Acupuncture for asthma may sound like an odd combination. Lots of people have asthma, but not many people have tried acupuncture as a natural remedy. But when you have tried everything else and are desperate for some relief then it’s tempting to give it a try.
As a result of the bronchial walls closing, it becomes a lot more difficult for an individual that is undergoing an asthma attack to breathe correctly. As a matter of fact, there are cases in which these walls close to the extent where the air is interrupted fully and also the individual completely loses consciousness or perhaps even dies.
Childhood asthma seems to be on the increase and there are several theories about the reason why. A severe asthma attack is very frightening for both the child and the parents and puts a tremendous burden on the family. But the good news is that it can be reversible or controllable with a natural health remedy approach.
Reasons for childhood asthma
The airways and lungs are made of very delicate tissue and they are assaulted every day with environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals. Some recent research has found that children whose mothers had been exposed to high traffic pollution while pregnant may have genetic changes that increase the risk of developing childhood asthma. 80 % of children have asthma that is caused by coming into contact with substances in their environment but it can also be triggered by a viral or other infection.
Antibiotic use in early life may increase risk for childhood asthma. The use of some natural health remedies is always preferable to antibiotics where possible. Babies respond very well to homeopathic remedies. Some experts believe the diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DTP) vaccinations might provoke response from the immune system which predisposes the child to asthma. But doctors have found that delaying the jab by 2 months can dramatically reduce the risk. Breast feeding protects against asthma.
Bad fats trigger inflammation
Another reason put forward for the huge increase in childhood asthma is the increase in the use of polyunsaturated fats in childrens diets. Asthma is an inflammatory condition triggered by many different things such as infections, allergies such as pollen, dust mites, animal dander, certain foods, and environmental irritants.
Polyunsaturated oils increase levels of Omega 6 fatty acids which promote inflammation. A large study showed that children whose diets were high in margarine spread on bread and foods fried in vegetable oils had double the risk of asthma. Omega 3 fatty acids that are found in fish inhibit inflammation.
But increasing ocean fish in the diet is not the answer as oily fish which contain high levels of Omega 3 oils also contain mercury which is toxic to the nervous system and can cause developmental problems in children. Children may get most of their mercury from canned tuna so should be limited. You can find out how much mercury there is in fish by visiting https://seaturtles.org/programs/mercury/.
Diet to prevent asthma
The best diet is low in sugar, additives, processed foods, transfats, hydrogenated fats, cooking oils and margarines or other polyunsaturated spreads and high in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and grass fed free range meat and mercury free fish. Any known allergic foods should be excluded.
The natural health remedy approach to asthma
- Find a good homeopath who will take your child’s history to determine a constitutional remedy. In one study of 182 children between 2 and 8 years the homeopathic remedy Poumon Histamine reduced the number of severe asthma attacks.
- Lobelia extract can relax the muscles of the airways making it easier for the child to breathe what ever the trigger. It is often included in a cough syrup. Napiers lobelia cough syrup is one example.
- Oralmat, a natural remedy, developed in Australia from rye grass can help reduce asthma attacks. The extract can help modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
- Magnesium relaxes muscles and numerous studies show that people with asthma have lower levels of the mineral magnesium in their cells. The dose for children is usually about 3 or 4 mg of magnesium per pound of body weight but you are best to consult a nutritionist or nutritional doctor.
- Vitamin C 1000 mg a day given for 2 weeks to children with asthma reduced the number of attacks by 25%. It reduces the tendency of the bronchial passages to go into spasm.
- Vitamin E can lower rates of asthma. It helps to heal the mucus membranes. 20 mg daily for ages 3-6.
- Omega 3 oil can reduce reactions to allergens that trigger asthma attacks in some children. The intake of fish oil or flaxseed oil has anti-inflammatory effects and helps to balance the immune system. If you buy a fish oil supplement for your child make sure it is guaranteed free from pollutants.
- Probiotics. Always supplement with a high potency probiotic if your child has to have antibiotics. They help modulate the immune system.
With a good healthy diet, a good balance of healthy oils together with some natural health remedies many parents have successfully been able to reverse their child’s asthma.
A recent study showed that daily supplements of an extract of soy (soya) beans could prove to be a natural health remedy for asthma. Genistein, a natural plant chemical found in high amounts in soy beans can reduce the inflammation in the airways and improve breathing. This could be good news for millions of asthma sufferers who find that the cold air of winter, and increased incidence of colds and flu causes more frequent attacks.
During an asthma attack the airways become inflamed and constricted, making it harder to breathe. Studies have shown that the more genistein that people have in their diets the less the symptoms. Genistein is an isoflavone that has powerful antioxidant effects. Researchers have discovered that there is an association between a reduced intake of antioxidants and respiratory conditions including asthma.
There has been a huge rise in diagnosed cases of asthma in the Western world which most experts believe to be a result of environmental factors, nutrient poor diets, toxic overload and stressful lifestyles. Exposure to environmental pollutants in the air irritate the airways causing them to constrict making breathing difficult. Although many asthmatics are aware of house dust mite, animal hairs, pollen, and cigarette smoke being a possible triggers they are not always aware that food allergies can also trigger asthma and that their diet can play a huge part in lessening symptoms.
These food allergies or sensitivities are not the usual ones that are obvious and occur immediately after the food is eaten as happens for example in peanut allergy. They are more likely to be delayed food allergies where the reaction may occur as long as 48 hours after the food is eaten. The most often implicated foods triggering asthma or inflammation include wheat, dairy products, peanut butter, eggs, seafood and ironically, soy (soya).
A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables has been shown time and time again to provide the antioxidants that help to reduce the inflammatory condition. One long study showed that asthma can be improved with a vegan diet.
The usual drug treatment focuses on suppressing inflammation without trying to identify the underlying cause. Inflammation can be made worse by the wrong diet and high stress levels. Preservatives, especially sulfites (sulphites) colorings and preservatives should be avoided. A low salt diet can help reduce sensitivity to histamine. Detox therapies have been shown to improve symptoms as the toxic load is reduced.
Other nutrients that can help lessen inflammation and support the immune system are:
- Omega 3 oils (EPA/DHA) – at least 3 grams a day of a pollutant free. high potency fish oil.
- Vitamin C 1000 mg with bioflavanoids a day in divided doses or time release.
- High dose Multi Vitamin with 50 mg B6 and 50 micrograms B12
- A good Multi Mineral with at least 500mg magnesium to help relax the airways and good levels of zinc (15 mg) and selenium (200mcg)
- Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant that can help.
- Follow a diet low in sugar, alcohol, animal fats, hydrogenated fats, processed foods, refined carbohydrates and additives especially sulfites.
- Focus on foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect such as oily fish that are low in mercury, seeds, flax oil, onions and garlic
- Eat more fruit and vegetables and use whole grains.
- Get tested for IgG food intolerance or do a FACT test.
- Avoid food that you react to.
- Avoid chemicals in the home and use natural personal care products
- Use turmeric and ginger in cooking that help reduce allergic reactions
- Try taking genistein, as soy isoflavones if you are not allergic to soy.
- Follow a full detox programe several times a year and do mini detoxes in between.
- Avoid stress as much as possible and practice relaxation or yoga.
Medicine can play an important part in treating and saving lives in severe cases of Asthma but the condition does not have to be a life sentence. There is much that can be done to improve it with alternative therapies. More and more research like that into genistein show that there are many natural health remedies that can bring relief to asthma sufferers.
Researchers have discovered that pesticides doubles the risk of asthma in adults. Scientists studied 20,000 American farmers and found that those using the most pesticides were at the highest risk. Some farmers routinely use as many as 16 different pesticides on their crops.
One in 10 adults and one in 3 children suffer from chronic asthma. Asthma is the most common chronic illness among children and pesticides are widely used in schools to control pests in the buildings as well as the grounds. Some form of pest control is needed as the pests themselves can trigger asthma in susceptible children.
Asthma attacks may also be brought on by pollen, house dust mite, tobacco smoke, feathers and other allergens. Even a change of temperature or exposure to cold morning air can cause a spasm of the airways restricting the flow of air making breathing difficult.
Studies in the past have linked asthma to poor diets, obesity and tobacco smoke so it is important to encourage our children to eat a better diet. Good healthy diets will also help improve immune function that plays an important role in the body’s defences against environmental allergies.
It was only reported last week that there were traces of pesticides found on nearly a third of fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and meat in the UK. This is very worrying at a time when there is an initiative to try to introduce more fruit and vegetables into school meals.
The conventional treatment for asthma is focused on the symptoms rather than curing the underlying cause. Natural remedies and treatments aim at curing the dysfunction.
Herbal and homeopathic asthma treatment can be extremely effective. Depending on the severity of the asthma, they can reduce or eliminate the need for the synthetic drugs and inhalers. They can also be safely used to complement conventional treatment of asthma.
Most of these pesticides get stored in the body in the fat layers of the cells interfering with the cell function. Detoxification can help lower the load of toxins in your body improving cell and immune system function.
Ideally couples planning a pregnancy should undergo a detox program to lower the chemical load that affects our ability to conceive and is passed to the baby during pregnancy and breast feeding. In many cases the immune system is compromised from birth due to the chemicals already present.