As we pass the midway point of Asthma Awareness Month, here are a few more of my favorite Chinese herbs used to treat Asthma. The trick is that, not only do the herbs have an anti-inflammatory quality (good to treat any of the allergic conditions), but they also have an immuno-regulatory quality, bringing balance to an over-reactive immune system. Again, I will refer the reader to this link to the PDF of a scientific trial done in New York by Drs. Li and Brown showing how the ASHMI formula had this effect on the subjects in the study.
In the meantime, here are some more amazing herbs used to treat asthma for your reading enjoyment.
Huang Qi: English name: Astragalus Root, Milk-Vetch Root; Pharmaceutical name: Astragali Radix. Perhaps my favorite of all the amazing TCM herbs, this is a major herb used in the chronic phase. It is also useful in the acute phase if it is necessary to ‘Consolidate Lung Qi’. Wheezing and coughing are said to deplete Lung Qi. Huang Qi helps to stop the leakage of Lung Qi. The main use, however, is to fortify Spleen and Lung Qi. It is often coupled with Ling Zhi. The two herbs work synergistically and also mutually increase each other’s ability to strengthen Qi. Very safe and we can use up to a 60 gram dose to maximize effect.
Fang Feng: English name: Saposhnikovia Root, Ledebouriella Root, Siler; Pharmaceutical name: Saposhbujivuae Radix. Another major ingredient in all atopic states. TCM: strong wind-dissipating effect. Conventional: strong anti-allergic effect.
Di Long: English name: Lumbricus, earthworm (yes, earthworm); Pharmaceutical name: Phretima. Guaranteed to raise some eyebrows and wrinkle some noses, Di Long is used as a primary ingredient for both chronic and acute phases. It has the ability to calm wheezing due to its strong bronchodilating action. It also has good anti-allergic effect. In TCM, chronic conditions commonly develop a Blood stagnation quality, and Di Long is effective in invigorating blood. This quality is helpful in reducing the swelling of the walls of the airways.
Huang Qin: English name: Scutellaria, Bacial Skullcap Root, Scute; Pharmaceutical name: Sculellariae Radix. One of the ‘Three Yellows’ know in TCM methodology to clear Damp-Heat from the body, Huang Qin is effective in clearing heat (and Phlegm to a certain extent) from the Upper Warmer – the Lung. It is especially good to use when Asthma is coupled with Eczema. It has a strong anti-allergic effect and is anti-bacterial, used in higher dosages if a bacterial infection is also present. The ‘Three Yellows’ are notorious for their strongly bitter flavor. ‘Bitter’ flavor in TCM has the ability to drain Dampness.
Bai Guo: English name: Ginkgo Nut; Pharmaceutical name: Ginkgo Semen. Extracts derived from the Ginkgo Nut are most commonly known to increase brain function. In TCM, we use Bai Guo in the treatment of Asthma as it has the double action of expelling Phlegm and astringing Lung. It has antibacterial and bronchodilator effect. It is commonly paired with Ma Huang (see previous post) for asthma symptoms of cough and wheezing with an excessive production of sputum due to an underlying Lung deficiency. Caution should be used if taking Aspirin as Bai Guo will increase inhibition of platelet aggregation. Also Bai Guo will interact with Warfarin by increasing international normalized ratio values.
Again, it is very important to note that the purpose of this post is simply to educate. The list is not intended for use by untrained individuals attempting to treat asthma. A proper TCM diagnosis by a trained, registered, and certified TCM practitioner (Dr.TCM, TCMP, or Registered TCM Herbalist) is the only way to ensure safety when prescribing the herbs.