According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 26 million children and adults in the United States have asthma.
According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 5 million adults and 1 million children in the United States used homeopathy in 2011.
Conventional vs. homeopathic treatment
For asthma symptoms, doctors usually prescribe medications such as:
- bronchodilator inhalers that relax the muscles of the airways to increase air flow, such as Proventil, Ventolin (albuterol), and Xopenex (levalbuterol)
- steroid inhalers that reduce inflammation, such as Pulmicort (budesonide) and Flovent (fluticasone)
Homeopathic doctors and homeopaths — those who practice homeopathic medicine —suggest highly diluted natural medications. They believe these will help the body to heal itself.
In homeopathic medicine, the goal is to treat asthma with a minimal dose that can result in symptoms similar to asthma. This triggers the body’s natural defenses.
According to the National Institutes of Health, homeopathic treatments for asthma include:
- aconitum napellus for shortness of breath
- adrenalinum for congestion
- aralia racemosa for tightness in chest
- bromium for spasmodic cough
- eriodictyon californicum for asthmatic wheezing
- eucalyptus globulus for mucus congestion
- phosphorus for chest spasms
- trifolium pratense for irritation
In 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers not to rely on over-the-counter asthma products labeled as homeopathic. They stated that they’re not evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness.
A 2015 assessment by Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council concluded that no health conditions have reliable evidence that homeopathy is effective.
A 2010 U.K. House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report concluded that homeopathic remedies don’t perform any better than a placebo, which has no treatment effect.
Whether you’re using homeopathic or conventional treatment, get to the nearest emergency medical facility if you experience symptoms including:
- the inability to get your asthma attack under control, especially if you have a rescue inhaler
- extreme breathlessness, especially early in the morning or late at night
- tightness in your chest
- blue or gray fingernails and lips
Asthma is a serious medical condition. There’s little, if any, scientific evidence that homeopathy offers an effective treatment for it.
If you’re considering a homeopathic treatment, discuss your thoughts with your doctor and review all treatment options and risks before coming to a decision.
A severe asthma attack that doesn’t improve with home treatment can become a life-threatening emergency. Keep an eye on your symptoms and seek emergency help if needed.