1. I have read about dietary supplements that can cure asthma. I would like to try one. Any recommendations?
There is no known cure for asthma at this time, so any dietary supplement claiming this is using false advertising. Supplements should never be used “in place of” medications, but adding one to your diet may be fine as long as it does not interfere with any medications you are taking or adversely affect any health conditions you have. Always discuss the use of any dietary supplements with your asthma providers, who may be a nurse practitioner, physician assistant or a physician, before using them to make sure they are safe for you.
Resources you can use to check on the safety of dietary supplements include: U.S. Food and Drug Administration atwww.fda.gov, FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at www.cfsan.fda.gov, and FDA’s Web page on recalls and safety alerts atwww.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html.
2. My 6-year-old daughter has chronic asthma and I am worried about all the medicines she has to take. What natural remedies or alternatives are there to help her instead of all the medications she is on?
We often receive questions from people seeking alternative therapies to use in place of medications that they, or their children, must take for their asthma. Fear of medication side effects along with concern over the cost of medications leads many to search for another way of treating asthma. Medical experts are researching complementary and alternative therapies for their effectiveness in treating asthma, but they have not found any scientifically proven alternatives at this time that have consistently demonstrated they can replace standard medical therapy. However, a complementary therapy used along with standard medical therapy may be of benefit to some.
If you are considering a complementary therapy for yourself or your child, remember that asthma can be a life-threatening illness and proceed with caution. Explore the options carefully and discuss them with your provider, or your child’s physician, prior to trying the therapy to be sure it is safe.
To learn more about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) go to the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s Web site atwww.nccam.nih.gov.
3. I am at my wit’s end with my daughter. It seems we put all these medicines into her and the outcome ends up the same. Could it be she is building up an immunity to the different inhalers and should we just wean her off them?
People do not build up an immunity to their asthma medications. However, if exposure to your daughter’s asthma triggers has increased or she has developed new triggers her usual medications and dosages taken may not provide the same level of control as before. This may make it appear like her medications are not working or that she has built up an immunity to them. Since your daughter’s asthma control is not optimal, contact her provider to review her asthma management plan to make sure she is on the right types and amounts of medications. Her asthma triggers should be reassessed and avoidance measures reviewed to reduce exposure. You might also want to consider a referral to an asthma specialist for further evaluation. Allergist locator services can be found at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology’s Web site at www.aaaai.org and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology’s Web site at www.acaai.org.
4. I have heard of horehound tea being used for asthma. Would this be a suitable alternative to use for my 4-year-old daughter instead of albuterol?
Horehound is one of many herbs noted by herbalists to be helpful for lung ailments. However, it should not be used as an alternative to albuterol because it has not been scientifically proven to improve asthma symptoms as albuterol has. Herbs such as horehound which have been said to be helpful for lung ailments may alter the action of asthma medication and/or affect existing health conditions. Therefore, if you are considering the addition of horehound tea to your daughter’s regular treatment plan it is best to discuss this ahead of time with her provider to make sure it is safe for her.