In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), asthma can present with a variety of symptoms and severities that include:
- Chronic asthma
- Seasonal asthma often associated with seasonal allergies
- Acute asthma associated with stress
It typically requires a minimum of 6 months of herbal Tonic therapy or longer to address asthma, although symptoms begin to clear within a few weeks for most.
While a lung imbalance is indicated with all lung diseases, other organ system imbalances can contribute to the way a asthma manifests. Examining the associations between organ systems can help better identify disease patterns and develop effective approaches:
Lung Qi Deficiency and Asthma
Those with Lung Deficiency typically experience asthma attacks triggered by changes in weather, exposure to allergens, or viral infections. These asthma incidents often present with sneezing, stuffy nose and sinus congestion. During remission, patients may experience the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Low voice
An insufficiency of the Lung energetic organ function can be constitutional, or genetic, in nature and begin to present symptoms in childhood such as catching colds frequently or childhood asthma. Generalized Qi Deficiency of the whole body over a long period of time can also lead to Lung Qi Deficiency resulting in tiredness, a weak voice, and generalized Lung health deterioration.
Lung-Spleen Qi Deficiency and Asthma
Asthma that presents with a great deal of phlegm commonly has a complicating factor of Spleen Qi Deficiency which must be addressed along with the restoration of Lung health for improved breathing. Patients with Spleen Deficiency can have asthma attacks triggered by improper dietary intake, such as greasy, cold or spicy foods. Spleen Deficiency leads to Internal Dampness in the body; symptoms of this pattern of Lung imbalance is marked by:
Lung-Kidney Deficiency and Asthma
Those with Kidney Deficiency typically have chronic asthma attacks triggered by exhaustion and over-exertion. Additionally, the inability to adapt well and to tolerate abrupt changes in the weather, their lifestyle, or the environment is common with this pattern of imbalance. Common symptoms include a cough with sticky sputum, frail appearance, weakness of the lower back and knees, coldness of the limbs and extremities, pale face, and edema around the ankles. Night time asthma is caused by Lung Deficiency and Kidney Yin Deficiency.
The Lungs and Kidneys are closely related in Chinese medicine and many chronic Lung diseases are rooted in Kidney Deficiency. In Chinese medicine, the Kidneys ‘grasp the breath’; conditions marked with difficulty inhaling indicate Kidney Deficiencies. Whereas, an inability to exhale indicates Lung Qi Deficiency; both are present typically.
Note: These herbs are not meant to replace prescribed medications and inhalers used for asthma. Always consult your doctor before discontinuing any medication.