Recently, CNN released an article that spoke about a study that linked common steroids used for asthma & allergies to brain decline. Although this came as no shock to me because I spoke about Prednisone and how it weakens the immune system and other bodily functions, it was extremely disheartening. There was once a time where our elders and big mommas would have us swallowing a spoonful of blackstrap molasses or rubbing clove oil in our mouths for toothache and it was completely normal and acceptable. However, at some point, we got away from that and began to run to the doctor's office for everything. We forgot that food and herbs were our medicine and we began being careless with our eating habits because we knew the consequences of bad eating could be band aided by a prescription. What we didn't know though was that we would end up where we are today; sick, depressed, obese, taking excessive prescriptions, and dying in our thirties from ailments that we typically only knew of older people dealing with. So, though this finding isn't surprising, it is one of the hundreds of reasons we are becoming more mentally and physically ill, and it is time we address it.
In this blog, I'll be discussing:
- What is Asthma
- What are the triggers
- Detecting asthma in children
- Herbs I recommend for asthma and allergies
- Herbal Protocol: includes formulas, diet recommendations, recipes(optional), and lifestyle changes to assist with asthma
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a reversible obstructive respiratory disorder that causes acute attacks characterized by increased responsiveness of the airways. It is pretty much an overreaction of the body's immune system. Once triggered, there is inflammation in the tiny airways deep in the lungs called bronchi; then, the inflammation produces excess mucous, and tightening of the muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes. When you combine the swelling, excess mucous, and tight muscles, the airways narrow and this is where the dry cough and wheezing come into play.
What triggers Asthma?
Being that we live in a society that is full of pollutants and we are always on the go, it is highly unlikely that one can completely avoid a trigger. Understanding them is the next best thing because it will assist you in being proactive as you work towards reversing it. There are several triggers that result an over reaction of the body's immune system leading to inflamed airways and once you're inflamed, it makes you more sensitive to other triggers as well. Here are some of the most common triggers:
A huge and common allergen is pollen, which is why so many asthmatics have an influx in episodes during the spring months(cooler months as well but we'll discuss that later). This is referred to as an extrinsic attack. In extrinsic attacks, pollen, or other allergens enter the body and activate antibodies to produce a crazy amount of a protein called immunoglobulin E(IgE). IgE then bonds to immune cells in the lungs and nasal passages that release a chemical called histamine which causes the bronchial muscles to contrict, making breathing difficult. You've heard of ANTIhistamines such as Benadryl, claritin, or zyrtec before right? Yea, this is the reason they are prescribed. However, they come with their own side effects but that is another blog for another day!
Colds and Respiratory Infections
The most common asthma trigger! Colds or infections cause airways to inflame at a rapid pace in asthmatics. This is because when you have a cold or infection, more mucous is produced. Well, as mentioned before, asthma is an overreaction of the body's immune system which produces mucous to trap and attack invaders. When you have asthma, this mucous production is in overdrive so where a common cold or infection produces excess mucous, it is multiplied in asthmatics.
30% of all asthma may be caused by acid reflux. Acid reflux causes heartburn and irritates the nerves in the lower esophagus which are connected to the nerves in the lungs, thus triggering constriction and asthmatic symptoms. To learn more about antiacids and acid reflux, checkout this blog.
Most are unaware of how to breathe when exercising which causes them to breathe in cold dry air when their heart rates increase leading to aggravation of the bronchioles. Cold dry air causes the bronchiole muscles to spasm while also trying to keep the airways open. However, the problem is that asthmatics have a certain amount of inflammation in their bronchial tubes at all time, so when they spasm, they tighten which further irritates the lining of the airways resulting in coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
Hot, humid air helps common allergens such as mold spores, and dust mites thrive. It also causes air pollutants such as cigarette or wood smoke, chemical vapors, gases and even perfumes and pollen to life into the air and the fine particles enter the respiratory tract and irritate the airways. This is worsened if one is allergic to any of these pollutants.
Rainy & windy weather also stir up these type allergens and when paired with barometric pressure changes, the sinuses are inflamed, leading to asthma flare ups.
When you are stressed, you switch from deep breathing form the diaphragm to breathing small shallow breathing from the shoulders. This is because the nervous system signals your heart rate to increase so that it can pump more blood to your muscles in the event that you have to protect/defend yourself(fight) or run to safety(flight). As a result, your breathing becomes shallow and rapid as well which causes the bronchiole muscles to tighten and leads to asthma attacks. Deep breathing helps to keep the nervous system at bay by signaling it to relax, reducing stress and making room in the respiratory tract.
What can we do?
We support the respiratory system of course! In addition to that, we must also support the cardiovascular, nervous, and digestive systems as well. Here are a few herbs to consider:
Wild Cherry eases spasm responses in the bronchi muscles and has a powerful sedative effect on cough reflex making it a beautiful herb for irritating coughs, whooping cough, and bronchitis.
Acts as a PAF inhibitor for allergic/eosinophillic asthma. PAF response signal eosinophils, a White Blood Cell, to produce in high numbers, worsening inflammation in the respiratory tract and triggering asthma. Gingko, being a PAF inhibitor helps to reduce and or block this happening.
Tones the mucous membranes of the respiratory system, reduces inflammation and soreness of the chest and throat due to coughing.
Reduces inflammation and helps to prevent buildup of mucus in the lungs. AVOID IF YOU SUFFER FROM HYPERTENSION.
Eases spasm response in bronchioles and reduces potential for secondary infection. It also aids the body in dealing with the over production of mucus in the sinuses and lungs. (IMPORTANT IF RESPIRATORY INFECTION IS PRESENT)
Supports the heart in the event of lung congestion or strain. Reduces stress to prevent further attacks and eases attack if already present.
IF ECZEMA IS PRESENT
Moves lymphatic system to soothe skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Useful for eczema and chronic skin conditions as well and treating coughs(especially whooping cough), and bronchitis.
Strengthens and supports the entire body while detoxifying and toning. Assists with all varieties of eczema.
It is our hope that with this information, and awareness, you are awakened to the fact that there is another option outside of steroid medication. If you aren't one who desires to or has time to formulate your own blends, checkout our Rebirth Tincture that is a top seller in our Asthmatic customers known to provide relief within 24/48hrs without the use of steroids. Checkout the reviews!
For a Holistic protocol to include formulas, diet recommendations, recipes(optional), and lifestyle changes to assist with asthma, click here and save $20!
Happy Healing Family!