Asthma

Also indexed as:Bronchial Asthma
Don’t let asthma knock the wind out of you. Asthma is a lung disorder characterized by sudden fits of wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Supplement Amount Why
Amrita Bindu
250 to 500 mg twice per day master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Amrita Bindu is an Ayurvedic herbal preparation shown to have antioxidant activity. In one study, some children with severe asthma who received amrita bindu were able to stop their asthma medications and were no longer having asthma attacks.
Beta-Carotene
64 mg a day of natural supplement master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Some researchers have suggested that exercise-related asthma attacks might be caused by free-radical damage caused by the exercise. Supplementing with beta-carotene, an antioxidant, protects against free-radical damage and may prevent these attacks.
Boswellia
300 mg three times per day of a resin extract master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
In one trial, people with acute bronchial asthma who took powdered boswellia resin extract had significantly fewer asthma attacks and improved measurements of breathing capacity.
Butterbur
Adults: 50 mg three times per day for adults; children: 50 to150 mg per day, depending on body size master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
In one study, asthma patients taking inhaled steroids who also took butterbur extract saw significant improvement in airflow.
Fish Oil
Consult a doctor master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Research shows that fish oil partially reduces reactions to allergens that can trigger asthma attacks. It has also been shown in one study to prevent exercise-induced asthma attacks.
Green-Lipped Mussel
50 mg of omega-3 fatty acids twice per day master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
In a study of people with asthma, supplementing with a proprietary extract of New Zealand green-lipped mussel (Lyprinol) significantly decreased wheezing and improved airflow.
Holy Basil
500 mg three times per day master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Animal studies have found that extracts of holy basil help keep the bronchial airway passages clear. In two trials, asthma patients who took holy basil had better breathing function and fewer attacks.
Ivy Leaf
25 drops of a leaf extract twice per day master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
A study involving children with bronchial asthma suggested that ivy leaf was effective in increasing the amount of oxygen in the lungs.
Lycopene
30 mg daily master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes, helps reduce exercise-related asthma attacks.
Magnesium
300 to 400 mg daily master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
People with asthma frequently have low magnesium levels. Supplementing with the mineral might help prevent asthma attacks because magnesium can prevent bronchial spasms.
Picrorhiza
400 to 1,500 mg of powdered root per day master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Two preliminary trials have shown picrorhiza to improve asthma symptoms.
Pycnogenol
1 mg per pound of body weight per day, in two divided doses master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
In one trial, supplementing with Pycnogenol improved lung function and asthma symptoms and reduced the need for rescue medication in children with asthma.
Saiboku-to
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
In preliminary trials, saiboku-to, a traditional Japanese herbal formula with numerous anti-inflammatory actions, has been shown to reduce asthma symptoms and the need for steroid medication.
Selenium
100 mcg daily master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Asthma involves free-radical damage that selenium might protect against. In one trial, supplementing with sodium selenite (a form of selenium) improved symptoms in some patients.
Tylophora
150 to 400 mg daily of powdered leaf master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Tylophora has been shown to benefit people with asthma in a variety of ways, including relieving asthma symptoms, increasing the lungs’ capacity for oxygen, and reducing nighttime shortness of breath.
Vitamin B6
100 to 200 mg daily master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Vitamin B6 deficiency is common in asthmatics. Supplementing with the vitamin may decrease the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
Vitamin C
1,000 to 1,500 mg daily master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
Supplementing with vitamin C reduces the tendency of the bronchial passages to go into spasm, an action that has been confirmed in double-blind research.
Vitamin D
1,200 IU per day for 15 to 17 weeks master.k.m.us.2Star Health Conditions [2 stars]
A study of Japanese children found that daily supplementation with vitamin D during the winter months significantly reduced the amount of times the children experienced asthma attacks.
Betaine Hydrochloride
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Used under medical supervision, betaine HCl may help restore stomach acid levels and improve asthma symptoms.
Bromelain
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Bromelain reduces the thickness of mucus, which may be beneficial for people with asthma.
Coleus
50 to 100 mg of an extract standardized to 18% forskolin, taken two to three times per day master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
One trial found that a constituent of coleus, called forskolin, when inhaled, could decrease lung spasms in asthmatics.
Elecampane
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Elecampane has been used traditionally to treat coughs associated with asthma.
Ginkgo
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Supplementing with the herb Ginkgo biloba may improve asthma, as its extracts block the action of a compound that contributes to asthma symptoms.
Hyssop
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Hyssop, which has a soothing effect on bronchioles, has traditionally been used for asthma.
Khella
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Khella is considered an anti-spasmodic. Though it is not strong enough to stop acute asthma attacks, it has been recommended by German herbal medicine practitioners for chronic asthma symptoms.
L-Carnitine
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
In a double-blind trial, supplementing with L-carnitine improved lung function and overall asthma control, compared with a placebo, in children with asthma.
Licorice
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Licorice, which has a soothing effect on bronchioles, has traditionally been used for asthma.
Lobelia
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Lobelia has been used traditionally to treat coughs and spasms in the lungs from all kinds of causes.
Marshmallow
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Marshmallow, which has a soothing effect on bronchioles, has traditionally been used for asthma.
Molybdenum
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
The trace mineral molybdenum helps the body detoxify sulfites, which can trigger asthma attacks.
Mullein
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Mullein, which has a soothing effect on bronchioles, has traditionally been used for asthma.
Onion
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Onion may act as an anti-inflammatory in people with asthma.
Quercetin
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
Quercetin, a flavonoid found in many plants, has an inhibiting action on lipoxygenase, an enzyme that contributes to problems with asthma.
Thymus Extracts
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
A thymus extract known as thymomodulin has been shown to improve the symptoms and course of asthma, presumably as the result of restoration of proper immune function control.
Vitamin B12
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
In some people, asthma symptoms can be triggered by ingesting sulfites, a food additive. Pretreatment with a large amount of vitamin B12 reduced some children’s asthmatic reaction to sulfites in one trial.
Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Selenium
Refer to label instructions master.k.m.us.1Star Health Conditions [1 star]
There is some evidence that a combination of antioxidants vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium may help prevent asthma thought to be caused by air pollution.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.