40 Years on an Asthma Inhaler

“I started my inhaler when I was five years old “

Here is a rather surprising case illustrating the homeopathic approach to a chronic disease like asthma.

Aurelia just turned 45 when she came to my practice in August 2016. Aurelia’s asthma attacks began at the age of three. At the age of five she started taking Ventolin (a very common bronchodilator in France) regularly and she has never stopped since.

Aurelia used to be a great sportswoman. Between the ages of 30 and 40, she ran several marathons all over the world. From the age of 40, her respiratory capacity gradually deteriorated. She tried using the asthma spray more often but it did not help. Today she cannot go on her daily jog any more. Even during a brisk walk, she has to stop and catch her breath. The slightest physical effort makes her cough and gives her a choking feeling. Before coming to the practice, Aurelia sought medical attention and was offered a corticosteroid inhaler which she would rather avoid taking if possible.  “I want to stop the Ventolin, I know it’s no longer good for me,” says Aurelia.

Asthma as a predisposition

A homeopath will always try and find out the underlying causes of a disease. One can, for example, develop respiratory problems after exposure to cigarettes, a vaccine, or an emotional shock. In many cases, asthma is a phenomenon of hyper-reactivity of the bronchi and the lungs accompanied with allergies and /or eczema. The homeopathic treatment will then focus on the patient’s particular susceptibility to respiratory conditions. Treating only the symptoms of asthma (such as coughing and shortness of breath) is not enough. The predisposition to asthma should also be taken into account.

Aurelia’s treatment includes three types of remedies

Aurelia’s case is very particular for three main reasons:

  1. Continuous use of a bronchodilator for a very long time
  2. No allergies, the asthma attacks occur after physical exertion
  3. No deep causes for the asthma were found. Aurelia was three and cannot remember the circumstances surrounding the start of the asthma attacks

The homeopathic treatment will take into account these three particularities and use three types of remedies:

1 – Remedies to drain and strengthen the airways

Aurelia wants to stop the asthma inhaler after 40 years of regular use. Weaning should therefore be done with caution and very gradually. Initially, the homeopathic treatment is administered alongside the conventional treatment, in conjunction with the medical doctor or consultant..

40 years of living with a bronchodilator will leave some traces!

Some drainage and repair work needs to be done. On the one hand, the drug will be detoxified by administering, among other things, Ventolin in a homeopathic form (in a 30C potency). On the other hand, we will use remedies (Aspidosderma and Sambuca in Aurelia’s case) in a very low dilution, or even in mother tincture form. These remedies, sometime called organopathic medicines, will nourish and strengthen the bronchi and the lungs. It should be noted that the prolonged use of a bronchodilator may lead to rigidity of the airways. The bronchi tend to lose their flexibility after having been dilated repeatedly. It’s a bit like a rubber band that has been stretched too often and for too long. It tends to lose its elasticity after a while.

2 – Remedies that will gradually replace the conventional drugs

Contrary to what one might think, there is a wide choice of homeopathic remedies capable of controlling asthma attacks. How does Aurelia feel during the asthma attacks? It turned out that the attacks could also occur at night. Aurelia would then feel very anxious. By inquiring about the patient’s physical and emotional symptoms, the homeopath can find a suitable “homeopathic bronchodilator” (a mixture of Lobelia, Oxygenum and Adrenalin in Aurelia’s case). The homeopathic bronchodilator is to be taken in case of asthma attack, and also as a preventative, before any strong physical exertion. It does not exclude the use of the conventional inhaler which must always remain at hand. The homeopathic remedy will gradually replace the inhaler. This progressive transition is managed by the patient, in agreement with her attending physician or consultant.

3 – A totality remedy to strengthen immunity and help the body heal itself

Aurelia does not know the initial trigger for her asthma since she was only three years old at the time. Her attacks are not related to allergies and they also occur at night. They are accompanied by anguish. Moreover Aurelia describes herself as being “anxious by nature”. Her emotional sensitivity, her physiology, and her general physical state will make it possible to target a global remedy. This totality remedy does not only correspond to the asthmatic symptoms but also to the whole person. In the case of Aurelia it is Arsenicum Album. It will be administered much less often than the other remedies, one dose every two weeks.

An unexpected result

As Aurelia was about to go on vacation, she was to follow the treatment for six weeks, instead of the usual four weeks. With 40 years of inhaler behind her, I warned Aurelia that she should be patient. We were probably headed for a long-term treatment, once a month or so for many months. And this is where this case is quite surprising. After returning from her holiday, during the next consultation, Aurelia told me that she had followed the treatment exactly and that she now no longer used Ventolin at all. The asthma attacks became fewer and fewer and the “homeopathic bronchodilator” was doing the trick. After forty years of chronic asthma and using an inhaler, it was totally unexpected. Homeopathy, even after years of practice, remains full of beautiful surprises!