Controlling Asthma Without Your Inhaler

Over 18 Million Americans live with asthma. Traditionally, they are treated with inhaled and/or oral medications to help control airway inflammation and acute attacks. These treatments are often necessary if the patient wishes to avoid frequent attacks and hospital visits.

The Big News is increasing evidence suggests that specific lifestyle changes and integrative treatments have the potential to control asthma as well as reduce severe attacks. For asthma treatment from the best asthma specialist in New York, get in touch with Dr. Shukla today for a consultation.


It seems like experts are saying yoga is good for just about everything these days, and asthma is no exception. The deep breathing that goes on during yoga practice has been shown in studies to help asthmatics “reduce hyperventilation and in turn improve symptoms and outcomes, particularly during attacks.” Regular yoga practice helps patients focus on deep, prolonged breathing. This improves airflow and can be extremely beneficial during asthma attacks.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

One study showed that people who had diets high in Omega-3’s had improved quality of life and relied less on rescue medications. You can add Omega-3’s to your diet by eating more walnuts, salmon, and pumpkin seeds. It may also be a good idea to add a daily fish oil supplement to your regimen. If you prefer a completely vegetarian option, you can use a flax seed oil supplement.

Vitamin B6

This member of the B vitamin family has been shown to benefit asthmatics who are steroid-dependent. Supplementation with B6 contributed to better breathing, especially early in the morning. In people with low B6 levels, supplementation reduced acute wheezing episodes. However, the results on B6 supplementation and asthma in various studies have been mixed. You should discuss your optimal B6 levels with your primary care physician before starting supplementation.

Vitamin C

Research has demonstrated that a diet high in vitamin C reduced wheezing episodes in children. The jury is still out for adults, but why not snack on an orange or kiwi fruit just in case it might help? Adults and children can also take palatable, chewable or gummy vitamin C supplements daily to make sure they get enough.


Butterbur is a perennial shrub that grows in Europe, Asia, and North America. It has been used for years to treat asthmatics in Asia and Europe but is not well known therapeutically in America. The active components of butterbur are believed to reduce smooth muscle spasm and have an anti-inflammatory effect. This means it can reduce wheezing and acute attacks. Researchers have found that butterbur works well when used in conjunction with inhalers because it enhances the inhaler’s anti-inflammatory effect. Use of butterbur can decrease the number, duration, and severity of asthma attacks. It can also reduce the need for inhalers.


Another thing that can be used in conjunction with the common inhaled asthma medications is ginger. Researchers found that when combined with these medications, ginger enhanced airway dilation more than medication alone. The ginger compounds are thought to work by directly reducing contraction of the muscles around the airways. Ginger is a delicious ingredient to cook with. You can add grated ginger, honey, and lemon to hot water or tea for a soothing treat. Ginger supplements are also available.


Have you heard of biofeedback? It is a type of bodywork that is sometimes recommended as a therapy for asthma. A 2004 study showed that biofeedback can improve lung function and decrease the need for asthma medication among people who learned the technique. In biofeedback, electronic monitoring devices are used to “feed-back” information to the patient so that they can learn to control their body functions which would normally happen automatically. In this study, patients were hooked up to a heart rate monitor, together with breathing exercises and “subliminal suggestions designed to help asthma,” to learn to control their heart rate and breathing. Like butterbur and ginger, biofeedback was explored as a complement to other treatments, not a replacement for medications.

Some Caveats…

Supplements have not been tested for safety and, because dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label.

Also, keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

Even though most supplements are bought over-the-counter, they can still interact with other medications. Make sure to consult your doctor before starting any supplement.

Finally, this is a list of integrative treatments, which means they are meant to be used alongside conventional medicine. Always consult a doctor for primary treatment of your asthma symptoms; and integrate your doctor’s treatment with these self-care tips.

Best Asthma Specialist in New York

As the best asthma specialist in New York, Dr. Shukla prides himself on attention to detail and planning to your specific needs – including asthma medications, asthma nebulizers, prednisone, and other treatments. As your symptoms change over time, Dr. Shukla can adjust your plan as needed. The first step is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Shukla online or by calling (917)746-3431.

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