Cutting out all meat and dairy products from the diet seems drastic to some, but it was absolutely worth it to for Adam Wakeling, a 30-year-old man who once depended on an inhaler to alleviate asthma attacks. After switching to a plant-based diet for a month, Adam’s asthma faded away and he no longer uses an inhaler. The medication he was instructed to take only made the situation worse. When he tried to wean himself off it, the asthma attacks grew more severe. He knew this wasn’t how medicine should work. He knew this was not the life he wanted. His curiosity led him to a lifestyle change.
For one month he became a vegetarian. He read into the benefits and finally gave it a try. He gave up dairy and meat products. “Within a week of not consuming any dairy in particular, I felt that my airwaves were more open and I was not as wheezy in the mornings,” he said. Shortly thereafter, he gave up on the inhaler. His doctor told him to stick with the inhaler, but Adam didn’t listen.
His asthma started to disappear, like a ghost no longer believed in. His health problems had existed for two years because of the inflammatory foods he was eating. One day when he felt wheezy, he recognized the cause of the inflammation – the food he ate at a restaurant the day before. Meat and dairy products cause inflammation in the body, which was obviously constricting Adam’s airway. One of the problems with meats is a chemical that is often added– sodium nitrite. This chemical converts to carcinogenic nitrosamines in the digestive system and causes inflammation.
A plant-based diet does the opposite. Plants are generally anti-inflammatory and act as a natural therapy for people with inflammation-based health problems. Nutrient-rich plants help create an environment in the body where cells can thrive. Many health problems are rooted in inflammation, so a plant-based diet is something more people should adopt. Some plants have properties that can provide therapeutic relief from inflammation and asthma attacks.
Mullein: The leaves and flowers of the soft, towering mullein plant (Verbascum thapsus) possess expectorant and emollient properties. This herb helps the body remove excess mucus from the lungs and soothes the mucous membranes, making breathing easy and calm.
Marshmallow root: The ancient Romans, Chinese, Egyptians, and Syrians once included marshmallow root and leaves in their diet. This plant contains mucilage, which soothes the mucous membranes in the body. This allows for easier digestion and breathing.
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis): When used moderately, is anti-spasmodic, antiseptic, and antibacterial. These properties provide relief for lung issues ranging from pleurisy, phlegm buildup, bronchitis, and asthma.
Lobelia: A very small amount (one tsp) can be added to herbal teas to help dilate the airway. This plant contains a unique substance called lobeline which can also be used to rid the body of the addictive effects of nicotine. A larger amount of lobelia will cause the body to purge, which could help if the person was poisoned or needs to purge out a foodborne pathogen.
Wild Cherry Bark: This plant was used by the Chippewa’s, an American Indian tribe. The bark can be ground into a powder and consumed as a natural expectorant. This bark is also anti-spasmodic, astringent, and can help soothe a cough. It’s anti-inflammatory effects help a person breathe, even in cases of bronchitis and asthma. (RELATED: For more news on herbal medicines, foods, and therapies, visit Herbs.News)