From Health Facts

Jump to: navigation, search
Latest Edit: Hector 2014-4-05 (EDT)

Asthma affects up to 10% of the world’s population and is on the increase in the industrialized world due to increasing levels of pollution in air, water and food. It is more common in children under 10 years of age and in people who live in urban environments.[1] Generally speaking, the younger a person is the more likely asthma will be caused by food; the older a person is the more likely the trigger is inhaled allergens.


Causes Dietary Factors, Smoking, Allergies, Infections
See Also Respiratory Conditions, Food Reactions, Herbicides and Pesticides, Hypochlorhydria, Environmental Allergies
Books Books on Respiratory Conditions
Articles Articles on Respiratory Conditions


Naturopathic Assessment

Article Do Environmental Toxicants Contribute to Allergy and Asthma? , Alt Med; 2012;Vol17(1)
Article Nutritional Supplement Therapy Improves Oxidative Stress, Immune Response, Pulmonary Function, and Quality of LIfe in Allergic Asthma Patients: An Open-Label Pilot Study , Alt Med; 2012;Vol17(1)

Article Use of a Standarized Extract from Echinacea angustifolia (Polinacea) for the Prevention of Respiratory Tract Infections , Alt Med; 2012;Vol17(1)
Check out this book Asthma and Bronchitis (By Appointment Only)
Article Petasites hybridus (Butterbur root) Extract in the Treatment of Asthma in An Open Trial , Alt Med; 2004;Vol9(1)

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing. Asthma can be triggered by a wide number of factors. Individuals, especially children, with asthma typically have a history of food, environmental or chemical sensitivities early in life. Also, those that tend to suffer from asthma would also be classified as having a reactive or sensitive immune system.


  • Food is one of the most common causes for the onset and ongoing triggering of asthma symptoms. It plays a role with respect to
  • Early weaning of newborns and the introduction of solid food too early are contributing factors.
  • Physical activity and excitement may induce asthma symptoms especially when there is a Vitamin D deficiency


  • Emotional State
  • Anxiety, stress or being emotional upset can trigger or worsen existing symptoms


Article The Effect of Inhalant Allergies and Chemical Sensitivities on Asthma, Vital Link; 2007 Fall
  • Environmental allergens, cold or dry air, air pollution, water contanimants, and soil contaminants are also common causes for the onset and ongoing triggering of asthma symptoms.


  • smoking is a common cause an aggravating trigger for asthma.
  • Household Products
  • Chemicals in household or gardening supplies can trigger asthma.

Medical interventions

  • Vaccinations
  • The pertussis vaccine can trigger asthma.[5]
  • Prescription Medications
  • Aspirin can induce asthma in children.[6] can trigger asthma


  • Asthma and breathing pattern disorders share some of the same signs and symptoms and as many as 30% of those labeled asthmatic, suffer from hyperventilation. Those who suffer from inflammation and narrowing of the airways typical in asthma can benefit from training the muscles of respiration. Asthmatics typically have thicker smooth muscles in their airways and they tend to breathe 2 to 3 times more than usual at rest. This type of work has been shown to strengthen healthy breathing patterns, reduce shortness of breath upon exertion, and often reduce or eliminate the need for medications.[7]

Diagnostic Testing

Related Symptoms and Conditions

It is common for individuals that suffer from asthma to also have the following symptoms or conditions.

  • Digestive disturbances including:
  • Vitamin D deficiency.[9],
  • Relative deficiencies of cortisol and epinephrine
  • Low DHEA


Asthma is characterized as:[10]

  • Type 1 hypersensitivity immune reaction which causes inflammation of the upper respiratory airways.
  • constriction of the bronchioles, bronchospasms and the production of viscous sputum that can lead to ventilatory insufficiency.
  • blockage of beta-2 adrenergic receptors of pulmonary smooth muscles cells
  • cyclic nucleotide imbalance in airway smooth muscle
  • release of inflammatory mediators from mast cells

Common Symptoms

The symptoms of asthma may be intermittent (less than two attacks a week) or persistent (greater than two attacks a week or severe enough to disturb activities of daily living) and can be mild, moderate or severe. If mild symptoms are not addressed, they can potentially escalate into serious and sometimes life-threatening asthma episodes. Most common symptoms include:[10]

  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of tiredness in the chest, especially at night or in the early morning
  • Coughing or spitting up of viscous mucous which can cause tightness of neck muscles and difficulty speaking
  • Prolonged expiration phase with generalized wheezing and musical rales
  • Unusual restless, irritability or fatigue in conjunction with the above symptoms.

If asthma symptoms are untreated they can cause:

  • Sleep problems or restlessness
  • Impair physical activity and affect learning

Serious Symptoms Asthma attacks can be life-threatening. The following are severe asthma symptoms:

  • Breathlessness resulting in difficulty speaking.
  • Tightening of the muscles in the neck.
  • Grayish or bluish colour in the lips and fingernail beds.

It is important to seek medical care immediately if any of these symptoms are present.

Naturopathic Treatment

Article Oral Magnesium Again Reported to Help Asthma Sufferers in a Randomized Trial, 2010 September Natural Medicine [1]

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Asthma is generally considered a chronic disease with acute exaberations. Prevention is the primary goal for the management of asthma, hence it is important to determine what triggers any episodes. Naturopathic treatments focus on decreasing symptoms during an episode and on decreasing the severity and frequency of asthma attacks.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • The foods most commonly associated with asthma include: dairy, wheat, citrus, chocolate and bananas.
  • Diets that have been shown to be helpful include:
  • Ensure you drink adequate water.
  • Chiropractic manipulation, particularly upper thoracic manipulation and consequent changes in posture has been found to relax the diaphragm, thereby affecting breathing, which can help to ease asthma symptoms.[14]
  • Breathing exercises such as the Buteyko method has been found to help reduce medication useage and/or relieve or prevent hyperventilation-induced asthma.[15]

Naturopathic Therapies

Naturopathic Therapies for asthma include:

  • Homeopathics are commonly associated with the treatment of asthma.
  • Asthma is often considered a Lung Qi deficiency pattern.
  • Acupuncture can be helpful in the treatment of both acute and chronic asthma.


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [2]

  1. Pizzorno Joseph E, Murray Michael T, Joiner-Bey Herb (2002) The Clinician's Handbook of Natural Medicine. Churchill Livingstone
  2. Rancé F, Dutau G (Aug 2002) Asthma and food allergy: report of 163 pediatric cases Arch Pediatr;;9 Suppl 3:402s-407s. PMID: 12205816.
  3. Tan Y, Collins-Williams C (1982) Aspirin-induced asthma in children Ann Allergy;48:1-5
  4. Añíbarro B, Caballero T, García-Ara C, Díaz-Pena JM, Ojeda JA (Jul 1992) Asthma with sulfite intolerance in children: a blocking study with cyanocobalamin. J Allergy Clin Immunol;90(1):103-9. PMID: 1629495.
  5. Odent MR, Culpin EE, Kimmel T (1994) Pertussis vaccination and asthma. Is there a link?’’ JAMA 272:592-593
  6. Tan Y, Collins-Williams C (1982) Aspirin-induced asthma in children’’ Ann Allergy 48:1-5
  8. van Huisstede A, Braunstahl GJ. Obesity and asthma: co-morbidity or causal relationship? Monaldi Arch Chest Dis. 2010 Sep;73(3):116-23. Review. PubMed PMID:21214041.
  9. Zosky GR, Berry LJ, Elliot JG, James AL, Gorman S, Hart PH (Feb 2011) Vitamin D Deficiency Causes Deficits in Lung Function and Alters Lung Structure. Am JRespir Crit Care Med; PMID: 21297070.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Pizzorno Joseph E, Murray Michael T (2000) A Textbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd Edition, Churchill Livingston
  11. Rossi A, Serraino I, Dugo P, et al. (Aug 2003) Protective effects of anthocyanins from blackberry in a rat model of acute lung inflammation. Free Radic Res;37(8):891-900. PMID: 14567449
  12. Lindahl O, Lindwall L, Spångberg A, Stenram A, Ockerman PA (1985) Vegan regimen with reduced medication in the treatment of bronchial asthma. J Asthma;22(1):45-55. PMID: 4019393.
  13. Barros R, Moreira A, Fonseca J, et al. (Jul 2008) Adherence to the Mediterranean diet and fresh fruit intake are associated with improved asthma control. Allergy;63(7):917-23. PMID: 18588559.
  14. Chaitow, L (2008) Naturopathic Physical Medicine: Theory and Practice for Manual Therapists and Naturopaths Churchill Livingstone
  15. Chaitow, L, Bradley, D, and Gilbert, C (2002) Multidisciplinary Approaches To Breathing Pattern Disorders Churchill Livingstone
  16. Lu Henry (1986) Chinese System of Food Cures, prevention and remedies Sterling Publishing Co. New York.
  17. Bichara MD, Goldman RD (Sept 2009) Magnesium for treatment of asthma in children. CanFam Physician;55(9):887-9. PMID: 19752254.
  18. Boon Heather, Smith Michael. 2009 ‘’55 Most Common Medicinal Herbs, Second Edition, Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, Toronto.
  19. Gupta I, Gupta V, Parihar A, Gupta S, Lüdtke R, Safayhi H, HAmmon HP (Nov 1998) Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study. Eur J Med Res;3(11):511-4. PMID: 9810030.
  20. Dorsch W, Ettl M, Hein G, Scheftner P, Weber J, Bayer T, Wagner H. (1987) Antiasthmatic effects of onions. Inhibition of platelet-activating factor-induced bronchial obstruction by onion oils. Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol;82(3-4):535-6. PMID: 3570522.
  21. Heo JC, Nam SH, Nam DY, Kim JG, Lee KG, Yeo JH, Yoon CS, Park CH, Lee SH. (Sep 2010) Anti-asthmatic activities in mycelial extract and culture filtrate of Cordyceps sphecocephala J201. Int J Mol Med;26(3):351-6. PMID: 20664950.
  22. Gore KV, Rao AK, Guruswamy MN (Jan 1980) Physiological studies with Tylophora asthmatica in bronchial asthma. Indian J Med Res;71:144-8. PMID: 7380487.
Personal tools