Asthma attacks are of two types: acute and chronic. When the attacks are severe, most people simply reach for what the doctor ordered – the inhaler. But in cases which are not exactly non-emergency, there are some simple home remedies that can also provide relief.
When a person experiences an asthma attack, the first reaction may be panic. However, this could only worsen the symptoms. While medication is the most common and trusted method, these tried and tested natural home remedies for asthma are equally effective.
Here are 10 tips for asthma patients that show you how:
- Mustard Oil: Add camphor to some mustard oil and heat it to a comfortable temperature. Mix well and apply over the chest in light massaging strokes. This will provide quick relief from asthma.
- Eucalyptus oil: Eucalyptus oil in its purest form is a decongestant as it contains eucalyptol, a chemical effective in breaking down mucus. Dab a few drops on to a kerchief and place near your head when sleeping to breathe in the aroma. Or you could add to some boiling water for a steam inhalation.
- Figs: Soak three dried figs in a cup of water overnight. Next morning on an empty stomach, eat them and also drink the water. Do this for a few months. The highly nutritious content of figs stimulates respiratory health, helps drain phlegm and eases breathing difficulties.
- Ginger: A proven home remedy, Ginger’s efficacy lies in its ability to help ease airway inflammation and preventcontraction of the airway. Take equal portions of ginger, pomegranate and honey and make a juice. Consume at least 2-3 times daily for effective results. You could also mix one tbsp of ginger juice with one tbsp of honey and two tbsps of dried fenugreek seeds, soak overnight and consume every morning. This will detoxify your lungs.
- Coffee: Caffeine is a bronchodilator and hot coffee relaxes and opens the airways, allowing ease of breathing. Strong coffees works best, but remember to restrict this to three cups a day. Hot black tea is an equally effective substitute for non-coffee drinkers.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: This is present in oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and tuna and replicates the effects of leukotriene inhibitors, a class of asthma drugs that stop body compounds from causing inflammation in the airways. Vegetarians could always take this in a pill form.
- Evening primrose oil: This is rich in an essential fatty acid called GLA, which the body converts into anti-inflammatory substances. Available in capsule form which can be taken with meals.
Apart from these natural foods, patients can also learn how to control asthma through specially developed breathing exercises for asthma.
1. Diaphragmatic breathing (belly breathing): A basic and simple breathing technique, this maximizes air distribution in your lungs.
- Lie or sit down
- Focus on your breathing
- Slowly breathe in through your nose
- Make sure your abdomen (and not your chest) goes out when you inhale
- Exhale slowly; your abdomen should go inward
- Your exhalation should ideally be twice as long as your inhalation
2.The Buteyko Method: By providing techniques to consciously reduce breathing rate and increase the air inhaled with every breath, this method increases lung capacity.
- Sit upright in a relaxed position focussing on relaxing the stomach and chest muscles
- Closing your eyes, slightly tilt your head upward
- Gently, shallowly, and slowly breathe through your nose keeping your mouth closed
- Exhale slowly until you feel your lungs have been completely emptied of air.
- Hold your breath for as long as you are comfortably able to and then repeat from the beginning
3.Pursed Lip Technique: This technique is recommended for those in the middle of an attack who wish to avoid medication. It works by helping to release the trapped air from the lungs and help them return to normal breathing.
- Sit or lie calmly
- Focus on inhaling slowly through your nose.
- Purse your lips and exhale slowly as though you are about to whistle
- Ensure that you breathe from your stomach instead of your chest.
- Exhale twice as long as you inhale preferably
Follow these tips and you’ll never have to fear another asthma attack again.