Asthma . . . is a lung disorder marked by attacks of breathing difficulty, wheezing, coughing, and thick mucus coming from the lungs. The episodes may be started by breathing foreign substances (allergens) or pollutants, infection, vigorous exercise, or emotional stress. Treatment includes getting rid of the cause if possible. Sprays or wideners of the bronchi taken by mouth and steroid drugs are also used. Repeated attacks often results in shortness of breath (emphysema) and permanent obstructive lung disease.
Asthma is the reversible narrowing of small air tubes (bronchioles), by inflammation of the mucus membranes or contraction of the muscular walls of the diaphragm. Difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, prolonged expiration phase, wheezing and coughing caused by excessive mucus are common symptoms.
- inhaled allergens (house dust mite, animal dander, and irritant gases including cigarette smoke)
- ingested allergens: foods; drugs, e.g., aspirin; food additives; yeasts and molds on food
- infecting organisms, either due to the infection itself or an allergy to the organism
- temperature change and changes in the weather – especially cold air
- lack of exercise and fresh air
- emotional stress, e.g., bereavement
- certain chemicals in the workplace
During a crisis, inhaling essential oils that have antispasmodic properties will provide relief. This can be done by simply inhaling the essential oils from the bottle, or placing a few drops on a tissue or handkerchief.
Do not use steam inhalation as the heat from the steam will increase any inflammation of the mucus membranes and make the congestion even worse. Moisture, however, is helpful and a humidifier with a few drops of essential oil added is a good idea. Between attacks the entire thoracic area, back and chest, should be massaged, with particular emphasis on techniques which open out the chest and shoulders.
The selection of essential oils is depended upon:
- whether an infection is present
- whether emotional factors are involved
- whether an allergic response is involved
Check for food sensitivities and avoid exposure to foods found to precipitate an asthma attack.
- Vitamin B12 appears to be especially effective in sulphite-sensitive individuals.
- Avoid all food colorings, if sensitive to aspirin, particularly tartrazine which gives the yellow color to margarine.
- Practice allergen avoidance as efficiently as possible, i.e., keeping bedding/bedroom as dust free as possible, avoiding feather pillows, eiderdown, quits, etc.. Wash linen in 1% tannic acid solution.
- Avoid drinking cold fluids
- Reduce exposure to cigarette smoke, pollutants, cold winds and air conditions ducts.
- Keep ambient temperature in the bedroom at a comfortable level of warmth to try to prevent airway cooling during the night. Avoid wide open windows in winter as warm humid conditions have been clearly shown to prevent asthma provoked by airway cooling.
- Garlic should be take on a regular basis as it stimulate the immune system.
- Supplement the diet with essential fatty acids (GLA, EPA) or take linseed oil, one tablespoon per day, and cod liver oil, on teaspoon per day.
- Improve immunity by supplementing with anti-oxidant nutrients, zinc and vitamin B6.
- Relaxation and breathing exercises should be performed every day.
- Corticosteroids are still the allopathic drugs of choice for asthma. Glycyrrhizen, the glycoside found in licorice root has a steroid-like activity and has long been used as an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic agent. Licorice root is also an expectorant, a useful action to help alleviate asthma.
- Acupressure is particularly helpful in cases of acute asthmatic attack. It probably won’t make the symptoms disappear but it will definitely alleviate them. Use of acupressure points Lung 1 and Kidney 27 will help to relieve chest congestions and asthma.
Inability to breathe for one’s self. Feeling stifled. Suppressed crying. Smothering/attachment-type love “me vs. them”, think or do conflict.
The Mosby Medical Encyclopedia, Revised Edition
The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Salvatore Battaglia