Asthmatics are allergic to environmental substances known as allergens. It’s a misdirected response by the body’s natural immune system – instead of attacking bacteria and viruses, it targets ‘harmless’ substances such as pollen, spores, dust mites and perfume. The body responds by producing a defensive substance or antibody called immunoglobulin E, which may result in allergic reaction. This causes the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs to become irritated and inflamed. This action may result in mucus production as well as tightening or narrowing of muscles around the walls of the airways, making breathing difficult. Asthmatic attacks thus occur when the airways come in contact with a foreign invader, “asthma trigger”.
Symptoms: Coughing; wheezing or a whistling noise in the chest; breathlessness; a tight feeling in the chest; increased heart rate
The above symptoms may occur immediately following contact with a trigger or may be delayed, and their severity varies among individual asthma sufferers. If an attack is severe enough, it can kill. And please note the symptoms could be as a result of conditions other than asthma. Endeavour to see an expert for proper diagnosis.
Triggers: Though allergies can come from almost any substance, it is said that dust is the most common allergic trigger and affects more than 80 per cent of asthma sufferers.
Many asthmatics say that being in a smoky environment makes their symptoms worse. Exercise is a possible trigger in many others. Some women have also noticed that their asthma gets worse just before their period, which suggests hormones may play a role. How about colds and other viral infections? These may also intensify symptoms as they lead to an increase in mucus production. In addition, asthma can be triggered by an allergic reaction to certain foods ingested like crayfish. In addition, strong perfumes; exposure to fumes; intense emotional situations like depression, crying and even laughing are possible triggers too.
Stressful situations (mental or physical fatigue) and infections of the upper and lower respiratory tracts may also intensify symptoms as they tend to compromise the immune system.
Other triggers include cat and dog skin flakes and fur, plus certain medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, beta-blockers for high blood pressure and some eye drops. For this reason it is important to remind your health practitioner that you have asthma when medicine is prescribed for you.
Whatever is the cause, the triggers can bring on attacks that can last from several hours to several days. The key point is to track down your triggers and as completely as possible eliminate them from your life. Once this is done, then you have achieved the first crucial step in dealing with your asthma.
Using mustard seeds to alleviate
There are some many helpful remedies out there for asthma but mustard seed is top on my list. Such a very simple remedy and yet works wonders. Surprising? The medicinal importance of mustard seed derives from its active phytochemical compounds such as calcium, manganese, copper, iron, selenium, sulphur, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. In addition, the seeds have appreciable amounts of anti-oxidants such as vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as many flavonoids and carotenoids. The seeds also are great source of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins B 1 & B 6, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and dietary fiber, with very low glycemic index, GI.
Mustard seeds have long been used to treat inflammations of the body. The natural anti-inflammatory properties of these tiny seeds are attributed mainly to its selenium and magnesium contents. These two components have been shown to help reduce the severity of asthma. Its omega-3 fatty acids further help reduce inflammation and its accompanying secondary symptoms. Copper, sulphur and iron and in them are responsible for the prevention of asthma attacks.
Someone I know consumes mustard seeds regularly to control and keep the symptoms of asthma, cold and chest congestion at bay. The person hasn’t used an inhaler for more than 2 years! At the first sign of an attack, he would chew a few seeds and just like a miracle, his respiratory passage clears up.
Method of administration
It is recommended to chew about 10 gm of mustard seeds and drink a glass of water, kept under room temperature 2 X daily.
•Mustard tea made by adding very hot water to a tsp. of coarsely ground seeds. Take 1 teacup 1-2x daily, sweeten with honey, if desired.
•Brown mustard ground to powder to produce flour mixed with olive oil and honey. Take 1 tbsp 2-3X daily, till symptoms subside.
•Brown or black mustard flour mixed with lime or apple cider vinegar and honey. Stand for 48 hours, shaking intermittently. Take 1 tbsp. 2-3X daily.
•2-3 tbsp. of mustard oil warmed with camphor over a low flame.
Let it cool for few minutes and massage it on chest for 5 minutes, preferably before bed. You may use 1-2 cloves of garlic in place of the camphor.
•A poultice pack applied externally to the chest – made of black mustard seed mixed with a little water.
Now let’s get really adventurous! Give this mustard cocktail a try: Ingredients: 4 tbsp. coarsely ground yellow mustard seeds (mild flavor); 2 tbsp. coarsely black mustard seeds (spicy flavor); 1/3 cup grapefruit juice; 1/3 or < cup apple cider vinegar; 1 tsp. or > honey and 1 tsp. lime juice.
Directions: Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight (or for 12 hours). Fine strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a ¼ Inch thick cucumber slice.
Tomato, apple and cucumber juices all blend seamlessly. So get more creative making mustard cocktail while abating your asthma attacks. Enjoy!