By Olena Gill
I'm starting this off with some hard facts-over 25 million North Americans suffer or have been affected by asthma, or some form of chronic lung disease. Thousands are admitted to hospitals, and many die as a result.
This is a disease that cannot be hidden-you can hear it loud and clear. It is characterized by the loud wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, that can be heard, and felt, by many.
Asthma is really not something to sneeze at-it is chronic lung disease in which the walls of the air passages become inflamed and constricted.
Why asthma truly occurs remains a mystery, however there are many reasons why this disease gets triggered. It is these triggers that can be looked at to make asthma more manageable, and controlled, for individuals to actually lead a healthy, functioning life.
From the Chinese Medicine perspective, there are several organs that are actually involved that may affect the proper functioning of the lungs. Because asthmatics often experience a build-up of phlegm or mucous as part of their feelings of constriction, the stomach and spleen are one of the primary pair of organs which have a direct connection here.
From an elemental view, if there is too much Fire or heat in the Stomach it will dry up the Lungs and suck up the moisture. If the Spleen is too Damp, it will create phlegm or mucous in the body, in this case, the Lungs. The Kidneys and Bladder are the second organ pair that, if not functioning properly, have a direct effect on Lung function. In a nutshell, if the Kidneys are working properly, they actually aid the Lung in doing its job as well. In cases of childhood asthma, it is thought that one of the core issues is actually a deficiency of Kidney energy, and so treatment would center on strengthening the Kidneys themselves.
External triggers that affect all these organs, including those asthma symptoms relating to the lungs can be many things. Specific foods are common-dairy, sugar, caffeine, and wheat are huge contributors to Spleen and Stomach dysfunction, and create massive amounts of phlegm in the body. Equally, the lack of drinking sufficient amounts of water-dehydration-tends to exacerbate asthmatic symptoms, and negatively affects Kidney function. Environmental triggers such as mold, dust, pet dander, pollen, certain medications, or smoke are also prevalent around people who suffer from asthma. Stress and anxiety is also a huge factor in triggering asthmatic attacks.
The long and short of it is this-you can control this disease; it doesn't control you. While it is not a silent one in the least, it can be managed and controlled through many means. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine techniques can help as well, and are found to be very effective in aiding asthmatics in living a very normal life. So breathe free-take action now.
Olena Gill is a naturopath at Indigomedicine. This article first appeared in The Herbal Collective, Jan/Feb,'09. Herbal Club members get access to more than two years worth of herbal and natural health information.