7 Home Remedies for Asthma that Grandma Knew
If you don’t suffer from asthma yourself, you most likely know someone who does. More than 20 million Americans suffer from mild to severe asthma each year and symptom management can come in all forms, from prescription medication to home remedies. Whether symptoms are triggered from allergy season settling in or you're managing chronic breathing issues, we found seven solutions to ease asthma symptoms.
1. Avoid Asthma-Inducing Cigarette Smoke
For people who are frequent cigarette smokers or may live or work with smokers, this could be the culprit to your asthma symptoms and asthma attacks. For smokers, the substances in cigarette smoke line the airways and trigger coughing and congestion while damaging the cilia in the airways; small protective hairs that sweep irritants like dust and mucous out of the lungs. When the airways are irritated and the cilia is damaged, this causes more mucus to build up in the lungs and lead to asthma symptoms and in most cases, asthma attacks.1
“But I don’t smoke!”, you might think. Do you live with someone who is a smoker or work in an environment where you may be exposed to cigarette smoke? Inhaling secondhand smoke can be just as triggering for asthmatics as smoking is because of the chemicals burning in the smoke such as carbon monoxide and nicotine. These chemicals can easily trigger an asthma attack. Just after two to three weeks of reduced exposure to smoking, people see an increase in lung function and decrease in severe asthma symptoms.
2. Essential Oils for Asthma Relief
Just like Grandma swore by essential oils to get better sleep or ease a headache, these same oils may help ease mild wheezing and congestion from asthma, too. One essential oil that has shown to be an anti-inflammatory is lavender.2
“How do I use these oils”, you ask? Oil diffusers are an easy way to get essential oils into the air you breathe and start soothing symptoms of asthma. Another simple way to use essential oils in your routine is adding a few drops to a warm bath and letting the steam release them into the air.
3. Try Yoga for Asthmatics
Although pesky asthma symptoms may deter you from engaging in more physical activity, fresh air and movement can do the body good. Yoga has shown multiple benefits for people struggling with managing their asthma. Yoga’s primary focus is on breathing techniques, which has shown to improve effective breathing when technique is practiced. Try pursed lip breathing or diaphragmatic breathing next time your chest is feeling tight.3
Additionally, many positions in yoga promote the opening of the chest, which can alleviate chest tightness and release tension in the muscles that may be contributing to restricted breathing. A few poses to start with could be Cobra and Seated Spinal Twist.3
4. Take Vitamins Known to Reduce Asthma Symptoms
If your asthma is easily triggered by the common cold, try incorporating more vitamins into your diet to boost your immune system. A few vitamins that may be beneficial to keeping asthma symptoms at bay are Vitamin C, D, and E. Vitamin C’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties have been found to benefit people with asthma. Studies have also shown that Vitamin C can help reduce restriction in airways caused by bronchoconstriction, which is common in people who suffer from exercise-induced asthma.
Vitamin E holds the same anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as Vitamin C, and studies have shown the direct correlation between Vitamin E consumption and decrease in asthma severity.4
We recommend consulting your doctor on adding vitamins into your diet to combat asthma symptoms and discuss if vitamins could support your asthma prescriptions such as albuterol.
5. Honey Helps Asthma: Reduce Airway Inflammation
Every Grandma had some sort of concoction to eat or drink for every ailment, and asthma is no exception. There are plenty of remedies right at your fingertips if you take a look at your kitchen cabinets. If you look at most cold and flu medicines, most include honey whether it’s for flavor or for its benefits.
Honey is also an anti-inflammatory and can help soothe coughs and alleviate congestion from allergies which can be triggering to people with asthma. Adding a teaspoon of honey to your tea or even eating it right off the spoon each day can help alleviate an asthma cough and fight off environmental irritants like pollen.5
6. Try Coffee, a Natural Bronchodilator
If you’re a coffee drinker, you could already be alleviating your asthma symptoms. Caffeine is shown to be similar to the drug theophylline, which is taken to widen airways to the lungs, alleviating symptoms of wheezing and breathlessness.6 Try increasing your caffeine intake by drinking more coffee and tea for easier breathing.
7. Save on Asthma Medications
While Grandma usually knows best, sometimes home remedies are best supplemented with medications prescribed by your doctor. When prescriptions are needed to alleviate asthma, make sure you’re searching America’s Pharmacy for savings such as an albuterol coupon or Symbicort coupon.