Allergy and Asthma Maintenance the Natural Way

Unlike some people’s allergies that are just minor nuisances, mine can lead to asthma attacks. Generally, physicians prescribe inhalers that deliver medications like albuterol to open airways quickly and efficiently. These can have side effects with overuse that can range from continued airway inflammation to liver damage. Even if this wasn’t the case, I tend to try to do everything with safe natural alternatives rather then prescription medications. However, with asthma, a potentially deadly disease, it’s important to keep an inhaler with you even as you try to reduce the usage of it.

The first thing one must do is to be aware of the triggers. Mine happen in mid July and late August. Are they grasses? Are they pollens? Do I care? Not really. I am aware though that at certain times of the year I will need to boost my immune system and begin my allergy maintenance system. There are a variety of natural treatments that can help increase lung capacity and reduce sensitivity to allergens.

Magnesium

Magnesium is sometimes administered intravenously to stop an asthma attack. Magnesium improves lung functioning and can be taken as a supplement prior to the period when you are most allergic. Dosages can range from 200 to 600 mg of magnesium a day, but should be checked with a Naturopath. Foods that are high in magnesium are nuts and dark green vegetables.

Stinging Nettles

This little herb has been a blessing to me. It is a natural antihistamine and clears up my allergy symptoms promptly after taking it. It only lasts about three hours, and does make me sleepy, but it’s natural and has few known side effects. The brand I use is called Allertonic and can be bought at any health food store. One caution in using this herb is that it might cause miscarriages in pregnant women and it is advised for lactating women to avoid excessive use of it.

Peppermint

I first noticed my airways clearing during allergy season when a coworker bought in a bag of peppermints to share with us. This very potent essential oil works better than eucalyptus, in my opinion, and is far pleasanter to inhale. Sure enough, when I went to my local health food store, they had peppermint inhalers that one can buy and use. In addition to opening your airways, peppermint has a soothing and calming effect on the nervous system. This alone can help one avoid asthma attacks from sheer panic at not being able to breathe.

Eucalyptus

One can find sprays with part Eucalyptus oil and they can be great to rub on the chest right before sleeping. They are very effective but have a strong odor that I find a bit unpleasant. If one has to go somewhere the next day, it’s often necessary to wash down to get the medicine-like aroma off one’s body. But, it is also a very effective treatment.

Echinacea

The Native Americans knew about this herb before it became fashionable for the rest of us. Echinacea is the flower known more commonly as purple coneflower. It has strong healing capabilities and it’s said it can boost the immune system enough to even ward off colds. It is prescribed for people with hay fever. It has been used overseas much more than it has here in the United States and is considered sort of a wonder herb by many herbalists.

Goldenseal

Along with Echinacea, another wonder herb is the lesser-known Goldenseal. This herb has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Like Echinacea, it is also considered a cure-all, with it improving functioning not only in the respiratory system, but also in the liver, heart, spleen, colon, and pancreas.

Eyebright

One of the most annoying things about allergies that the inhalers can’t address is the itchy, red eye syndrome. Buying a little eyecup for my eyes and a solution of Eyebright at the health food store has resolved my itchy eyes forever. This herb is a must-have for anyone with eye problems. It not only helps with hay fever and tired eyes, but it also has been found to be helpful for conjunctivitis. One little bottle of Eyebright lasts a very long time as it is diluted with water to make the eye wash.

Lobelia

I have taken Lobelia as it was recommended as a strong bronchial dilator. This is probably true, but it produced some blood pressure drops that made me dizzy. Upon further research on this herb, I discovered that it is in fact, a very dangerous herb to use. It can cause a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, low blood pressure, tremors and even some deaths have been reported. As with all herbs, make sure to research them thoroughly before ingesting. Like prescription medications, I would also recommend that they not be taken for long periods of time.

Colloidal Silver

Long before we had antibiotics, silver was known to have strong anti-disease properties. Colloidal silver is a suspension of silver particles in a colloidal base. I have never tried Colloidal Silver but I mention it because I have heard that is very effective in boosting the immune system. One friend I have swears it helps him with his allergies. Well, I can’t personally say whether that’s true or not, but silver was used in the past for various medical reasons, so it’s worth a mention.
One of the benefits of using these natural cures is that many of them actually strengthen the respiratory and immune system. I find that the more I maintain my health the less I have to use the albuterol inhaler. In addition, one of the most interesting and pleasant discoveries was with the use of stinging nettles. After using it for several weeks, I realized I was suddenly able to discern scents that I hadn’t detected in years. Everything began to have odors again. People have told me that in using prescription nasal sprays many have lost their sense of smell. I did also when I used a prescription nasal spray. No more! The world has an entirely new and delightful texture to me and I am very grateful that I took the time to look into the natural alternatives available for allergy sufferers.

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