Struggling with Asthma? Discover Herbs & Hacks to Breathe Freely Again!
Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath… each year over 339 million people around the world suffer from the difficult, debilitating, and even sometimes deadly symptoms of an asthma attack. Most experts know that the best way to treat asthma is to stop it before an attack occurs.
Asthma is a complex condition that is caused by underlying chronic inflammation. An asthma attack typically occurs as an inflammatory response to a trigger. The attacks can come from a range of triggers, including:
- Respiratory infections
- Long-term exposure to toxins
The standard medical treatment for asthma is corticosteroids. However, this medication can also cause some symptoms, such as:
- Weight gain
- Mood issues
- Vulnerability to infection
- Difficulty sleeping
The right lifestyle choices and herbs can help get asthma under control naturally. Certain herbs can even help reduce some of the side effects of medication. They help keep people with asthma healthy, happy, and as symptom-free as possible for years to come.
Read on to find out some of the most effective herbs and medical mushrooms that can help keep asthma symptoms under control!
Health practitioners have used mullein leaf for centuries to reduce the symptoms of coughing and asthma.
Mullein leaf is useful for asthma as it helps reduce inflammation of the respiratory tract specifically. It helps open up the throat, which closes when inflamed and leads to an asthma attack.
Mullein leaf is rich in antioxidants, including flavonoids, saponins, tannins, and terpenoids. Each of these antioxidants can help reduce the chronic inflammation that often accompanies asthma. An initial test-tube study showed that it has anti-inflammatory properties. However, more human studies need to be done to verify its benefits for asthma specifically.
In addition, mullein leaf has anti-hyperlipidemic properties that can also help people with asthma. Research shows an association between asthma and cholesterol levels. Another study found that cholesterol increases the probability of asthma independent of other factors. High cholesterol is also associated with inflammation, so mullein leaf can help reduce the likelihood of both.
Infections are both a trigger for asthma, and typical asthma medication leaves sufferers more vulnerable. The coughing and wheezing from illness can act as a trigger for asthma, so any precautions to avoid illness should be taken. While necessary, the steroids in asthma medication lead to a suppression of the immune system.
Mullein leaf supports the immune system. Researchers found it helps the body fight various viruses, including influenza and certain strains of the herpes virus. Studies also found it supports the body as it fights bacteria as well, including multiple strains of pneumonia and staph infections.
A plant named after the beautiful Helen of Troy, elecampane comes from the same family as the sunflower. Although practitioners have used elecampane for centuries, it was particularly popular in the British Isles as a cough remedy.
Once a part of fringe science and health gurus, the link between the microbiome and various aspects of health is one of the most exciting innovations in science. Studies show the significant role of gut health in chronic inflammation and its influence on the risk factor for asthma.
Early life microbial exposure is known to affect the immune response and asthma development. One study on 690 participants found that immature microbial composition with increased risk of asthma at five years old. Gut health was even shown to play a role in the effectiveness of corticosteroids, which is a common asthma treatment.
Elecampane can help improve the microbiome and encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. The inulin in elecampane works a prebiotic, which is food for the healthy bacteria in the gut. Elecampane is one of the few plants particularly high in inulin and is 44% made up of the carbohydrate. Research on inulin shows that it can help improve the gut microbiota composition.
Beyond its ability to support the microbiome, elecampane is also rich in antioxidants. Research shows it has anti-inflammatory properties to help calm underlying inflammation common in asthma.
The antioxidants in elecampane treat a wide variety of conditions. One 2019 study showed that it had anti-inflammatory effects on the lungs in particular.
Elecampane also supports the immune response. It can help keep those most vulnerable to sickness from even deadly strains of bacteria, such as MRSA. Researchers suggest that elecampane could be valuable to make antibiotics even more effective against bacteria.
Asthma can be a downward spiral. What starts as a small cough can quickly unravel into a serious asthma attack. Elecampane can help calm the throat to avoid a serious reaction. One study found that it relaxes the muscles in the throat to ease coughing.
English ivy is a beautiful plant that is the hallmark of houses and gardens around the world. However, it can also provide powerful benefits for those who have asthma. Even early Greek practitioners used ivy to help fight inflammation as one of its many benefits.
Researchers have tested the effectiveness of ivy as an asthma treatment and found it even safe for children. In a placebo-controlled trial, researchers found it helped increase air in the lungs of children with bronchial asthma. Another double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found it soothed coughing with acute bronchitis. A 2014 double-blind study also found that it helped improve the effectiveness of treatment in children with asthma.
In addition, ivy has been tested extensively on coughing and asthma symptoms. One survey of over 17,000 participants found it helped reduce coughing. A 2016 placebo-controlled study found it was both safe and effective as a cough treatment. A third study also found it effectively soothed chronic bronchitis when used as cough medicine.
Ivy also works as an expectorant to help remove mucus. Overproduction of mucus has long been identified as deadly for people with asthma. English ivy can help support the lungs as it removes mucus from the body.
It also helps soothe bronchitis and symptoms of COPD. Asthma sufferers are more susceptible to bronchitis and can experience more severe symptoms of the disease. Also, Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS) is a deadly condition that can be easy to miss. One study found that the anti-inflammatory properties in ivy made coughing less painful. Another study found it helped relieve irritation from coughing.
While most know of honeysuckle for its sweet nectar on late-summer nights, it can offer powerful benefits for asthma sufferers. While there are hundreds of types of honeysuckle, Japanese Honeysuckle, in particular, has a long history in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a treatment for a wide number of inflammation-related diseases.
Researchers have pinpointed over 140 compounds in honeysuckle that can benefit human health, including anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral properties.
Studies show that it works to modulate inflammation in the body. What that means is that it supports the body to either raise or lower inflammation as needed. In the case of asthma, it can reduce inflammation. However, when there are viruses or bacteria present, it helps the body raise useful inflammation to fight off infection.
Other research supports its ability to fight off infection. One 2018 study found that it increased Natural Killer (NK) cells in mice, which helped fight off both disease and cancer. Another study also found that it has immunomodulating benefits.
Long a secret of the Indigenous peoples of New Mexico and Colorado, osha root grows only in the high regions of those areas. Today, researchers have found that its benefits are mostly due to its rich anti-inflammatory properties.
Modern science has found that it can lower inflammation in the body. A test-tube study demonstrated its ability to protect against oxidative damage. Another study found that it had significant antioxidant activity and was able to reduce inflammatory markers. While more research needs to be done to establish its usefulness to humans, the study is promising.
Osha root also has antimicrobial properties to support the body as it fights off disease. Researchers have found it can protect against various strains of bacteria and viruses, including staph infections, e. Coli, and bacillus cereus. For those who need immune support, osha root can provide a powerful boost.
Chaga is considered by many practitioners to be one of the most powerful mushrooms in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It works as a potent adaptogen, which means that it helps the body return to its natural state.
Chaga works as an immunomodulatory agent, and helps protect against diseases, while also fighting chronic inflammation.
Chaga also helps support the body’s immune response. It stimulates white blood cells, which fight off a range of infections. For those whose immune system is suppressed by corticosteroids, chaga can provide a powerful boost.
Since cholesterol is often a problem for those who suffer from asthma, Chaga’s anti-hyperlipidemic properties can help. One study on rats found that it both lowered cholesterol while increasing antioxidants to improve overall health. Another study found that it not only reduced harmful LDL cholesterol but also increased beneficial HDL levels.
While more research needs to be done, there is initial science on the benefits of chaga for asthma. One study on mice found that it helped treat asthma symptoms.
Used for over 2,000 years for its health properties, reishi was once a rare mushroom to find in the wild. It was reserved for royalty, but today nearly everyone can harness its potent benefits.
Reishi is particularly powerful because of its ability to affect the genes in white blood cells. One study found that reishi can influence inflammation and immune response. Another trial on cancer patients found that reishi increased NK activity, which is vital for both fighting viruses and cancer cells. A third study on cancer patients also found that it helped increase white blood cells.
The research on reishi has also found it beneficial for those who do not have cancer as well. A study on football players found that those who supplemented with reishi had improved lymphocyte function over control groups.
In addition to providing a powerful immune boost, reishi also has a reputation for stabilizing the mood. Experts cite stress as one possible trigger for asthma attacks. Boosting the mood, then, can help reduce the chances of inflammatory stress that can trigger an asthma attack.
There is research that shows reishi can help improve mental health. One study on breast cancer survivors found that they experienced less anxiety and depression after four weeks. Another double-blind and placebo-controlled study sought to discover the benefits of reishi on subjects who suffer from neurasthenia. Neurasthenia causes headaches, pain, and irritability, but the subjects reported an improvement in wellbeing after eight weeks
Turkey Tail Mushroom
Named for its appearance, turkey tail can easily be found in forests around the world. Health practitioners used turkey tail for centuries to treat respiratory conditions.
Research on turkey tail reveals that it is a potent immunomodulatory agent. The research is so intriguing that the FDA has approved trials to see if it can help boost the immune system suppressed by chemotherapy.
Beyond its ability to boost the immune system, turkey tail also provides help to the microbiome. In order to have a healthy gut, there is a delicate balance between the different kinds of bacteria. Although more research needs to be done, current studies show turkey tail can help maintain the right balance in the gut.
One test-tube study found that turkey tail suppressed harmful bacteria while encouraging healthy strains. Another study found that those who consumed PSP found in turkey tail experienced a positive change in their microbiome.
Maitake was once used as currency in feudal Japan because of its powerful benefits. It goes by a variety of names, including the Dancing Mushroom and Hen of the Woods. Historically, maitake was used to bring health, vitality, and longevity.
Research today has backed up its historical reputation. It has antitumor, immunomodulatory, anti-hyperlipidemic, and antiviral properties, to name a few.
In particular, maitake is high in antioxidants. Researchers have long known the association between oxidative stress and asthma because of airflow limitation, hyperreactivity, and airway remodeling. People with asthma are more susceptible to oxidative-related diseases and a decrease in antioxidant defenses.
Not only does asthma raise oxidative stress, but it also fuels asthma. Oxidative damage is strongly involved in asthmatic inflammation.
It also can help ease stress and support mental health. One study on a mixture of ashwagandha and maitake found that it helped with stress reduction.
An ancient adaptogen that goes back 4,000 years, ashwagandha has recently exploded in popularity. Ashwagandha offers many benefits, especially for those who have asthma.
Ashwagandha is particularly potent in stress relief and improving mood. Researchers found that it blocks stress pathways in the brain, which helps relieve anxiety. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 88% of participants reported a reduction in stress after six weeks. Another study found that 69% reported reduced anxiety and better sleep after 60 days.
Ashwagandha creates a better balance in the body by lowering cortisol along with improving mood.
In one study, researchers found better cortisol outcomes with higher dosages of ashwagandha. Subjects who took the highest dosages saw up to a 30% reduction in cortisol. Another double-blind study also saw a decrease in cortisol levels. In a third study, ashwagandha helped lower cortisol for males who experienced stress-induced infertility.
Decreased muscle mass also tends to be an issue for those who have asthma. Research shows that those with asthma have a higher percentage of body fat compared with healthy individuals.
Ashwagandha can help by increasing muscle mass. One study found that ashwagandha can help improve cardiovascular endurance, which can also be an issue for those with asthma. Another placebo-controlled, double-blind trial found it helped increase muscle mass and strength. A third study also found it helped reduce body fat, improve sleep quality, and increased muscle strength.
Commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, astragalus is often put in soups to help the sick regain strength.
There is science behind this use. Astragalus is rich in polysaccharides that both reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
Allergies can also be an issue for those who have asthma. It is a common trigger for asthma attacks, but astragalus can help. One study found it helped reduce seasonal allergies in participants. Although more research needs to be done, the initial study is promising.
In addition, a study on rats also found that astragalus reduced stress markers. Along with the ashwagandha and maitake, astragalus can help support mental health and healthy stress levels.
Each part of the Burdock plant offers benefits. However, the thick, square root provides particular benefits for those with asthma.
While not completely understood, experts long connected skin issues (eczema in particular) with asthma. Burdock can help ease skin issues. One study found that burdock root helped improve skin texture, including eczema.
Because burdock root is rich in antioxidants, it can help improve overall health. One study isolated multiple types of antioxidants in burdock root. Another study found it helped reduce inflammatory markers in patients.
Life Hacks for Asthma
In addition to supplements, certain lifestyle adjustments can help reduce the occurrence of asthma attacks:
- Diet. Anti-inflammatory diets can help ease the burden of inflammation on the body. Since food allergies are common with asthma, it’s vital to make sure there are no undiagnosed food allergies. Garlic and ginger are powerful anti-inflammatory foods, and honey is a natural way to soothe coughing. Omega-3s, found in nuts and fish, also help ease inflammation.
- Breathing techniques. Two techniques in particular, Buteyko Breathing Technique and Papworth Method, use breathing to reduce asthma attacks. They concentrate on nasal breathing instead of mouth breathing. Breathing specialists can help master these techniques to reduce attacks.
- Stress-reduction. Reducing stress not only reduces asthma attacks but addresses underlying chronic inflammation. Sleep, meditation or prayer, and daily movement are pillars to stress-reduction.
- Speleotherapy. Some individuals use salt rooms to help improve respiratory health. While there is no research for asthma, one study did find it improved short-term lung function.
- Caffeine. Caffeine in drinks such as green tea and coffee is a known vasodilator. There is research that caffeine can help reduce asthma symptoms.
By combining targeted supplementation and lifestyle changes, we can take control of our health to help reduce asthma symptoms and improve our overall wellbeing.
Improve Lung Health with LNG-RENEW and Optimal Immune
While each of these herbs and mushrooms are powerful on their own, together they can provide a potent respiratory boost. Each ingredient in LNG-RENEW and Optimal Immune has been scientifically tested to make sure it can improve respiratory and overall wellbeing.
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