A common upper respiratory tract disease affecting many people including children is asthma. An asthma attack causes inflammation of the lining of the lungs and airways.
Phlegm or mucous may also get trapped in the airways. This in turn makes breathing difficult. Medications such as steroids, expectorants and bronchodilators are generally used to relieve the inflammation.
But, they cause side effects in few people. A safe natural herb to relieve symptoms of asthma is turmeric. Use of turmeric for asthma offers quick relief.
Turmeric is root of the perennial plant Curcuma longa. It has thick brown skin and orange colored flesh. Turmeric that is similar to ginger is used as food and as a therapeutic agent. It is also known as Indian saffron or haldi. Turmeric is being used since centuries in Chinese and Indian medicine.
Properties of turmeric
- Yellowish orange in color.
- Strong odor.
- Peppery and slightly bitter taste.
- Possess anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant property.
- Rich source of minerals manganese, potassium and iron, vitamins B6 and fiber.
The anti-inflammatory action of curcumin relieves inflammation of the air ways and tightness of chest associated with asthma.
How to use turmeric for asthma?
Turmeric can be used to treat symptoms of asthma in various ways.
- Relieving congestion of bronchi: To relieve blocked bronchi turmeric has to be taken with salt mixed in hot water. Licking one teaspoon of turmeric along with ½ tsp of honey also offers relief from congestion of bronchi.
- Eliminate phlegm: Mix turmeric powder, banana ash and barley powder in equal proportions along with honey. Have this paste four to five times in a day to get rid of phlegm.
- Relieve irritation of bronchioles: Mix turmeric powder, ghee and black pepper powder to make a paste. Massage the chest and throat region using the paste to reduce irritation of the bronchioles.
- Burn turmeric till red hot and inhale the smoke. The smoke serves as a strong expectorant.
- Breathing problem commonly observed in asthma patients can be relieved by taking turmeric that is partially roasted and later ground using hot water.
- Boil a small piece of turmeric in milk. Now, sweeten the milk with jaggery and have it to obtain relief from asthma.
- Intake of 1/4tsp of turmeric along with a small glass of hot water helps prevent asthma attacks.
Recommended dosage of turmeric for asthma relief
Use of turmeric supplements in children is not yet studied. Hence, there is no recommended dosage for children. For adults the turmeric dosage depends on the form of turmeric being taken.
- 1.5 – 3 g of cut root per day.
- 1 – 3 g of dried and powdered root per day.
- 400 – 600 mg of curcumin powder 3 times per day.
- 30 – 90 drops of fluid extract (1:1) per day.
- 15 – 30 drops of tincture (1:2) 4 times per day.
The dosage requirements may vary depending on your health status and tolerance levels. Hence, consult the physician before taking turmeric for asthma in any form to prevent complications.
Turmeric treatment for Asthmatic Bouts
Asthmatic bouts are a difficult period, especially if they occur very frequently. Turmeric can be effectively used for the same. I was reading a book by K H Krishnamurty, a well known writer on natural cure and herbal remedies. He suggests the following use of turmeric for Asthmatic bouts:
- Take 3 gms of turmeric powder and mix it with powder of 7 grains of black pepper. Mix this with pure mustard oil. Patient should lick this paste in the morning.
- Grind ~110 grams of Calotropis (also known as milk weed) and ~55 grams of turmeric. Use approx. Add 110 grams of any bitter oil in the mixture and then cook it till watery portion vanishes and only oil remains. Bring down the vessel and then let it cool. Strain the oil using a clean cloth and store the oil. This all has to applied to back, chest, belly and front throat through sprinkling it and through fomentation also.
Both of the above have to be carried for a week and monitor the condition. Several dietary precautions also need to be taken along with the treatment so to avoid any digestion related stress. Patients should:
- Not eat excessive fried and spicy food
- Should avoid consuming food such as jaggery, curd, black gram etc.
- Should avoid eating stale food
- Eat as much as green leafy vegetables, rice, wheat, etc. – basically very light meal
Selecting and storing of turmeric
If you suffer frequently from upper respiratory tract infections then it is highly recommended to store turmeric at home. To retain the medicinal value of the herb and to prevent mold infestations it has to be stored appropriately.
Consider purchasing turmeric from herbal stores renowned for offering genuine herbs. As mistaken by many color of turmeric is not an indicator for quality of the herb. If genuine turmeric powder cannot be found in the local stores then make turmeric powder from fresh roots by boiling, drying and grinding the dried roots.
If you can get organic turmeric, that will be best. Here are some tips to choose good quality turmeric powder.
Store turmeric powder in sealed tins and place them in dry, dark and cool place. Store the fresh root in refrigerator.
Lastly, use of turmeric for asthma should offer relief in ten minutes. If you do not find relief seek immediate medical attention.