[In my practice, I've learned that just like eczema, asthma is a condition that benefits from using food as medicine and healing the root cause. In this post, Heather Haynes, author of Natural Remedies for Children, share her six top remedies for asthma that actually work. ~Emily]
Odds are good that you know, or have, a child with asthma. Over 6 million children suffer from the condition, a number that's growing rapidly each year. With symptoms ranging from wheezing and coughing, to difficulty breathing and chest pain…asthma is no fun for anyone.
Both of my children share a genetic disposition for asthma, however, my daughter is the one who exhibits asthma symptoms like coughing during exercise and wheezing when she's sick.
Because I know she has strong asthma genes, I work very hard to prevent the condition from developing with home remedies for asthma that I'll talk about in this post.
Where conventional treatments fail
Conventional treatment for asthma includes the use of steroid medications to relax the muscles of the airways.
This can be very helpful for a child who is having trouble breathing. However, these medications only treat symptoms (not the underlying cause) and come with their own set of side effects.
Discovering the root cause
While the root cause of asthma is unique for every child, many children with asthma share commonalities such as a genetic disposition, imbalanced gut flora, food or environmental allergies/sensitivities, underlying infections or impaired detoxification (source, source, source).
According to Dr. Kenneth Bock, a functional MD who specializes in treating children with asthma, underlying viral, bacterial or even fungal infections play a primary role in the development of asthma (source). Proper functional testing can help to identify any hidden pathogens.
Children with asthma are often dealing with chronic inflammation in the body as well, so using an elimination diet can be helpful. A food elimination diet removes problem foods like sugar, gluten and pasteurized dairy from the diet to calm inflammation in the body. Try this resource to guide you at home.
6 home remedies for asthma
Along with diet modification and identifying any underlying infections, home remedies for asthma can be a very effective way to manage the condition.
We use home remedies for asthma successfully with my daughter and have managed to stall the condition from taking root in her body. Here are six home remedies for asthma that actually work…
#1 – Brew up bone broth
For many children with asthma, a compromised digestive tract, or leaky gut, contributes to the condition. An inflamed gut can lead to all sorts of inflammatory conditions in the body (including asthma) so healing the digestive tract is a key factor in healing asthma.
Try adding gut-soothing foods like bone broth into your child's diet. Most children like soup and probably won't even notice the homemade bone broth at all.
To further heal the digestive tract, consider implementing a healing protocol like the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet, and supplementing with gut-healing supplements like; l-glutamine, n-acetyl cysteine, folate, vitamin A, and collagen.
#2 – Eat salmon
Some texts indicate an imbalance of fatty acids in the diet may contribute to the development of inflammatory diseases, like asthma. To correct this imbalance, focus on reducing a child’s intake of omega-6 fatty acids and increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Foods containing omega-6 fatty acids include vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower, corn, and canola.
Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, flax and chia seeds. Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as flax and chia are harder to absorb, so fish sources are best to correct a fatty acid imbalance.
Because many children dislike omega-3 rich foods like salmon and sardines, I often recommend taking a high-quality fish oil supplement as well (source).
#3 – Make homemade cleaners
One of the biggest sources of indoor air pollution comes from commercial cleaning products used in the home. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that frequent use of everyday commercial cleaning products can cause the development of asthma or other respiratory conditions (source).
To help reduce a child’s exposure to these contaminants, “green and clean” your home cleaning products as much as possible. You can use non-toxic cleaning products, or you can easily make your own at home, too.
#4 – Try a magnesium detox bath
Encourage ongoing detoxification of environmental toxins in the body by doing weekly detox baths with epsom salts. Not only will these baths help your child to sweat out environmental chemicals, but the magnesium from the Epsom salts will also help to relax tight muscles.
You can also add essential oils known to promote healthy lung function to the bath as well (frankincense is our favorite). Make sure the bath water is filtered to remove chlorine by adding vitamin C, baking soda, or use a dechlorinator.
#5 – Use quercetin
Several herbs and supplements have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms associated with asthma.
#6 – Diffuse pine essential oil
Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts with many potential healing properties. Essential oils are very powerful and should be used with caution around children. Here's a great list of essential oils that can be used safely with kids.
If my daughter is coughing at night, I combine one to two drops of essential oils with one teaspoon of carrier oil and apply the mixture to her chest before bedtime.
Get the Natural Remedies for Children Guide
I have found home remedies for asthma and other common childhood conditions to be very effective in our family.
However, parents often tell me they feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start when it comes to implementing natural remedies in the home.
My ebook: Natural Remedies for Children offers parents simple and effective steps they can take to start using natural remedies.
This is THE handbook you'll find yourself reaching for every time your little one is sick. You can take a look inside the book here.
I hope these remedies help your children as much as they have helped mine.
Have you had success using home remedies for asthma? Let us know in the comments!
Heather Haynes, MA, is a family wellness educator passionate about raising the level of children’s health with real food, green living and mindful practices. She runs the successful website, Kula Mama, dedicated to holistic health and nutrition for children. When she isn’t writing or consulting with clients, she is usually enjoying low tide at the beach with her husband and two children in Southern California.