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Aromatherapy Support for Bronchial Asthma

By Dr. Vivian Lunny, MD, RA, MDMA, FIFA

Although spring is over and summer is here, there seems to be an increasing number of people developing bronchial asthma. This could be due to all the fires, humidity and extreme temperature changes which keep occurring worldwide. That makes this article relevant for all of us, as it is very likely that we’ve just had to or will have to help a client or relative who suddenly develops this condition.

Even those who have never suffered with asthma will experience a reaction, when exposed to an allergen or environmental substance that triggers a reaction, within minutes of exposure. This is due to their immune mast cells producing histamine, leucotriene C4 and prostaglandin D2. Note: their reaction levels may be detected with specialized tests, beyond the scope of this article.

Although asthma is a common condition that affects all age groups, one-third of all cases occur in children under 10 years of age. This means that approximately three million children in the fifth grade and below suffer from this disorder.

A typical acute asthmatic attack is marked by wheezing, labored breathing, tightness in the chest, and a dry cough. An asthma attack may be brought on by any allergen, a chronic infection in the sinuses or bronchial tubes, stressful emotional situations, hormonal changes, irritants such as cigarette smoke, extreme environmental temperature and humidity changes, and exercise levels. It may begin suddenly with severe symptoms, or build gradually with increasing difficulty in breathing. Asthmatic attacks produce a feeling of suffocation and the inability to hold a conversation without frequently pausing to catch one’s breath.

Aroma-therapeutic Management

The criteria for the choice of essential oils for the treatment of bronchial asthma is based on the need to work on restoring balance to the immune response, ameliorating congestion of the respiratory tract mucosae, as well as alleviating fatigue, exhaustion and stress.

The following properties are desirable for the essential oils chosen: immunomodulant, decongestant, anti-inflammatory, astringent, adrenal stimulant.

Immunomodulant: restores balance to the immune response.

Decongestant: removes congestion and excess fluid.

Anti-inflammatory: reduces inflammation and prevents secondary infections.

Astringent: draws together or constricts tissues that are stopping the flow of blood or exocrine gland secretions.

Adrenal stimulant: stimulates the production and release of the adrenal hormones, particularly adrenalin and cortisol, activating the body’s fight-or-flight response.

Methods of treatment for a client with asthma:

Inhalations: To help to clear the blocked and constricted bronchi and prevent secondary infections, prepare the following blend/s for use in steam inhalation, direct inhalation via a tissue, or for use in a diffuser unit.

Steam inhalation method: make a pot of boiling water, remove water from stove and place on a heat proof surface, cover your head with a towel to form a tent over the water, add essential oils and inhale the aromas.  Safety Note: Be sure to keep you eyes closed.

  • 2 drops of essential oil of Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
  • 2 drops of essential oil of Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)
  • 2 drops of essential oil of Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)

Another formulation for inhalation:

  • 3 drops of essential oil of Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
  • 2 drops of essential oil of Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • 1 drop of essential oil of Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)

For asthma sufferers who have very light skin and a sensitive personality type, the following blend of oils is very effective:

  • 3 drops of essential oil of Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)
  • 1 drop of essential oil of Cypress (Cupresus sempervirens)

Gargles: For an aching sore throat, gargle with one drop of essential oil of lemon (Citrus limonum) and 1 drop of essential oil of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) mixed in a glass of warm water. Repeat three times a day. Or, prepare a gargle formulation containing 30 ml of peppermint hydrosol (Mentha piperita) to which you have added 1 drop of essential oil of thyme ct linalol (Thymus vulgaris CT linalool) and one drop of essential oil of lemonbalm (Melisa officinalis). Note: Be sure to shake well before using and not swallow any of the mixture.

Massage: Prepare a massage formulation with 10 ml of Rosehip oil (Rosa rubiginosa) as a carrier and add: 3 drops of essential oil of Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), 4 drops of essential oil of Cypress (Cupresus sempervirens) and 3 drops of essential oil of Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica). Apply this to the neck and forehead (sinus area) three times a day during three consecutive days, discontinue for the following three days and repeat again. This 10 ml preparation should be sufficient for a three day application.

Spritzer Mist Spray: Prepare a 1 oz. room spritzer mist spray with equal parts of hydrosols of Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) and Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and add two drops of essential oil of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and two drops of essential oil of Cypress (Cupresus sempervirens). Spray around the bedroom at night time to help decongest the nasal passages.

Bathing or Showering: Upon waking and before retiring at night, bathing is a beneficial addition to the treatment; the choice of essential oils will depend on the main complaints of each person. Essential oils may include: Black Spruce (Picea mariana), Pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Cedarwood Virginia (Juniperus virginiana). Add 6-8 drops total of the essential oils blended in a carrier such as milk, honey or Epsom salts and add this to the bath water.

General Treatment Measures: Try to stay away from the allergens as much as possible, and consume a diet which is free of dairy products and rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.

Conventional Medical Treatment: It is important that the aromatherapist is aware of the treatment that is already being given by the client’s physician and works with the physician as an integrated team for the greatest benefit of the client.

The possible drugs being used are:

  • Antihistamines
  • Bronchodilators
  • Topical anti-inflammatory steroids

The information in this article is not meant to diagnose or take the place of professional health care.

Dr. Vivian Nadya Lunny is a graduate Medical Doctor, Author, Teacher, Holistic Healer, Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner and Teacher, Reiki Master and Psychotronics Master Practitioner. Her intuition, empathy and thoughtfulness are the keys to her personality.

Dr. Lunny is a Professional Member of NAHA and the NAHA Regional Director for Canada. To learn more about Dr. Vivian Lunny, please visit her web-site: www.realessencesoflife.com

Visit the NAHA website to purchase Dr. Lunny’s teleconference presentations on CD, which include the following topics: Essential Oils for Hormonal Support Part 1-3 and  Aromatic Solutions for Chronic Pain Sydromes: http://www.naha.org/teleconference_presentation_recordings.htm

Note: Articles appearing in the NAHA e-newsletters, e-journals and other published materials fall under the NAHA publishing rights and are published with the author’s permission. Copying, reposting or publishing these articles without written permission from NAHA constitues an infridgment of copyright law. You are welcome to post a link to the NAHA Blog which includes past articles.

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