People who have chronic illnesses often search for what they see as more natural alternatives to asthma medication treatment. It's not that asthma medications are super hard to take, though inhaling a mist or powder is obviously different than just swallowing a pill and does require some skill to get the most out of it. And it's not that most asthma medications are all that harmful or likely to cause bothersome side effects, especially when you weigh them against the very real benefits to your health.
It's more that we just wish we didn't HAVE to put a foreign chemical into our bodies every day. Or remember to do it once or twice a day when we live such busy lives. Or spend so much money on medicine.
There just has to be an alternative, right? Unfortunately, I can't tell you that it is possible to control asthma ONLY through natural treatments. But, let's step back for a moment and define some of the terms I'm throwing around.
When most people think "natural", they think of substances that normally occur in our bodies or our environment, that are not manmade. So most medicines are out, because they are chemical preparations produced by a pharmaceutical company. But then, so are many of the so-called natural herbs and supplements, which are actually artificial preparations made by often unregulated, profit-seeking companies.
Another term you'll hear is "alternative medicine." This is what it sounds like... an alternative approach to traditional, or Western, medicine. Many of the eastern, or Chinese, treatment approaches such as qi gong or acupuncture, are referred to as alternative medicine, even though in other parts of the world they are considered quite traditional.
A newer, more accurate term exists today and that is "integrative medicine". Integrative medicine acknowledges that traditional and alternative approaches can be used together -- or integrated -- for optimal effect.
So, getting back to asthma, the so-called natural or alternative treatments often advertised for asthma such as special breathing techniques, yoga, acupuncture, etc. are NOT going to cure or control asthma on their own. But some of them MAY have some value, so an integrative approach, where you combine them with your asthma medicine, may have value.
Let's look at a few of the alternative asthma treatments that show some promise.
Omega Fatty Acids
A German study found that a fatty acid known as arachidonic acid that is found in egg yolks, shellfish and meat may increase the risk for asthma and asthma symptoms. So, changing your diet to exclude those types of food could help. So, can taking "good" fatty acids, known as omega fatty acids, that counteract the arachidonic acid. Fish oil capsules, borage, and evening primrose oil all contain omega fatty acids. So, taking them might help your symptoms stay under control.
Eating Healthy - Fruits & Veggies
There are many benefits to adopting healthier eating habits, particularly to eating 5 to 7 servings a day of fruits and vegetables, such as a healthier heart, healthy weight, and strong bones. Some studies suggest that eating the following fruits and vegetables on a regular basis could be especially beneficial for people with asthma: