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Bitter Herbs to Help Asthmatics?  RSS feed

 
              
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Hi, I’m new to your forum. You have so much interesting and helpful information here, a lot of skill sets represented, and I thought I’d like to join and contribute occasionally.

Ran Prieur’s topic, Safest Bitter Herbs, got me thinking. Last year, researchers in Maryland discovered the existence of taste receptors in the bronchial tubes. The bronchial taste receptors could detect only bitter substances in the air.

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2010/10October/Pages/taste-buds-in-the-lungs.aspx
“When live, intubated mice with inflamed or hypersensitive airways were exposed to inhaled bitter substances, there was more relaxation in the airways than with albuterol.” (Albuterol is a commonly used asthma drug.)

This study used chloroquine, denatonium, quinine and maybe other bitter substances. Chloroquine is toxic and has side effects. Denatonium is related to ammonia and is the bitterest chemical compound known – inhaling it might be too stressful. Quinine (made from the cinchona tree) is a natural substance and a muscle relaxant. However, it has limited availability, it has unpleasant side effects, and it’s toxic at higher doses.

Can somebody suggest a safe and readily available bitter herb that can be prepared for inhalant use?
 
Paula Edwards
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I am not a herbalist. Try the horizon website. I think they have really the best choice of herbs and there is a description with each herb.

I read somewhere that coffee helps for asthma, well it doesn't really help only alleviate the symptoms. Yoga helps.

Maybe you try bitter vegetables. Dandelion in spring or old fahioned varieties of Brussels Sprouts  or bitter melon. It is true that many vegetables had more bitter flavour, but now they brought up new varieties without bitter flavour. Many wild vegetable herbs are a bit bitter.
 
              
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ediblecities wrote:
I am not a herbalist. Try the horizon website. I think they have really the best choice of herbs and there is a description with each herb.

I read somewhere that coffee helps for asthma, well it doesn't really help only alleviate the symptoms. Yoga helps.

Maybe you try bitter vegetables. Dandelion in spring or old fahioned varieties of Brussels Sprouts  or bitter melon. It is true that many vegetables had more bitter flavour, but now they brought up new varieties without bitter flavour. Many wild vegetable herbs are a bit bitter.


Thanks, ediblecities, I'll check out that horizon website. 

In fact there are still a few bitter vegetables and/or herbs in use. The seeds of peppers are quite bitter. Bay leaf is bitter if tasted full-strength. Eucalyptus leaves used to be used by Mediterranean people to relieve asthma -- I haven't tried them myself and can't say yet whether the leaves are bitter. Grated lemon peel is bitter -- and maybe there are citrus fruits that have even bitterer peel than lemon. I'll be preparing inhaleable fluids with these whenever I get a bit wheezy. If I find anything that works for me, I'll pass it along here.
 
ronie dee
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Bitterness varies in Dandy Lion - some plants are less and some more bitter. If you want real bitter - pinch off the stem of the flower and suck some of the white juice.

Wild Lettuce is real bitter.
 
Paula Edwards
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The Greek make horta (I have no idea how to spell this correctly). They take green stuff from the market but often you see them searching for wild greens.
You simply boil the greens briefly maybe 3-5 minutes in salt water, drain and pour good green olive oil over it and lemon juice. And it is mostly eaten with fish.
But this is an adult only vegetable, kids will find it yuck.
We are in a prime asthma region. There's pollen year round. And people say that you have to eat local honey this is like a vaccination against asthma.
Swimming is good and yoga.
My husband has asthma and he does not take medications. If it's bad he goes to a Chinese practitioner.
 
              
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ediblecities wrote:
The Greek make horta (I have no idea how to spell this correctly). They take green stuff from the market but often you see them searching for wild greens.
You simply boil the greens briefly maybe 3-5 minutes in salt water, drain and pour good green olive oil over it and lemon juice. And it is mostly eaten with fish.
But this is an adult only vegetable, kids will find it yuck.
We are in a prime asthma region. There's pollen year round. And people say that you have to eat local honey this is like a vaccination against asthma.
Swimming is good and yoga.
My husband has asthma and he does not take medications. If it's bad he goes to a Chinese practitioner.


Good call! Cooked leafy green veggies provide magnesium, which will help resolve the bronchospasm that comes with asthma. From my reading, I understand most asthmatics are low in magnesium. Best sources are greens, either cooked or raw, and nuts and seeds. People can also up their levels through epsom salts baths, either for the feet or for the whole body. Mag citrate or mag orotate tablets (500 mg per day) are the best form to take orally. Dr. Sircus of IMVA sells something called "magnesium oil" which isn't actually an oil, it's magnesium dissolved in water which you spray on and absorb through your skin. It's fabulous stuff.

Thanks for the tip on eating local honey, it makes sense, like an inoculation.

I will try wild lettuce if I can find it, Ronie.
 
                    
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Interesting to hear about the bitterness and a mechanism for opening the airways.

Lobelia is one herb traditionally smoked for asthma in the native American and eclectic traditions, and it is bitter.  I would imagine a vaporizer might be better for the lungs, fewer particulates and monoxide. In addition to the traditional literature on lobelia, I came across an old medical journal article that found that the tincture of lobelia has an anti-asthma effect ... but it is also an emetic (causes vomiting) so the tincture is not such a practical idea, while the vapor might be.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14804958

Horehound is notoriously bitter, and is used for colds and influenza - perhaps partly because it opens airways? Again, a tradition of use for asthma:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20942795

Motherwort is another rather bitter herb that has a tradition of use for asthma (even though it is most commonly used for the heart and nervous system). It's a very nice perennial. Susun Weed mentions it's use for asthma:
http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Motherwort.htm
 
              
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Thanks, Jonathan. Another idea would be to smoke the leaves of lobelia through a water pipe.
 
                    
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the best herb I know for Asthma (my grandfather brought it home from WWI) is Verbascum, also known as Mullein. 
I do not have asthma myself, thank God, but my husband was diagnosed with Bronchial asthma.  On a TV discussion programme a very fat lady gave her experience.  She tried  separation diet, where you never eat carbs and proteins together.  she wanted to lose weight, however, to her own great astonishment,  her asthma improved dramatically,  without doing anything else.
This diet, called Trennkost in German,  is well known and used in Germany,  my husband improved much on it,  but did not want to stick with it as a true meat and potato man.  An old farmer wrote me on his experience, I should have the letter in one of my books.  He could barely walk from the bathroom to his bed without inhaling.  He dropped all dairy in addition to the diet and got to the point that he put up hay
An American, Dr. Howard Hay propagated this diet after he came down with  a kidney desease that he knew was incurable. His colleges told him to get his affairs in order. As he was  in bed, he read the account of a British Dr. , whose name I forgot,  who worked in the Karakorum and noticed that the locals never were sick,  old men carried heavy loads uphill seemingly without difficulty and they got to be very old in good health. The English he had to treat constantly.  He studied their lifestyle and found they did not eat meat and carbs together and they fasted every spring.  To make a long story short, since he had nothing to lose, Dr. Hay tried it, got well, helped many people with this approach and died in a car accident.  I tried it myself for two years and my foot problem, pain in my feet upon arising, cleared up totally.
 
                          
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Bitter foods are used to lower "heat" in Chinese medicine, which is usually associated with development of cold soars, red/irritated eyes, and things which I would generally associate with inflammation (another such adjustment is less "high heat" foods, like saturated fats and simple sugars, which are full of energy). If I'm not mistaken, asthma is an inflammatory condition that can also be helped by lowering the amount of omega-6 Poly unsaturated fatty acids (like grain oils, and raising omega-3) (http://www.jacn.org/cgi/content/full/21/6/495).
Personally, if you want to avoid those synthetic medicines and stuff I'd say go for a more fundamental solution like adjusting diet long term.

I'm no doctor though, but I think as long as such changes are long term and consistent they should lead to results.
 
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