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Natural Health Remedies for Childhood Asthma

Posted Apr 12 2009 11:43pm
Childhood asthma seems to be on the increase and there are several theories about the reason why. A severe asthma attack is very frightening for both the child and the parents and puts a tremendous burden on the family. But the good news is that it can be reversible or controllable with a natural health remedy approach.

Reasons for childhood asthma

The airways and lungs are made of very delicate tissue and they are assaulted every day with environmental pollutants and toxic chemicals. Some recent research has found that children whose mothers had been exposed to high traffic pollution while pregnant may have genetic changes that increase the risk of developing childhood asthma. 80 % of children have asthma that is caused by coming into contact with substances in their environment but it can also be triggered by a viral or other infection.

Antibiotic use in early life may increase risk for childhood asthma. The use of some natural health remedies is always preferable to antibiotics where possible. Babies respond very well to homeopathic remedies. Some experts believe the diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (DTP) vaccinations might provoke response from the immune system which predisposes the child to asthma. But doctors have found that delaying the jab by 2 months can dramatically reduce the risk. Breast feeding protects against asthma.

Bad fats trigger inflammation

Another reason put forward for the huge increase in childhood asthma is the increase in the use of polyunsaturated fats in childrens diets. Asthma is an inflammatory condition triggered by many different things such as infections, allergies such as pollen, dust mites, animal dander, certain foods, and environmental irritants.

Polyunsaturated oils increase levels of Omega 6 fatty acids which promote inflammation. A large study showed that children whose diets were high in margarine spread on bread and foods fried in vegetable oils had double the risk of asthma. Omega 3 fatty acids that are found in fish inhibit inflammation.

But increasing ocean fish in the diet is not the answer as oily fish which contain high levels of Omega 3 oils also contain mercury which is toxic to the nervous system and can cause developmental problems in children. Children may get most of their mercury from canned tuna so should be limited. You can find out how much mercury there is in fish by visiting www.gotmercury.com or read the information on the seafood selector.


Diet to prevent asthma

The best diet is low in sugar, additives, processed foods, transfats, hydrogenated fats, cooking oils and margarines or other polyunsaturated spreads and high in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and grass fed free range meat and mercury free fish. Any known allergic foods should be excluded.

The natural health remedy approach to asthma
  • Find a good homeopath who will take your child's history to determine a constitutional remedy. In one study of 182 children between 2 and 8 years the homeopathic remedy Poumon Histamine reduced the number of severe asthma attacks.
  • Lobelia extract can relax the muscles of the airways making it easier for the child to breathe what ever the trigger. It is often included in a cough syrup. Napiers lobelia cough syrup is one example.

  • Oralmat, a natural remedy, developed in Australia from rye grass can help reduce asthma attacks. The extract can help modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation.
  • Magnesium relaxes muscles and numerous studies show that people with asthma have lower levels of the mineral magnesium in their cells. The dose for children is usually about 3 or 4 mg of magnesium per pound of body weight but you are best to consult a nutritionist or nutritional doctor.
  • Vitamin C 1000 mg a day given for 2 weeks to children with asthma reduced the number of attacks by 25%. It reduces the tendency of the bronchial passages to go into spasm.
  • Vitamin E can lower rates of asthma. It helps to heal the mucus membranes. 20 mg daily for ages 3-6.
  • Omega 3 oil can reduce reactions to allergens that trigger asthma attacks in some children. The intake of fish oil or flaxseed oil has anti-inflammatory effects and helps to balance the immune system. If you buy a fish oil supplement for your child make sure it is guaranteed free from pollutants.
  • Probiotics. Always supplement with a high potency probiotic if your child has to have antibiotics. They help modulate the immune system.
With a good healthy diet, a good balance of healthy oils together with some natural health remedies many parents have successfully been able to reverse their child's asthma.
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