The following is an account of an incident which recently occurred to a Detroit woman with no health insurance and allergies leading to an asthma attack. No actual names or other identifying information will be given for the sake of privacy.
J. was eating in a cafeteria and succumbed to the temptation one day to have a cupcake covered in frosting–bright red, sprinkled with multi-colored decorations for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Absolutely yummy-looking, she thought. A little “voice”, as the saying goes, popped into her head, though, reminding J. of what had happened the last time she had eaten frosting with lots of blue artificial food coloring in it–a nasty rash followed swiftly by a swelling of the inside of her throat and wheezing. However, she noted an absence of any blue in the sprinkles or decorations, so down went the cuppy!
Well, wouldn’t you know it: it turns out that ol’ J. had an allergic reaction to some of the other colors also. Perhaps the purple was even derived from a blend of blue and red colors, just as in nature. The bottom line was, now this woman was coughing, wheezing, feeling the characteristic tightness inside her chest, and a sensation of drowning without water. At least there was no rash adding to the misery, she wryly observed between gasps. Being in a dangerous situation minus any inhaler or pharmaceuticals–what with not having any insurance–J. definitely was in deep-dish doo-doo.
Ah-ha, our subject realized as she had a brain-flash…she didn’t need insurance. She didn’t need any inhaler, even. What our girl does have is a good knowledge of herbs and the powerful effects they can accomplish even in dire circumstances. So she gathered together exactly what she knew would work in such a situation to relax her bronchial tubes and accompanying muscles, clear out any mucous, and open up all her airways. J. improvised a formula using ground ivy which she had picked in the summer and dried for unplugging her sinuses later on; some balsam fir needles; and some rose petals.
Here is the reasoning behind our intrepid asthmatic’s herbal choices: ground ivy–beloved of herbalists, scorned by gardeners here in the Midwest–is an extremely potent herb for drying up mucous production and unclogging sinuses and nasal passages. It can be compared to having a drain opener for the head. Balsam fir is another source from nature capable of ending the onslaught of phlegm-related ailments; it works well with ground ivy. A double-hit of herbal help like that will render mucous helpless and wrestle it to its proverbial knees. Add rose petals for a soothing effect plus a healthy dose of Vitamin C to bring a healing touch and reduce inflammation and you have a trio of aids for asthmatic airways.
To commence her healing session, J. brewed her three herbal ingredients–in a proportion of 2-2-1 (ground ivy-rose-balsam) as an infusion or tea. While waiting for the drink to cool enough for comfort, she cupped her hands over her lower face and the cup, then allowed steam from the brew to do its job of loosening mucous in her nasal and other air passages, opening up what was closed by allergic reactions. As her infusion became just cool enough to tolerate comfortably, J. carefully began sipping it. It wasn’t long at all until all the ingredients plus their vapors did the trick. Ground ivy, which works rapidly, was the most powerful of them, and the remaining herbs backed it up snd completed the task.
J. figures that, compared to her previous inhalers using drugs like albuterol, her condition improved and stabilized just as quickly using her infusion. As well, she did not experience any of the unpleasant side effects of shakiness due to an outpouring of adrenaline, which also had often exacerbated her diabetes. While this may not suit all other asthmatics and would not suffice if an attack becomes serious enough to warrant an emergency treatment in a hospital, people lacking any health coverage–or even anyone who finds her/himself suddenly short of a suitable inhaler–may want to use such a solution as an interim measure.
The ubiquitous ground ivy plant can be found virtually any place in Wayne County in spring through fall and may be kept dried over winter and longer. Rose petals–if grown without any chemicals–can be obtained from your own garden or purchased from many herbal stores and supermarkets selling herbal teas. Balsam fir needles must, usually, be located directly from their source in wooded areas; check a tree field guide in order to properly identify the tree.
Remember, always, however, to avoid contact in the first place with known or even suspected asthma triggers whenever possible–you can bet J. sure will.