Natural remedies can work in conjunction with conventional ones to help ease asthma symptoms. [Photo: Bigstock]

Natural remedies to ease asthma symptoms

8 August, 2016

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways.

It involves a spasm of the muscles in the airways that makes it difficult to cough away the mucus that collects in the small bronchi and this, in turn, further impedes breathing.

This causes the most common symptoms of asthma which include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.

When symptoms are very severe they can be very frightening as well as debilitating.

Looking for causes

There is often a hereditary factor to asthma, and other causes include:

  • Allergens from dust, dust mites and other insects, animal fur, mould, and pollens from trees, grasses, and flowers
  • Irritants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemicals (including synthetic fragrances), or dust and other particulates (for instance from copiers) in the workplace, compounds in home décor products, and sprays (such as hairspray)
  • Medicines such as aspirin, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and nonselective beta-blockers
  • Sulphites, a common type of food preservative found in foods and drinks
  • Viral respiratory infections, such as colds
  • Physical activity, including exercise

Check your diet

A good place to start looking for triggers may be with your diet. Some sufferers find that a diet free of all mucous-stimulating foods (including dairy and wheat products) can help reduce symptoms.

But in reality any food can be a trigger. It can be useful to keep a food diary to find out if there is any consistent connection between what you eat and any breathing difficulties. Maintain your usual diet and make a note of everything you eat for a month and record your symptoms. This will help you to determine if any food could be triggering the frequency or severity of your asthma symptoms.

Food can also help in an emergency. For instance caffeine is chemically related to theophylline, which is a standard medication for asthma. If you feel an attack coming on, try drink a strong cup of coffee or tea.

Likewise, bioflavonoids – the antioxidant substances that give fruits and vegetables their vibrant colours, also have powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties. In addition to excluding some foods, try including more of these foods in your regular diet.

Looking for alternatives

The suggestions below may offer some relief helping to reduce the frequency and severity of your asthma attacks, and help manage the debilitating symptoms when they happen.

However it’s important to remember that asthma can be a serious condition and treatment can be a difficult, complicated problem and should be handled by a qualified doctor in conjunction with support from a natural remedy practitioner.

In particu­lar, the assessment of the severity of acute episodes calls for considerable experience.

If you are aiming to switch over from orthodox inhalers and medication to using natural remedies this should not be attempted unless under the supervision of a medical doctor, together with support from a natural remedy prac­titioner.


Coltsfoot, elecampane, hyssop, licorice, mullein, plantain and wild cherry bark The combination makes an expectorant mixture to help clear mucus and tone the lungs. Make an infusion using equal parts of each and take one cupful three times a day for up to a month. Do not use during pregnancy or breastfeeding unless prescribed by a qualified practitioner.

Motherwort and skullcap A soothing and calming mixture to drink after a spasm attack. Make an infusion, using equal parts of each and drink one cupful every couple of hours. Do not use during pregnancy or breastfeeding unless prescribed by a qualified practitioner.


Constitutional treatment by a qualified practitioner can be of great benefit to asthma sufferers. However the following remedy may also help.

Mag Phos 6X Helps to relax spasms. Take one dose every two hours during an attack, or one dose three times a day for ten days as a longer-term course.


Chamomile, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender Add three drops of each oil to 40ml of a suitable vegetable base oil for a relaxing and decongestant massage. Or add a drop of each oil to an essential oil burner and place nearby. Breathe normally.

Bach Flower Remedies

Five Flower Remedy Add a few drops to a little water and sip as often as required to alleviate fear and panic.


This traditional Chinese medicine, places fine needles in strategic points on the body to promote self-healing. It’s used to treat many conditions, and may help to ease the symptoms of asthma.

Whatever type of treatment you use remember, when an asthma attack strikes, panic can make your symptoms worse.

If you feel an attack coming on take a moment to try to relax. Close your eyes, breathe out fully as far as you can and then allow them to fill naturally without struggling to inhale Repeat a few times before opening your eyes.