Natural asthma treatment incorporates vitamins, minerals and herbs to relieve symptoms and prevent further attacks.
Asthma is a respiratory disease that affects both adults and children and today asthma is one of the most common chronic childhood ailments in the world.
There is no scientifically proven cure for asthma but it can be controlled and regulated.
Natural treatments for asthma are meant to complement, or as an addition, to your existing medication but never as a replacement.
Before using any herbal asthma remedy it should be keep in mind that medicinal herbs can be as powerful as pharmaceutical drugs and should be treated as such.
It is always important to seek the support of a qualified health care provider prior to use as some medicinal herbs for asthma treatment may interact with pharmaceuticals commonly prescribed for asthma.
Medicinal Herbs Used For Asthma Treatment
Adhatoda (Adhatoda vasica)
This herb is a small evergreen shrub that is found at lower altitudes in India and South East Asia.
The leaves of the herb have been used for centuries to treat asthma where they works as a bronchodilator and mild expectorant. Adhatoda also works by decreasing the viscosity of mucous to assist with expectoration.
Key constituents of adhatoda leaves are the quinazoline alkaloids (0.5–2%). The major alkaloid is vasicine present at levels of 45–95% and is the original source of the drug bromhexine, which is often still used to assist expectoration.
Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgo biloba)
One of the oldest herbs in use today, ginkgo has a broad range of indications.
For asthma sufferers, ginkgo works to inhibit PAF (platelet activating factor), a powerful inducer of platelet aggregator and anaphylactic reactions.
Medicinal herbs that stimulate anti-PAF activity are known to assist in the treatment of asthma, allergic reactions, thrombosis and shock.
One study showed that a 600 mg standardised dose of ginkgo reduced airway hypersensitivity in patients with asthma.
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara)
It has been used medicinally as a cough suppressant. The plant has been used in historical times to treat lung ailments such as asthma as well as various coughs by way of smoking.
Maritime Pine Bark (Pinus pinaster)
Studies from 2002 on a standardized extract from maritime pine bark, called pycnogenol, indicate that the herb may be useful in reducing symptoms and enhance lung function in those suffering from asthma.
Another study found that when children suffering from asthma where given pycnogenol in conjunction with conventional asthma medication, they had fewer symptoms and depended less on quick-relief asthma medicines.
Those with diabetes or on medication for high blood pressure should not use pycnogenol.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and has been used as a colouring agent, spice and medicine for thousands of years.
The active constituents are the diarylhepanoids, including curcumin, which are found in the vividly yellow rhizome.
In an uncontrolled trial in India, 60% of asthma patients given 6-12 grams of turmeric powder that had been fried in ghee (clarified butter that originated in ancient India) showed a relief in their symptoms.
Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory in both acute and chronic conditions, and it is believed to work in a variety of biological pathways to reduce inflammation.
In some models studied, curcumin showed a similar efficacy to cortisone and phenylbutazone.
Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)
The root of this plant has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for a variety of conditions including asthma.
Chinese skullcap contains flavone derivatives including baicalin, wogonin and baicalein which inhibit histamine release from mast cells in vitro.
Baicalin showed antiasthmatic activity (antihistaminic and anticholinergic activity) in isolated tracheal muscle from asthmatic guinea pigs. Reducing hypesensitivity and inflammation in airways is vital to managing asthma.
Grindelia (Grindelia spp.)
This is an expectorant herb with bronchospasmolytic activity. It is traditionally recommended for the treatment of spasmodic respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.
The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia 1983 lists the specific indication as bronchial asthma with tachycardia.
Californian Native Americans used grindelia not only for skin infections but also for bronchial conditions where grindelia eventually gained the attention of the Catholic missionaries.
The dried leaf and flowering tops of grindelia were official in the United States Pharmacopoeia 1882– 1926, and have been in the National Formulary, 1926–1960.
Coleus Forskohlii (Plectranthus barbatus)
Coleus forskohlii is an herb commonly used in Ayurvedic herbal medicine to treat asthma.
Preliminary studies indicate that inhaled powder made from the herb might have positive effect on symptoms associated with asthma. More research is needed to fully confirm the uses of coleus as an herbal asthma treatment.
People suffering from diabetes or thyroid conditions should not take coleus forskolin.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
The licorice root has been used traditionally to restore breathing and calm the breathing passageways.
Other natural herbs that have been used for asthma treatment.
- Ephedra (Ma huang) – (Ephedra sinica)
- Garlic – (Allium sativum)
- Red Clover – (Trifolium pratense)
- Echinacea – (Echinacea angustifolia)
- Skullcap – (Scutellaria lateriflora)
- Great Mullein – (Verbascum thapsus)
- Mugwort – (Artemisia vulgaris)
- Hyssop – (Hyssopus officinalis)
- Elecampane – (Inula helenium)
- Black Walnut – (Juglans nigra)
- Cat’s Claw – (Uncaria tomentosa)
- Mistletoe – (Viscum album)
- Yellow Dock – (Rumex crispus)
- Lavender – (Lavandula officinalis)
- American Ginseng – (Panax quinquefolius)
- Styrax Benzoin – (Styrax benzoin)
- Henbane – (Hyoscyamus niger)
- Pinellia – (Pinellia ternata)
- St. John’s Wort – (Hypericum perforatum)
- Comfrey – (Symphytum officinale)
- Saw Palmetto – (Serenoa repens)
- Lobelia – (Lobelia inflata)
- Stinging Nettle – (Urtica galeopsifolia)
- White Horehound – (Marrubium vulgare)
- Anise – (Pimpinella anisum)
- Picrorhiza Kurroa – (Picrorhiza kurroa)
- Pleurisy Root – (Asclepias tuberosa)
- Agrimony – (Agrimonia eupatoria)
- English Ivy – (Hedera helix)
- Astragalus – (Astragalus propinquus)
- Vervain – (Verbena officinalis)
- Common Mallow – (Malva sylvestris)
- Dwarf Milkwort – (Polygala amarella)
- Asarabacca – (Asarum europaeum)
The Use of Herbal Supplements For Natural Asthma Relief
Like all herbal medications, natural herbs for asthma treatment need to be focused on the individual and any natural asthma treatment needs to address environmental and nutritional needs as well as reducing hypersensitivity of the airways.
A good herbal asthma remedy will help to reduce the incidence and severity of asthma and will form part of an overall treatment plan.
Asthma should be taken seriously and treatment must be taken under the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner.
Always educate yourself about each herb before you start using it.