ASTHMA. Spasmodic contraction of the bronchi following exercise, emotional tension, infection, allergens, pollens, house dust, colds.
Symptoms. Obstruction of airways with wheezing, rales or whistling sounds with a sense of constriction. Often related to eczema – ‘eczema of the epithelium’. Infantile eczema treated with suppressive ointments may drive the condition ‘inwards’ and worsen asthma. “My son’s eczema has got better, but he now has asthma” is a common observation.
Causes: hypersensitivity to domestic animals, horses and pet birds. Common salt. Red or white wine allergy. An older generation of practitioners recognised a renal-bronchial asthma encouraged by faulty kidney function. With addition of a relaxing diuretic (Dandelion, Buchu or Parsley root) to a prescription, respiratory symptoms often abate.
Broncho-dilators such as Ephedra and Wild Thyme are widely used by the practitioner. To relieve spasm: Lobelia, Pleurisy root. White Horehound, Ammoniacum, Cramp bark, Garlic, Grindelia, Hyssop.
Anti-cough agents serve to remove sticky sputum: Coltsfoot, Garden Thyme, Slippery Elm bark, Maidenhair Fern, Linseed, Bayberry bark.
For the chronic asthmatic, bacterial invasion spells distress, when Echinacea or Balm of Gilead should be added. Where an irregular pulse reveals heart involvement, add: Hawthorn or Lily of the Valley.
Lobelia is of special value for the anxious patient with spasm of the bronchi. Should be tried before resorting to powerful spray mists which frequently produce gastro-intestinal disturbance.
Alternatives. Teas. Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Horehound (White), Mullein, Skullcap, Marshmallow, Thyme, Valerian, Wild Cherry bark, Elecampane, Plantain. Formula: equal parts herbs Coltsfoot, Mullein, Valerian. 1-2 teaspoons to each cup boiling water; infuse 10-15 minutes; dose, 1 cup twice daily and when necessary.
Antispasmodic Drops. See entry.
Practitioner. Ephedra, Lobelia, Gelsemium, Grindelia, Euphorbia (pill-bearing spurge), Skunk Cabbage, Senega, Pulsatilla, Lily of the Valley (cardiac asthma), Thyme. Formula. Equal parts, Tincture Lobelia simp; Tincture Belladonna; Tincture Ephedra. 5-10 drops thrice daily (maintenance), 10-20 drops for spasm.
Cockayne, Ernest, FNIMH. Hyssop tea for children throughout childhood to avoid respiratory disorders. Dr Finlay Ellingwood. Gelsemium 3.5ml; Lobelia 3.5ml. Distilled water to 120ml. One 5ml teaspoon in water every 3 hours.
Dr Alfred Vogel. Ephedra 20 per cent; Ipecac 15 per cent; Hawthorn berry 10 per cent; Blessed Thistle 5 per cent; Burnet Saxifrage 5 per cent; Garden Thyme 5 per cent; Grindelia 1 per cent. 10-15 drops in water thrice daily.
Dr Wm Thomson. 1 teaspoon Ephedra herb to cup boiling water; infuse 10-15 minutes. Half-1 cup 2-3 times daily.
Traditional. 2 teaspoons shredded Elecampane root in cup cold water; stand overnight. Next day, heat to boiling point when required. Strain. Sips, hot, with honey: 1 cup 2-3 times daily.
Potter’s Asthma & Bronchitis Compound 32. 40g medicinal teabags. Ingredients: Clove BPC 4.84 per cent; Elecampane root 17.24 per cent; Horehound 26.20 per cent; Hyssop 17.24 per cent; Irish Moss 17.24 per cent; Liquorice 17.24 per cent. Dose: 1-2 teaspoons when necessary.
Chinese Medicine. Decoction or extract from the Gingko tree widely used, as also is Ephedra, Garlic, Liquorice and Bailcalensis.
Tablets/capsules. Lobelia. Iceland Moss, (Gerard). Euphorbia (Blackmore).
Powders. Formula. Lobelia 2; Hyssop 1; Elderflowers 1; Grindelia quarter; Liquorice quarter: pinch Cayenne. Dose: 750mg (three 00 capsules or half a teaspoon) 2-3 times daily.
Aromatherapy. 6 drops Rosemary oil in 2 teaspoons Almond oil for massage upper chest to relieve congestion.
Inhalation. See: INHALATIONS, FRIAR’S BALSAM.
Nebulizer. A germicidal solution is made from 5 drops oil Eucalyptus in one cup boiling water. Use in nebulizer for droplet therapy.
Ioniser – use of.
Cider Vinegar. Sips of the vinegar in water for whoop.
Supportives. Yoga. Singing. Cures have been reported of patients on taking up singing. “During singing, up to 90 per cent of the vital capacity may be used without a conscious effort to increase tidal volume.” (Dr M. Judson, New England Journal of Medicine)
Diet. Low salt, low fat, high fibre, cod liver oil, carrots, watercress, Soya beans or flour, lecithin, sunflower seed oil, green vegetables, raw fruit, fresh fish. These foods are valuable sources of antioxidant vitamins and minerals essential for the body’s defence mechanism. A diet deficient in these reduces ability of the airways to withstand the ravages of cigarette smoke and other air pollutants.
Foods that are craved are ones often causing sensitivity. Among problem foods are: milk, corn, wheat, eggs, nuts, chocolate, all dairy products, fat of meats. Check labels for tartrazine artificial colouring.
Salt intake. Linked with chest diseases. “Those who eat a lot of salt had more sensitive airways than those with low salt intake . . . excess salt tended to cause most pronounced symptoms.” (Institute of Respiratory Diseases, Oavia, Italy)
Asthma mortality could be significantly reduced by sufferers lowering their salt consumption, an epidemiologist predicted.
Supplements. Daily. Vitamin B6 50-100mg. Vitamin C 500mg. Vitamin E 400iu. Magnesium, Zinc. Cod liver oil: 2 teaspoons.
Anti-allergic bedding. Provides a protective barrier against the house dust mite on mattresses and bedding. Droppings from the tiny pests are worse in the bedroom. ... Bartrams Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine
Keynotes: brain and lungs.
Constituents: terpenes, tannins, lignans, flavonoids, and gingkolide B which is a platelet activating factor (PAF).
Action: nutritive, tuberculostatic. A compound (BN 52021) from the tree antagonises bronchospasm and tends to resolve breathing difficulties. Circulatory stimulant. Increases brain blood flow, Peripheral vasodilator, Energy enhancer. (JAM, Vol 6, No 2)
Uses: Respiratory complaints, especially asthma. Inhibits platelet clumping: of value in coronary artery disease. Tinnitus. Intermittent claudication. Raynaud’s disease. Thrombosis. Cold hands and feet. Spontaneous bruising. Early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Cerebral insufficiency in old age. Varicose veins. Some antitumor activity against sarcoma in mice recorded. Piles. Temporal arteritis. Cramp in the calves – walking-distance increased. Tired brain, impaired memory. Coronary artery disease. Hearing loss, depression, vertigo, headache. To increase resistance to adverse environmental factors. Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME). Subclinical neurosis. Headache. Depression. Impaired mental ability. Hangover. Preparations. Thrice daily. Large doses may be required.
Tea (leaves). 1 heaped teaspoon to each cup of water gently simmered 5 minutes. Dose: half-1 cup. Tablets/capsules. 250mg. Maintenance dose: one tablet or capsule increasing to two in acute cases. Chinese Medicine. “Seeds moisten the lungs, stop coughing, and strengthen the body.”
“I have seen a reduction in severity and frequency of asthma attacks and a marked reduction in use of brocho-dilating drugs by the use of Ginkgo.” (Brown D., Phytotherapy Review and Commentary, Townsend Letter to Doctors, October 1990 pp648-9)
German medicine. No drug interactions and very low levels of side-effects. Important remedy to the German Health Service at a cost of 286 million DM in 1989. (Kleijnen J. & Knipschild P. The Lancet 1992, 340, Nov 7)
Tincture. 2 tsp a.m. and p.m. ... Bartrams Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine