Homeopathic Medicine for Acute and Chronic AsthmaMahnaz Shahrzad Asr, D.H.M.H.S, H.D., C.B.P. November 1, 2012
As we head into late fall we become fully immersed in the lung phase of our body’s seasonal cycle. Seasonal lung problems in conventional medicine are defined as allergies, asthma, frequent colds, and flues. These are the most commonly expressed lung ailments and can sometimes lead to deeper lung pathologies such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), bronchitis, or sinus infections. While some people may catch a series of light colds and flus in quick succession, others develop infections that deeply affect their bodily functions. In this article we will focus on asthma and remedies for the condition.
The word “asthma” is derived from Greek and roughly translated means “panting” or “laboured breathing.” Asthma is a chronic lung disease which causes episodes of difficult breathing. These episodes are caused by constriction, tightening of the muscles surrounding the airways, inflammation, soreness, swelling, and irritation of the airways in the lungs. There are different forms of asthma, and understanding each can lead to the most effective treatment.
Child-onset asthma: begins in childhood and varies widely between individuals. The airway cells are sensitive to particular materials, such as animal proteins, fungi, pollen, house dust-mites excrement, or other forms of dust, and thus create an asthmatic response if the child is exposed to certain amounts of that allergen.
Adult-onset asthma: is developed after the patient reaches their 20s and affects women more often than men. This form of asthma is less common than child-onset asthma.
The following is a list of different types of asthma:
Extrinsic asthma: known alternatively as allergic asthma, it occurs when an “allergen” or “antigen” enters the body. These particles, which are often harmless, trigger a response from the immune system which forms “antibodies” normally used to attack viruses and bacteria. Extrinsic asthma is caused by the immune system’s over-reaction to inhaled allergens such as pollen, animal dander, or dust mite particles. Allergies sometimes manifest themselves as immediate skin reactions such as swelling or redness. Reactions of this nature are known as “atopic.” Other reactions to allergens may include hay fever, rhinitis, skin rashes, hives, and eczema.
Intrinsic asthma: is not allergy-related and may be caused by inhalation of chemicals such as cigarette smoke or cleaning detergents, consumption of aspirin, chest infections, stress, laughter, exercise, cold air, and food preservatives, among many other factors. Unlike extrinsic asthma, intrinsic asthma is not caused by the immune system, but is instead the result of highly sensitive or “hyper-reactive” airways. When stimulated, these airways become constricted, inflamed, and produce excessive mucus.
Mixed asthma: is a mixture of intrinsic and extrinsic asthma and can be triggered by allergic and non-allergic stimulus.
Nocturnal asthma: is a form of intrinsic asthma that is most severe during the night, typically between 2:00 am and 4:00 am. Patients suffering from nocturnal asthma often fall asleep quickly due to physical exhaustion only to wake up some three or four hours later gasping for air. As a result, these patients are often very fatigued during the day and need catnaps in order to keep functioning at an adequate level. Nocturnal asthma should be taken seriously as it can ultimately lead to respiratory arrest and death.
Exercise-induced asthma: is a form of intrinsic asthma noticed during or shortly after exercise. Patients suffering from exercise-induced asthma feel light-headed and short of breath. Exercising in the winter is particularly damaging to these patients.
Bronchial asthma: is a form of extrinsic asthma that causes difficulty breathing. When triggered, the smooth muscles wrapped around the airways spasm and cause the airways to narrow. Mucus is then released as response to the irritation. Most attacks are caused by hypersensitivity or allergies to airborne particles or food items.
Seasonal asthma: is a form of intrinsic asthma that becomes more severe in a particular season. For some patients of this asthma the summer heat complicates breathing while for others the increased pollen in spring triggers a reaction.
Silent asthma: is a form of intrinsic asthma that gives almost no indication or warning of an impending attack. Unlike most forms of asthma, silent asthma results in very little wheezing and triggers attacks that are severe and often life-threatening.
Cough-variant asthma: is a form of intrinsic asthma displayed through a persistent and irritating cough.
Steroid-resistant asthma: is a severe form of intrinsic asthma, which refers to an inflammation and constriction of the airways that does not respond to treatment with steroids. Some of its most prominent symptoms include: Tightness of chest; Chest pain; Chest pressure; Tightness of breath; Coughing; Wheezing; Rapid breathing; Difficulty breathing; Constriction of airways
Treating Asthma with Homeopathy
Homeopathy is a branch of alternative medicine and one of the most effective ways to treat asthma, in my opinion. Homeopathy recognizes disease as a holistic disturbance and believes in totality and an individualistic approach where physical symptoms manifested in the body correlate to one’s mental and emotional state. Therefore, homeopathy does not aim to treat specific organs, but the body in its entirety. Many factors affect a person’s life, such as environment or inherent diseases. Consequently, each experiences and manifests the same disease in different ways and thus must be treated individually. Unlike conventional medicine, homeopathy does not merely offer a palliative or symptomatic relief for asthma, but aims to permanently cure and rid the body of the disease.
Asthma Case Study
A 32-year-old woman came to my office in May with the chief complaint of seasonal asthma triggered by temperature extremes. Her asthma was so severe that during the summer and winter months, she used her puffer daily. Because she worked at a pharmaceutical company, she was aware of the chemicals and side effects of puffers and wanted a permanent cure to her disease. When taking her case, I discovered that her asthma began eight years earlier when she was in university. Her father lost his job at the time, leaving her responsible for her family’s income. Under the stress of two jobs and school, she collapsed one day and had been prescribed an inhaler ever since.
After extensively reviewing her case history, I prescribed homeopathic Calc-c 200k.
First follow-up (at three weeks): the remedy brought up a lot of suppressed emotion, and she cried for a few days to let it out. Her constipation was gone and she had a bowel movement every day. During the last three weeks she has only used her inhaler two or three times. I then renewed the Calc-c 200k.
Second follow-up (at eight weeks): She has been feeling very calm since the second dosage of the remedy and can now handle her parents without feeling sad or angry. During the last four weeks, despite the intense summer heat, she had no problem breathing and hasn’t even used her inhaler once. She only has occasional back pain and sometimes cries when overwhelmed with emotion. I changed the dosage to Calc-c 1M.
Third follow-up (at thirteen weeks): she hasn’t used her inhaler at all in the last month. Her digestion is completely regular and she feels calmer at work. She feels she is handling situations in a more logical way and is more open-minded towards possible solutions. She hasn’t had any back-pain episodes in the last month and despite becoming very emotional immediately after taking the remedy, she is calm and collected now.
Homeopathic Remedies for Asthma
Please keep in mind that the following homeopathics won’t necessarily cure asthma unless the remedy appropriately matches the individual’s personality.
Aconite – excellent remedy during acute attacks of asthma that will ease breathing and coughing. Symptoms are often accompanied by marked anxiety, fear, restlessness.
Ars-alb – asthma with great anxiety and restlessness, often worse around midnight and lying down, better by sitting up and warm drinks.
Anti-tart – is a good asthma remedy for children and the elderly; especially useful when the asthma has been caused by an infection. The cough will have coarse rattling in the chest on both inspiration and expiration. The patient will be worse lying down and at night generally. They may be irritable and want to be left alone.
Ipecac – good for asthma patients who suffer from coughing spasms resulting in vomiting or retching. It’s also best for asthma that comes with mucus or phlegm in breathing tubes.
Carbo-veg – used for severe acute attacks of wheezing with significant belching and flatus. Patient feels very weak and may collapse.
Kali-carb – this remedy often indicated in asthma, especially when the attack comes at night, after midnight, from 2:00 am to 4:00 am.
Bell – this remedy works when there are violent spasms of asthmatic breathing attended by constriction of chest with redness of face.
Aspidosperma – an effective remedy in asthma with difficult respiration. It is often used as a palliative.
Blatta orientalis – remedy for asthma with or without bronchitis. It is often used as a palliative.
Lycopodium – for asthma due to excitement by anger or emotion with fanlike motion.
Pulsatilla – cough with green discharge. The patient must sit up during the asthma crisis and is better with fresh air. Even fanning may help them feel better.
Sulphur – this asthma remedy acts well when asthma is due to suppression of eruptions.
Natrum–Sulph – indicated for attacks during wet weather or in rainy season. This asthma remedy acts well when the patient gets attacks every change of season.
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects over 300 million people worldwide, one in 10 of whom are children. This makes asthma the most common chronic childhood disease in the world. Unfortunately, conventional medicine has no way of curing this potentially life-threatening disease and can only offer temporary relief.
Homeopathy, on the other hand, is not limited to the symptoms of asthma and aims to cure the whole being and restore balance. As a result, Homeopathy can solve core issues at the heart of the disease process and eliminate it permanently. Whether these core issues stem from emotional, genetic or physiological trauma, Homeopathy can resolve them. In addition to curing the disease, it can have a highly positive and harmonious effect on the body. By balancing the entire system, Homeopathy not only treats the symptoms of asthma, but also achieves equilibrium within the individual and thus does not suppress symptoms, but truly heals.
- Tamara Der-Ohanian is a Classical Homeopath with over 20 years experience. She also lectures at the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine. Tamara is in private practice in North York and is accepting new patients. She can be reached at 416-385-1001 or visit her web site at www.TamaraDer-Ohanian.com