Natural Home Remedies for Asthma Treatment

Although there are many medical ways to help asthma sufferers breathe easier, experts recommend combining certain natural home remedies with prescription anti-inflammatories and bronchodilators. Here are some helpful remedies right from the kitchen.

Home Remedies From the Cupboard
Coffee. The caffeine in regular coffee can help prevent and control asthma attacks. Researchers have found that regular coffee drinkers have one-third fewer asthma symptoms than those who don't drink the hot stuff. The reason? Caffeine has bronchodilating effects. In fact, caffeine was one of the main anti-asthmatic drugs during the nineteenth century. Don't load up on java, though -- three cups a day will provide the maximum benefit -- and don't give coffee to children with asthma.
Onions. Onions are loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that these properties can reduce the constriction of the airways in an asthma attack. Raw onions are generally too irritating, but eating cooked onions may help to lessen asthma attacks.

Home Remedies From the Drawer

Put a fine cheesecloth over each room's heat outlet. This homemade dust filter can help by catching dust, animal dander, and pollen before it's recirculated into the air. Stick-on commercial filters are also available. And don't forget the number one most effective home aid -- scrupulous cleaning. It's not easy, but being a bit obsessive about keeping a clean house goes a long way toward helping to alleviate asthma symptoms.
Home Remedies From the Refrigerator
Chili peppers. Hot foods such as chili peppers open up airways. Experts believe this happens because peppers stimulate fluids in the mouth, throat, and lungs. The increase in fluids thins out the mucus formed during an asthma attack so it can be coughed up, making breathing easier. Capsaicin, the stuff that makes hot peppers hot, acts as an anti-inflammatory when eaten.

Eating hot foods like chili peppers may help you breathe easier.

Orange juice. Vitamin C is the main antioxidant in the lining of the bronchi and bronchioles. Research discovered that people with asthma had low levels of vitamin C; eating foods that had at least 300 mg of vitamin C a day -- equivalent to about three glasses of orange juice -- cut wheezing by 30 percent. Other foods high in vitamin C include red bell pepper, papaya, broccoli, blueberries, and strawberries.
Salmon. Fatty fish such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids seem to help the lungs react better to irritants in people who have asthma and may even help prevent asthma in people who have never had an attack. Studies have found that kids who eat fish more than once a week have one-third the risk of getting asthma, as compared to children who don't eat fish. And researchers discovered that people who took fish oil supplements, equivalent to eating 8 ounces of mackerel a day, increased their body's ability to avoid a severe asthma attack by 50 percent.
Yogurt. Vitamin B12 can alleviate the symptoms of asthma, and it seems to be even more effective in asthma sufferers who are sensitive to sulfite. Studies have found that taking 1 to 4 micrograms (mcg) works best as protection against asthma attacks. The current RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mcg for adults. One cup of yogurt has 1.4 mcg of the lung-loving vitamin.
Home Remedies From the Spice Rack
Peppermint extract. This is a folk remedy for a homemade vaporizer: Put 1 quart nonchlorinated water in a stainless steel, glass, or enamel pan, and put it on the stove. Add 10 drops peppermint extract or peppermint oil, and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for about 1 hour, until all the water is gone. The volatile oil will saturate the room air.
Home Remedies Do's and Don'ts
Don't overload your salt intake. Salt tends to make the airways more sensitive to triggers. 
Do consider a high-quality vegan diet. Getting rid of animal products in the diet helps asthma by eliminating many food allergens (cow's milk, for example). Remember, though, that vegan diets can be deficient in protein and B12, which can be especially risky for kids and pregnant or lactating women. You might consider seeking the help of a nutritionist or dietician to help you plan a vegan diet.
More Home Remedies for Asthma

The key to managing asthma effectively is to prevent an attack before it occurs. By applying these home remedies and making some important lifestyle changes, you may be able to avoid the triggers that can exacerbate your asthma.
Kick the cigarette habit.
Tobacco smoke can be an irritant that triggers asthma as well as an allergen that touches off an allergic response leading to asthma. Tobacco smoke is one of the worst irritants known: It paralyzes the tiny hairlike cilia along the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. It also reduces immune response and leaves a smoker much more susceptible to upper respiratory infection. In addition to preventing asthma attacks, quitting smoking will reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and many other conditions, as well as save you money.

Nonsmokers who live with a smoker are no better off. Secondhand smoke is particularly harmful to children and teenagers. So if there's someone in your household who won't quit smoking, ask that individual to take his or her habit outdoors.
Weather the weather. Pay attention to how changes in the weather affect your asthma. You might even keep an "asthma journal" by recording the temperature, wind velocity, barometric pressure, and humidity on days when you suffer attacks. Knowing what types of weather conditions can leave you gasping for air can help you avoid problems. While each person responds to weather differently, some general trends may be noted.

For instance, people with asthma should stay indoors when it is very cold outside, since a rush of cold air can cause a spasm in the bronchial tubes. Stay indoors if the wind is strong, too. While gusts of wind can blow pollution and smog away, they can also blow pollen in your direction. If you enjoy walking in the rain, you're in luck, because rain tends to wash away roving allergens, pollutants, and irritants.

For instance, people with asthma should stay indoors when it is very cold outside.
People with asthma should stay indoors when it is very cold outside,
since a rush of cold air can cause a spasm in the bronchial tubes.

Watch what you eat. The question of whether foods trigger asthma has yet to be answered. Some foods, such as nuts, shellfish, milk, eggs, chocolate, sodas, and strawberries, can result in an array of allergic responses, including asthma symptoms. Sulfites in wine can have a similar effect. An attack that's precipitated by a certain food will most likely occur within an hour of ingesting it.

Existing scientific evidence suggests that food allergies are probably not a major trigger for chronic asthma in adults. Nonetheless, you may have noticed that certain foods worsen your symptoms. If so, it's best to limit or avoid foods that aren't necessary for a balanced, nutritious diet. (Ask your doctor if you're not sure.)

Allergies to certain types of food, especially milk and wheat, are more often a trigger of asthma in children. If milk and wheat seem to be causing problems for your child with asthma, eliminate these foods from his or her diet. Check labels, and avoid foods that list milk, milk solids, casein, whey, or caseinate as ingredients. (Talk to your family doctor about alternate dietary sources of nutrients such as calcium.)

Eating away from home can sometimes be a problem. If you are invited to dinner and don't know what meal will be served, eat something at home before you leave so you won't be left hungry should the main course be a trigger food for you. If you are eating in a restaurant, inquire about the ingredients in the dish you want to order.

No matter where you have your meal, don't overeat, don't eat too fast, and don't talk while you are eating. Steer clear of alcohol, too, especially if you are taking medications for your asthma. One final reminder: Avoid so-called cytotoxicity tests and similar methods that promise to root out hidden food allergies and cure asthma.

Protect your health.
A problem in the upper airways, such as a respiratory infection, can cause trouble in the lower airways (the bronchial tubes) and precipitate an asthma attack. While taking steps to avoid getting sick makes sense for everyone, maintaining good health can dramatically reduce the frequency and intensity of asthma attacks.

Stay away from people who have a cold or the flu, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid getting overtired; otherwise, you will be more susceptible to infections. It's a good idea for asthmatics to get a flu shot each year. If, despite your best efforts, you do develop an infection, see your doctor; early use of antibiotics, when appropriate, can be quite helpful.

Avoid chemicals.
Any number of chemicals can trigger an asthma attack in susceptible people, whether it's chemical fumes, such as from paint or perfume, or chemical additives, such as the sufites that are used as preservatives in food. Keep your distance from these chemicals whenever possible.

Avoid aspirin and certain drugs.
Some people with asthma are sensitive to some drugs, especially aspirin and nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Play it safe and avoid aspirin and products that contain it if you have asthma. Even if you have not experienced an asthma flare from aspirin in the past, it's possible for one to occur at any time. Keep aspirin out of your medicine chest, and check labels on every over-the-counter drug that you purchase. Avoid those that list "aspirin" and those that contain the initials "ASA," "APC," or "PAC;" ask your pharmacist if you are unsure if the medication you want to purchase contains aspirin.

According to an expert report from the National Asthma Education Program, people with asthma should also stay away from certain NSAIDs (ibuprofen is one such medication) that have effects similar to aspirin's. Opt instead for such "usually safe alternatives" as acetaminophen, sodium salicylate, or disalcid. For a list of precautions to take when using over-the-counter painkillers, click here.

You may also need to avoid tartrazine (yellow food dye #5), which is found in a number of soft drinks, cake mixes, candies, and some medications, if it aggravates your asthma.

Take a deep breath.
Inhaling through the mouth often produces shallow, unsatisfying breaths that can resemble panting. Practice inhaling slowly through the nose in a controlled way, instead. Before you start breathing exercises, blow your nose to make sure that your air passages are clear of foreign matter. Then sit in a chair in a comfortable position. Take a deep breath and feel your breath going as far down as possible. Your abdomen should expand as you do this exercise. Exhale slowly, feeling your abdomen relax as your breath comes out of your nose. Repeat this exercise at least three times a day (but never right after eating and never in a hurry, which may trigger hyperventilation).

Exercise your options. For years, people with asthma have been told to avoid exercise because it would induce attacks. Research has shown, however, that getting regular aerobic exercise increases the amount of huffing and puffing an asthmatic can tolerate. Start by warming up with light exercise before a more vigorous workout. Begin with short workouts and gradually increase them.

At least at first, keep a bronchodilator with you. If you feel tightness in your chest and can't work through it, use the device. If you are out in cold or dry air, wear a scarf around your nose and mouth to heat the air before breathing it in. Cool down with light exercise at the end of your workout. If one type of exercise still brings on attacks, try another form of exercise. You may not be able to tolerate running, for example, but you may be able to swim regularly.

Keep your weight down. Exertion causes overweight people to breathe more deeply, forcing their hearts to work extra hard supplying blood to the muscles and organs. If you are overweight, losing weight will ease your heart's burden; unfortunately, asthma medications can cause you to pack on pounds. If you need to lose some pounds, you and your doctor should work together to establish a diet and exercise plan that will help you burn more calories and reduce your calorie intake without depriving you of necessary nutrients.
Mind your mind. The notion that asthma is "all in your head" has gone the way of many medical myths. However, doctors believe that asthma is an illness with both physical and emotional aspects. For example, asthma attacks can be triggered by emotional changes, such as laughing or crying, or by stress. While you may not be able to "think away" an asthma attack, keeping your mind at ease may prevent you from panicking at the onset of an asthma attack, which will make a bout with breathing trouble less scary. Develop an upbeat mind-set by committing yourself to feeling better. A positive attitude works wonders to enhance your other coping methods. In addition, be forthright about your asthma; others will respect your directness and, in most cases, try to make things easier for you.

Learn to relax.
Since stress and emotional upsets can trigger or aggravate asthma attacks, it may be helpful to set aside time each day, preferably the same time, to practice some form of relaxation.

In our final section, we will look at some natural home remedies for asthma that involve some of the common foods that are probably in your kitchen right now.
Source - discovery fit & health