Chinese Herbal Remedies for Asthma

Chinese herbal remedies for asthma are natural, safe and effective. Many of these natural remedies for asthma are based on classic Chinese herbal formulas that have been in constant use in China for hundreds of years. Fortunately, you don't need to be in China, or be Chinese, to benefit from them.

Chinese herbal remedies are available outside of China and Asia in many countries including Australia, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and various European countries. However, it is not recommended that you buy them over the counter or online without consulting a trained Chinese medicine practitioner.

Causes of Asthma in Chinese Medicine

Below are examples of some Chinese herbal remedies for asthma that herbalists may use to treat this condition. There are many other formulas that may be used for asthma too, depending on the specific cause of the problem - in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) there are numerous causes of asthma.

The choice of formula(s) also depends on each person's unique symptoms and bodily signs. Asthma, according to TCM, is caused by weak lungs, kidneys and/or spleen. It may further be aggravated by exposure to certain external elements such as cold wind and dampness. TCM also recognizes certain dietary factors (see below) as causing or at least aggravating asthma.

Chinese Herbal Remedies for Asthma

1. Ginkgo Nut & Apricot Seed Combination (Ding Chuan Wan in Chinese)

Used for acute asthma with coughing, wheezing and profuse phlegm. This first herbal remedy for asthma breaks down and expels phlegm accumulated in the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing, wheezing and cough. The phlegm may be thick and yellow.

Ginkgo improves lung function. Apricot seed relieves cough and calms wheezing. Other ingredients in the remedy assist in the breaking down of phlegm and clearing and cooling of heat - yellow phlegm is a sign of excess heat in the body.


2. Perilla Fruit Combination (Su Zi Jiang Qi Wan)

Can be used for acute and chronic asthma. Unlike the first remedy, though, which is used in cases of thick phlegm which is yellow (a sign of heat in the body), this remedy breaks down and expells phlegm which is white, thin and watery (a sign of cold in the body).

This formula contains herbs which are warming and drying in nature. Two main ingredients are perilla fruit which stops coughing and wheezing and disperses phlegm, and pinellia which transforms phlegm.

Note: You can see how taking the wrong formula can cause problems, e.g. if a person with yellow phlegm (heat) took the second remedy, which is warming, they would become hotter and their condition would worsen, and vice versa.

Also note that Western medicine may sometimes be necessary, even essential, for relieving acute asthmatic attacks. Always consult your health professional before starting or stopping any medication, herbal or otherwise.


Chinese Herbal Remedies for Asthma (cont.)

3. Jade Screen Formula (Yu Ping Feng San Wan)

This remedy may be used during the remission stages of asthma. It strengthens the lungs and the body's resistance, so it is appropriate for asthmatics who frequently have colds, flu, upper respiratory tract infections and/or chronic respiratory allergies.

This remedy is mostly used in between infections, not while you actually have one. The main ingredient is astragalus, which boosts qi (vital energy) and builds resistance. The other main ingredient, atractylodes, assists astragalus to boost qi and resistance.


Enhancing Herbal Remedies for Asthma

Diet and food allergies can cause or contribute to asthma and wheezing and reduce the effectiveness of natural remedies for asthma. Certain people - especially those who tend to be "phlegmy" - may benefit from avoiding excess dairy products. Common allergens include gluten grains such as oats and wheat, and of course mold, fungus and animal hair.

A special category of Chinese herbal remedies, called tonics, can be taken to build resistance in people who have allergies. Herbal tonics are taken during the remission stages of asthma with the aim of preventing further attacks.

If you have questions or comments about Chinese herbal remedies for asthma let me know, I'll be happy to help.

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