Savannah Eve has studied herbs for over 20 years. A Certified Reiki Master, she has learned there are many facets of healing mind and body.
Asthma Can Be Debilitating
You try to take a deep breath. It feels like there is a band around your chest, and it’s getting tighter by the second. Your airways swell up, there is shortness of breath, wheezing, and the only thing you want to do is grab your inhaler and pump away. It’s a terrifying feeling—and if you don’t grab your inhaler it only gets worse.
Asthma is a debilitating and frightening disease. According to the CDC, 24 million people in America alone have asthma. Those of us who have experienced it can’t help but wonder if our next attack will be our last.
Some of the known triggers are mold, pet dander, dust, pollen, sawdust, and air pollution. Oftentimes the exact trigger can be a mystery. Your doctor most likely prescribes an inhaler, or a pill, or both. Most of the time refills of certain inhalers are not available due to the habit of being “pump-happy” and forming an addiction to the inhaler, so doctors opt for pills, which can cause other unwanted symptoms. It’s a vicious cycle.
I would like to suggest another path for you to conquer asthma, a path made up of herbal teas, oils, breathing exercises, and even meditation! This path has allowed me to toss the prescriptions and breathe deeply after 25 years of inhalers and pills.
Organic Oil for Internal Use
Supplemental Oils and Teas
Oregano Oil and Tea
Three drops under your tongue in the morning upon awakening (yes, before your morning coffee, sorry), and at bedtime. This is a strong and rather unpleasant tasting oil, so I do suggest having an equally strong and pleasant sip of juice nearby as a chaser.
Tea made from the dried (even better, fresh crushed) leaves also works well. I drink two to three cups daily.
I find a few cups of Thyme tea during my day can also keep me breathing deeply with no problems. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice and some organic honey and it makes for quite a refreshing drink.
Oregano and Thyme contain properties that are both anti-Inflammatory and antispasmodic as well as being beneficial to the immune system and the lungs. They are rich in something called Carvacrol, which is also antimicrobial, antitumor, antigentoxic, and analgesic according to a study done in 2008.
- Biological and pharmacological activities of carvacrol and carvacrol bearing essential oils. - PubMe
Curr Pharm Des. 2008;14(29):3106-19. Review
Ginger Root Tea: I always choose a lovely organic whole Ginger root to start. Then chop enough of the root (place the rest in a paper towel and store in veggie drawer in refrigerator) to make a tablespoon. Put this finely chopped root in two cups of boiling water and let it simmer for about five minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the tea to steep for another five minutes with a lid on the pot. Strain and add some organic honey.
Ginger Steam Inhalation: While making the tea, I’ve found that if you cover your head in a towel and breathe in the steam created from the steeping Ginger Root, airways will open quickly and breathing comes much easier.
Ginger Root has been studied for centuries and is a well known anti inflammatory and anti-oxidative herb.
- Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Cu
Ginger is My Best Friend!
Tumeric and Black Pepper
These two herbs/spices do well individually, but combined these powerhouses pack a mean one-two punch. Capsules of this combination are readily available. I take two a day, every day. The curative properties of Turmeric are legendary and Black Pepper increases its bioavailability.
In so many cases, contributing to shortness of breath and asthma are problems of the digestive system. Improper digestion, flatulence, overeating, alcohol consumption, these each play their part. Therefore it makes sense that when you calm and aid the digestive system, you combat asthma.
Turmeric and Black Pepper open airways with anti-inflammatory properties and add additional carminative actions.
- Turmeric, the Golden Spice - Herbal Medicine - NCBI Bookshelf
Turmeric is a plant that has a very long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4000 years. In Southeast Asia, turmeric is used not only as a principal spice but also as a component in religious ceremonies.
Organic Turmeric Root Powder. What's not to love?
The Buteyko Breathing Technique: Discovered by Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko, this breathing exercise is based on the theory that by taking shorter breaths, nose breathing (thusly carrying more nitric oxide, a bronchodialator, to your lungs), holding the breath, and learning to control breathing in that manner, the carbon dioxide to oxygen ratio will diminish asthma attacks. I have found this to be immensely helpful in the past when I have forgotten my inhaler.
Pursed Lip Breathing: This method is taught by The American Lung Association. This is basically just breathing in through the nose and trying to release the breath through pursed lips, taking two times longer on the exhale than you did on the inhale.
- Breathing Exercises | American Lung Association
Like aerobic exercise improves your heart function and strengthens your muscles, breathing exercises can make your lungs more efficient.
Meditation is a powerful tool for the mind and the body. It takes a mere 20 minutes a day and can be the key to calming the anxiety that sometimes triggers an asthma attack. If you like, combining your meditation along with one of the breathing exercises above will save you time and your lungs will reap the benefits. Having a background in the martial arts as well as being a Reiki Master, meditation comes fairly easy to me now. It wasn’t always that way, so I do understand how complicated it can seem. There is always that little voice in your head that will continue to speak, the thoughts that will continue to slam into your brain in spite of your trying desperately to silence them. Here’s my method. Don’t try. Just stop trying to silence those pesky thoughts. Close your eyes and sit comfortably with a good support for your back. Begin one of the breathing exercises above or simply breathe in through the nose to a count of ten, hold for a count of five and release the breath slowly to a count of ten. Concentrate on the breathing. When the thoughts about how you forgot to wash your daughter’s favorite jeans or you need to get gas in the car or what you need to do at work tomorrow creep in, simply allow them. Acknowledge them and let them fade away. In time, these thoughts will stay for a shorter and shorter period of time until at last you will feel the silence. An Apache woman I studied with once said to me, “The real time happens in the space between the thoughts. That is where the power lies.” She was right. After a few weeks of this type of meditation, you will feel calmer and more in control of your life, mind, and breath.
These are the methods that have conquered the asthma that ruled my life. I wish you well in your quest to do the same.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.