Affecting both adults and children asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath due to inflammation and narrowing of the airways, and production of excess mucus. Classified into several types such as exercise-induced asthma and allergic asthma, the symptoms might get triggered by dust, pollen, dander, certain medications, physical activity, or food additives. You can try the following remedies at home to manage the condition.
Natural remedies to get rid of asthma at home
Mustard oil: Using mustard oil is effective in clearing congestion and improving breathing when you have an asthma attack.
- Heat a small amount of mustard oil with a bit of camphor, let it cool to a tolerable temperature and apply on the chest and upper back repetitively.
- Massage the chest with a paste of mustard oil and rock salt (you may also use ghee, a type of clarified butter, for the purpose).
Honey: As honey has calming effects on inflamed airways, it is considered to be a good remedy for asthma. It is also useful for relieving nocturnal cough in children.
- Pour some honey in a bowl, and breathe in the aroma to get relief from the symptoms of allergy-induced asthma.
- Drink a glass of warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of honey every morning.
- Take 1 teaspoon of honey mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder before going to bed every night (you may use a teaspoon of bitter guard root paste instead of cinnamon).
- Boil 5 to 6 cloves in 1/2 glass of water and add a spoonful of honey to it. Drink the mixture two times a day.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of honey with 1 teaspoon of Indian gooseberry powder and have it daily in the morning. You may also use one fresh Indian gooseberry and prepare a paste, instead of using the powder.
- Take 1 tablespoon of honey mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of safflower seed powder two times a day (1/2 teaspoon of thyme powder or dried sunflower seed powder may be used in place of the safflower).
Lemon: Since lemon is a good source of antioxidants and vitamins, it helps in relieving the asthma symptoms.
- Take half a lemon and squeeze the juice into a glass of water. Sweeten the drink with sugar as per your preference and have it.
Note: Avoid having citrus fruits, including lemon and orange, during an asthma flare-up if they intensify the symptoms. Also, do not consume bottled lemon juice as some of its contents may worsen the condition.
Ginger: Certain compounds in ginger have muscle relaxant properties that help in minimizing the inflammation and narrowing of the airways. Mix raw ginger with salt and have it.
- Mix raw ginger with salt and have it.
- Take an inch of ginger, chop it into small pieces and add them to a cup of boiling water. Allow the mixture to steep for five minutes, strain it and drink. You may also add some lemon juice to it.
- Mix half a cup each of ginger juice, honey, and pomegranate juice and take a tablespoon of the mixture twice or thrice a day for acute asthma.
- Boil 1 tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in 1 cup of water. Add 1 teaspoon of ginger juice and honey to the decoction and have it daily in the morning and evening.
- Add 2 or 3 garlic cloves to 1/4 cup of milk and boil. Bring it down to room temperature before drinking.
- Drink a glass of milk with a few garlic cloves and equal amounts of honey and olive oil before breakfast. This remedy is especially suitable for seasonal asthma.
- Mince 2 garlic cloves and add them to ginger tea for preparing an effective herbal drink (not advisable for children).
- Soak 3 dried figs in 1 cup of water and leave it overnight. The next morning have both the water and soaked figs on an empty stomach. Follow the remedy on a regular basis to get useful results.
Eucalyptus oil: The decongestant properties of eucalyptus oil, attributed to the presence of eucalyptol, aid in getting rid of the excess mucus in the airways, easing an asthma attack.
- Add few drops of eucalyptus oil on a tissue or paper towel and place it close to your head when sleeping to inhale the aroma of the oil all through the night and have a sound sleep.
- Pour 2 to 3 drops of eucalyptus oil in a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam.
Note: The steam inhalation therapy can also be done using peppermint oil, juniper oil, carom or caraway seeds.
Onion: Its anti-inflammatory properties make it beneficial for clearing the blocked airways.
- Simply eat a few pieces of raw onion (you may cook it if you wish to).
- Have a mixture of 1/4 cup of onion juice, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper.
- Wrap a handful of carom seeds in a cotton cloth and heat in the microwave for a while. Allow the pack to cool down a bit and compress it gently on the chest and neck till it becomes completely cool.
- Take 1 teaspoon of carom seeds, boil it in a cup of water and drink the mixture.
- Prepare a paste of carom seeds and jaggery, heat it and have 1 or 2 teaspoons of the paste two times every day (not to be used by diabetes patients)
- Drink a glass of water mixed with a pinch of turmeric paste on an empty stomach for relieving asthma wheezing.
- Applying a mixture of warm sesame oil and salt over the chest is one of the best remedies for the symptoms.
Licorice root tea:
- Boil 2 teaspoons of dried licorice root and 1 cinnamon stick in some water for about 10 to 15 minutes and strain the mixture. Inhale the steam while waiting for the tea to cool before drinking.
- Take a handful of raisins and soak them in water overnight. Have them the next morning.
- Warm a ripe banana on a low flame and then mash it properly. Add a pinch of black pepper to it and have.
Apple cider vinegar:
- Sip on a glass of water mixed with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Drink 2 to 3 cups of hot black coffee or tea as it relaxes the airways, owing to the presence of caffeine that plays the role of a bronchodilator.
Drumstick leaves: Certain alkaloids in drumstick plant act as a decongestant, improving the asthma symptoms.
- Boil a handful of drumstick leaves in 3/4 cup of water for 5 minutes. Allow it cool for a while. You can season it with salt, pepper, or lemon juice before having it.
- Drumstick leaves can also be used to prepare soup for managing the condition.
Over the counter treatment for asthma relief
In the case of a severe asthma attack, epinephrine medications, including the commonly-used inhaler Primatene Mist and self-administered injections can be taken to get quick relief. Other OTC drugs like Bronkaid (ephedrine/guaifenesin), Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Benadryl may also help by relaxing the airways.
Tips to prevent an asthma attack
- Know your asthma triggers (e.g. air pollutants, cold air, pollen, insects, and fragrances to viral or bacterial infections and medications like aspirin and ibuprofen) and try to avoid them.
- Wear a mask or scarf over the mouth and nose to protect yourself from extreme cold.
- Keep the inside of your home dust-free by frequently changing your beddings, curtains, and other regularly-used items.
- Clean the damp areas in your kitchen and bathroom regularly to avoid growth of molds.
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to minimize your exposure to pollen and dust mites by controlling the indoor moisture content.
- Do mild-to-moderate exercise on a regular basis to improve the function of the lungs.
- Follow a diet rich in magnesium, selenium, vitamin C and E, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, and flavonoids, containing fresh vegetables, fruits, and fish.
If these naturopathic remedies are not working out well for your condition, it would be better to talk to a physician about a proper asthma action plan with prescription medications and inhalers. You can use a home peak flow meter, a portable device for measuring the rate of airflow out of the lungs, at regular intervals to identify the signs of an asthma flare-up.