The old country doctor books list several herbal and natural asthma remedies. There is one striking feature of all the earlier medical writings on asthma: in the old days asthma was not considered to be fatal. Apparently not as many people died from asthma attacks as they do today.
This information is for historical interest only and is not intended to take the place of modern medical advice. If you have asthma please consult your physician.
Causes of asthma
"CAUSE.-The exact cause of this disease has neverbeen satisfactorily determined. It is believed by some to be hereditary, but it may start from diseases of the lining membrane of the nasal passages. It may be caused by sudden changes from a dry to a damp atmosphere. It is seldomentirely cured.
"Symptoms.-It is characterized by extreme difficulty in breathing and an oppressive sense of suffocation. There is wheezing, and a distressing tightness about the chest.
The trouble usually comes on quite suddenly, sometimes in a few hours. After the first attack the sufferer has warning symptoms of its approach. These warnings are the symptoms proper, only in a milder form. During the attack the face is usually flushed and spasm of the respiratory muscles may exclude the air from the lungs to the extent that cyanosis may result. In cyanosis the patient turns blue, the eyeballs become prominent, and the respiratory muscles, especially those of the neck, become distended."
Dr. Chase's natural asthma remedies
"What to Do Before a Doctor is Called.-
"If one is subject to asthma, he should have on hand, to take whea a paroxysm occurs, the following:
Mix these three ingredients together, then fill a coffee cup (about one-half pint) one-third full of white sugar, or say half full, drop in the mixture and stir all together thoroughly with a spoon. Fill the cup nearly full of boiling water. Pour it out of a teakettle that has been boiling, turning it it slowly and stirring thoroughly with a spoon at the same time. Continue to stir it occasionally as long as the water remains warm, then set it to one side and let it settle. When thoroughly settled, strain.
"During a paroxysm, take a teaspoonful of this liquid every fifteen or twenty minutes until sick at the stomach. By that time the lungs will have relaxed and the person be comfortable. Probably the second dose will be sufficient to relieve him.NOTE-If the above mixture is put into a bottle, corked tight and set in a cool place, it will keep four or five weeks. By adding one or two ounces of Glycerine to each pint, the mixture, bottled, will keep for months.
"The following is a most excellent remedy to take between the attacks of asthma:
Nitrate of Strychnine Sulphate of Atropine Glonoin Glycerine
Mix with simple elixir. Take one teaspoonful between meals and at bedtime. In case of threatened attack, take one teaspoonful every hour until the throat is dry or the face flushed; then take one teaspoonful every two or three hours for a few doses.
"The Strychnine is a systemic or general tonic: the Atropinedilates the small vessels, brings the blood to the surface, relieves congestion, and is one of the best remedies to relieve muscular spasm. Glonoin produces the same effect on the circulation and is also a powerful heart stimulant, but has no direct action upon the muscles involved.
"This remedy has recently been tried by us in some severecases and has been uniformly successful. It is by reason of this success that we feel justified in recommending it to our friends across the water:
Pulverized Lobelia Sulphuric Ether
"Mix, and let stand two weeks, shaking mixture every day. Pour mixture onto handkerchief and inhale through mouth and nose. Should relieve asthma in three minutes. If not, repeat the process."
More herbal natural asthma remedies:
"Dried Mullein leaves, soaked in a strong solution of Nitre(Saltpetre) and again dried. Smoke in a pipe and inhale thesmoke, or inhale from a saucer."
"To an adult, 25 drops of Laudanum. Inhalation of steam.Keep room well ventilated."
"Mix and dissolve. Take a teaspoonful three or four times a day."
Inhalation of fumes from Jamestown weed
"If the spasmodic action is very considerable, and hasarisen soon after a full meal, let an emetic (see Emetics ) be at once given. Probably the best emetic in this case wouldbe Ipecac, the dose of which would be one teaspoonful of the powder, or a teaspoonful of the fluid extract, or from one to three teaspoonfuls of the syrup; to be taken every fifteen minutes until the spasm is relieved. In the meantime get the feet into hot water for fifteen or twenty minutes, followed with Mustard to the feet, to divert the blood from the lungs. Warm water, or some warm herb tea may be drank with the Ipecac (or other emetic that may be used) to assist its action.
"No one thing will be found to cure absolutely in all cases,because there will be found complications of other diseases, differing in different persons, but permanent cures in some cases are claimed to have been effected with the following preparation:"
"Add a suitable quantity of water and boil until the strength is all extracted; strain and reduce the liquid, by boiling, to 2 quarts or less; add 2 pounds of white sugar and 2 pounds of good honey and again boil down to 2 quarts. Let the mixture stand for twenty-four hours in order that it may settle, add 1 gill of spirits and bottle for use. Dose: A wineglassful three or four times a day."
"Bathing daily is believed by some to be absolutely necessaryto enable the system to resist the tendency to take cold, which is almost certain to bring on an attack of asthma with all who are subject to the disease. Begin by using warm water, but gradually use cooler water until able to bathe in cold water, keeping this up until the little changes in the atmosphere do not have so quick an effect on the system.
"For those for whom a daily cold bath would be too severe, the following is recommended:
"A daily sponging with a tincture of Cayenne, 1/4 ounce of the Cayenne to one quart of whiskey, sponging the whole surface before dressing in the morning; and with this sponging, a cold or tepid bath two or three times a week.
"In connection with either of these forms of bathing, someinternal remedy (as recommended above) should be persevered in if permanent relief is expected. One difficulty with asthmatic patients is not being able to effect a cure, or at least a very considerable benefit, is that they do not continue the use of a remedy sufficiently long to make a lasting impression. To work an alterative effect, the remedy must be taken three or four times daily for a month, or two or three months, as the previously short or long establishment of the disease would seem to call for.
"Following are a few cases given by Dr. Ray, who uses Ferrocyanuret of Potash-more commonly called Prussiate of Potash in the treatment of asthma. A full history of each case is given:
1. "Mrs. S., aged 48, has suffered for many years from palpitation of the heart, with dyspnea (difficulty of breathing)and asthma, had often been under treatment by different medical men of some notoriety, but without permanent benefit, all of which was made known on my first visit. Prescribed as follows:
"Mix Dose: One teaspoon five times a day for a period of three or four months, with entire relief both of heart symptoms and of the respiratory organs."
2. “Mr. M., aged 60, male, feeble from long indisposition and much medication, subject to chronic bronchitis of long standing, expectorated freely a tough and glairy mucus, sometimes streaked with blood, making constant efforts to clear his throat, troublesome cough at night and much irritability of the throat. Called at my office and gave the above history, stating that he had lost all hope of relief, having often been treated before, prescribed as follows:
Ferrocyanuret of Potash ........ 1 ounce Alcoholic Extract of Hyoscyamus.. 1 drachm Water ............................2 ounces Simple Syrup .....................3 ounces
"Mix Dose: One teaspoonful five times a day, which was taken for some months, with gradual but permanent relief."
3. " Mrs. McD., widow, aged 30, seamstress, robust constitution, but for many years subject to severe attacks of neuralgia upon the slightest change in the atmosphere, even a change in the direction of the wind often inducing an attack. She would suffer intolerable pains, either in her face, head or limbs, the disease not confining itself to any especial organ even in the same attack. Called at my office for medical aid, and in addition to the above stated that her digestive organs were in good condition, bowels regular, catamenia ( turns ) appearing: at regular intervals, and of natural color and duration. Prescribed as follows:
Ferrocyanuret of Potash ..... 1 ounce Water ....................... 2 ounces Sulphuric Ether ............ 40 drops
"Mix. Dose: One teaspoon five times a day."
"Improvement constant. No return of symptoms since. Continued treatment for two or three months. The case being one of nervous irritability, needed no other than a sedative treatment.”
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Unusual natural asthma remedies: voice and wind instrument training
In his book Unusual Healing Methods, Leslie O. Korth, D.O., explains how breathing techniques will help the asthma sufferer. Exercises are among the best natural asthma remedies because they involve nothing other than the body. Development of the speaking and singing voice build strength in the lungs and aid the respiratory function, which is severely weakened by repeated asthma attacks.
Taking up a wind instrument, like a flute or trumpet, also teaches an entirely different way to breathe. In learning the flute you are told not to go beyond ten minutes a day, because the exercise is very demanding and may leave you feeling light-headed. However, developing respiratory strength is essential in combating any respiratory ailment.
Here is what Dr. Korth says on natural asthma remedies:
"For the treatment of bronchial asthma breathing exercises have been known long ago. The asthmatic suffers periodically from difficulty in breathing because of a bronchial cramp, which hinders the expiration so that on inspiration a lifting up of the chest and shoulders takes place with the result that, in time, the chest and shoulders become "fixed." Medical science has produced a whole host of "remedies" against attacks of asthma, not only in the form of medicaments but also in technical respect, e.g., pneumatic chambers with varying degrees of air pressures. What the artificial difference in pressure tries to attain can be more effectively, simply and naturally achieved by the sufferer himself by voice culture.
"It would appear that the fact is overlooked that the voice and speech of the asthmatic are very weak, and that being so one is unable to hit upon what ought to be the obvious idea that a strengthening of the larynx by work upon the voice would bring with it an improvement in respiration. The sounds produced extend their vibrations into the bronchial tubes and help in freeing their contraction. An asthmatic after some weeks' practice in voice production can effortlessly fill a large hall with his newly developed voice.
"On the way to achieving this something important has taken place, viz., the secretion that previously could not be dislodged, is now loose, resulting in a great relief of the patient's condition. The one-time disturbed mucous membrane can now recover its normal function. The asthmatic learns to meet an attack whenever such is threatened and to hinder its development by exercising his voice.
"Those asthmatics who have undergone training in voice production have reported a feeling of freedom, easier breathing, devoid of a feeling of anxiety and that the voice culture treatment was better than any medicine, raising the spirits to a joyful degree for the work of improving the vocal capacity exercised a strong in¬fluence in the way of inner release, which plays a role that is not to be underestimated, especially when psychological or neurotic conditions are present. Naturally for the achievement of the desired result there must be a readiness to persevere over a period of time. In those cases where the will to become well is lacking, and this cannot help but apply more to persons who have suffered from asthma for a long time, the prognosis is not so hopeful; but even here they must be persuaded to take up the exercises.
"Similar good results are achieved in the treatment of emphysema. This lung distension can occur as an occupational disease, especially in glass-blowers and in players of wind instruments. The elastic tissue of the lungs becomes overstretched. But if voice culture is undertaken early, and the earlier the better, then the conditions can either be avoided or improved."
Note: Asthma is a serious and potentially life-threatening disorder. This information is for historical interest and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. If you have asthma please consult your physician.