If you are one of the more than 25 million Americans who suffer from asthma, you know exactly how scary an asthma attack can be. When you are coughing, wheezing, and struggling just to breathe every second count.
Most asthmatics rely on a rescue inhaler to provide immediate relief but what can you do if you don’t have your inhaler? There are a number of natural herbal remedies for asthma that can help you combat your attacks and help provide immediate relief. There are also a number of herbs that you can take regularly to help lessen the frequency of your asthma attacks and improve your breathing.
One of the most effective herbs for asthma is Mullein. Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, has been used for centuries to treat respiratory ailments. Often considered a weed, mullein can easily be found growing wild. It is recognizable by the leaves, which can be quite large and grow in a rosette. They have small hairs on them that make them velvety to touch. In its second year, the produces a single stalk that can reach heights up to two feet. The plant’s yellow flowers grow from the stalk.
Both the leaves and flowers of the plant can be used medicinally. It is the high concentration of mucilage in Mullein that makes it so effective in treating asthma and other respiratory complaints.
Traditionally, the dry leaves were smoked to provide immediate relief of asthma symptoms. However, you can make a tea or a tincture that is effective for rapid relief, as well.
Recipe: Mullein Tea
- 1 tsp dry leaves
- 8 ounces water
- Honey to taste
Steep one teaspoon of mullein leaves in a cup of boiling water.
Allow the tea to cool before you drink it.
You can drink 1-2 cups per day. You should consume it slowly, one tablespoon at a time.
Elderberry, Sambucus nigra, has been used medicinally since the ancient Greeks. A flowering shrub, elderberry often grows wild along roads and streams. It can reach heights between 10 – 23 feet tall. It has a bumpy, unpleasant-smelling bark that helps make it easy to identify. In May and June, it produces clusters of small yellow-white flowers. In the fall, those flowers ripen into blue-black berries. Elderberry is easy to grow in your garden requiring very little attention. The flowers, berries, inner root, and bark can all be used medicinally.
This versatile plant can be made into tea, juice, syrup, or tincture. Elderberry is known for its immune-boosting effects and its usefulness in treating respiratory conditions. It can be used for immediate relief or taken daily as a preventative measure.
Elderberry syrup can be added to your daily routine to help reduce the frequency of your asthma attacks. The syrup can be made with either fresh or dried elderberries. If you are using elderberries you harvested make certain to remove any leaves and stems. Also, elderberry can be contraindicated with certain asthma medications so be sure to check with your doctor before using elderberry syrup for asthma relief.
Recipe: Elderberry syrup
- 1 cup fresh elderberries (½ cup dry elderberries)
- 2 ½ cups of water (add additional ½ cup of water if you are using dry berries)
- 1 cup of honey
- Add the elderberries and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Boil for 30 minutes to remove the cyanide compounds of the berries
- Mash the elderberries into the water to release all the juices
- Strain the liquid through a fine sieve or cheesecloth
- Bottle and store in the fridge for up to two months
Take 1 tsp daily as preventative medicine or take up to 3 times a day for acute respiratory problems.
Essential Oil Steam
One of the quickest ways to help alleviate an asthma attack is to inhale warm steam. This helps open your lungs and ease your breathing. You can simply inhale warm water, either by standing in a steamy shower or breathing over a pot of boiling water.
However, this technique can be enhanced by the addition of certain essential oils. Eucalyptus, and peppermint both are good choices for EOs to help calm your bronchial tubes.
Simply add 5 drops of either EO to a pot of boiling water. Cover your head with a towel and carefully lean over the pot. Slowly inhale the steam for ten minutes. You can repeat every 30 minutes until the symptoms subside.
Elecampane, Inula helenium, has many names throughout the world. Often called elf dock or horse-heal, this plant has been used medicinally since ancient times. An expectorant, elecampane is excellent for treating respiratory ailments like asthma.
A member of the sunflower family, it is a large plant, reaching heights of 3-5 feet that produce large yellow flowers.
It is the roots of the plant that are used medicinally. Harvest these from plants that are two to three years old.
You can make a tea or tincture with the root or infuse it in honey.
Use elecampane infused honey on its own, or add it to your mullein tea for greater effect.
Recipe: Elecampane Infused honey
- Fill a jar a third of the way with clean, chopped, dry elecampane root
- Cover with raw, natural honey
- Seal the jar with an airtight lid
- Store in a cool dark place
- Flip the jar once a day to keep the honey from sticking
- In two to four weeks strain the roots
- Store the honey in a jar in a cool dark place
While asthma can be scary there are ways to fight it. Knowing natural ways to stop asthma attacks is just the first step. Learning and avoiding triggers, and taking preventive medicines like elderberry syrup can help you get control of your asthma. By following these simple recipes you are on your to better respiratory health. And that should help you breathe more freely.
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