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Asthma – Allergenic or environmental?

Asthma – Allergenic or environmental?–

‘Azma’ is the Greek word for panting. Asthma is a respiratory disorder characterized by recurring episodes of paroxysmal (sudden spasms) dyspnoea (air hunger), accompanied by wheezing on expiration and/or inspiration. This is caused by constriction of the bronchi, coughing, and a swelling of bronchial secretions or mucous membranes. Bronchial asthma usually occurs secondarily to a variety of stimuli. The episodes may be precipitated by inhalations of allergens or pollutants such as cigarette smoke, petrol fumes, fresh paint amongst others, viral infections, cold air, sudden changes in temperature, vigorous exercise, or emotional stress.

Asthma most commonly affects children under the age of 10 years old and twice as many men as women suffer with asthma. There are two types of asthma. Allergenic asthma affects about 10-20% of the adult population. These people are affected by allergenic exposure, most commonly moulds, house dust, animal hairs, and airborne pollens. Their symptoms are IgE mediated (allergy antibody) and are said to have “extrinsic asthma”. Approximately 30-50% of the asthmatic population has symptomatic episodes triggered by non-allergenic factors such as infections, irritants and emotional stress. These patients are said to have “intrinsic asthma”.

Signs & Symptoms

An asthma attack can be acute, beginning with a wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath increasing with signs of respiratory distress. The “tight” cough associated with asthma attacks is nonproductive of mucous. However young children with asthma may produce mucous sputum as the attack subsides.

Orthodox Treatment

In acute attacks, an inhaler or nebuliser of ventolin is given. Ventolin opens the airways, allowing mucous to be expelled. Steroids such as prednisone are also prescribed for short term use. Sedatives and cough suppressants are often contraindicated here.

Naturopathic Nutrition Treatment

Identifying the causative factors are imperative to successful management and treatment of asthma. Naturopathic treatment involves reducing exposure to possible airborne allergens; identifying and removing food allergens through an elimination diet; converting to a predominantly vegan diet by excluding meat, dairy, fish and eggs; eliminating alcohol, tobacco, sugar, salt and caffeine; avoiding all food preservatives, additives, flavourings and colourings, especially tartrazine dye#5 as well as cutting out foods high in tryptophan such as bananas, soy and turkey.

Herbal remedies and nutritional supplementation can greatly assist with reducing symptom and managing asthma. Contact us for products mentioned or for any further advice. Digestive enzymes are partularly beneficial due to the low hydrochloric acid common in asthmatics; glutamine to heal the gut wall; increasing antioxidants such as vitamins E & C, beta-carotene, zinc and selenium, B-complex with extra B12 and B6 (low in children); Bee pollen for asthma precipitated by airborne pollens; taking magnesium in larger doses, colloids are helpful here; MSM; and introducing flavonoids such as quercetin to inhibit histamine release in the body.

Hydrotherapy is a very helpful part of a traditional herbal treatment protocol for asthma. Hot fomentations and the chest in acute attacks as well as hot food baths whilst keeping the head cool is beneficial, herbs can be added to poultices to further aid this treatment. Herbs such as olive leaf, thyme, licourice, burdock, sage, coltsfoot and mullein are useful when prepared by a professional.

Most of us will know at least one person in our lives that suffers with asthma and will agree the effects of an attack are scary. We can help those we care about through nutrition advice, herbs, diet, reducing allergens in the environment and in our foods. Always remember knowledge is better shared and can benefit and save lives.

For more information on support, treatments, nutrition consultations and product information contact +357 9999 3412/ +44 (0) 7837 810017 or email caroline@heavenonearthherbals.com

Your Health is Your Greatest Wealth!

Article written by Caroline Evans