Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
What are the supplements and herbs out there purporting to be effective with asthma? Do any of these really work?
A: The following natural treatments for asthma are widely recommended, but they have not been scientifically proven effective at this time:
Supplementation with vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 is said to be effective for asthma.
The flavonoid quercetin is often recommended as a treatment for asthma on the basis of test-tube studies that show it can inhibit the release of inflammatory substances from special cells called mast cells.
Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, beta-carotene, and selenium, are frequently recommended for asthma on the grounds that they may protect inflamed lung tissue.
Essential fatty acids, such as GLA and those found in fish oil and flaxseed oil, are suspected to inhibit inflammatory responses such as those that occur in asthma.
Other commonly recommended asthma treatments include the herbs aloe, chamomile, damiana, elecampane, garlic, grindelia, licorice, marshmallow, mullein, onion, reishi, and yerba santa, as well as the supplement betaine hydrochloride. Lobelia inflata is a traditional herbal treatment for asthma, but according to traditional directions, it should be taken to the point of vomiting, a process that can hardly be recommended.
You may also find these specially formulated Traditions of Tao products helpful for asthma: “Lung Congestion”, “Breathe Ease” “Perpetual Shield” and “Yang Exhaustion”. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.