According to the National Institutes of Health, “Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.
Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma. About 7 million of these people are children.”
I was diagnosed with asthma about 10 years ago. I went to an allergist and had to do breathing tests. When he asked me if I had ever had an asthma attack, I said I wasn’t sure. I told him that if I get sick, I always end up with a horrible cough that lasts for months and keeps me up at night even if I sleep on two to three pillows. I told him that I cough so hard that I almost throw up and have pulled back muscles. I also told him I can’t stop coughing sometimes and he said that that is what an asthma attack is.
I was prescribed Pulmicort and an Albuterol inhaler. I didn’t ask questions about the medication at all. Back then, it never occurred to me to ask about side effects of the drugs I was being prescribed or if there were any natural remedies for asthma. I know that I would have been told the side effects are minimal and that, no, there are no natural remedies since I was seeing an allopathic doctor (an allopathic physician is a medical doctor who treats disorders and injuries by using methods aimed at counteracting the problems. For example, an allopathic physician will prescribe antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection).
Do not be afraid to ask your doctor as many questions as you want to about a certain medication and how it may affect you. Get a second and third opinion if need be and even go to a holistic doctor or Doctor of Osteopathic medicine (this type of doctor treats the patient as a whole rather than focusing on one system or body part) if you would rather not always be treated with drugs. There are natural ways to heal your body but you have to be willing to find alternate options.
Well, I am glad to say that I now know differently. I never felt very well when taking these two medications. The Pulmicort was a steroid inhaler that was meant to prevent asthma attacks and the Albuterol was an inhaler meant to help stop an asthma attack once in progress. I took these medications for years, never really finding much relief from the asthma and often feeling much worse after taking the medications.
When I went to a naturopath two years ago, she performed muscle testing (kinesiology is the scientific study of the body’s movements. Applied kinesiology, or muscle testing, is a branch within alternative medicine that tests the muscles’ function and uses those results to determine the overall health of the body) on me. Immediately, she sensed that I had asthma. She also picked up that I had been around a heavy smoker at some point in my life (my grandpa smoked three packs of cigarettes every day while my mom and I lived at his house) and that my cells were still holding onto a lot of the smoke that I was exposed to. I told her that she was correct on both accounts.
She got me started on some different supplements to help with my breathing, one of which was called Smoke-X, which is a homeopathic sublingual spray by Micro West. I wasn’t sure if any of the supplements were helping after using them for a couple of weeks. What I did know was that I was still feeling poorly from using the Pulmicort and Albuterol.
Little by little, as the homeopathic medications started working, I was able to get off of my asthma meds altogether. I did take some other steps to get toxins out of our home that were definitely affecting my breathing. I will also talk about the supplement I take daily that makes a huge difference in my breathing.
REMEMBER, this is what has worked for me and only me. I am not a doctor but know that I have felt 100% better after making some natural changes when it came to my asthma. I worked side by side with the naturopath when I started getting off my asthma meds so she could help me to be able to breathe better. I do not recommend changing or stopping your meds without the help of a holistic doctor or practitioner. There are natural ways to deal with asthma but you must get the help of a professional to do so.
Natural Remedies for Asthma
1. Seek out a holistic practitioner to help you with your asthma. Some good resources are: American Holistic Health Association http://ahha.org/ahhasearch.asp, American Holistic Medical Association http://www.holisticmedicine.org/AF_provider.asp?version=1 and American Association of Naturopathic Physicians http://www.naturopathic.org/AF_MemberDirectory.asp?version=2.
2. Get all of the toxic chemicals out of your home, immediately. This includes:
- All hair care and skin products along with all cosmetics that contain toxic chemicals. Take a look at “What is Really in Our Everyday Products” to start switching to healthier products.
- All cleaning products that have nasty chemicals in them. I have a list of what to avoid when looking for good cleaners and what I use here “So, now what? A follow up to ‘What is Really in Our Everyday Products?”
3. Get all synthetic candles out of your home and replace them with 100% soy candles. This was a big one for me as I love burning candles. During the few months that I saw the naturopath, I would start to breathe better and then something would set me off and I would feel like I couldn’t breathe again. One time when this happened, I went in to see the naturopathic doctor. She asked me, “what are you wearing?” I said nothing I wasn’t supposed to. I had gotten rid of all perfumes since they can set off an asthma attack quickly. She then asked, “what is in your house?” It was right after Christmas and I had gotten some new Yankee candles that I was constantly burning. When I told her this, she said, “get rid of them and get 100% soy candles.” I told her I had just gotten the candles as a gift and couldn’t I just finish burning them? She said, “sure, if you don’t want to breathe well.”
4. Do not wear any perfume at all. Synthetic perfumes can set off an asthma attack very quickly. I always wore perfume and when I stopped, I noticed a huge difference in my breathing. You can use essential oils (only if they are 100% essential oils) but I tend to like not wearing anything now. This also helped a great deal with my headaches subsiding.
5. Eat and drink well. I started drinking alkaline ionized water when I first started seeing the naturopath. I got water from her to see if it made a difference for me before investing in a water ionizer machine. It made a huge difference after only a couple weeks so I now own a Tyent water ionizer. I have also been eating very well for over a year now and I definitely think this has helped me with my asthma. By eating well I mean eating a lot of veggies, fruit, legumes, beans, nuts and grains. Drink green smoothies – this is one of the best things you can do for your health! No processed foods, restaurant/fast food and not a lot of meat (of any kind). Remember, everything in the human body is affected by what you eat and drink, everything.
6. Take Solaray’s Mullein supplement. According to WebMD, “Mullein is a plant. The flower is used to make medicine. Mullein is used for cough, whooping cough, tuberculosis, bronchitis, hoarseness, pneumonia, earaches, colds, chills, flu, swine flu, fever, allergies, tonsillitis, and sore throat. Other uses include asthma, diarrhea, colic, gastrointestinal bleeding, migraines, joint pain, and gout. It is also used as a sedative and as a diuretic to increase urine output.” This particular supplement has made a huge difference in my breathing each day.
Again, these things are what have worked really well for me.
It’s all about the journey…