Asthma occurs when the small airways in the lungs become overly sensitive, reacting to one or more substances that have no effect on non-asthmatic people. This reaction makes the lining of the airways swell and produce mucus, reducing the space available for incoming air. Principal symptoms include breathlessness, wheezing coughing, and tightness in the chest. Attacks vary in severity, and can range from mild breathlessness to life threatening respiratory failure. Frequent asthma attacks can interfere with everyday life.
Some people have an inherited tendency to get asthma, while many develop it for no known reason. Asthma is cause by an allergic reaction in 1 in 20 children and in 1 in 30 adults who are over 30 years old. A wide variety of things can trigger the oversensitivity of the airways that underlies the condition.
There are several possible reasons for the increase in asthma. The improved living conditions of people in developed countries mean that they have fewer early childhood infections and parasitic infestations. Because their immune systems do not have the early stimulation derived from exposure to foreign organisms, they may overreact not only to these organisms, but also to certain other substances later.
The widespread use of antibiotics to treat relatively minor childhood infections also makes asthma more likely to occur. Antibiotics may disturb the development of normal immunity by altering the population of bacteria in the intestine. As children grow older, they are more likely to overreact to infections and to substances in the environment. Environmental pollutants from for example, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and airborne particles in vehicle exhaust gases are also to blame.
Certain herbal remedies may help in relaxing airways and expel mucus. Useful remedies include Echinacea, liquorice, hyssop and thyme. Vervain and chamomile are especially good if you feel tense. Drink one or two cups of teas made of these herbs. Many homeopathic remedies can help in relieving mild attack of asthma. Arsenicum is helpful if the asthma attacks occur mostly at night and makes you feel restless and anxious. Ipecacuanha will help you if you feel that your lungs are congested with mucus and you have coughing along with nausea. If the attacks are brought on by damp conditions, then natrum sulfuricum can help in relieving the attack. You can take pulsatilla if you feel better in the fresh air.