Asthma and Chinese Medicine: a natural approach to treat your dysfunction

Did you know that Asthma is the commonest chronic disease in childhood and the most common respiratory condition in Ireland?

Approximately 470,000 Irish people affected (1 in 8 of population) with a prevalence in 13 - 14 year old school children. Or almost 9 million American children suffer from asthma, a leading cause of school absences. Elderly patients with asthma may have long-standing disease acquired in childhood/young adulthood, or they may have developed it as an aging adult. Around 8% of adults > age 65 are diagnosed with adult-onset asthma. It may be misdiagnosed as COPD because it can occur in the age group.

Asthma is a common condition that affects the lungs. It is a chronic (long-term) disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways. Some degree of inflammation is usually present, even at times when you are unaware of any symptoms. In an asthmatic person, the tubes become narrower, making it hard for that person to breathe.

What causes asthma is due to the multifactorial etiologies (genetic, environmental, inflammatory, infectious, exercise, psychological factors) however it is widely recognized that stress can take a step physiologic toll through upregulation of the inflammatory response, linked to asthma and other conditions. The connection between stress and illness occurs because mediators of the stress response include a wide range of neuroendocrine hormones, neurotransmitters, immune cells, etc.

The diagnosis of asthma is made on clinical suspicion (presence of symptoms of recurrent and partially reversible airflow obstruction and airway hyperresponsiveness) based on a medical history or presence o episodic symptoms of airflow obstruction, family history of asthma or allergic disease, symptoms triggered by external factors or upper respiratory infections; but it's usually confirmed with spirometry -by causing bronchoprovocation-.

There are usually specific triggers that bring on an asthma attack. These include house dust mites, animal fur, pollens, cigarette smoke, strong smells, gases, cold air, exercise, and chest infections. An asthmatic person has extra-sensitive breathing tubes. When exposed to their particular trigger, the tubes temporarily become narrow and clogged with sticky mucus.

Asthma in the older patient can present the same as in the younger patient, although the elderly tend to have fewer symptoms with the same amount of disease, complaining less of dyspnea associated with obstruction and wheezing-likely due to their reduced activity, they fail to notice they are short of breath.  

Asthma usually is controlled using medicines. The most common asthma treatments are taken using an inhaler (salbutamol or Ventolin), ipratropium (Atrovent), salmeterol (Serevent Diskus), anti-inflammatory medications (steroids), prednisone, fluticasone (Flovent), budesonide (Pulmicort) or beclomethasone (Beclovent). However asthmatic patients should also be encouraged to use non-pharmacologic treatments: indoor aerobic exercise, smoking cessation, monitoring for comorbidities (eg, heart disease, chronic lung disease) and maximize control o those conditions, using particulate-arresting (HEPA) air cleaners at home, dietary changes may also be use useful (Mediterranean-type diet) and patient education about the disease and interventions to control home environmental triggers.

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Comorbidities are important, especially coronary heart disease, because treatment of asthma with beta-agonists can cause myocardial ischemia.

Dietary recommendations are important to be considered. It’s hard to believe that what you put in our mouth will have much of an impact on your health, even what you hear in your ears. It might be important to pay attention to how your tinnitus responds to the food you eat: it actually becomes significantly critical based on Chinese Medicine Diet Advice.

It is advised to avoid:

  • Frozen drinks or cold foods can cause the muscles in your airways to tighten.

  • Salt has been shown to worsen asthma.

Dietary supplements recommended for sufferers of tinnitus are:

  • Vegetables and fruits contain carotenoids (antioxidants) that help reduce inflammation and allergies.

  • Fish and flaxseed contain beneficial fatty acids that can help reduce inflammation.

  • Garlic and onions have anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Magnesium: helps relax the bronchial tubes and improve lung function.

  • Pycnogenol: potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Vitamin C: reduces bronchial inflammation, spasms, and the response to allergies.

  • Boswellia: an herb that reduces inflammation.

  • Ephedra sinica which contains alkaloids and ephedrine that are used in decongestants.

  • Menthol significantly decreases the production of inflammatory mediators, indicating potential beneficial effects in the therapy of chronic inflammatory diseases such as allergic rhinitis, bronchial asthma, or colitis.  

  • Ferula Asafoetida: the gum resin is antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, laxative, and sedative. The volatile oil in the gum is eliminated through the lungs, making this an excellent treatment for asthma.

  • Atropa Belladona: used as a sedative, to stop bronchial spasms in asthma and whooping cough.

Dosages and recommendations must be established by your therapist, doctor or practitioner.

Conventional treatments (pharma or non-pharmacologic) plus acupuncture for asthma should be considered as a viable combination with significant benefits to manage the asthma, helping you reduce your pharmacologic treatment at maximum.


Chinese Medicine considers asthma as a dysfunctional disorder of the Lungs, acquired or developed during the years. If there is an acquired dysfunction of the Lungs, increasing doses of supplements might not be very helpful as the Lungs won’t be able to get the push from them.

Asthmatic attacks happen when external factors are stronger than the level of dysfunction of the Lungs; are symptoms triggered by cold air (Wind-Cold), exercise (either Wind Cold or Wind Heat), acute allergen exposure (Wind-Heat, eg, pets, molds, house dust mites [from vacuuming, dusting], seasonal pollens), airborne irritants (Wind Heat, eg, cleaning solutions, smoke)?  

Acupuncture and diet changes can prevent chronic/troublesome symptoms at maximum, maintaining normal lung function and reduce pharmacotherapy with minimal or no adverse effects.

Get in touch with us in order to help you get rid of your hearing problems. Phone us today at 089 400 5106 or send an email to for booking an appointment.