Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Award-Winning Author and Wellness Nurse Practitioner

Home, Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Author and Nurse Practitioner
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Asthma/Allergies & Wellness Approaches

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1. Try pantothenic acid (a B-vitamin that dries up secretions) It may also help with post nasal drip. Follow the directions on the bottle.


2.  Be sure to drink 8-10 glasses of water every day, more if exercising or perspiring! Dehydration is a common source of pain and poor body function. Your lungs will function better if they're hydrates.


3.  Eat a low salt diet


4.  Eat a lot of these foods because they're high in omega-3 fatty acids that protect your lungs: fish, almonds, flax seeds, walnuts, pumpkin, onions, and fruits and vegetables (at least five servings a day; apples, blueberries and cherries have been shown to be especially protective).


5.  Eat more whole grain cereals and wheatgerm. They're high in vitamin E, which may lower asthma risk. Unless you're allergic to wheat; See #12 below for more on how to find out if you're allergic to wheat or other foods.


6.  Avoid fried foods and other trans-fatty acids.


7.  Eat low fat yogurt with active cultures to help with digestion.


8.  Vitamin C, up to 2 grams a day protects against air pollutants.


9.  Fish oil capsules (1-1.2 grams of EPA and DHA per day) for asthma. (Use in collaboration with your health care practitioner and avoid if you're aspirin-sensitive)


10. Combination herbal formulas should be used in the treatment of asthma with  medical supervision and in collaboration with an experienced herbalist or practitioner of TCM. Safe herbs, such as Boswellia and gingko, may be used singly as adjuncts to a comprehensive plan of care if you and your practitioner have an interest in trying them while staying alert for drug-herb interactions. No data on the long-term use of these single herbs in asthma exist.


11.  Mind-body interventions such as yoga, hypnosis, and biofeedback-assisted relaxation and breathing exercises are beneficial for stress reduction in general and may be helpful.


12. You may have a food allergy. Find out by eliminating one at a time for 6-8 weeks each: wheat, corn, soy and sugar to see if the condition improves.

13. Use ginger and turmeric in cooking or buy them in capsules; both have anti-inflammatory effects. 

14. Learn massage (buy a good book or take an adult course offered in your community) and offer to massage asthmatic children or spouses. You can even use self-massage in a pinch.


15. Freeze-dried stinging nettle leaves may be tried, but be aware that there is little research evidence for its use.


16. Try homeopathic remedies in collaboration with a homeopath. They have been found useful for allergic inflammation of the inside of your nose.


17. Exercise and increased protein and fat intake may help, but coordinate these with your health care practitioner.


18. Try N-acetyl-cysteine supplementation for COPD at doses ranging between 400 and 1200 mg daily; there are convincing research results at this level. (Find this supplement at a Health food store or online).


19. Magnesium may help. Ask your health care practitioner to do a lab test to measure red blood cell magnesium levels to guide the use of magnesium replacement.


20. The use of L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 for COPD needs further study, but  has been shown effective in some cases. (Health food store items.)


21. The addition of essential oils to the dietary regimen of chronic bronchitis and asthma is worth exploring. Tumeric oil can significantly remove phlegm/mucus, relieve cough and prevent other symptoms. 


22. Saline washes may be helpful for nose inflammation and chronic sinusitis.


23. The German herbal combination (available in the United States) of elderberry, vervain, gentian, primrose, and sorrel has been tested in randomized clinical trials and found useful in some cases.


24. Bromelain is safe to try; the trials of bromelain supplementation were promising but were never repeated. Find at a health food store or eat fresh pineapple.


25. Breastfeed your children; it provides a significant reduction in the risk of childhood asthma.


26. Try a capsaicin (red pepper) spray to reduce nasal congestion and runny nose.


27. Lose weight if overweight and asthmatic. A heavy body makes breathing more difficult.


28. Try evening primrose capsules (health food store) in collaboration with your health care practitioner. It has been found useful with dry scaly skin of dermatitis.


29. Avoid taking replacement hormones to reduce risk of asthma or using inhalers.

30. Heartburn (acid reflex, GERD) is often the underlying problem with asthma/allergies; take probiotics and aloe vera gel to settle the digestive system.

31. Try ways to expand your lung capacity. One way is singing. It doesn't matter how you sound, but sing along with your favorite music; try to imitate the singers, holding the notes as long as they do.

Here's a link to breathing to ehlp with lung issues;



 Avoid unnecessary use of inhalers: they can lead to vomiting, nervousness, headaches, anxiety, rapid heartbeat and more.

Avoid taking anti-asthma/allergy drugs such as Claritin, especially for long periods of time; some negative effects include:

hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.


Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • fast or uneven heart rate;
  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes); or
  • seizures (convulsions).

Less serious side effects may include:

  • headache;
  • nervousness;
  • feeling tired or drowsy;
  • stomach pain, diarrhea;
  • dry mouth, sore throat hoarseness;
  • eye redness, blurred vision;
  • nosebleed; or
  • skin rash.





To find supplements and herbs go to your local health food store or go online. Also click on this link for self-healing ideas...

To find other wellness resources, click on this line.

More Sources and Resources


Das UN. Essential fatty acids as possible enhancers of the beneficial actions of probiotics. Nutrition 2002 18(9):786.


Fogarty A, Lewis S, Weiss S, Britton J. Dietary vitamin E,Ig E concentrations and atopy. Lancet 2000 356(9241):1573-4.


Gilliland FD. Asthma linked to childhood obesity. American Thoracic Society 2001 97th International Conference, San Francisco, May 18-23.


Jaber R. Respiratory and allergic diseases: from upper respiratory tract infections to asthma. Prim Care 2002 Jun;29(2):231-61 Division of Wellness and Chronic Illness, Department of Family Medicine, University Hospital and Medical Center, Health Sciences Center, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794-8461, USA. rjaber@notes.cc.sunysb.edu

Kull I, Wickman M, Lilja G, Nordvall SL, Pershagen G. Breat feeding and allergic diseases in infants-a prospective birth cohort study. Arch Dis Chil 2002 87(6):478-81.

Lewis S. Can diet stave off lung disease? 97th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society, May 18-23, San Francisco.

Li C, Li L, Luo J, Huang N. Effect of turmeric volatile oil on the respiratory tract. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1998 23(10):624-5.

Marabini S, Ciabatti PG, Poili G, Fusco BM, eppetti P. Beneficial effects of intranasal applications of capsaicin in patients with vasomotor rhinitis. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 1991 248(4):191-4.

Romieu I, Sienra-Monge JJ, Ramirez-Aguilar M et al. Antioxidant supplementation and lung functions among children with asthma exposed to high levels of air pollutants. Am J Respir Criti Care Med 2002 166(5):703-9.

Seeram NP, Momin RA, Nair MG, Bourquin LD. Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin gloycosides in cherries and berries. Phytomedicine 2001 8(5);362-9.

Troisi RJ, Speizer FE, Willett WC, Trichopoulos D, Rosner B. Menopause, postmenopausal estrogen preparations and the risk of adult-onset asthma. American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine 152(4) Pt 1):1183-8.

Yoon S, Lee J, Lee S. The therapeutic effect of evening primrose oil in atopic dermatitis patients with dry scaly skin lesions is associated with the normalization of serum gamma-interferon levels. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol 2002 15(1):20-5.

 This article is for information only. For treatment, consult your health care practitioner. 

This article is extracted from Dr. Clark's book: American Holistic Nurses' Association Guide To Common Chronic Conditions: Self-Care Options to Complement Your Doctor's Advice, which devotes a full chapter to asthma and allergies. For more information on allergies and asthma, find the book at Amazon.com.




Think positive and you'll be positive!

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