistance to the drugs and ever increasing dosages. Today, many asthmatics are looking to all natural therapies as an alternative to traditional asthma treatments.
Common Symptoms and Triggers for Asthma
The most common symptoms of asthma include wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Triggers for asthma attacks will vary between individuals, and will largely depend on whether the person is suffering from allergic asthma or non-allergic asthma. The most common triggers that cause attacks in asthmatics include allergens such as pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust mites. Irritants in the air are also a problem for asthmatics, and attacks can be triggered by cigarette smoke, wood smoke, perfumes and chemical fumes. Asthmatics are also prone to attacks during periods of great physical and emotional stress.
Asthma Relief Through Diet
Diet modification may seem an unlikely place to start in controlling asthma symptoms, but diet and nutrition effect all aspects of the human body. Certain foods, primarily dairy and red meat, can lead to an increase in mucus production. This in turn can lead to an increase in the number and severity of asthma attacks. Asthmatics who wish to treat their symptoms naturally should restrict their intake of dairy products and animal proteins, as well as eliminating processed sugars and foods high in polyunsaturated fats.
Shifting to a vegetarian based diet can help to reduce the occurrence of asthma attacks, as well as significantly lessening their severity. For example, recent studies have shown that apples, carrots, tomatoes and dark green leafy vegetables have been beneficial in minimizing attacks in people with chronic asthma. Additionally, foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as flax seed, hemp seeds and walnuts have also been shown to reduce the symptoms of asthma.
In addition to making changes in their diet, asthmatics should consider the benefits of herbal treatments for their recurring symptoms. Current research has shown that Butterbur, a perennial shrub native to western Europe, can be used to reduce the muscle spasms and inflammation associated with asthma attacks. Boswellia, an Indian herb, has been shown in double blind studies to inhibit the release of leukotrienes, a compound that causes a narrowing of the bronchial passages. Boswellia can be taken in pill form, and asthmatics should consult their natural health clinician for a recommended dosage. Parsley leaf, taken as a tea, can be used as an expectorant helping the asthmatic to cough up the mucus that can become trapped in their airways. Parsley leaf tea also helps to relieve tightness in the chest and soothes the throat.
Stress, both physical and emotional, can be a major factor in the recurrence of asthma symptoms. In addition to diet and nutrition, asthmatics should concentrate on reducing their daily stress levels. Physical stress levels can be reduced through regular exercise, which has the added benefit of helping patients to maintain a healthy weight. Recent studies have linked asthma attacks with being overweight, and regular exercise helps asthmatics reduce their stress levels while losing the excess weight that may be contributing to their symptoms.
Emotional stress can also be a major trigger for asthma attacks. Meditation on the Word of God, and regular periods of prayer, can help asthmatics to find the inner stillness which will release them from the daily emotional stresses that are all too common in the modern world. Through fasting from the world systems food and listening to God speak the Truth to your heart it is possible to release the body’s God given energies for healing, and allow the body to return to an optimal level of health.