It’s spring. Which means that, along with flowers blooming, allergies are hitting. As rates of asthma and allergies rise each year, so does the amount of money put into treatment. Breathing is about the most basic function needed for survival, so it’s not surprising that there are thousands of medications available, from sophisticated inhalers to all manner of nasal sprays and antihistamines. But the numbers of asthma attacks and allergies continue to rise, which shows that these medications are just a Band Aid for a larger problem. They aren’t targeting the root cause of asthma and allergies: inflammation.
Here’s where inflammation and asthma tango: Inflamed bronchial tubes restrict airways as much as the contraction of the bronchial muscles (what happens during an asthma attack). Acute inflammation of the bronchial tubes can also happen during asthma attacks, along with mucus secretion, which further clogs the airway. Many asthmatics also experience chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes even when they aren’t having an attack; this doesn’t typically restrict breathing but it does make bronchial tubes predisposed too spasms, contraction, and acute inflammation. So, long story short – inflammation bad – breathing good!
Asthma causes distress in the body, which leads to elevated cortisol. Can you imagine a more stressful situation than struggling to get oxygen into your lungs? Making matters worse, persistent stress – from asthma attacks, a crazy job, mothering young children – leads to cortisol resistance and increased inflammation throughout the body, including your bronchial tubes and muscles. In fact, imbalanced hormones, whether from high cortisol, low thyroid or out-of-whack estrogen and progesterone, contribute to higher rates of inflammation all throughout the body.
Recent medical thought has put forth the idea that inflammation is the root cause of all chronic diseases. You know how much I love root causes, so let’s dive headfirst into tackling this one. While I am all for medicine, alternative medicine is another path to becoming healthy. Some essential oils for asthma are: eucalyptus, frankincense, peppermint, thyme, Breath (proprietary blend), oregano, lemon, myrrh, lavender, geranium, cypress, clary sage, ylang ylang, rose, helichrysum, marjoram, and rosemary. Diffuse in the air or inhale directly from the bottle. Apply to the hands, tissue or cotton wick and inhale. Can be diluted as recommended and applied to chest, throat, or back. Add 2-3 drops to 1 TBS of fractionated coconut oil and massage onto chest, shoulders, and back. Essential oils have been used for centuries.