Homeopathy for Asthma and Environmental AllergiesChris de Barros July 1, 2008
As the summer rolls around, more and more people venture outdoors to enjoy the warm weather. Unfortunately, for a growing number of Canadians, asthma has become a problem that is difficult to manage in these weather conditions. While it is normally a year-round ailment, the increased heat, humidity and pollution associated with Canadian summers can pose a real threat to the wellbeing of many. Asthma is a chronic condition that causes the obstruction of the airways through inflammation. Not everyone will exhibit the same symptoms. However, in many cases we see tightness of the chest, wheezing, coughing and severe shortness of breath.
From a physiological point of view, asthma causes the swelling and narrowing of the airways. Sufferers also experience a buildup of mucus. All of these factors inhibit the ability of air to enter the lungs. While this condition tends to be more severe in adolescence, almost half of all children who have asthma will retain this problem in adulthood. What is particularly concerning is that it can be triggered by factors that are more and more commonplace in this day and age.
Smog has always been one of the most potent asthma triggers. This form of air pollution contains particles of nitrogen, aldehydes and smoke, and is a prime catalyst for airway inflammation. In fact, smog is responsible for headaches, swollen eyes, coughing and wheezing.
Humidity is another factor that inhibits breathing. Humid air contributes to asthma because it may actually contain less oxygen than normal air, and it also has low ion levels. This is the main reason why many people suffering from this affliction will purchase de-humidifiers.
Physical exertion is also a common asthma trigger. However, this does not mean that sufferers should avoid exercise. On the contrary, physical exertion can help control this condition and improve air capacity, so long as it is done properly. This is to say that those who have asthma should warm-up first, and gradually improve lung function before beginning a strenuous workout regimen.
Strong odours can also bring on an asthma attack. In most cases, these are perfumes, deodorants or cleaning products. Exposure to chemicals contained within these items can cause wheezing, headaches, nausea and dizziness. Avoiding naturally or synthetically scented products can help reduce the occurrence of these symptoms.
Smoke is another asthma catalyst. Whether direct or second-hand, this factor causes direct inflammation of the air passages. Anyone with asthma should avoid smoking altogether, as it will only worsen their vitality.
Allergies are also causative factors for those suffering from asthma. Exposure to pollen, ragweed and pet dander can be responsible for severe wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. Allergic reactions can also initiate skin reactions, a runny nose and even diarrhea. The best proactive approach to allergies and asthma is avoidance of plants and pets. It is also a good idea to shower or change clothing after any exposure to these elements.
Cold air is also a catalyst for asthma symptoms. As it enters the lungs, it can cause severe constriction of the airways. This action is due to the irritation and subsequent inflammation that cold air can have on sensitive lungs. The end result is limited breathing capacity, wheezing and even coughing. In some cases, the body will produce excessive mucus as a reaction to this element. These symptoms may be particularly severe when an asthmatic tries to exercise or exert his or herself while surrounded by cold air.
Mould may also be an asthma trigger. These fungi are often found in damp, humid environments and inhaling their spores can produce symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and chest constriction. Mould can also be found in the garden, hiding among plants, fruits or vegetables.
In many cases, people who have asthma may also be overweight, and losing weight can help ease the problem. This may be because people who carry more weight have lower air capacity in their lungs. In these cases, the body also requires more energy and oxygen to do physical work. However, not all cases will benefit from weight loss.
Finally, and perhaps most surprising, is the onset of asthma due to emotional stressors. People who have little or no control of their respiratory issues often experience wheezing, chest constriction and even hyperventilation when faced with emotional trauma. Panic, anxiety and anger can be precursors to asthma simply because these heightened emotional states trigger an over reaction from the body. This uncoordinated breathing can eventually lead to asthma.
HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR ASTHMA
From a Homeopathic perspective, there are many treatment options available that can treat asthma. It is extremely imperative to acknowledge all of the symptoms and triggering factors of the patient. It is also important to consider their full medical history. Was this an issue during the patients’ childhood? What kind of an environment do they live in? Are they regularly exposed to any triggers? These aspects of a patients’ case file can help guide the Homeopath to the proper treatment.
Among the most common remedies for asthma are:
- Metallicum-album is prescribed for those suffering from asthma who also experience extreme nervousness and anxiety. Breathing difficulties worsen when the person is lying down. Severe wheezing and thirst may also be accompanying symptoms.
- Pulsatilla is a great remedy for people who have asthma due to emotional trauma. This patient is often thirstless, experiences breathing difficulty at night, and has a buildup of mucus. Coughing is another common symptom.
- Colubrina is a prescription that can greatly benefit asthmatics who suffer from severe chest constriction. These individuals are also extremely affected by any mental or physical exertion, which can provoke an attack.
- Spongia-tosta is a less common remedy that can also help treat asthma. Those who benefit from this prescription suffer from difficulty breathing combined with a harsh cough. Unlike Pulsatilla, the Spongia patient does not have excessive mucus blocking the air passages.
While these remedies are commonly used, the best results are produced when sufferers seek proper Homeopathic treatment. The best way to avoid asthma is to avoid its triggers. This may take more effort, but can pay dividends in the end. Avoiding pollen and pet dander, smoke, smog and odours can go a long way to control asthma. Even checking the weather before heading outside can help. With the appropriate Homeopathic treatment and a good game plan, asthma can indeed be managed.