Thursday, October 20, 2011

Treating asthma, naturally...


Veronica is not really shy!
 One of the questions that keeps coming up repeatedly is how and why I use a combination of local raw honey and quality coconut oil to treat asthma. It happens so often, especially in relation to the post HERE, that I decided to delve into it as a post topic on its own. Using a food processor, I blend equal amounts of the local raw honey and coconut oil into a creamy paste that will set upon standing but in the summer might need to be stored in the fridge because of coconut oil's low melting point. I give the kids one to two tablespoon per day straight up and in tepid tea or milk. The two biggest questions I get are why and if I think it helps and if I find it too pricey. I am going to deal with the cost issue first.

Isn't that expensive?

Yes. It does cost more money to buy local, raw and unfiltered honey. A friend of my mother's use to give it to me. He had retired to bee keeping and in the early days gave us a screaming deal. Now he is successful and selling large quantities of honey a small, local brewery (which we like) for making meade or honey wine. So, I am paying more for  my honey now. Coconut oil can also be expensive. But is an investment in my children's health and I don't mean that in some abstract, trite kind of way. Now, my husband's company offers awesome insurance, including incredible dental. When we were beholden to the allergists, my son Greg was using six hundred dollars of medication per month, of which we only paid $100 and Veronica's co-pays were about $40 a month. Does that seem outrageous to you? It did to me.



Greg, a couple of summers back.
 In the summer, when the pollen was out, he was on the most medications including: Pulmicort, Albuterol, Singulair and Zyrtec. He was later switched to Qvar, which a far less expensive pulmonary corticosteroid. My daughter Veronica took Singulair and Zyrtec daily and Albuterol when she was wheezy. We also had tubing and maintenance for the nebulizer, which aerosolized the drugs for inhalation as well as inhaler spacers plus spacer bags, which were out of pocket at a cost of ten dollars a month. We spent $150 just in prescription co-pays not to mention the specialist co-pays of $35 per child when they had a cold. The we had the dental work. The steroids can and will pit the teeth if you are not carefully to wash all the steroids off the teeth by brushing well. So, if the kids fell asleep with the neb, I had to wake them by brushing their teeth. Waking a child hopped up on drugs in a bad thing, a very...bad...thing. We found that we could easily spend $200 a month in meds and doctors visits. Now I spend $60 for a two month supply of coconut oil (and I use it in almost everything) and $23 for a two month supply of honey (I use regular cheap filtered honey for baking, read more about that HERE). So now we spend about $42 a month. That is a substantial improvement.

But why did you think it work?

Well, I should start out by telling you that it did work. But why I started combining these in a complicated answer. My mother had been reading that people with allergies should consume lots of local, raw, unfiltered honey to gently desensitize themselves to local pollens. Where she read it, I am not sure. But it makes sense. Have you ever tasted different types of honey? Can you taste the subtle differences in wildflower honey versus peach? Can you see the color distinction between clover honey and apple wood? There is something real there, and I was willing to try. So actually we started with honey first. But then I read Know Your Fats by Mary Enig, PhD. This is not an easy read and it took a long time to make my way through it, along with copious notes. Here's the thing that struck me: coconut oil is a good fat, a great source of the rare lauric acid which is a conditionally essential fatty acid and a precursor to monolaurin. There are a couple of very important things to understand about what this means for us. Firstly, human breast milk is a good source of lauric acid and gives it a microbial ability (Enig, p 193). Antimicrobial fatty acids are used by the body to kill pathogens like bacteria and viruses and even protozoa (Enig, p 193). It is a conditionally essential fatty acid because it is only made by lactating women and at no other time or place in the human population (Enig, p 115) meaning in non-nursing persons it must be supplied by diet. The benefits on non-hydrogenated coconut oil are showing up in the mainstream media. Check out this report HERE that shows that children given coconut oil recovered better from pneumonia than children who did not, though all children were also subject to antibiotic therapy. This was enough for me. We decided to dive in and try it.

Now I am not arguing with any other parent to do what we did and I am not a medical professional. But I can only tell you what worked for me and my family, and it worked very well. I think that in Greg's case in particular, he was born with a certain amount of lung weakness that predisposed him to asthma. Knowing what I do now, I think the best response would have been to encourage the coconut oil and honey regimen earlier and instead of buying locally produced whole milk we had just drunk raw and plenty of it. A large European study showed that children who drink raw milk are less likely to develop asthma and allergies in the first place, as you can read about HERE. I fully believe that I could have made better choices to strengthen his body's defenses, defenses that were already weak. We ate well, largely because I had a mother with a definite mistrust of modern foods, but there were certainly things lacking in our diet that I was able to better fill in after reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD. I hope this longer explanation helps other to understand the choices that we made and gives them the background to make better one that we ourselves.

Linking up to Healthy 2 Day Wednesdays (scroll down), Pennywise Platter, and Simple Lives!

Edited: If you are looking for a brand of coconut oil, I recommend Tropical Traditions. I am an affiliate and their link is in my sidebar and you can find the Gold Label in the one gallon size HERE and the quart sized HERE. Looking for honey?  If you are local to the valley or eastern plains of Colorado area I do recommend Clark's honey found at Sprouts, their website is HERE. Still have questions? Drop me a line via email, send me a message or mention me on Twitter and I will get back to as soon as I can, see my contact page for more details.

14 comments:

  1. I'm trying to use coconut oil on my son's eczema as well. it seems to be working better than store-bought lotions thus far.

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  2. Where do you find the coconut oil, and is there a specific brand you like best? I recently read something about reducing allergies by consuming local honey and have started sneaking it into all kinds of foods for my family, but I hadn't heard about coconut oil.

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  3. Mommy Bot, I already replied to you on Twitter but for everybody else, on Mon the 24th I have a giveaway for Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil. If you are interested in getting now, I am an affiliate for them and you can click through my site. I do get compensated for all sales originating from my site, FYI.

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  4. And Reading, I totally flaked! YES it is super great on skin. But I use wicked cheap stuff for skin.

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  5. Honey is the best gift that nature gave us.

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  6. Yeah, I hear you! Well said.

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  7. Did this lessen the frequency of their treatments, or ween them all together? Was your children's asthma only allergy triggered?

    We have yet to pin point what causes our son's asthma. It seems to be everything. Right now, it is a combination of poor air quality and a cold. Sometimes it is allergies, sometimes it is smells, sometimes they come out of the blue, regardless of the way we have controlled his environment.

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    1. Neither of them are on any maintenance meds and only one needed meds for a really bad cold. One had allergies but the raw honey seems to take care of that and the other had problems all the time, no matter what! We did work with the allergist to make sure we were not endangering them and both have done really well.

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  8. Hi there! Great post! I'd like to ask a question, and because of your reference to the Nourishing Traditions book, i know that you'll know where i'm coming from. What kind of intake do your children have of processed sugar and wheat? Since, as you know, these are known inflammatories and immuno response suppressors. I'm beginning research on coconut oil vs. asthma to possibly help a nine year old boy. I am a beekeeper and obviously have the honey, so your response will be helpful... please feel free to email me at jay@speedhorse.com. Thanks!

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    1. My children don't have any intake of processed sugar, it isn't a part of our diet. We do eat wheat and since we do not have any wheat sensitivities, it is not a problem for us. I am not one of those who blames grains, I think that while there are those who do poorly on them, for the most part properly prepared grains can be enjoyed by a large number of people. Really, the children's improved after the introduction of the coconut oil and honey on a regular basis, though it was in their diet (just not in those amounts) before then. Does that make sense?

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  9. Anonymous2/22/2013

    I just mixed togehter a batch of raw honey and coconut oil using my immersion blender. Tried it on my 7 year old daughter who spit it out and said it was too coconutty. I would love for her to take this daily as she has allergies and asthma. Do you think just taking the raw honey will be effective for allergies? You did post that you can give it in warm milk or tea, but since she is off dairy for now and will not drink my almond milk, and tea would not disguise that flavor I am at a loss of what to do. Maybe a 75-25 ratio of the mix instead of 50-50?

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    1. Anonymous11/11/2013

      Perhaps you can try applying the coconut oil as moisturizer. It can be absorbed transdermally. My daughter's asthma was almost entirely gone when we did that for a few years. Then we forgot and her asthma came back. I'm now in the process of reintroducing coconut oil as moisturizer and she hasn't needed her medication this week. Please post your feedback if you try it. Thanks!

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  10. Anonymous11/02/2013

    What is " Depression-Green living"?

    Thank you for your great ideas. I have a sudden onset of very severe asthma. Having never had it before, at age 61 it is scary. I've been run down, anxious, depressed and grieving the loss of both my parents this year. Also, had two major dental procedures a few days ago. No insurance, not working, trouble breathing and I'm frightened. Going to a chinese acupuncturist today who specializes in asthma.
    I love that you live on a farm. I am descended from German farmers in Iowa.

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  11. Amazing how they took the natural sugars from the aloe and isolated a new class of nutrient. I knew that aloe was excellent for the immune system and to create a product so natural that can do so much for the body is great. As I am getting older, I'm paying more attention to what I put into my body.
    http://www.menscosmo.com/top-14-natural-remedies-for-asthma/

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