How To Ease Asthma Attack

It may be time to spice up your asthma treatment. A few components of ginger root appear to relax the airway tissues that tighten up during an attack, finds research presented at the American Thoracic Society’s International Conference earlier this year.

The walls of the airways that carry oxygen to and from your lungs are lined with a type of muscle tissue called airway smooth muscle (ASM) according to the research. Using ASM in a laboratory setting, a team from Columbia University simulated an asthma attack by dousing samples with a compound designed to tighten them up.

Next, the researchers exposed the asthmatic tissue to mixtures containing three different ginger molecules. They found that all three ginger components significantly relaxed the ASM tissue, which translates to wider airways and easier breathing during an asthma attack.

What’s so special about ginger? Your lungs contain enzyme PDE4D. During an asthma attack, that enzyme disrupts the natural processes that would normally relax ASM tissue. But some ginger molecules appear to block PDE4D and prevent it from messing with your airways and muscle tissue.

So the next time you have an asthma attack, eat or sip on foods containing ginger to feel better. But don’t skip the inhaler yet, the researchers stress, as the research only examined the effects of the ginger root on airway tissues in a lab setting. —Markham Heid

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