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When an asthma sufferer comes into contact with something that irritates their airways (an asthma trigger), the muscles around the walls of the airways (bronchial tubes) tighten so that the airways become narrower and the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Sometimes, sticky mucus or phlegm builds up, which can further narrow the airways, making it difficult to breathe and leading to symptoms of asthma.

In addition to low vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and/or vitamin B1 (thiamine), low tin is a common nutritional cause of low adrenaline, which can lead to left-sided cardiac insufficiency. While fatigue or depression may be experienced with cardiac insufficiency of either side, breathing difficulties or asthma are more common with left-sided cardiac insufficiency and swelling of hands and feet is more common with right-sided cardiac insufficiency, regardless of the cause.

For natural food sources of these nutrients follow blue links:

NOTE: Untreated asthma flare-ups can lead to hospitalisation and can even be fatal. It is not a condition that should be self-treated. A doctor's supervision is required.

Asthma triggers

It can be difficult to identify exactly what triggers asthma. Sometimes the link is obvious, for example when symptoms start within minutes of coming into contact with a cat or dog. But some people can have a delayed reaction to an asthma trigger, so some extra detective work may be needed. Try to keep a diary or record of the times and situations when asthma is worse. This will help to identify what the asthma triggers are.


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What can be the causes of Asthma

  • A family history of asthma, eczema or allergies.

  • Annatto (E160b) food colouring contains salicylic acid which has been known to cause allergies and asthma attacks.

  • Many aspects of modern lifestyles - such as diet and a more hygienic environment - may have contributed to the rise in asthma over the past few decades.

  • Chemical pesticides and food additives consumed on a regular basis may be the cause of asthma.

  • Aerosol air sprays.

  • House hold cleaning products.

  • Certain types of plastics including those found in toys, vinyl flooring, sunglasses, car dashboards, CD cases, cutlery, tin cans, shower curtains, credit cards and a host of other everyday items.

  • Environmental pollution can make asthma symptoms worse and may play a part in causing some asthma.

  • Pets with fur or feathers.

  • Strong scents of perfume and aftershave.

  • Mould and fungi spores from damp in the home.

  • Leaky gut syndrome caused by food allergies.

  • Research has shown that smoking during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of a child developing asthma.

  • Children whose parents smoke are more likely to develop asthma.

  • Adult onset asthma may develop after a viral infection

  • Irritants found in the workplace may lead to a person developing asthma (known as occupational asthma)

Ways to avoid asthma and other allergies can be found on the Hygiene and Health page


House-dust mites


Symptoms brought on by house-dust mites may be reduced by following all the recommendations below:

  • Using barrier covers on the mattress, duvet and pillows.

  • Removing all carpets and replacing with hard flooring.

  • Vacuuming often – it is better for someone else to vacuum while the asthmatic person stay out of the room.

  • Using a damp cloth to dust rather than a duster.

  • Freezing soft toys or soft furnishings (in a plastic bag) for a minimum of six hours every one to two weeks to kill house-dust mites.

  • Hot washing (60°c) sheets, duvet covers and pillowcases at least once a week

  • Using a dehumidifier.

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma symptoms can range from mild, such as wheezing, to chronic coughing and wheezing during severe asthma attacks. These are some of the warning signs and symptoms:

  • Wheezing and shortness of breath

  • Difficulty sleeping due to shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing

  • Chest pain or tightness

  • Shortness of breath during exercise

  • Increased need for bronchodilators (medications that open airways by relaxing the surrounding muscles)

Asthma can be a sign of pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure)

Natural Remedies for asthma


Ash gourd or the common stinging nettle: Any kind of severe and chronic asthma can be cured with regular consumption of ash gourd or the common stinging nettle.


Ginger ale. Caffeinated beverages may irritate the stomach, so ginger can help. The carbonation releases any trapped gas in the chest and the ginger helps with nausea that may sometimes accompany asthma.

Lemon balm makes a refreshing tea that calms anxiety, restores depleted energy, enhances the memory and acts as a  decongestant and antihistamine, helping with allergy symptoms such as asthma and hay fever. To make a tea, pour hot water onto a handful of leaves in a jar. Screw on the lid and then cool and leave to chill for four hours in the refrigerator then serve with ice. Lemon balm leaf tea withmint or peppermint leaves and a teaspoon of locally produced honey, can reduce asthma and hay fever symptoms and reduce bloating and flatulence. Make the tea as above but include the mint or peppermint leaves then reheat, strain and add the honey then sip slowly. Drink three cups a day.

Maqui berry is a south American 'super fruit' which contains the highest amount of antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds than any other known natural food. Regular consumption can eliminate symptoms of asthma.

Raw juice therapy can help to reduce asthma symptoms. The best natural foods to juice are: a

  • Apricot

  • Carrot

  • Celery

  • Lemon

  • Peach

  • Pineapple

  • Radish

Swede: The regular consumption of Swede can help reduce the wheezing of asthma unless it is caused by an allergy to isothiocyanates. See Pemphigus

Tea relief for asthma

Making teas with any of the following medicinal herbs can alleviate asthma:

Drink three or four cups of tea, especially green tea, (helps to dilate the bronchial airways) but avoid coffee. See Dangers of coffee.

Herbal teas can often help alleviate the symptoms of asthma.

Herbal tea remedy one

Mix all the above ingredients and let them stand for two hours before straining then gently reheating and sipping slowly.


Herbal tea remedy two

  • The freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon 

  • Two teaspoons of ground echinacea root. 

  • Two teaspoon of elecampane root. 

  • One teaspoon of pure local honey

  • Two cups of hot bottled or filtered water. 

Mix all the above ingredients and let them stand for two hours before straining then gently reheating and sipping slowly.

Nutrients that can help to reduce asthma attacks

A combination of the three below is equal to, or better than ibuprofen, for reducing asthma-associated respiratory inflammation:

Natural sources of astaxanthin

Pink and red coloured fresh water and seafood such as crab, crayfish, lobster, prawns, red sea bream, red trout, salmon, salmon roe (eggs) and shrimp. The highest concentration of this powerful antioxidant is found in a type of algae (Haematococcus microalgae) and red krill oil. Taking 1000 mg of krill oil daily can help to reduce asthma attacks.

Highest sources of vitamin C in milligrams per 100 grams


  • Acerola cherries 1677.6 mg

  • Camu camu berries 532 mg

  • Rosehips 426 mg

  • Green chillies 242.5 mg

  • Guavas 228.3 mg

  • Yellow bell peppers 183.5 mg

  • Black currants 181 mg

  • Thyme 160.01 mg

  • Red chillies 143.7 mg

  • Drumstick pods 141 mg

  • Kale 120 mg

  • Jalapeno peppers 118.6 mg

  • Kiwi fruit 105.4 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 102 mg

  • Broccoli 89 mg

  • Brussel sprouts 85 mg

  • Cloves, saffron 81 mg

  • Chilli pepper 76 mg

  • Mustard greens 70 mg

  • Cress 69 mg

  • Persimmons fruit 66 mg

  • Swede 62 mg

  • Basil 61 mg

  • Papaya 60 mg

  • Rosemary 61 mg

  • Strawberries 58 mg

  • Chives 58 mg

  • Oranges 53.2 mg

  • Lemons 53 mg

  • Pineapple 48 mg

  • Cauliflower 48 mg

  • Kumquats 43.9 mg

  • Watercress 43 mg

  • Wasabi root 41.9 mg

  • Kidney bean sprouts 38.7 mg

  • Melon 36.7 mg

  • Elderberries 36 mg

  • Coriander 27 mg

When consuming foods rich in vitamin C it is also important to consume foods rich in vitamin E at the same time. This can be particularly helpful if any skin rashes are apparent as well as asthma. But it is also necessary as vitamin C increases iron absorption whilst vitamin E inhibits it and vitamin C reduces magnesium and zinc absorption while vitamin E increases it. Therefore an equal amount of each is required to maintain a balance. That is why it is a good idea to consume fruit with nuts and seeds at the same time.

Highest sources of vitamin E in milligrams per 100 grams


  • Wheat germ 149.4 mg

  • Hemp seeds 55 mg

  • Hazelnut oil 47 mg

  • Almond oil 39 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 38.3 mg

  • Chilli powder 38.1 mg

  • Paprika 38 mg

  • Rice bran oil 32 mg

  • Grape seed oil 29 mg

  • Almonds 26.2 mg

  • Oregano 18.3 mg

  • Hazelnuts 17 mg

  • Flaxseed oil 17 mg

  • Peanut oil 16 mg

  • Hazelnuts 15.3 mg

  • Corn oil 15 mg

  • Olive oil 14 mg

  • Soya bean oil 12 mg

  • Pine nuts 9.3 mg

  • Cloves (ground) 9 mg

  • Peanuts 8 mg

  • Celery flakes (dried) 6 mg

  • Spirulina 5 mg

  • Dried apricots 4.3 mg

  • Bell peppers (red), eel, olives and salmon 4 mg

  • Jalapeno peppers 3.6 mg

  • Anchovies 3.3 mg

  • Broccoli, chicken, chilli peppers (sun-dried), cod, crayfish, dandelion greens, egg yolk, duck, goose, pecan nuts, spinach, tomatoes (tinned or pureed) turkey and turnip greens 3 mg

  • Avocado, beef, bilberries, blue berries, butter, chicory greens, cinnamon (ground), crab, halibut, herring (pickled), mackerel, marjoram, mustard greens, pistachio nuts, poppy seeds, sardines, sesame seeds, Swiss chard, trout, tuna, turnips and walnuts 2 mg

  • Fish roe 1.9 mg

  • Asparagus, kiwi fruit and parsnips 1.5 mg

  • Black berries 1.2 mg

  • Chlorella 1.1 mg

Choline has been found to be useful in the treatment of asthma.


Natural sources of choline



Coumarins are aromatic and potent antioxidants that have been found to prevent asthma attacks however, over consumption of coumarin can cause liver damage in susceptible individuals therefore supplements are not advised.


Natural sources of coumarins



Cysteine has the ability to breakdown proteins found in mucous that settles in the lungs and therefore is useful in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis and other respiratory problems. Because the production of cysteine involves several nutrients a deficiency of methionine, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) and s-adenosyl methionine (SAMe) may decrease the production of cysteine. Drinking alcohol and certain medications can cause deficiencies of these nutrients which will in turn cause a deficiency in cysteine.


Highest sources of cysteine in milligrams per 100 grams


  • Rabbit (wild) 1243 mg

  • Soya beans 1046 mg

  • Sesame seeds 1012 mg

  • Pheasant 1007 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 952 mg

  • Chlorella (dried) 770 mg

  • Safflower seeds 685 mg

  • Mustard seeds 680 mg

  • Spirulina (dried) 662 mg

  • Oat bran 576 mg

  • Winged beans 545 mg

  • Calf’s liver 490 mg

  • Black walnuts 462 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 451 mg

  • Watermelon seeds 438 mg

  • Peanuts 433 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 404 mg

  • Chicken 397 mg

  • Quail 394 mg

  • Caviar (fish roe) 389 mg

  • Peanuts 375 mg

  • Whelks 374 mg

  • Brazil nuts 367 mg

  • Sesame seeds 358 mg

  • Flaxseeds 340 mg

  • Lamb’s liver 320 mg

  • Wheat 317 mg

  • Mussels 312 mg

  • Pine nuts 289 mg

  • Beef (lean mince) 278 mg

  • Rabbit (wild) 274 mg

  • Eggs 272 mg

  • Soya beans 268 mg

  • Mackerel  (tinned) 249 mg

  • Salmon (Atlantic farmed) 237 mg

  • Black beans 235 mg

  • Shrimp/prawns 234 mg

  • Walnuts 209 mg

  • Squid 204 mg

  • Quinoa 203 mg

  • Venison 202 mg

  • Almonds 189 mg

  • Turkey 178 mg

  • Cheddar cheese 125 mg

  • Brown rice 96 mg


Magnesium rich foods are commonly recommended to people who suffer from asthma issues. It can increase lung capacity and build on the efficiency of the respiratory process. Due to intensive farming techniques, the soils that plants are grown in are often deficient in magnesium. Therefore consuming sea foods or organically grown food crops ensures that magnesium levels are sufficient.


Highest sources of magnesium in milligrams per 100 grams


  • Rice bran 781 mg

  • Basil, coriander, dill and sage 694 mg

  • Hemp seeds 640 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 535 mg

  • Raw cocoa 499 mg

  • Flaxseeds 392 mg

  • Brazil nuts 376 mg

  • Sesame seeds 353 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 346 mg

  • Chia seeds 335 mg

  • Chlorella 315 mg

  • Wheat germ 313 mg

  • Cashew nuts 292 mg

  • Almonds 268 mg

  • Caraway seeds 258 mg

  • Black strap molasses and dulse 242 mg

  • Buckwheat 231 mg

  • Spirulina 189 mg

  • Oats 177 mg

  • Durum wheat 144 mg

  • Macadamia nuts 130 mg

  • Adzuki beans 127 mg

  • Kelp 121 mg

  • Millet 114 mg

  • Kale 88 mg

  • Amaranth 65 mg

  • Globe artichoke 60 mg

  • Okra and nettles 57 mg

  • Chestnuts 54 mg

  • Rocket 47 mg

  • Dates 43 mg

  • Plantain 37 mg

  • Lentils 36 mg

  • Butternut squash 34 mg

  • Coconut 32 mg

  • Potatoes with skin 30 mg

  • Passion fruit 29 mg

  • Savoy cabbage, halibut 28 mg

  • Bananas, rabbit 27 mg

  • Green beans 25 mg

  • Peas 24 mg

  • Raspberries 22 mg

  • Guava 22 mg

  • Blackberries 20 mg

  • Courgettes 18 mg

  • Kiwi fruit, fennel, figs 17 mg

  • Endive 15 mg

  • Cucumber, lettuce 13 mg


Vitamin B1 (thiamine): A deficiency of vitamin B1 can lead to breathing difficulties and asthma.

Highest sources of vitamin B1 in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Yeast extract 23.38 mg

  • Brewer’s yeast 11 mg (dependent upon source check label)

  • Rice bran 2.75 mg

  • Wheat germ 1.88 mg

  • Sesame seeds 1.21 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 1.48 mg

  • Coriander leaves 1.25 mg

  • Pine nuts 1.24 mg

  • Peanuts 0.44 mg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 0.3 mg

  • Okra 0.2 mg

  • Globe artichoke 0.20 mg

  • Beetroot greens 0.12 mg

  • Sprouted beans 0.39 mg

  • Spinach 0.10 mg

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)

Alcohol promotes the loss and destruction of vitamin B6 in the body and the medicine theophylline, often prescribed to asthmatic children, also decreases levels of vitamin B6. Ironically, a deficiency of vitamin B6 is known to be a cause of asthma and allergies.

Highest sources of vitamin B6 in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Rice bran 4.07 mg

  • Sage 2.69 mg

  • Brewer’s yeast 1.50 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 1.35 mg

  • Wheat germ 1.30 mg

  • Garlic 1.24mg

  • Pistachio nuts 1.12 mg

  • Tuna fish 1.04 mg

  • Beef or calf’s liver 1.03 mg

  • Shiitake mushrooms 0.97 mg

  • Salmon 0.94 mg

  • Turkey 0.81 mg

  • Venison 0.76 mg

NOTE: Wild salmon (0.94 mg) contains far more vitamin B6 than farmed salmon (0.56 mg) and fresh salmon and tuna are far richer in vitamin B6 than tinned.

Vitamin B15 is reported to be useful in treating asthma and other allergies.

Natural sources of vitamin B15

  • Apricot kernels

  • Beef blood

  • Brewer's yeast

  • Brown rice

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Whole grains

Tin: In addition to low vitamin C and/or vitamin B1, low tin is a common nutritional cause of low adrenaline, which can lead to left-sided cardiac insufficiency. While fatigue or depression may be experienced with cardiac insufficiency of either side, breathing difficulties and asthma are more common with left-sided cardiac insufficiency and swelling of hands and feet is more common with right-sided cardiac insufficiency, regardless of the cause.


Natural sources of tin


NOTE: Tin may interact with iron and copper, particularly in the gut, and so inhibit absorption of these elements therefore, if supplements are absolutely necessary because deficiencies have shown up in a blood test, they should be consumed separately to foods rich tin.

Other ways to reduce asthma attacks

  • A diet rich in soluble fibre and the elimination of processed foods can lessen symptoms of asthma.

  • Take a hot shower with the shower head on the most forceful setting and as hot as possible. Tying a bunch of eucalyptus branches under the shower head can help too but is optional. Sit down so that the back is to the water and allow it to beat on the back. The water will relax the person, the steam is good to breathe in and the pounding helps loosen the phlegm.

  • Remove chemicals. Take all perfumes and artificial chemicals out of the home. Use only natural soaps and detergents and deodorants. See Hygiene, Toxins and Health.

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet, loosing any extra weight and get regular exercise between attacks to strengthen the heart and lungs 

  • Stress: Avoid emotional stress as much as possible.

  • Consume only non processed natural organic foods. Chemicals used in pesticides, growing, processing and added to food can exasperate the symptoms of asthma

See also Respiratory disorders

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC


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