Paroxysmal (sudden periodic attack or recurrence) dyspnea (air hungry) accompanied by wheezing caused by a spasm of the bronchial tubes or by swelling of their mucous membrane. No age is exempt but asthma occurs most frequently in childhood or early adulthood.
Asthma is caused by spasms in the muscles surrounding the bronchi (small airways in the lungs), which constrict the outward passage of stale air.
Allergens inhaled in the air (pollen, mold spores, animal dander, or dust) or infections of the respiratory tract. Occasionally foods (eggs, shellfish, or chocolate) or drugs (aspirin) may precipitate an attack. Instrinsic causes: In some cases asthma develops in persons with allergies of unknown cause. It may be precipitated by infection of the upper or lower respiratory tracts.
The muscular spasms, together with increased mucus, are brought on by histamine produced by the body's immune system during an allergic response. Therefore, any kind of allergen can precipitate an asthmatic attack. Some researchers believe that lower magnesium uptake or a magnesium deficiency may play a role in certain types of asthma.
The patient may assume a "hunched forward" position in an attempt to get more air. Other allergic disorders may coexist. Recurrence and severity of attacks are greatly influenced by secondary factors, by mental or physical fatigue, by exposure to fumes, by endocrine changes at various periods in life, and by emotional situations. Status asthmaticus, a continuous asthmatic state, may last for hours or days.
Typical symptoms are; coughing, wheezing, a tight chest, and difficult breathing. When changes in air passages occur so that air cannot pass freely to and from the tiny air sacs in the lungs, bronchial asthma results. Cardiac asthma is the result of a malfunctioning heart.
Acute attacks may be relieved by a number of drugs such as epinephrine, ephedrine, cromolyn sodium, or aminophyllin. For persistent asthma (status asthamticus), the use of adrenocortical hormones may be required. Even though their use may provide dramatic relief, these hormones should be used only as long as is necessary to control the acute asthmatic attack. Prolonged use of adrenocortical hormones will lead to the development of serious side effects.
The use of sedatives and expectorants is sometimes necessary. In all cases, effort should be made to control causative factors including the component of the disease due to emotional disturbance. Elimination of antigen or countermeasures, such as immunization, desensitization, or hyposensitization, are desirable. For asthma due to infection of respiratory tract, antibiotics should be used to control infection or prevent recurrence.
Herbal Medicine Formula
Folk Medicine Formula
- Vitamin A plus beta-carotene, 15,000 IU per day, is needed for tissue repair and immunity.
- Pantothenic Acid (B5), 50 mg. 3 times per day, is an antistress vitamin.
- Vitamin B complex, 50 mg 4 times daily, stimulates the immune system.
- Pyridoxine (B6), 50 mg. 3 times per day or 1/2 cc. (injections are the most effective).
- Vitamin B12, 100 mg. 2 times per day.
- Vitamin E, 600 IU per day and up.
- Magnesium, 750 mg. per day (may stop the severe asthma attack).
- Multivitamin/mineral complex (high potency) with selenium, 200 mg. per day, is necessary to enhance immune function.
- Vitamin C plus riboflavonoids, 1,500 mg. 3 times per day.
- Bee pollen, started with a few granules and increased slowly to 1 tsp. per day.
- Calcium, 1,500 mg. per day.
- Coenzyme Q-10, 100 mg. per day, has the ability to counter histamine.
- Balm of Gilead
- Celery seed
- Chamomile, Roman
- Cherry, wild
- Cohosh, black
- Cow parsnip
- Elder flowers
- Elm, slippery bark tablets
- Fennel seeds
- Flag, sweet
- High mallow flowers
- Juniper berries
- Licorice root
- Life everlasting
- Lobelia extract
- Ma huang
- Pau d'arco
- Plum, wild
- Skunk cabbage
- Thyme, garden
- Yerba santa
Diet should be primarily fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, oatmeal, brown rice, and whole grains. A hypoglycemic diet is recommended; one that contains no sugar, is high in protein, and low in carbohydrates.
Foods to be avoided include: alfalfa, beets, carrots, colas, cold beverages (may cause bronchial spasms), dairy products (also milk and ice cream), fish red meat (especially pork), processed foods, salt, spinach, chicken, turkey, white flour, and white sugar.
Avoid furry animals, aspirin, BHA, BHT, food additives, smoke, tobacco, and tryptophan.
Most restaurants use sulfites to preserve the salads, avocado dip, cut or sliced fruit, cole slaw, canned or frozen shellfish, canned mushrooms, sauces and gravies, pickles, frozen French fries, potato chips, wine vinegar, cider, potatoes, baked goods, sausages, beer and wines. Sulfites can be found in any type of food. Some people have had severe attacks after consuming foods containing sulfites, even death can result.
Sulfite agents include: sodium bisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, potassium bisulfite, and sulfur dioxide. These are used to prevent discoloration and bacterial growth in foods.
Test strips are now available to help detect the presence of sulfites in foods. This chemically treated paper strip turns red in the presence of sulfites or green in the absence of sulfite. For information about these test strips call: Sulfitest 1-800-645-6335 or 1-516-767-1800. Or write to:
Sulfitest, Center Laboratories, 35 Channel Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050.
Beta-blocking drugs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and aspirin should be used with caution.