Natural Medicine Causes & Treatment of Asthma


Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterised by airflow obstruction & bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.

The prevalence of asthma has increased significantly since the 1970s. As of 2009, 300 million people were affected worldwide. In 2009 asthma caused 250,000 deaths globally. Some 9% of US children had asthma in 2001, compared with just 3.6% in 1980. Ireland is now ranked among the top four countries in the world with the highest prevalence rates for asthma. The Asthma Society of Ireland has estimated that 274,000 people suffer from asthma in Ireland. Asthma affects at least 1 in 7 Irish children, and 1 in 20 adults. Australia has the highest incidence of asthma (and now the highest rates of obesity)


Asthma is clinically classified according to;

  • Frequency of symptoms
  • Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)
  • Peak expiratory flow rate

Asthma is also be classified as;

1. Allergic/Atopic (extrinsic) or symptoms are precipitated by allergens, associated with a history of atopic disease, increased serum IgE and positive food and/ or inhalant allergy test

2. Idiosyncratic/Non-atopic (intrinsic) symptoms not precipitated by allergens. Is not associated with bronchoconstriction due to an antigen-antibody response, but rather to stimuli such as chemicals, cold air, exercise, infection, emotional stress.

Although asthma is a chronic obstructive condition, it is not considered a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This term refers specifically to diseases that are irreversible such as bronchiectasis, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Unlike these diseases, the airway obstruction in asthma is usually reversible.

If left untreated however, the chronic inflammation of the lungs during asthma can become irreversible due to airway remodelling, therefore be considered as a COPD. In contrast to emphysema, asthma affects the bronchi, not the alveoli.

Symptoms of an asthma attack

An acute asthma exacerbation is commonly referred to as an asthma attack. The classic symptoms are shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. While these are the primary symptoms of asthma some people present primarily with coughing, and in severe cases, breathing may be so obstructed that no wheezing is heard. Symptoms are often worse at night or in the early morning, or in response to exercise or cold air.

Signs of an asthma attack

  • The use of accessory muscles of respiration (sternocleidomastoid and scalene muscles of the neck).
  • A paradoxical pulse (a pulse that is weaker during inhalation and stronger during exhalation)
  • Over-inflation of the chest
  • Blue colour of the skin and nails from lack of oxygen.
  • Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) is measurable in mild moderate or severe attacks

Coexisting symptoms

Gastroesophageal reflux disease coexists with asthma in 80% of people with asthma, with similar symptoms.

Sleep Disorders are common also


Some individuals will have stable asthma for weeks or months and then suddenly develop an episode of acute asthma. Factors that can lead to exacerbation include dust, house mites, animal dander (especially cat and dog hair), cockroach allergens and moulds. Perfumes are a common cause of acute attacks in females and children. Both viral and bacterial upper respiratory tract infections can precipitate asthma.

Types of asthma

Exercise induced asthma

Asthma is common in top athletes. One survey of participants in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., showed that 15% had been diagnosed with asthma and that 10% were on asthma medication. There is a relatively high incidence of asthma in sports such as cycling, mountain biking and long-distance running, and a relatively lower incidence in weightlifting and diving. Exercise induced asthma can be treated with the use of a short-acting beta2 agonist.


Asthma as a result of and/or worsened by workplace exposures is a commonly reported occupational respiratory disease however, most cases of occupational asthma are not reported or are not recognised as such. Animal proteins, enzymes, flour, natural rubber latex, and certain reactive chemicals are commonly associated with work-related asthma.

Western Medical Causes of Asthma

According to western medicine, asthma is caused by

1. Environmental

2. Genetic factors


The strongest risk factor for developing asthma is a history of atopic disease, asthma eczema, hayfever and urticaria, this increases one's risk of hay fever by up to 5x and the risk of asthma by 3-4x.

Allergy and asthma

As Western style housing favours greater exposure to indoor allergens, allergic asthma is associated with sensitivity to these allergens. Much attention has focused on increased exposure to these allergens in infancy and early childhood as a primary cause of the rise in allergic asthma.

Studies looking at reduction of household allergens and the incidence of asthma show mixed results. Strict reduction of dust mite allergens, reduces the risk of allergic sensitisation to dust mites, and modestly reduces the risk of developing asthma up until the age of 8 years old however, studies also showed that exposure to cat and dogs during the first year of life reduced the risk of allergic sensitisation and of developing asthma.

Skin tests

In children between the ages of 3-14, a positive skin test for allergies and an increase in immunoglobulin E increases the chance of having asthma. In adults, the more allergens one reacts positively to in a skin test, the higher the odds of having asthma.

Obesity and asthma

A strong correlation is being seen between the development of asthma and obesity. Several factors associated with obesity may play a role in the pathogenesis of asthma, including decreased respiratory function due to a buildup of adipose tissue (fat) and the fact that adipose tissue leads to a pro-inflammatory state.

Environmental risk factors


Maternal tobacco smoking during pregnancy and after delivery is associated with a greater risk of asthma and respiratory infections.


Low air quality, from traffic pollution or high ozone levels, has been repeatedly associated with both the occurrence of the disease and exacerbation of childhood asthma and an increase in morbidity.

Bacteria and viruses

High levels of endotoxin (gram negative and positive bacteria) exposure may contribute to asthma risk. Viral respiratory infections are one of the leading triggers of an exacerbation and increase one's risk of developing asthma especially in young children. Studies have shown that viral infections of the lower airway may in some cases induce asthma, as a history of bronchiolitis or croup in early childhood is a predictor of asthma risk in later life. Studies have also shown however that upper respiratory tract infections are protective against asthma.


Psychological stress is an asthma trigger. It is thought that stress modulates the immune system to increase the airway inflammatory response to allergens and irritants.

Antibiotic overuse

Antibiotic use early in life has been linked to development of asthma. Antibiotics make children who are predisposed to atopic immune responses susceptible to development of asthma because they destroy gut flora and thus the immune system. Antibiotics also contribute to the hygeine hypothesis.

The Hygiene Hypothesis

The Hygiene Hypothesis is a hypothesis that states that a lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms (e.g., gut flora or probiotics), and parasites increases susceptibility to allergic diseases such as eczema, asthma, hayfever and urticaria by suppressing natural development of the immune system.

Modern lifestyles and the overuse of antibacterials unintentionally results in reduced exposure to a wide variety of different bacteria and virus types thus preventing childhood infections normally encountered by children. Children living in less hygienic environments (East Germany vs. West Germany) families with many children, day care environments) tend to have lower incidences of asthma and allergic diseases. This seems to run counter to the logic that viruses are often causative agents in exacerbation of asthma. Coming in contact with bacteria and viruses stimulates and educates the immune system to prevent overactivity of the immune system.

Volatile Oil Compounds VOCs

Exposure to VOCs is associated with an increase in the IL-4 producing Th2 cells and a reduction in IFN-γ producing Th1 cells.

Observational studies have found that indoor exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) even at low levels is one of the triggers of asthma and is associated with an increase in the risk of paediatric asthma.

There is a significant association between asthma-like symptoms (wheezing) among preschool children and the concentration of DEHP (di-ethylhexyl phthalate) (pthalates) in indoor environment. DEHP is a plasticizer that is commonly used in building material. A byproduct of DEHP is MEHP (Mono-ethylhexyl phthalate) which mimics the prostaglandins and thromboxanes in the airway, leading to symptoms related to asthma. Two main type of phthalates have been associated between the concentration of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) commonly used as flooring. Asthma has also been shown to have a relationship with plaster wall materials and wall-to wall carpeting.


Over 100 genes have been associated with asthma in at least one genetic association study. Many of these genes are related to the immune system or to modulating inflammation.

Socioeconomic factors

The incidence of asthma is highest among low-income populations worldwide.

Insufficient levels of vitamin D

Insufficient levels of vitamin D are linked with severe asthma attacks.


The diagnosis is usually made based on the pattern of symptoms (airways obstruction and hyper-responsiveness) and/or response to therapy (partial or complete reversibility) over time .If the patient responds to treatment, then this is considered to be a confirmation of the diagnosis of asthma. Airflow in the airways is measured with a peak flow meter or spirometer.

Wheezing (high-pitched whistling sounds when breathing out), especially in children. (Lack of wheezing and a normal chest examination do not exclude asthma) plus;

History of any of the following:

  • Cough, worse particularly at night
  • Recurrent wheeze Recurrent difficulty in breathing
  • Recurrent chest tightness

Symptoms occur or worsen in the presence of;

  • Exercise
  • Viral infection
  • Animals with fur or hair
  • House-dust mites (in mattresses, pillows, upholstered furniture, carpets)
  • Mould
  • Smoke (tobacco, wood)
  • Pollen
  • Changes in weather
  • Strong emotional expression (laughing or crying hard)
  • Airborne chemicals or dusts
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Symptoms occur or worsen at night, awakening the patient

Western Medical Management

A specific, customised plan for proactively monitoring and managing symptoms should be created. The treatment plan should be written down and adjusted according to changes in symptoms. Lifestyle modification Avoidance of triggers is a key component of improving control and preventing attacks.

The most common triggers include:

  • Allergens Smoke (tobacco and other)
  • Air pollution
  • Non selective beta-blockers sulphite-containing foods (see naturopathic treatment below)
  • Medications

Medications used to treat asthma are divided into two general classes:

1. Quick-relief medications used to treat acute symptoms.

2. Long-term control medications used to prevent further exacerbation.

Short acting

Short acting beta2-adrenoceptor agonists (SABA), such as salbutamol (albuterol USAN) are the first line treatment for asthma symptoms.

Anticholinergic medications, such as ipratropium bromide provide addition benefit when used in combination with SABA in those with moderate or severe symptoms. Anticholinergic bronchodilators can also be used if a person cannot tolerate a SABA.

Long acting

Glucocorticoids are the most effective treatment available for long term control. Inhaled forms are usually used except in the case of severe persistent disease, in which oral steroids may be needed.

Leukotriene antagonists ( such as zafirlukast) are an alternative to inhaled glucocorticoids, but are not preferred. They may also be used in addition to inhaled glucocorticoids but in this role are second line to LABA.

Mast cell stabilisers (such as cromolyn sodium) are another non-preferred alternative to glucocorticoids.

Safety and adverse effects

Longterm use of glucocorticoids carries a significant potential for adverse effects. The incidence of cataracts is increased in people undergoing treatment for asthma with corticosteroids, due to altered regulation of lens epithelial cells.nThe incidence of osteoporosis is also increased, due to changes bone remodelling.

Complementary Medicine

Naturopathic Pathophysiology

Primary Factors Involved

Asthma is caused by spasm in muscles surrounding bronchi, which constrict the outward passage of stale air. Obstruction to airflow is the result of bronchial restriction caused by mucous within the bronchial lumen, oedema of the bronchial wall or a combination of the above.

  • Hypersensitivity of the Airways
  • Beta-adrenergic blockade
  • Cyclic nucleotide imbalance in the airway smooth muscle
  • Release of inflammatory mediators from the mast cells.

Pathophysiology of asthma


1. Allergen Eosinophils – platelet aggregating factor – increased epithelial permeability –oedema / plasma leakage – inflammation and smooth muscle contraction – bronchoconstriction.

2. Stimuli Stimulates sensory nerves – release of neuropeptides – increased epithelial permeability, oedema, mucous secretion and inflammation – bronchoconstriction


1. Triggers – irritation of the mucous membranes – stimulates the goblet cells –excess mucous – bronchoconstriction.

2. PAF, histamine and other inflammatory mediators – damage of the epithelial lining – plasma leakage and oedema – increase in volume and tenacity of mucous – bronchoconstriction


PAF, histamine and other inflammatory mediators – smooth muscle contraction – spasm in the airways – bronchoconstriction.

Cortisol – very effective prime activator beta-receptors

Adrenaline – prime stimulator of beta-receptors

During an asthma attack, relative deficiency of both reduces the ratio of cAMP : cGMP, resulting in bronchial constriction.

Inflammatory mediators produce signs and symptoms

  • Bronchial and smooth muscle contraction due to histamine, prostgalndins (PG) and Platelet aggregating factor (PAF)
  • Lipoxygenase products – leukotrienes (LT) and SRS-A, prostaglandins, thromboxane and PAF
  • Mucosal oedema because of increased permeability due to histamines and leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are 1000 times more potent a stimulator of bronchial constriction than histamine.
  • Vasodilation due to PGE2
  • Mucous plugs due to histamine and LTC4 Inflammatory cells infiltrate, Neutrophil Chemotactic Factor (NCF) and PAF
  • It is observed that asthmatics have an imbalance of arachidonic acid metabolism, shunted towards lipoxygenase pathway and the production of excessive leukotrienes.

Symptoms occur or worsen in the presence of (ie triggers):

  • Exercise
  • Viral infection Animals with fur or hair House-dust mites (in mattresses, pillows, upholstered furniture, carpets) Mould Smoke (tobacco, wood) Pollen Pollution Drugs and food additives
  • Changes in weather Strong emotional expression (laughing or crying hard)
  • Airborne chemicals or dusts
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Symptoms occur or worsen at night, awakening the patient

Naturopathic Causative Factors of Asthma


I always say “there is no such thing as allergy”. Allergy merely a symptom of an overactive immune response due to a number of factors discussed below, namely the hygiene hypothesis, molecular mimicry and increased intestinal hyperpermeability.

The Hygiene Hypothesis and Molecular Mimicry

The hygiene hypothesis states that a lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms (e.g., gut flora or probiotics), and parasites increases susceptibility to allergic diseases by suppressing natural development of the immune system. Other diseases including autoimmune diseases, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in young people in the developed world and even autism have also been linked to the hygiene hypothesis.

From a naturopathic perspective the increase in allergic diseases and even cancers are due to antibacterial abuse, vaccinations, decrease in breastfeeding, increased incidence of caesarean sections all leads to an immature immune system. When a child is born naturally its bowel is essentially inoculated by the vaginal flora from the mother.


Breastfeeding is necessary to inoculate the child’s bowel with beneficial gut flora and to introduce the child’s immune system to food antigens through the mothers diet. This is why it is important NOT TO omit potential allergenic foods when breastfeeding as this is how your child develops antibodies to food antigens. Breasts, unlike bottles, are also not sterile.

Mechanism of action

Allergic diseases are caused by inappropriate immunological responses to harmless antigens driven by an overzealous Th2 (T helper cells)-mediated immune response. Many bacteria and viruses normally encountered elicit a Th1-mediated immune response. This down regulates Th2 responses to keep the immune system in check. The hygiene hypothesis states that insufficient stimulation of the Th1 arm leads to an overactive Th2 arm, stimulating the antibody-mediated immunity of the immune systems, which in turn led to allergic and some autoimmune diseases.

The hypothesis suggests that the developing immune system of a child needs to come into contact with common childhood diseases, either bacterial, viral or parasitical in nature, in order to train the immune system to be able to recognise self cells from foreign cells and to down regulate overactive immune cells so that they don’t get out of control and attack their own body or elicit an overactive response. This lack of down regulation leads to the immune system being unable to recognise its own cells from a foreign cell therefore attacking its own cells resulting in autoimmune disease and allergy.

Supporting evidence

The hygiene hypothesis is supported by epidemiological data. Studies have shown that various immunological and autoimmune diseases are much less common in the developing world than the industrialised world and that immigrants to the industrialised world from the developing world increasingly develop immunological disorders in relation to the length of time since arrival in the industrialised world.

Leaky Gut Syndrome and asthma

Leaky Gut Syndrome is also described as increased intestinal hyperpermeability. Tight junctions (TJs) represent the major barrier between intestinal epithelial cells that line the digestion tract. Damage to the TJs leads to intestinal hyperpermeability ("leaky gut") which is part of the pathophysiology behind acute and chronic diseases such as systemic inflammatory response syndrome(SIRS), inflammatory bowel disease IBD including Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC), gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular disease type 1 diabetes, allergies including eczema and asthma and also autism.

Asthmatic patients demonstrate hypochlorhydria (lower than normal gastric acid levels), dysbiosis (abnormal types and amounts of intestinal bacteria) and increased intestinal permeability/Leaky Gut Syndrome (a state which allows the entrance of allergenic food proteins into the blood stream). Each of these factors contribute to overall gut function that can worsen the asthma state since 70% of the circulating immune system lines the digestive tract. Food, therefore, can stimulate the immune system to behave in more aggressive ways, creating an increased body burden of inflammation. For asthmatics, this can lead to more frequent and intense wheezing episodes.

Leaky Gut Syndrome Hypotheses

Three mechanism are proposed;

1. Dysbiosis

2. A "leaky" intestinal mucosal barrier

3. Altered intestinal immune responsiveness.

1. Dysbiosis

Dysbiosis refers to a condition with microbial flora imbalances in the digestive tract It has been associated with different illnesses, like inflammatory bowel disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. In small amounts the microbial colonies found on or in the body are benign or beneficial in most cases. These beneficial and appropriately sized microbial colonies carry out a series of helpful and necessary functions. They also protect the body from the penetration of pathogenic microbes. These beneficial microbial colonies also compete with each other keeping one another in check so no specific microbial colony dominates.

When this balance is disturbed, by such diverse things as repeated and inappropriate antibiotic exposure or alcohol misuse, these colonies exhibit a decreased ability to check each other's growth. This can lead to an overgrowth of one or more of the disturbed colonies which then may damage some of the other smaller beneficial ones. A leaky bowel wall leads to bacteria and endotoxins building up in the bloodstream creating an immune response. This is an important stimulus for inflammatory cytokine (IL1 IL6, TNF-α) activation.

2. A "leaky" intestinal mucosal barrier

The gastrointestinal tract is responsible for digestion and absorption of nutrients and electrolytes, and to maintain water homeostasis. Another important function is its ability to keep pathogens from the environment that enter through the gut from the host through this barrier mechanism.

The intercellular tight junctions of the intestinal epithelial barrier, together with the gut-associated lymphoid tissue and the neuroendocrine network, controls the balance between tolerance and immunity to nonself-antigens. Whilst this tight junction should allow absorption of essential nutrients and ions, intestinal tight junctions that are “leaky” allow substances, which should not be absorbed into the blood stream. Select enteric viruses, bacterial pathogens and parasites modulate intestinal tight junction structure and function and these effects may also contribute to the development of chronic intestinal disorders.

Physiological, pharmacological, and pathophysiological stimuli all cause changes in the barrier properties of the tight junctions. Enteric pathogens such as E. coli, Giardia, and TNF disrupt tight junctions function of epithelial cells. Alcohol consumption induces a state of "leaky gut" increasing plasma and liver endotoxin levels, leading (in excess) to liver diseases.

3. Altered intestinal immune responsiveness

Kupffer cells are macrophages located in the liver. When Kupffer cells become activated they produce a variety of substances including cytokines, chemokines, growth factors, cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase metabolites, and reactive oxygen species such as superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide, and nitric oxide that damage the TJs and lead to increased intestinal hyperpermeability.

Food allergy

Non-IgE Mediated (Delayed) Food Allergy

These are allergic reactions that are delayed and are mediated by the cells of the immune system called immune complexes (antigen-antibody complexes), which circulate in the bloodstream. This is opposed to histamine release in immediate reaction food allergy. These circulating antigen-antibody complexes can lodge in tissues creating all sorts of problems in particular, asthma, eczema and hayfever, but also can develop severe autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis (children can get juvenile arthritis) and insulin dependant diabetes. There is a strong relationship between the antibody for bovine protein found in milk and the similarity of this protein to the pancreatic Islets of Langerhans for example as the body fails to recognise the difference in the cells due to the hygiene hypothesis and molecular mimicry.

Delayed reactions to food may take several hours or days to develop. Foods causing reactions of these types include cows’ milk, eggs, fish, wheat, other cereals, yeast, soya, pork, chocolate, citrus fruits, other fruit and some vegetables.

Excess inflammatory foods and deficient anti-inflammatory foods

Arachidonic acid (AA) is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid. It is the counterpart to the saturated arachidic acid found in peanut oil, and sunflower oil. Asthmatics display arachidonic acid metabolism imbalance.

Arachidonic acid is a precursor in the production of eicosanoids, such as the enzymes cyclooxygenase (COX), prostaglandins, prostacyclin, and thromboxanes and the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase (LOX) leads to 5-HPETE, which in turn is used to produce the leukotrienes. All, of these are pro-inflammatory and contribute to asthma.

Food sources include meat and dairy and other animal products.

Arachidonic acid metabolism


Arachidonic acid

Prostaglandin G2
Prostaglandin H2
Thromboxane A2 – TXB2 (pro-inflammatory)
PGF2alpha PGI2
Leukotriene A4
LTB4 Leukotriene C4 (pro-inflammatory)

Overactive Immune Response

Asthma is an immunological disorder characterised by an overly responsive immune system creating excess inflammation and damage along the bronchial airways. The physiologic abnormalities associated with asthma are not just limited to the airways themselves though. Important immune mediators such as Th1/Th2 imbalance and leukotrienes have been implicated.

The autonomic nervous system and cAMP:cGMP

Additionally, the autonomic nervous system plays an important role in the development and maintenance of asthma symptoms. The relationship between ANS and bronchial asthma represents an interaction between PNS and SNS innervation and beta-2-adrenurgic receptors (localised in lung tissue and react to circulating catecholamines)

Stimulate parasympathetic vagus nerve causes airway constriction.

This vagal mechanism involves;

  • Release of acetylcholine at the synapse
  • Subsequent binding to its receptor on smooth muscle tissue
  • The subsequent formation of cGMP

It is for this reason that new drug therapy is designed to inhibit PDE IV enzymes as Phosphodiesteridase is the enzyme involved in regulating cAMP:cGMP ratio.

Phosphodiesterase inhibitor drugs

A phosphodiesterase inhibitor is a drug that blocks one or more of the five subtypes of the enzyme phosphodiesterase (PDE), therefore preventing the inactivation of the intracellular second messengers cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). Inhibition of PDE is the focus of drug therapy used to treat many conditions. PDE4 drugs are antiasthmatic. PDE5 drugs include Viagra and remedy erectile dysfunction.

PDE4 inhibitor

A phosphodiesterase type 4 inhibitor, commonly referred to as a PDE4 inhibitor, is a drug used to block the degradative action of phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) on cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), therby increasing cAMP.

PDE4 inhibitors result in;

  • Increase of CAMP
  • Smooth muscle relaxation
  • Bronchodilation

Naturopathic treatment principals include incorporating natural PDE inhibitors in the diet to increase cAMP and restore balance. Indications PDE4 inhibitors have shown a wide range of therapeutic potential including treatment of:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)
  • Asthma

Endocrine System and Asthma

Endocrine abnormalities have been implicated in asthma. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is the primary system through which the body organises physiologic stress response. If this system is compromised, the body cannot produce adequate inflammatory hormones, or control inflammation effectively. It is the reason why physical and emotional stress can precipitate asthma symptoms.

In particular, adrenal function and low production of endogenous anti-inflammatory hormones such as cortisol and DHEA. Activity of the adrenal gland is important in asthma because of the hormones cortisol and adrenalin.

  • Cortisol is a very effective prime activator beta-receptors of the lungs.
  • Adrenalin is a prime stimulator of beta-receptors of the lungs.

The adrenal gland

The large, outer portion of the adrenal gland is called the adrenal cortex. It produces several hormones necessary for maintaining and restoring equilibrium. These hormones include glucocorticoids, which regulate blood sugar and inflammation, mineralocorticoids, which regulate salt balance and sex the hormone precursor, DHEA. The main glucocorticoid is called cortisol.


Cortisol (hydrocortisone) is a glucocorticoid or steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol increases blood sugar through gluconeogenesis, acts as a natural anti-inflammatory to suppress the immune system and aids in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism and decreases bone formation. Various synthetic forms of cortisol are used to treat a variety of diseases. A side effect of long term steroid use however, is adrenal insufficiency. Cortisol is our own anti-inflammatory hormone. Cortisol can become depleted in chronic inflammation.


Adrenalin (epinephrine) is produced in the inner portion of the adrenal gland called the adrenal medulla. Adrenalin is responsible the "fight-or-flight" response to stress. Originally, adrenalin helped us escape natural predators however nowadays, adrenalin is produced as a result of day to day modern stressors, bad news, television, video games, sports, high consumption of caffeine, fast food etc.

The adrenal gland and the circadian rhythm

The adrenal gland does not secrete its steroid hormones at a constant level throughout the day. The hormones are actually released in a cycle with the highest value in the morning and the lowest value at night. This 24-hour cycle is called the circadian rhythm. An abnormal adrenal rhythm can influence many functions of the body.

1. Energy Production - Abnormal adrenal function alters the ability of cells to produce energy. People who have difficulty rising in the morning, or who suffer with a low energy levels, often have abnormal adrenal function and blood sugar imbalance.

2. Muscle and Joint Function - Abnormal adrenal rhythms inhibit tissue healing. Reduced tissue repair and increased tissue breakdown can lead to muscle and joint breakdown with chronic pain.

3. Bone Health – The circadian rhythm of the adrenal gland determines bone building. Elevated morning and evening cortisol levels inhibit bone building making bones more prone to osteopoenia and osteoporosis.

4. Immune system - White blood cells cycle in and out of the spleen and bone marrow for special conditioning (possible nourishment and instruction) according to the cortisol cycle. Stress suppresses the immune response on the surfaces of our body as in lungs, throat, urinary and intestinal tract by causing a reduction in the surface antibody (called secretory IgA). This reduces resistance to infection and inflammation.

5. Sleep - High cortisol levels at night and in the morning. Negatively affect the ability to enter REM sleep cycles, i.e. regenerative sleep. Chronic lack of REM sleep can reduce the mental acuity and induce depression.

6. Skin - Skin regenerates during sleep. Excess cortisol at night prevents skin regeneration.

7. Thyroid - The level of cortisol at the cell level controls thyroid hormone production. The root of hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue and low body may be due to adrenal insufficiency.

8. Grain Intolerance - About 12-18% of the population, specifically those with Celtic, Germanic, and Nordic derivation suffer from a genetic intolerance to grain. Consuming the grains can cause as adrenal stress response, increased cortisol and reduced DHEA.

Adrenal exhaustion

In response to chronic stress including chronic inflammatory disease such as asthma, the body produces excess cortisol and adrenalin. This is known as hyperadrenalism After prolonged periods, the body can no longer produce sufficient cortisol and adrenalin. This is known as adrenal exhaustion. Adrenal exhaustion describes the inability of the adrenal gland to respond to the pituitary glands call to increase hormone production.

There are three stages of adrenal exhaustion which include;

Stage 1

The first stage also called hyperadrenalism, is characterised by abnormally high cortisol levels and low DHEA levels. Symptoms of high cortisol include insomnia, sugar cravings, confusion, weight gain, hot flushes, water retention, glucose intolerance and muscle wasting. Cortisol also decreases serotonin and melatonin levels which may cause depression and insomnia, respectively. Cortisol is also immunosuppressive which may result in a compromised immune system resulting with frequent infections, chronic inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disease.

High cortisol also can inhibit the metabolism of T4, a thyroid prohormone produced by the thyroid gland, into its active T3 form. This can create a thyroid hormone imbalance known as reverse T3 dominance which can further exacerabate your adrenal symptoms.

Stage 2

During stage two DHEA remains low while cortisol supplies will hover in the low-normal range leaving you feeling tired and stressed, but functional.

Stage 3

During stage 3 cortisol level are deficiency throughout the day. The naturopathic treatment principal is to tonify the nervous system and tonify the adrenal gland to regulate cortisol and adrenalin levels. Adaptogens have an amphoteric action on the adrenal gland meaning they can increase cortisol levels in cases of deficiency and reduce adrenal hormones in cases of excess.

Multiple Chemical Hypersensitivity Syndrome (MCHS)

Asthma may be due in part to something called to Multiple Chemical Hypersensitivity Syndrome (MCHS) also known as 20th century syndrome or sick building syndrome. Multiple chemical hypersensitivity syndrome is a chronic medical condition characterised by symptoms the affected person attributes to exposure to low levels of chemicals. Commonly suspected substances include xenobiotics such as smoke, pesticides, VOCs from plastics, synthetic fabrics, scented products, petroleum products and paints.

Symptoms may be vague and non-specific, such as nausea, fatigue, and headaches. MCHS can contribute to viral infections such as EBV / CMU enterovirus, candida, giardiasis, helicobacter pylori etc. and chronic inflammatory conditions including autoimmune disease and atopic disease such as eczema, asthma, hayfever, urticaria and food allergy. Naturopathic treatment principals are to avoid chemical exposure by all means. The nmost potent group in relation to asthma are Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Volatile Oil Compounds VOC

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) refers to organic chemical compounds which can affect the environment and human health. Because the concentrations of VOCs are usually low VOCs are typically not acutely toxic but have chronic effects with slow developing symptoms. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnoea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue and dizziness.

At present, not much is known about what health effects occur from the levels of organics usually found in homes. Many are suspected or known carcinogenics. Prolonged exposure of VOCs in the indoor environment increases the incidence of leukaemia and lymphoma.

Sources of VOCs

Paints and coatings

A major source of man-made VOCs are solvents, especially paints and protective coatings. Motivated by cost, environmental concerns, and regulation, the paint and coating industries are increasingly shifting towards aqueous solvents.

Chlorofluorocarbons and chlorocarbons

Chlorofluorocarbons, which are banned or highly regulated, were widely used cleaning products and refrigerants. Tetrachloroethene is used widely in dry cleaning and by industry.

Fossil fuels

Industrial use of fossil fuels produces VOCs either directly as products (e.g. gasoline) or indirectly as byproducts (e.g. automobile exhaust).


Methyl tert-butyl ether MTBE is a petrol additive. MTBE was banned in the US around 2004 in order to limit further contamination of drinking water. It has been found to easily pollute large quantities of groundwater when gasoline with MTBE is spilled or leaked at gas stations.

Indoor air quality

In offices, VOC results from new furnishings, wall coverings and office equipment such as photocopy machines. Since people today spend most of their time at home or in an office, long-term exposure to VOCs in the indoor environment can contribute to what is known as sick building syndrome. New buildings especially, contribute to the highest level of VOCs. Humans also use many consumer products that emit VOC compounds, therefore the total concentration of VOC levels is much greater within the indoor environment. Good ventilation and air conditioning systems are helpful at reducing VOC emissions in the indoor environment.


Many building materials such as paints, adhesives, etc slowly emit formaldehyde, which irritates the mucous membranes and can make a person irritated and uncomfortable.

Obesity and asthma

A strong correlation is being seen between the development of asthma and obesity. Several factors associated with obesity may play a role in the pathogenesis of asthma, including decreased respiratory function due to a buildup of adipose tissue (fat) and the fact that adipose tissue leads to a pro-inflammatory state.

Systemic inflammation and obesity

With the discovery of interleukins (IL), the concept of systemic inflammation developed. Although the processes involved are identical to tissue inflammation, systemic inflammation is not confined to a particular tissue but involves the endothelium and other organ systems. An increase in inflammatory markers increases the risk of asthma. Chronic inflammation is widely observed in obesity.

The obese commonly have many elevated markers of inflammation, including;

    • IL-6 (Interleukin-6)
    • IL-8 (Interleukin-8)
    • IL-18 (Interleukin-18)
    • TNF-α (Tumour necrosis factor-alpha) CRP (C-reactive protein)
    • Insulin
    • Blood glucose
    • Leptin

Tryptophan Metabolism

Asthmatics have been shown to have a metabolic defect in tryptophan metabolism and reduced platelet transport for serotonin. Serotonin is brocho-constricting. Patients may benefit form a tryptophan-reduced diet. The richest dietary sources include fish, meat, dairy, eggs, nuts and wheat germ Alternatively vitamin B6 could be used to supplement the diet as this aids in the metabolism of tryptophan.

Insufficient levels of vitamin D are linked with severe asthma attacks

Natura Medicine Treatment Principles

1. Avoid triggers

2. Avoid drugs and food additives

3. Stimulate the immune system naturally to reduce the effects of the Hygiene Hypothesis

4. 4 Rs. Improve digestion, absorption and assimilation, decrease antigenic foods.

5. Reduce inflammation

6. Increase the ration of cAMP:cGMP

7. Boost the immune system

8. Tonify the adrenal glands

9. Reduce VOCs

10. Avoid smoking

11. Avoid obesity

12. Replace nutritional deficiencies

1. Avoid triggers

  • Exercise
  • Viral infection
  • Animals with fur or hair
  • House-dust mites (in mattresses, pillows, upholstered furniture, carpets)
  • Mould
  • Smoke (tobacco, wood)
  • Pollen
  • Pollution
  • Drugs and food additives
  • Changes in weather
  • Strong emotional expression (laughing or crying hard)
  • Airborne chemicals or dusts
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Symptoms occur or worsen at night, awakening the patient

2. Avoid drugs and food additives

Preservatives and additives are linked with asthma, eczema, hay fever and other allergic disorders and behavioural disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The following are the major offenders;


The major foods containing benzoates (or additive 210-219 particularly 211) are cordial, soft drinks, fruit and vegetable juices, sauces and toppings, dairy and fat based desserts, ice creams and jams. Benzine is a well-known carcinogen linked with leukaemia.


Sulphites have been linked to asthma and skin rashes. The most common foods containing sulphites are sausages, cordial, red wine and preserved fruit such as sultanas, dried apricots etc. Sulphites can be found in minced meats. Sulphur dioxide, in particular sulphites 220- 227 have been shown to induce asthma.


Avoid food colourings especially tartrazine 102 a yellow food dye and related compounds 103-155 excluding 120, 140, 141, 150, 153 and including 180.Tartrazine promotes leukotrienes which worsen allergy and asthma symptoms


E220 Sulphur dioxides - the HACSG* recommends to avoid it. May cause allergic reactions in asthmatics, destroys vitamin B1, typical products are beer, wine, soft drinks, dried fruit, juices, cordials, wine, vinegar, potato products and luncheon meats.

E221 Sodium sulphite - See 220

E222 -Sodium bisulsulphite - see 220

E223 Sodium metabisulphite - see 220

E224 Potassium metabisulphite-see 220

E225 Potassium sulphite - see 220

E226 Calcium sulphite

E227 Calcium hydrogen sulphite

Summary of food additives to avoid

1. Aspirin and other NSAIDs are known to exacerbate asthma. These drugs inhibit cyclooxygenase whilst promoting lipoxygenase. This results in excessive levels of leukotrienes

2. Decrease foods high in arachidonic acid as this leads to inflammation. Arachidonic acid is found mainly in animal products.

3. Avoid food additives especially tartrazine E 102 a yellow food dye and related compounds E103-E155 excluding E 120, 140, 141, 150, 153 and including E180.Tartrazine promotes leukotrienes. It is even found in an anti-asthma medication called aminophylline. 4. Benzoates E 210-219 are commonly used food preservatives in processed foods and some fish.

5. Sulphur dioxide, in particular sulphites E220- 227. These are common food preservatives. Sulphites have been shown to induce asthma. Sulphites are used in red wine and preserved fruit such as sultanas, dried apricots etc. Some allopathic medication, including certain inhalant bronchodilators. i.e. Bricanyl (terbutaline sulphate) and Ventolin, (salbutamol sulphate)

6. Moulds. There is a mould on peanuts and peanut butter called aflatoxin that should be avoided at all costs. Try other nut butters such as cashew butter or tahina.

7. Decrease food allergens. Immediate onset sensitivities are usually due to egg, fish, shellfish, nuts and peanuts. Delayed onset sensitivities are usually due to milk, chocolate, wheat, citrus and food colourings. Asthmatics should be on a Low Reactive

8. Avoid foods high in salicylates. Asthmatics can be sensitive to aspirin and related ibuprofen; medication can induce wheezing in a few hours. Did you know however that certain foods are high in salicylates and can also induce asthma? i.e. Oranges and apples.

3. Stimulate the immune system naturally to reduce the effects of the Hygiene Hypothesis

Retrain your immune system. Vaginal delivery, breastfeeding, increased exposure to respiratory infection per the hygiene hypothesis (such as in those who attend daycare or are from large families) all reduce the risk of allergic disease and asthma. Do not vaccinate. Allow your children to be exposed to normal childhood diseases and manage these naturally with herbs and supplements. Get dirty, allow your children to get dirty. Encourage normal play on the beach or in the dirt. Avoid the overuse of antibacterials particularly on eating utensils and dishwashing liquid.

Remember, the development of specific immunoglobulin antibodies to environmental allergens encountered early in life is a normal, healthy physiological response to develop tolerance to the environment. Examples of these allergens include not only surface and airborne bacteria and viruses but also foods in particular and cows’ milk or egg. However, if there is an abnormal response and large numbers of antibodies are generated, this may cause an allergic reaction.

Fever management

The ability to throw a good fever is an example of the strength of what naturopaths term, the Vital Force. Many patients with chronic autoimmune conditions and allergic disorders do not get fevers. Many patients have taken fever suppressing medications there whole lives. The fever is a natural response and should not be suppressed. When the fever is between 38-40°C cancer destroying immune cells are activated. The fever inhibits toxins and clears waste from the tissues, lymph and blood, on which bacteria feed and multiply. Killer T-cells are increased, as are neutrophils and macrophages, which are the white blood cells responsible for destroying invaders. Fever IS NOT DANGEROUS unless the temperature is over 101°F (38.3°C) in an infant, 103°F (39.4°C) in a child or 104°F (40°C) in an adult.

The treatment principal is to encourage and support the fever. Next time you get sick do not take paracetamol or aspirin. Lose the soldier on attitude. Eat chicken soup and go to bed. For fever management, I recommend yarrow, elder and peppermint (YEP) or LEP tea if you are pregnant (lime flowers, elder flowers and peppermint).YEP tea is a blend of diaphoretic herbs, which promotes sweating to lower temperature. Please note herbs are amphoteric meaning that they can increase the temperature in a low-grade fever or increase temperature in a high-grade fever. Alternatively if someone is throwing a low grade fever, ie < 38 °C a warm YEP tea will increase the body temperature. With 6 children I understand the importance of finding a natural medicine practitioner who has experience and results with children. Find someone you know you can trust to help your family avoid vaccinations, antibiotics and western medicine. For an appointment email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

4. 4Rs

  1. Reduce with an oligoantigenic diet and oral food challenge
  2. Replace digestive enzymes with herbal bitters, and papain, bromelain, lipase,
  3. Repair gut lining to reduce antigenic load
  4. Reinoculate the bowel flora with fibre, prebiotics and probiotics

5. Reduce inflammation

Inflammatory cytokines such as tumour necrosis factor alpha play a role in the pathophysiology of PCOS. Basically, limit pro-inflammatory foods and eat liberal amounts of anti-inflammatory foods.

Anti-inflammatory Food List

  • Fresh fish: mackerel, sardines, tuna, salmon, trout, and oily fatty fish types.
  • Colourful fresh vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, peas, spinach, kale, parsley, radishes, carrots (raw), celery, onions, garlic, cucumbers, etc.
  • Colourful fresh fruit: apples, pears, kiwi, oranges (not juiced), grapefruit, peaches, plums, melons, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, many others
  • Lean chicken, turkey, well trimmed grass-fed beef and bison, venison
  • Dried nuts, seeds, beans
  • Herbs and spices (no salt)
  • Green and brown teas
  • extra virgin olive oils
  • FishOil, Omega-3EPA/DHA
  • BorageOil,GLA
  • Greentea,EGCG
  • Magnesium(Citrate)
  • ,Vitamin-C
  • Vitamin-E (Gamma)

Pro-inflammatory Food List

  • Fatty meat, chops, hamburger,
  • butter, margarine, most cooking and omega-6 vegetable oils, including soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, cottonseed oils and many others
  • All grain fed meats, farm raised fish
  • All fried foods, grilled or BBQ meats
  • All dairy products, milk and eggs
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup, HFCS
  • Simple carbohydrates: sugar, pasta,white rice, potatoes, bread, pastries
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol, tobacco and other addictive habits
  • Avoid pollution.
  • Avoid insecticides.

6. Increase the ration of cAMP:cGMP

Natural PDE inhibitors

Many foods contain compounds which are natural PDE inhibitors and consuming these compounds can act as natural PDE inhibitors to inhibit inflammatory cytokines and raise cGMP.

Methylated xanthines

  • caffeine
  • aminophylline
  • theobromine
  • theophylline (a bronchodilator)

Methylated xanthines are competitive nonselective phosphodiesterase inhibitors which raise intracellular cAMP, activate PKA, inhibit TNF-alpha and leukotriene synthesis, and reduce inflammation and innate immunity. Food sources of methyl xanthines, thrombine, thephylline and caffeine are chocolate, tea and coffee.

Luteolin and PDE inhibition

Luteolin is a flavonoid which acts as an antioxidant, promotes of carbohydrate metabolism and modulates the immune system. Luteolin is a PDE4 inhibitor and a general phosphodiesterase inhibitor and an Interleukin 6 inhibitor. Dietary sources of luteolin include celery, green pepper, thyme, perilla, chamomile tea, carrots, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary, navel oranges and oregano.

Olive oil phenols and PDE inhibition

Olive oil phenols inhibit platelet aggregation by inhibiting PDE and lowering cAMP Dell'Agli M., et al.Inhibition of platelet aggregation by olive oil phenols via cAMP-phosphodiesterase. Br J Nutr. 99(5):945-51.

Coleus forskohlii extract for asthma

Forskolin relaxes airway smooth muscle in guinea pigs in vitro and in vivo by raising tissue cyclic AMP levels and that its actions are independent of beta-adrenoceptors.

7. Boost the immune system

Vitamin C

Ascorbic acid activates neutrophils, increases production of lymphocytes, the white cells important in antibody production and in coordinating the cellular immune functions and is antibacterial, antiviral antifungal diseases. Vitamin C increases production of interferon our body’s own natural antiviral. Food sources of vitamin C include sprouts, wheatgrass juice, juices, raw fruits and vegetables.


Zinc increases the production of white blood cells that fight infection and helps them fight more aggressively. It also increases killer cells that fight against cancer and helps white cells release more antibodies. Zinc supplements have been shown to slow the growth of cancer. Zinc increases the number of infection-fighting T-cells. Food sources of zinc include beef, oysters, pumpkin seeds, eggs, crab and beans.


Beta carotene increases the number of infection-fighting cells, natural killer cells, and helper T-cells, as well as being a powerful antioxidant that mops up excess free radicals that accelerate ageing. Food sources of caretenoids include orange and yellow vegetables, carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, peppers.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural killer cells, those that seek out and destroy germs and cancer cells. Vitamin E enhances the production of B-cells, the immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. Vitamin E supplementation may also reverse some of the decline in immune response commonly seen in ageing. Food sources of vitamin E are wheatgerm, sunflower seeds and vegetable oils including, sunflower, rapeseed and olive.


Selenium mineral increases natural killer cells and mobilises cancer-fighting cells. Best food sources of selenium are tuna, red snapper, lobster, shrimp, whole grains, vegetables (depending on the selenium content of the soil they're grown in), brown rice, egg yolks, cottage cheese, chicken (white meat), sunflower seeds, garlic, Brazil nuts, and lamb chops.

8. Tonify the Adrenal Glands

Adaptogenic herbs produce an increase in power of resistance against all stress whether it is physical, chemical, biological or emotional. Adaptogens restore and normalise physiological functions in the event of stress, including the stress that winter has on our circadian rhythm and hormone patterns. Adaptogens are specifically prescribed for chronic inflammation as they can lower excess levels of cortisol in adrenal stress and replenish levels of cortisol in adrenal exhaustion. The use of herbal adaptogens is extremely safe and recommended at all stages of adrenal exhaustion when combined with nervous system tonics to calm the bodies reaction and appropriate lifestyle advice in the way of balancing blood sugar, reducing stimulants and promoting relaxation.

Herbal Medicine

The Adaptogens in Carahealth Energy Tonic

  • Lower cortisol levels during times of stress
  • Boost immunity
  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve resistance to stress
  • Improve concentration and memory
  • Improves symptoms of SAD

See also Carahealth Stress Tonic

Nutritional supplements to tonify the adrenals


Contains Vitamin B6, niacin and other B vitamins needed as co-factors in enzymatic pathways and to restore proper adrenal functioning.


L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that produces a calming effect in the brain. It works by increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that is a relaxer and creates a sense of well-being. L-theanine may be taken to help modulate mood and relieve stress in many health conditions (Abe et al. 1995; Kobayashi et al. 1998; Juneja et al. 1999).

L Tyrosine

Tyrosine is converted into noradrenaline and adrenaline, al;so dopamine and thyroid hormones(triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4)) Magnesium (Citrate) Important for cellular energy (ATP) production. It is essential for enzyme production in the adrenal cascade.

Pantothenic Acid

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) activates the adrenal glands. It is a precursor of acetyl CoA (a part of the Krebs's cycle which produces cellular energy) and acetylcholine (a primary neurotransmitter). Studies have demonstrated that pantothenic acid supplementation stimulates the ability of adrenal cells in male rats to secrete corticosterone and progesterone.

Vitamin C

The adrenals themselves have a very high content of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Vitamin C is essential for the production of adrenal steroid hormones, increases overall adrenal function and stimulates the immune system.


Aging and diseases associated with aging can cause a decline in critical hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Pregnenolone is converted into antiaging hormones such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. DHEA supplementation may help to partly rectify hormone imbalances caused by age-induced adrenal insufficiency. DHEA helps to protect against the overproduction of cortisol from the adrenal glands and enhance the immune system.


Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland and functions to regulate circadian rhythm and induce sleep. Melatonin circadian secretion in patients with pituitary- or adrenal-dependent Cushing's syndrome was shown to be significantly lower compared to healthy control groups. Studies also have shown that nightly administration of 2 mg of melatonin increased the DHEA-S-cortisol ratio after 6 months of treatment (Soszynski et al. 1989; Bruls et al. 2000; Pawlikowski et al. 2002).

9. Reduce VOC exposure

Reduce your risk of MCHS. Make sure rooms are adequately ventilated. Avoid VOC containing products including paints and polyvinyl flooring. Use natural materials wherever possible. Avoid teflon pans.

10. Avoid smoking

Limiting smoke exposure both in utero and after delivery.

11. Avoid obesity

Lose weight. See, Carahealth Weight loss Tonic

12. Replace nutritional deficiencies

Nutritional Supplements

Omega 3 essential fatty acids By increasing the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids in cells membranes this inhibits the availability of arachidonic acid and the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and potent inflammatory mediators, leukotrienes. Dose, eat deep sea fish at least 3 times a week.

Vitamin B6 Reduces frequency and severity of wheezing and asthmatic attacks. Studies have shown that children with asthma have a defect in tryptophan metabolism and reduced platelet transport for serotonin is a known brochoconstricting agent in asthmatics. Pyridoxine supplementation can correct blocked tryptophan metabolism.

Theophylline also reduces tryptophan levels. Dose 25-100mg per day. Vitamin B12 Decreases shortness of breath on exertion. And reduces the effect of free radicals. The mode of action is the formation of sulphite-cobalamin complex, which blocks sulphite effects, therefore is especially effective in sulphite-affected individuals.

Vitamin A Maintains the integrity of the epithelial lining of the respiratory tract and increases resistance to infection. Dose 5000 – 10 000 IU per day.

Vitamin C Dose 1-4 g per day. Asthmatics have low serum C. Bioflavonoids – antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Decreases allergic reaction and bronchoconstriction, prevents infection and inflammation. A high dose before exercise can provide protection from exercise induced asthma. C and other antioxidants maintain the redox state of the lungs.


Quercetin 400mg per day. Inhibits all inflammatory mediators. Inhibits histamine from mast cell and basophils, inhibits lipoxygenase leading to less production of leukotrienes. Inhibits anaphylactic contraction of smooth muscle. Involved in the biosynthesis of SRS-A slow reaction of anaphylaxis. Protects vitamin from oxidation. Antioxidant. High in red onions, eucalyptus and black oak, capers.

Vitamin E Dose 250mg per day. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Lipoxygenase inhibitor Magnesium Dose 300-1000mg per day. Relaxes smooth muscle and reduces bronchial hypersensitivity. Bronchodilator. Zinc Dose 10 mg per day. Deficiency of zinc can result in poor immunity and poor healing.

Selenium Dose 250 mcg per day. Makes E work. Decrease leukotrienes by ensuring optimal activity of glutathione peroxidase. Carotenes / lycopene Dose 10, 000Iu or 20-60mg per day. Stabilises cell membranes. Powerful antioxidant

Herbal Medicine

Herbal actions required

  • Nervines
  • Anti-allergic
  • Anti-asthmatics
  • Bronchodilators
  • Immune stimulants
  • Lung tonics
  • Adaptogens

Bitter receptors

The University of Maryland School of Medicine announced in 2010 that bitter taste receptors had been discovered on smooth muscle in human lung bronchi. These smooth muscles control airway contraction and dilation - contrary to expectation, bitter substances such as quinine or chloroquine opened contracted airways, offering new insight into asthma.

For further details on this topic, to lecture for your group or institution on this subject. or to arrange an online appointment contact Carina This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu.

Cert IV TAE. 

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.