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4 Herbs to Relieve Asthma Symptoms Naturally

Asthma is a chronic disease that often starts during childhood but can affect people of all ages.

World Asthma Day 2018

Ever since 1998, the first Tuesday of May is annually observed as World Asthma Day. The theme for 2018 is ‘Never too early, never too late. It’s always the right time to address airways disease.’ This year marks the 20th annual World Asthma Day organised by Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The American Lung Association states that people in the US spend about $6 Billion a year on Asthma meds. According to WHO estimates, 235 million people suffer from this disease worldwide, of which India has an estimated 15-20 million asthmatics.1,2

Here are a few herbs that could help relieve asthma symptoms:

1. Boswellia (Boswellia Serrata – also known as Indian frankincense)

Hindi Common Name: (Shallaki, Kundur, Luban)

Research suggests that boswellic acid (in boswellia) can prevent the formation of leukotrienes (molecules identified to cause inflammation) in the body.3 Leukotrienes may trigger asthma symptoms.

Boswellia reduces leukotrienes, which causes bronchial muscles to contract. A study done in 1998 showed that people who took boswellia had decreased asthma symptoms.4 Ongoing research has demonstrated positive immune-balancing properties of the herb in reducing overreaction to environmental allergen.5

How to take it:

You can buy Boswellia Serrata supplement online. Take about 500 – 600mg Boswellia Serrata extract once a day for a month to see an improvement in the symptoms.

2. Green Tea and Coffee

Caffeine present in green tea or black tea or coffee can help alleviate asthma symptoms. Caffeine present in green tea or coffee works similar to theophylline, a popular asthma medication that helps open up the airways.6 Tea or coffee can improve breathing in people with asthma for up to four hours.

How to take it:

A cup of tea or coffee can provide temporary relief for the symptoms.

Herbs To Treat Asthma Naturally Medical And Health Infographic.png

3. Eucalyptus Oil

Hindi Common Name: Nilgiri Oil, Tailapatra, Sugandhapatra

Eucalyptus oil is a natural remedy that’s been used for thousands of years. Inhaling its vapor can provide relief from breathing problems like bronchitis and asthma.7

How to use it:

Put 3-4 drops of eucalyptus oil into an oil diffuser and sit near it. Take deep breaths. If you don’t have an oil diffuser, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a cup of boiling water. Then breathe in the vapor.

4. Ginkgo Biloba (also known as maidenhair tree)

Ginkgo biloba has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has been found to significantly help decrease the infiltration of inflammatory cells such as eosinophils and lymphocytes in the asthmatic airway and relieve the airway inflammation.8,9

How to take it:

Take Gingko Biloba capsule of 120mg once every day to obtain relief from the symptoms.


  1. Bronchial asthma http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs206/en/ (Accessed on 17 June 2018)

  2. Chronic respiratory diseases http://www.who.int/respiratory/asthma/en/ (Accessed on 19 Aug 2018)

  3. S. Singh; A. Khajuria; S. C. Taneja; R. K. Johri; J. Singh; G. N. Qazi. Boswellic acids: A leukotriene inhibitor also effective through topical application in inflammatory disorders. Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology, ISSN: 1618-095X, Vol: 15, Issue: 6-7, Page: 400-7 Publication Year: 2008

  4. Gupta I, Gupta V, Parihar A, Gupta S, Lüdtke R, Safayhi H, Ammon HP. Effects of Boswellia serrata gum resin in patients with bronchial asthma: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, 6-week clinical study. Eur J Med Res. 1998 Nov 17;3(11):511-4. PubMed PMID: 9810030.

  5. KK Soni, T Lawal, S Wicks, U Patel, GB Mahady. Boswellia serrata and Ocimum sanctum extracts reduce inflammation in an ova-induced asthma model of BALB/c mice. Planta Med 2015; 81 – PB4 DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1556201

  6. Bara AI, Barley EA. Caffeine for asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001;(4):CD001112. Review. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(1):CD001112. PubMed PMID: 11687099.

  7. Sadlon AE, Lamson DW. Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. Altern Med Rev. 2010 Apr;15(1):33-47. Review. PubMed PMID: 20359267.

  8. Ginkgo Biloba. http://web.stanford.edu/group/hopes/cgi-bin/hopes_test/ginkgo-biloba/ (Accessed on 19 Aug 2018)

  9. Tang Y, Xu Y, Xiong S, Ni W, Chen S, Gao B, Ye T, Cao Y, Du C. The effect of Ginkgo Biloba extract on the expression of PKCalpha in the inflammatory cells and the level of IL-5 in induced sputum of asthmatic patients. J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2007 Aug;27(4):375-80. PubMed PMID: 17828490.

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