Natural Health Remedies for You

Herbal Remedies for Asthma

Herbal remedies for asthma can be used as supplemental treatments for asthma attacks.

Several herbs are effective in treating asthma. They include:
  • Ephedra: Known in China as "Ma Huang", this herb has traditionally been used in Asia to treat asthma and other respiratory ailments. The active chemical constituents in this herb, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, have been found to be effective bronchodilators, nasal decongestants and central nervous system stimulants.

    Used in moderation, this herb is very useful in managing asthma. However, this herb can have side effects (e.g. insomnia, anxiety, restlessness and possibly aggravation of high blood pressure) if taken in high doses. As well, because of its stimulant properties, it is not advisable to use this herb to treat children.
  • Nettle: Nettle is a potent antihistamine and is one of the most commonly used herbal remedies for asthma and hay fever. Drinking the tea of this herb regularly can relieve respiratory problems.
  • Licorice: Licorice tea soothes the throat and is often recommended for sore throat, cough and asthma. You can also use deglycyrrhizinated licorice extracts (DGLE) which are readily available in health food stores. Other herbs that have similar soothing effects include Mullein and Marshmallow.
  • Ginkgo: Ginkgo has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are beneficial to the lungs. Extracts of ginkgo leaves have been used for thousands of years in Asia to treat asthma, allergies, bronchitis and coughs. Ginkgo works by interfering with platelet-activating factor, a protein in the blood that plays a role in triggering bronchospasms. The best way to take ginkgo is to get the standardized extract that contains 24% flavone glycosides. (Daily dosage - 60 to 240 mg a day).
  • Cordyceps: Cordyceps is a medicinal mushroom used in Chinese medicine to energize the body, improve lung function, and reduce bronchial secretions. The best way to take this herb is to get a full spectrum standardized extract of the herb. Recommended dosage is 800 mg twice a day.
  • Fennel: Fennel seeds contain helpful chemicals (creosol and alpha-pinene) that help to loosen bronchial secretions. Other herbs with similar properties include dill, ginger, Chinese angelica (dong-quai).

Essential Oils for Asthma

Besides herbal remedies for asthma, essential oils can be used to massage the chest area to open airways and lossen congestion. Before using any of the oils suggested below, be sure to test each oil for an allergic response.
  • Lavender: Lavender oil can be used in a steam inhalation or a bath to open airways and loosen congestion. In addition, you can use 5 drops of lavender oil diluted in 2 tablespoons of base oil (e.g. almond oil) and use the mixture as a massage oil. This oil mixture is safe to use even on babies.
  • Frankincense: Frankincense encourages deep, relaxed breathing. Mix 5 drops of lavender and 3 drops of frankincense with 2 tablespoons of base oil and use it to massage your chest area. **Do not use Frankincense in a steam because it can inflame the mucus membranes**.

Also See

Natural Asthma Remedies
Homeopathic Remedies for Asthma


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004)
Duke, J.A., The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2002)
Worwood, V.A., The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, (New World Library, 1991)

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