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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Herbal Evidence Based Treatments for Asthma (Herbal Supplements for Asthma/Treating Asthma Naturally)

Asthma is considered a lung disease characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways or bronchi [1] [2] [3]. This often causes trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing and even chest tightness [4] [5].

Asthma is pretty common in the USA & also throughout the world; 5-10% of persons of all ages suffer from it [6] [7]. Because it is so common, and impacts quality of life, including often school/work performance, exercise capacity, and even the ability to simply go outdoors - the demand for new and innovative treatments is extremely high [8] [9] [10].

The economic costs equate to about 5-6 billion per year in mainly medical / hospital costs, averaging around 2,584$ per patient [11] [12]

These costs and the general revisiting of hospitals could be somewhat reduced if affordable alternative treatments were utilized more often by those with affinity to them [13] [14] [15] [16]. Additionally, there is an emerging interest in herbal remedies for the treatment of Asthma, and growing medical evidence suggests that some herbal remedies may even exceed the tolerability and efficacy of existing mainstream treatments [17] [18].

Before we get into those, let's go over a few more facts of Asthma.

  • Asthma can be, and is very frequently brought on by allergies and thus, exposure to allergens are a major predictor of severity and duration of Asthma attacks [19] [20].
  • Asthma is frequently encountered or brought on by exercise, specifically, running and other 'cardio' / aerobic exercises [21] [22].
  • Asthma is hastened and severity is frequently worse in childhood Obesity and in those living an excessively sedentary (seated too often, somewhat lazy, not participating much in outdoor activities) lifestyles [23] [24].
  • Asthma is often (but not always) related to / caused by such things as cat dander, dog hair, presence of grass and tree pollens in / around the home, and especially, mold in the home/living environment [25] [26] [27].

Now let's get a bit to the hard science. The brochioles (air ways) which relay air/oxygen to the alveoli or air sacs of the lungs, are also subject to change, this includes structural and functional change - in response to alteration of local smooth muscle tone [28]. Like blood vessels, the constriction or narrowing of the smooth muscle in the lungs results in reduced flow, in this case air flow [29] [30]. As a result, oxygen is unable to pass through as easily, and this results in the clinical symptoms of asthma. To find a resolution, we need to find out why the bronchioles are contracting [31]

Most of the research focuses on a few chemical messengers in the body/lungs, those are adenosine, AMP, histamine, noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and cyclic AMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate). Additionally, some enzymes such as diamine oxidase (DAO) and PDE4 (Phosphodieastearase 4 or Type 4) affect the concentration of some of the above mentioned messengers [32] [33] [34] [35].

1.) Adenosine and AMP function as 'contractile' agents [36].
2.) Histamine can function as either a 'contractile' or 'dilating' substance, but is in most cases a contractile substance [37] [38] [39]
3.) Cyclic AMP (cAMP) offers an opposing action; it dilates the bronchus [40] [41]
4.) Diamine oxidase (DAO) is an acidic enzyme which breaks down histamines in the gut, leading to their excretion (removal from the body) [42] [43].
5.) PDE4 (Phosphodieastearase 4) breaks down the messenger cyclic AMP, and thus in increased amounts, the enzyme often leads to excessive bronchiole constriction and ultimately, trouble breathing and worsened asthma [44] [45] [46].

The idea around swift treatment then of persistent Asthma, would focus on optimizing or reducing the widespread levels of these messengers. If at all possible, focusing on increasing cyclic AMP levels in the lungs with minimal impact elsewhere in the body (to avoid excessive cAMP conditioning of other organs). A strategy that seems not to be discussed as often as the regard to the messenger itself (?)

The first natural agents I've found to effectively target these pathways are listed below, with references.

  1. Luteolin. Perhaps the most significant out of pretty much all natural or alternative asthma treatments, but more geared towards long-term treatment and suppression of inflammation. Luteolin is a flavonoid found in Parsley, Artichoke, Chamomiles, Olive Oil and some other vegetables/spices [47] [48]. Luteolin protects the airways via antioxidant mechanisms (helping to protect the lungs against oxidative stress and general irritation) [49] and via direct PDE4-enzyme inhibition [50] ; leading to elevated cyclic AMP and bronchodilation. Again, this is more of a long-term treatment measure and not an acute or 'emergency treatment' for Asthma. Moreover, it may take up to 3 weeks to see any significant benefit [51] [52] [53]

  • 50 MG once per day to assess sensitivity, and then 100 MG once per day, or perhaps more ideally, 50 MG of Luteolin twice per day are sufficient dosages for long-term treatment of Asthma in Children & Adults.
  • I recommend a proven brand Swanson Luteolin Complex.

2. Forskolin. Is a direct cAMP activator which shows serious benefits in namely, preventing Asthma attacks [54] [55]. As with Luteolin, it is a capsule and is not intended for acute or emergency treatment of Asthma, but many users of Forskolin supplements report strides and such improvements not noticed with other supplements or drug regimens [56] [57] [58]

  • Forskolin is studied at 10 MG of the forskolin compound itself, herbs are difficult to determine exact concentration, so when buying the extract it must be 'standardized' or concentrated with emphasis on Forskolin and not other components.
  • I recommend Forskolin-95, the purest of Forskolin supplements.
  • NOTE: Forskolin may incite minor weight loss and as such, should not be used if this is already in concern in the individual who plans to take it. Dosage on bottle should not be exceeded by any means.
3.) BOSWELLIA SERRATA : Perhaps the most ''proven'' and well-liked Asthma treatments around [59] [60] [61]. The only reason I ranked it #3 is because it's a little more expensive and some individuals account more adverse reactions than the first two, however, it's not that great of a difference.

Boswellia Serrata is remarked as being effective at 300 MG 3X per day. The most purchased and recommended product is listed below, for your convenience. 

Finally, don't forget to get adequate Vitamin D and measure levels often - as it shows a strong link to Asthma, and both Children and Adults need to get more of it these days {Read Article Here}.

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