Can Honey Help in Asthma?
Honey has been widely used as a remedy for treating ailments such as cough, fever, infections, and inflammation from time immemorial. It reportedly has antioxidant, anti-immunomodulatory, and antibacterial effects. But can it help in conditions such as asthma? Let us explore.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease, which affects the airways of the lungs. It is characterized by inflammation in the bronchial tubes and the production of mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe. It hits millions of people every year. It causes problems like breathlessness, wheezing, coughing, and might even lead to an attack.
Drug therapy has become the most common treatment to manage asthma. Examples include short-acting β-agonists, inhaled corticosteroids, and long-acting β-agonists. These drugs alleviate asthmatic attacks by relaxing the airway smooth muscle. However, asthma attacks and exacerbations can still occur, as the treatment does not alter the underlying pathology. Unfortunately, prolonged use of drug therapy can cause local and systemic side effects, including oral candidiasis, dysphonia, growth failure, accelerated loss of bone mass, elevated intraocular pressure, and mild tachyphylaxis. These problems highlight the need to find an alternative treatment for asthma with fewer side effects, and the use of natural products is a promising approach.
One of the most popular home remedies is the usage of honey. It is either taken orally mixed with some other ingredients or by inhalation. Honey can be used to treat coughing and the subsequent wheezing associated with asthma. Honey soothes the mucous membranes in your airways. Mucous accumulation in the bronchial tubes, better known as airway constriction, is one of the causes of asthma symptoms. Honey is effective in treating night-time coughing in children associated with asthma which is called nocturnal asthma.
Researchers at UCLA suggest taking 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime. It’s believed that the sweetness of honey triggers your salivary glands to produce more saliva. This may lubricate your airways, easing your cough. Honey may also reduce inflammation in the bronchial tubes (airways within the lungs) and help break up the mucus that is making it hard for you to breathe.
What is the difference between Asthma and Seasonal Allergies?
Asthma and allergies are related conditions, but there are some important differences. If you’re allergic to things in the environment such as pollen and dust, your body produces antibodies as a response. Those antibodies cause the production of chemicals, such as histamines. They are what cause congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, itching, a cough, and other allergic reactions.
Those same antibodies can also trigger an asthma attack. But unlike an allergy, asthma is a problem experienced deep in the lungs and upper airways. It’s a more serious health concern than environmental allergies. Even mild exertion can lead to an asthma attack in some people. Untreated, asthma can be life-threatening.
Ways to take honey for Asthma:
Below are some of the ways mentioned to consume honey to fight off the symptoms of asthma:
- Mixing 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder with a teaspoon of honey and having it right before bedtime. Honey and cinnamon may help remove phlegm from the throat and give your immune system a boost.
- Squeezing the juice of 1/2 lemon into a glass of warm water and adding 1 teaspoon of honey. Lemon juice has antioxidants that can strengthen the immune system and may help clear away mucus.
- Mixing 1 teaspoon with 8 ounces of hot water; have this two or three times a day. Be careful not to make the water too hot.
- Add cayenne pepper to honey. The capsaicin in the pepper can promote healthy mucus production, can clear out your airways, and can even reduce coughing and the pain relates to coughing too much.
- Mix ginger juice and honey in water with fenugreek seeds soaked overnight. Half a cup of this water can be had in the morning and a half in the evening.
Allergic asthmatics should be especially cautious when using honey as a cough treatment. Honey can contain traces of pollen, a common allergen. Depending upon the severity of your allergies, even the smallest amounts of pollen can cause rashes, facial swelling, and eye irritation. Hence, in case you are allergic to pollens or sting, you must be exercise caution while using honey.