The incidence of asthma cases has surged in recent years, although researchers aren’t sure exactly why. According to some studies, up to 5 percent of the US population is affected by asthma, with half of these cases developing before age 10 (Kasper DL et al 2005). Asthma attacks can be triggered by allergies and environmental irritants.
Scientists are also beginning to better understand the interaction between allergies, asthma, and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when highly reactive molecules, known as free radicals, interact with molecules within the body, especially DNA and mitochondrial membranes. Experimental evidence suggests that some pollutants, such as vehicle exhaust, may produce oxidative stress in the bronchial tubes (Gilmour MI et al 2006). Studies suggest that dietary supplementation with precursors of glutathione (an internal antioxidant), such as cysteine and alpha-lipoic acid, can enhance the pulmonary defenses, thus countering oxidative stress (Bridgeman MM et al 1991).
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) is a perennial shrub that has been used since ancient times to treat a variety of conditions. As far back as the 17th century, butterbur was used to treat cough, asthma, and skin wounds (MMWR 2001). Today, researchers have uncovered the mechanism of action that makes butterbur effective.
Scientists have identified and isolated the compounds in butterbur that help reduce symptoms in asthma. Called petasins, these chemicals inhibit leukotrienes and histamines, which are responsible for symptom aggravation in asthma (Thomet OA et al 2002).
So far, a few research teams have examined butterbur’s effectiveness in asthmatics, with encouraging results. In one open trial of 64 adults and 16 children and adolescents, asthma patients were treated for two months with butterbur extract, followed by an optional two-month open trial. They were measured throughout the study for the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. According to researchers, all the measured symptoms improved throughout the study, and 40 percent of patients were able to reduce their intake of traditional asthma medications (Danesch UC 2004).
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Fountain of Life 7-night
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