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Asthma is one of the commonest chronic illnesses affecting about 300 million people worldwide, including both children and adults. Asthma cases have risen steadily in recent years. This increase in prevalence is being strongly linked to lifestyle factors like exposure to environmental toxins, an increase in environmental pollution, increased use of tobacco and tobacco products and increased consumption of fast food.
If you or a person is known to you is an asthmatic, this article will help you understand more about asthma and home remedies for asthma cough at night.
What Is Asthma?
Bronchial asthma or simply asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways characterized by hyper-responsiveness leading to complaints of recurrent episodes of breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing at night or early morning.
Asthma can be explained under the following headings;
1. Childhood-Onset Asthma
Possibly due to allergy towards certain environmental antigens like dust, pollen, animal dander, smoke, proteins, etc.
2. Adult-Onset Asthma
This may or may not be linked to a history of allergies. Asthma in the absence of a history of allergies is linked to factors like nasal polyps, chronic sinusitis or sensitivity to medications like aspirin or NSAIDs.
3. Adult-Onset Asthma (Occupational exposure)
This one can be seen among people who work in factories or units with potential respiratory irritants like silica, asbestos, spices, wood dust, animal proteins, animal farms, metals including heavy metals like lead, mercury and iron and biological enzymes.
Patients with asthma due to occupational exposure show marked improvement in abstinence from work and worsening of signs and symptoms when exposed to the same agents again.
Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma
A person with bronchial asthma may have one or more of the following signs and symptoms;
- Recurrent episodes of wheezing
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Cough that gets worse at night
Based on the duration of signs and symptoms, asthma can present itself clinically in three conditions;
- Episodic attack â€“ An attack off short duration coming on and off in the episode.
- Chronic Asthma â€“ The persistence of signs and symptoms of bronchial asthma over a period of more than 3 months.
- Status Asthmaticus â€“ It is a term used to describe a severe attack of asthma or bronchospasm often leading to respiratory failure.
What Causes Asthma Cough At Night?
We already know that majority of patients with asthma reveal a history of allergy; which means that allergens or triggers are capable of bringing on an episode of asthma. For every person, triggering factors may be different. Triggers for asthma cough at night maybe just one or a combination of 2 or more triggers.
These triggers or allergens cause hyper-responsiveness of the respiratory tract, giving rise to signs and symptoms of asthma and may also cause asthma cough at night.
A list of such allergens or triggers includes;
- Dust mites, pollen, hay and animal dander, household sprays
- Cigarette smoke â€“ Maybe both active and passive
- Acute infections like viral fever, cold or flu
- Certain foods like peanuts, proteins, seafood or leafy vegetables
- Environmental pollution and toxins like vehicular emissions, pollutants from factories or industries, irritant gases
- Sudden or extreme changes in temperature or weather
- Food additives and preservatives
- Medications like Aspirin, NSAIDs, and beta-blockers
- Unusual stress or anxiety
- Perfumes or other such strong aromatic substances
- Laughing, speaking loudly, singing or crying
- Gastro-oesophageal reflux
Home Remedies For Asthma Cough At Night
Generally, the treatment of asthma is aimed at the removal of the causative factors. It can be treated with the help of medications including pills and inhalers for broncho-dilation.
Along with conventional medicine, the use of certain home remedies for asthma cough at night is found to be helpful. These home remedies are often simple herbs which help to alleviate signs and symptoms, providing longer-lasting relief.
Top 5 home remedies for asthma cough at night include;
Garlic has an active principle called allicin which is a natural anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial agent. Studies have proven that garlic is effective in reducing total inflammatory cell counts as well as eosinophils (a type of white blood cells for allergic conditions). It is well known for its effectiveness in cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. Hence garlic is the best home remedy for asthma cough.
How to use
Take 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic can be eaten every morning on an empty stomach. Garlic cloves can also be crushed into a paste and consumed along with meals.
This herb is known to reduce the allergic inflammatory condition of the airways. A research study proved that ginger was useful in providing relief to asthma patients from symptoms of chest tightness, difficulty in breathing, and asthma cough at night. It also proved that ginger could significantly improve the signs and symptoms but could not reverse the stage of the disease. So, Ginger works as the best home remedy for asthma cough at night.
How to use
Ginger can be dried and eaten. Or, a tea preparation can be made using ginger. Ginger juice can also be had along with warm water, lemon juice, and honey.
Homey is the best home remedy for asthma cough as it contains anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and immuno-modulatory characteristics. However, honey shows higher efficacy when used along with other substances like ginger or lemon.
How to use
Take a spoonful of honey and it can be consumed directly daily in the morning or it can also be used as a sweetener for green teas or herbal teas.
Turmeric is the most commonly used herb in Indian households. This magical herb seems to hold a cure for almost all illnesses. A research study has proven the effectiveness of turmeric (its active principle curcumin) in reducing airway obstruction along with significant improvement in hematological parameters. Hence adding turmeric to your regular diet works as the best home remedy for asthma cough at night.
How to use
Turmeric is a common spice in most of the Indian meal preparations. Warm turmeric milk can be consumed at bedtime along with some ginger as a home remedy for asthma cough at night.
5. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus is a medicinal plant used exclusively for the treatment of respiratory tract infections, bronchial affections, cough, and asthma. Hence inhaling the steam of eucalyptus oil works as the best home remedy for asthma cough at night.
How to use
Eucalyptus oil is available in the form of essential oil. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil and rub it over the chest and throat. Eucalyptus oil can also be diluted in water and inhaled using a steamer.
Most of the home remedies mentioned above are available naturally and in their most fresh form. It is also important to remember that none of these home remedies for asthma cough at night are meant to replace conventional medicine. These are only an adjunct to regular medications.