10 Home Remedies for Asthma

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10 Home Remedies for Asthma

If you’ve been diagnosed with asthma, you probably suffer from the typical symptoms of chest tightness, wheezing and shortness of breath. It’s vital to have regular check-ups with your doctor and to take any prescribed medication (such as inhalers that can prevent or relieve respiratory discomfort). However, there are also some great home remedies that you can try. Here are ten worth considering.

1. Take evening primrose oil

Evening primrose capsules are an excellent source of GLA, an essential fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties and is linked to a reduction in asthma severity. The typical recommendation is a daily dose of 1500mg, divided into three doses of 500mg. Make sure you swallow the tablets along with food, as they can cause digestive discomfort if taken on an empty stomach.

2. Drink coffee

A caffeinated drink works as a bronchodilator, relaxing your airways and making it easier to get more air into your lungs. However, it’s worth noting that a minority of asthmatics report that very high doses of caffeine actually exacerbate their asthma symptoms. Try to stick to no more than three cups of coffee a day.

3. Get an air filter

Allergy triggers are often asthma triggers, so you may benefit from installing an air filter to reduce your exposure to such allergens. These devices can remove cigarette smoke, dust, pollen and mold from the air, potentially reducing respiratory tract irritation. If you’re only going to get one air filter, place it in your bedroom, as this is the room in which you consistently spend the most time each day.

4. Mix turmeric with milk

Turmeric is a popular ingredient in all sorts of home remedies, and its anti-inflammatory properties mean that it can stop your body from releasing COX-2 prostaglandins that may make asthma worse. Just add a teaspoon of turmeric to a cup or glass of warm milk and drink 2-3 times a day. This remedy is particularly useful to asthmatics because many of them find that COX inhibiting drugs (such as ibuprofen) make asthma symptoms worse.

5. Practice mindfulness exercises

Since stress can be a trigger for asthma, you may benefit from learning how to relax the mind and body on cue. Even simple breathing exercises that involve focusing on slowly inhaling and exhaling can help, as can more elaborate mindfulness practices like retreating to a vividly imaged “safe place” in your mind. While these techniques won’t stop an asthma attack, they can help to alleviate some of the major symptoms and potentially reduce your need for medication.

6. Consume ginger drinks

Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can help to relieve airway constriction and inflammation, helping you to breathe more easily. Try drinking ginger tea, or mix a teaspoon of ground ginger with a cup and a half of warm water to create a home remedy that lasts for a week or more. Drink a tablespoon of this ginger liquid right before going to bed, and document any changes in nighttime asthma symptoms. As a bonus, some research suggest that ginger enhances the actions of asthma medications that relax the airways.

7. Fight dust mites

Those with asthma often find they feel worse when exposed to house dust mites and their feces, but there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the presence of these microscopic pests in your home. In particular, it’s important to use zipped, allergen-proof covers on your pillows and mattresses, wash bedding approximately once a week, use a damp cloth to dust all surfaces on a regular basis, and keep all of your clothing in closets or drawers.

8. Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids

Whether you choose to take supplements or opt for dietary sources like tuna and salmon, a higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids may help with asthma symptoms. These acids inhibit the action of fatty compounds called leukotrienes that constrict the airways, cause inflammation and increase mucus secretion. In fact, omega-3s work in much the same way as the leukotriene inhibitor drugs that are regularly prescribed to asthmatics.

9. Make sure you get plenty of magnesium

Studies show that daily magnesium supplements of 600mg can reduce the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms. It is suspected that this health benefit comes from magnesium’s ability to relax the muscles of the respiratory tract. Meanwhile, you can get more magnesium from your diet by eating plenty of beans, nuts, leafy green vegetables and whole grains.

10. Keep fit

Finally, asthmatics should do their best to stay slim and fit, because being overweight makes your whole body work harder and puts extra stress on the heart and lungs. The bad news is that some asthma treatments (e.g. steroids) promote weight gain, so if you have asthma then you might need to follow a stricter diet and workout routine than the average person.

Sources:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130519145647.htm
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/tc/controlling-dust-dust-mites-and-other-allergens-in-your-home-topic-overview
http://www.asthma.org.uk/knowledge-bank-indoor-environments

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