Asthma is a frightening condition to experience and witness. When triggered, the sacred breath of life is our only concern. The asthmatic condition is truly humbling and nerve-racking, the anxiety often creating a compounded trigger of emotional drain.
Asthma is caused by inflammatory chemicals that inflame and narrow the bronchial tubes. Often increased mucus production further block the airways. It is commonly triggered by allergies, emotional disturbances, infection and pollutants, but often the triggers are difficult to isolate, making prevention a fleeting protocol.
So what can we do naturally to minimize the worry of asthma attacks? As herbalists we look to several groups of herbs; ANTI-SPASMODICS to relax the nerves and muscles, EXPECTORANTS to clear mucus from the bronchial tubes and open airways, and ADAPTOGENS to strengthen the immune system and stress tolerances of the body.
Here, once again, I will mention the value of NETTLE. This herb is well known for its traditional benefits of decreasing allergenic responses. Not only is it nutrient dense, which strengthens body systems and immunity, but it may be a game changer in seasonal allergy control. With children I like to suggest a daily dose of NETTLE Syrup, which is simply a strong infusion of nettle tea with a sweetener added. Kids eat it up!
CHAMOMILE is another herb traditionally used for reducing tension and alleviating allergenic responses. This relaxing herb can be very helpful with emotional triggers as well. Traditionally, HOREHOUND and COLTSFOOT have been utilized for respiratory conditions. The famous herbalist Michael Moore lists a recipe he used repeatedly with young children with chronic asthma, age 8 and over, 30 drops of ECHINACEA tincture (IMMUNITY), a cup of PASSIONFLOWER tea (RELAXANT), and 2 capsules of ground HOREHOUND (EXPECTORANT), morning and evening. Michael insists that it was the 3-way combination that 'did the trick'.
Another famous herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, lists a recipe in her book Herbal Remedies for Children's Health, which is effective in building strong lungs in children who suffer regularly from asthma, respiratory and ear infection, colds, flu, hayfever and/or congestion. This is a tea suggested for long-term use and to be served daily;
1 part RED CLOVER, 1 part MULLEIN, 1 part COLTSFOOT, 2 parts LEMONGRASS, 4 parts ROSE HIPS, 4 parts FENNEL, 1 part CALENDULA
In an effort to maintain clear airways we can utilize more expectorant herbs at mealtimes. THYME, GARLIC and GINGER are all wonderful expectorant herbs that stimulate the elimination of mucus and boost immunity. The importance of Calcium is also noted, and good sources in these chronic conditions are green vegetables, bony fish, nuts and seeds.
If you or your loved ones suffer from asthma attacks we urge you to integrate any of these suggestions into your daily regimen. Simply introducing a relaxing herbal tea would be a great start to reducing the emotional triggers that can instigate attacks and deplete our nervous system when faced with the constant fear of this condition; CHAMOMILE, ROSE, SKULLCAP, HOLY BASIL, LAVENDER, WILD OATS, HONEYSUCKLE. Our thoughts are with you, and we wish you every success in eliminating this chronic condition in your life!