Wednesday, 17 April 2013 19:07

Asthma: Breathe Easier

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Asthma, one of the diseases that has scourged mankind for centuries has been and is effectively treated by natural therapies.

Natural therapies that have proven effective include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chinese Botanical Remedies
  • Homeopathy
  • Western Botanical Medicines
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Lifestyle And Psychological Counseling
  • Exercise
  • Vitamins, Minerals and Diet

Conventional treatments of asthma have proven to be effective in acute circumstances by providing symptomatic relief, but they do not stop the continual progression of the disease. Ventolin, corticosteroids, bronchodilators, and other drugs are highly effective in most acute circumstances but prolonged use of these drugs can play significant havoc with the body’s immune and endocrine systems further compromising an already depleted system. Alternatively natural therapies can effectively treat this disease and typically leave the immune and endocrine systems in a functionally effective state. Before discussing natural treatments I must first discuss possible causes.

Possible etiological considerations include:

  • Food sensitivities: Double blind food challenges in children have shown that immediate reactions are usually due to (in increasing order of sensitivity) peanuts, nuts, shellfish, fish, and egg. While foods associated with delayed onset include (in increasing order of sensitivity) food colourings, citrus, wheat (due to its hard to digest gluten), chocolate, and milk (which promote the formation of mucous within the body).
  • Diet: Excess sweets, dairy products, meat, eggs and most fish have been isolated as possible causative factors. A long term 1985 study showed that the above dietary exclusions resulted in significant improvement, 71% of trial subjects responded within the first four months and 92% within 1 year.
  • Hypochlorhydria: In 1931, 200 asthmatic children had gastric secretions tested 80% of them had gastric secretions below normal. Lack of hydrochloric acid results in improper digestion possibly creating food allergies and food sensitivities.
  • Food Additives: Artificial dyes and preservatives widely used in foods, beverages, and drugs have been reported to cause asthma attacks in susceptible individuals.
  • Glandular insufficiencies: The adrenal gland provides the body with its natural supply of cortisol, which is decreased during an asthmatic attack. This is why corticosteroids are used to treat asthma, but they take over the function of the gland and do not let the gland rejuvenate.
  • Spinal subluxations: which typically cause an imperfect nerve supply to the lungs and bronchi. Rectifying the subluxations will accentuate the healing process.
  • Emotional stresses: can cause asthmatic attacks. Most noted are insecurity and in more cases than not an overly concerned mother.
  • Mineral deficiencies: Selenium and Magnesium. Selenium is very important in a biochemical pathway that is responsible for reducing bronchial constriction. Magnesium, in a number of studies, was found to cause relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle in both acute and chronic episodes.
  • Vitamin B12, B6, C and Vitamin E deficiencies: B6 the exact biochemical pathway is not known but in studies symptomatic relief occurred on B6 deficient test subjects whose B6 levels did not change.
  • External irritants such as: fumes, cigarette smoke, dust, mold, pollens, and animal hairs (danders); can initiate an attack but are rarely the cause.

TREATMENT:

Diet, which should be the mainstay of any treatment, ensures that any therapy that is given provides long lasting effects once the healing process has started. A vegetarian diet that eliminates all food allergens and food additives should be emphasized. Onions, carrots and garlic should be used liberally.

Nutritional supplements that can provide some results include: Vitamin: B6, B12, C, E; carotenes, calcium, magnesium, and selenium.

Western Botanical and Chinese medicines include: Liquorice increases the half-life of cortisol thereby rejuvenating the adrenal glands and preventing some of the side effects of corticosteroid use. It is also a powerful expectorant (it relieves mucous congestion) and is known as the grandfather herb in Chinese medicine.

Angelica decreases allergic antibodies, specifically IgE, which is the antibody most indicated in allergic conditions. It is indicated in individuals who suffer from allergies as well as asthma.

Indian Tobacco (Lobelia) contains the alkaloid lobeline, a very efficient expectorant.

Chilli pepper (capsicum) contains capsaicin, which induces desensitization of airway mucosa to various chemical and mechanical irritants.

Ge Jie (Gecko) has long been used by the Chinese to treat asthma as well as impotence. In Chinese medicine, asthma is a problem of the kidneys (more specifically kidney yang energy) and Ge Jie can rectify this quite quickly.

Ephedra (Ma Huang in Chinese) is the plant from which the alkaloid compound ephedra was ‘discovered’ in 1923. It possesses significant anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy effects. This plant should be used with extreme care under the guidance of a professional.

There are many other western botanicals as well as Chinese medicines that are indicated for the treatment of asthma which when used in compliance with the laws and principles of natural therapeutics prove very effective.

PHYSIOTHERAPY

Most individuals who are asthmatics do not know how to breathe using their diaphragm. Simply place a hand on your abdomen and as you inhale make your abdomen rise.

Spinal manipulation is also indicated to increase nerve supply to the lungs and bronchi.

HOMEOPATHY

Arsenicum album – for patients who are worse in the evening have burning complaints, crave warm water, and who feel better in the heat.

Phosphorus- is also for burning asthma but this individual craves ice cold drinks and can have vomiting with their attacks.

Natrum Sulph – asthma that is worse in the cold damp weather and the sufferer must hold their chest during an attack.

In my practice I typically use diet therapy, homeopathy, and Chinese medicine to effectively treat my asthmatic patients.

With some of the above recommendations individuals may easily help themselves! However self help can be costly and time consuming, leaving you with an inaccurate idea of how effective natural therapeutics can be. If you want successful long lasting results and want them reasonably quickly consult your local Naturopathic Doctor. He is highly trained to diagnose your condition and to set up an individualized therapeutic regime prescribing the appropriate therapies.

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