This week in the HSI forum


An HSI member named Mark has titled a thread, simply, “Asthma,” and asks, “Any good combos of herbals or supplements or breathing exercises to help combat this issue of mine?”

The short answer: Yes. Starting with a recommendation from a member named Denyse. She went to a Chinese doctor to treat her recurring asthma attacks. He put her on an herbal regimen that brought relief the same day. Eventually she began acupuncture and is now asthma-free. Unfortunately she isn’t specific about the herbs she took, but suggests that Mark locate a good Chinese doctor.

A member who does get specific about an herbal treatment is Clara who recommends yaoma; a botanical extracted from the bark of an African gum tree. She told a 71-year-old friend about yaoma, and after a lifetime of coping with asthma, he now says he’s never felt so good.

A member who goes by the initials BZ writes: “Does anyone know of any natural preventives and/or remedies for asthma in children? My 6 year old grandson is being given Singulair as a preventive, and this concerns me.”

Clara responds again, writing, “I have a friend who has been giving it (yamoa) to her 8 year old girl with good results. Magnesium is also good for asthmatics because it helps to dialate the bronchioles. Also, make sure that plenty of water is drunk daily, which thins the mucus. As an aside, the whooping cough shot is linked to asthma in children. One woman I know with a young boy was shocked when I mentioned it because her son never had asthma until he was three, after receiving the whooping cough vaccination.”

On the supplement side, a member named Sharon suggests looking into quercetin, which is a very good idea. In the e-Alert “A Cell’s Best Friend” (5/1/03), I told you about quercetin; a flavonoid that gives fruits and vegetables their color, and has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. In a large Finland study of more than 10,000 subjects, researchers found that subjects who consumed more flavonoid-rich foods were less likely to suffer from a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and, of course, asthma.

A member named Richard has an interesting story about how he found the cause of his asthma: “After having Asthma since I was very young, about 2yrs old according to my mother, I recently discovered one of the main causes of Asthma for myself. Milk. For as long as I can remember, I have always consumed a great deal of low fat New Zealand Milk. As much as 2ltrs a day. You could say I was addicted.” A three-month overseas trip broke him of the milk habit, and also relieved his asthma. “I no longer require Asthma medication. I wonder what it is in the milk that was doing this to me? If Asthma in some people is just an allergic reaction, I would look to the air you breathe and the food/drink you consume. I hope this helps someone out there.”

No members offer any advice about breathing exercises, but a member named Gerry poses this question: “Anyone tried the Buteyko approach? It’s some sort of breathing exercise/pattern.” A member named Samm has heard of it (and notes that the web site has quite a bit of information), but adds that he, “would like to talk to someone who’s tried it. Anybody out there?”

If you’ve had any success with the Buteyko method, or if you know of any other breathing techniques that address asthma symptoms, drop by the “Asthma” thread on the HSI Forum and share your information with Gerry, Samm and others.

Other topics on the HSI Forum this week include:

* Why soft-boiled eggs are better
* Magnesium bicarbonate
* Lower blood sugar
* Rosacea
* Period cramps
* Dissolving leg clots

To join in with any of these discussions, just go to our web site at, find your way to the Forum, and add your own insights and comments about health, nutrition and natural treatments.