Oct 16, 2012

Herbs That Can Help Asthma

       Proponents of raw food diets claim that the elimination of most cooked or processed foods and the substitution of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables can cure asthma or at least reduce its most severe symptoms. Green beverages such as freshly pressed wheat grass or barley juice and the supplementation of green or blue-green algae and similar foods may also bring relief.

     Herbs have a vital place in asthma therapy. The most frequently prescribed include echinacea, horsetail, juniper berries, licorice root, mullein and Ma huang. Lobelia tincture may be helpful during asthma attacks, as it relaxes bronchial muscles. Ginkgo, which contains the active ingredient ginkgolide B, has shown good results in many studies.

      The Chinese herb Ma huang (Ephedra vulgaris) has been used to treat asthma for more than 5,000 years. It stimulates the sympathetic nervous system and relieves bronchial spasms, making it among the most widely used herbal asthma medications. However, its common side effects include rapid pulse, increased blood pressure, nervousness and irritability. These can be reduced by taking the herb in small doses several times a day in combination with calming herbs.

     According to the herbalist Christopher Hobbes in the September 1992 issue of Natural Healing, teas or extracts of the expectorant herbs grindelia and yerba santa are best for asthma accompanied by a heavy white sputum, while the moisturizing herbs coltsfoot, marshmallow root, mullein and licorice are better for dry types of asthma.

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