Will black seed oil make risky asthma medication obsolete?

Time and again, natural remedies outperform dangerous pharmaceutical drugs from many angles, including effectiveness, safety and cost. And now, black seed oil (also known by its scientific name, nigella sativa) has proven that point yet again. It is providing a hopeful solution to the massive numbers of people suffering with asthma throughout the world and is presenting a possible alternative to risky asthma medications.

According to the Global Asthma Report, as of 2014 there were more than 334 million people who had been diagnosed with asthma worldwide. That number is always increasing so it is likely even higher today. Those asthma sufferers need solutions for the potentially deadly disease of the airways that causes uncomfortable symptoms such as inflammation, coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and wheezing. Many patients use medications such as inhalers and pills, but those treatments are more expensive than natural remedies, and are often not nearly as safe.

As stated by GreenMedInfo, a recent study, entitled “Nigella Sativa Supplementation Improves Asthma Control and Biomarkers: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial” was published in the journal Phytotherapeutic Research and reported results stating that ingesting black seed oil can reduce patients’ asthma symptoms. The study also found that taking black seed oil can help lower blood eosinophil levels. These results came after a double-blind study in which some people took black seed oil, in capsule form, while another group of people took a placebo capsule, made of olive oil. These results are consistent with the long standing belief that black seed oil is considered a remedy that seems to cure just about everything, dating back as far as ancient Egypt. (Related: Get Into the Healing Groove with Black Cumin Seed Oil and Raw Honey.)

Serious problems with asthma medications

In stark contrast to this great news about black seed oil, asthma medications generate great cause for concern. Just as all pharmaceutical drugs have side effects, the type of asthma medication known as a long-acting beta agonist is certainly no exception. And it is not just somewhat unsafe. More than 10 years ago, the FDA said that type of medication caused people who took it to be more at risk of death from asthma. It obviously makes little sense to take a medication for a condition that actually increases the risk of death from that same condition.

Plus, medication does not address the actual cause of the asthma. As is true for other medications, it simply treats and masks symptoms. Natural remedies and modalities are more likely to identify and treat root causes of symptoms and illnesses. In many cases, inflammation is involved with asthma, and conventional treatment often entails prescribing corticosteroid medications for inflammation in addition to asthma medications. Corticosteroids, which are intended to lower blood eosinophil levels — something that black seed oil does — create a host of serious side effects such as suppression of the immune system, which makes the patient more susceptible to illnesses.

Other natural interventions for asthma

In addition to black seed oil, there are various other natural remedies and lifestyle interventions that people with asthma can consider trying. This includes dietary changes, such as avoiding allergenic foods and consuming only organic food. Breathing good quality, clean air is also essential, so homes with asthma sufferers should have high-quality filters installed in indoor HVAC systems. Removing exposure to toxins that irritate breathing, such as pollution, chemical cleaners and mold, is also necessary.

Anyone with asthma who is on medication should not discontinue that treatment without first consulting their doctor or other health practitioner who prescribed it. Practitioners such as naturopathic doctors (NDs) and functional medicine doctors are more open to natural treatments like black seed oil than conventional medical doctors are, so it is best to seek out a practitioner like that when looking to incorporate natural remedies. Those treatments can definitely be helpful, but it’s also important to be wise when determining whether, when and how to use them.

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