These last few days have shown us that winter is slowly creeping closer. Cold weather can cause asthma to flare up more than usual, and then there is also the added threat of colds and flu during the winter months, which can badly affect the respiratory system.
Hot and spicy
Apart from the risk of colds and flu, there are several other reasons why asthma symptoms can flare up during the winter months. The cold air itself is a common trigger of breathlessness and asthma attacks. Cranking up the radiators can prevent fresh air from circulating, especially when all the doors and windows are closed to keep the chill out, leaving you to breathe in poorer quality air.
Of course, most of these things are unavoidable when it is cold outside. Luckily, there is an easy way to alleviate asthma symptoms without relying on prescription drugs alone.
A recent study, which was presented at the American Thoracic Society International Conference, found that adding ginger compounds to isoproterenol – a type of asthma medication called a beta-agonist – enhanced the bronchodilating effects of this medication.
Conventional asthma treatment typically consists of a non-steroidal bronchodilator – an anti-inflammatory agent that you inhale. This helps the smooth muscle cells in your lungs to relax, which opens up your airways making it easier to breathe. If that doesn’t work, the next step is typically an inhaled steroid, which is a very potent anti-inflammatory agent.
Since ginger enhances bronchodilation, it may provide a much safer alternative, or at least help work alongside prescription medications. While asthma is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated, asthma medications themselves carry serious, even lethal side effects.
For instance, the common asthma drug Advair contains the long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) salmeterol, which can actually increase the severity of an asthma attack as well as the risk of death from asthma problems.
So adding ginger to your daily regimen looks like a safe and effective way to help you through the winter. To make ginger tea, simply chop off a couple of inches of peeled ginger root and let it steep in hot water. You can also peel the root and add thin slices to your ordinary brew or your favourite dishes.
While you are enjoying your cup of ginger tea, think of all the other added health benefits you’ll be getting from it. These include:
- Improving cognitive function
- Protecting against respiratory viruses
- Reducing vertigo
- Enhancing fat digestion and absorption
- Protecting against the toxic effects of environmental chemicals, such as parabens
- Preventing atherosclerosis
- Lowering cholesterol levels
- Preventing oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL)
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.
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