Ingrid Perri has been a naturopath in Australia for over 20 years. When she sent me an email regarding the enormous and permanent changes in her asthmatic patients when they modified their diet, I immediately wanted to hear more.
My husband, David, had lived with asthma since the age of six. As an adult he asked his Western medical doctors about alternative asthma treatments or possible asthma cures and they laughed. Tired of hearing Western medicine’s dogma he went to an acupuncturist who suggested he change his diet. Two weeks into David’s new diet his asthma symptoms were practically eliminated.
I was simultaneously elated and enraged. Had David, for decades, been filled with steroids and chemicals from the Western medical machine when all this time he only needed to change his diet? Had he suffered needlessly, sometimes to the point of hospitalization, this entire time?
David’s massive transformation piqued my interest to learn more about the relationship between asthma and diet from a medical professional that had not seen the impressive changes from just one asthmatic, but from many.
Here is a bit of her story.
What can trigger asthma symptoms?
Food is tantamount to controlling asthma and asthma symptoms. You cannot get good health without a good diet. In Australia they are always pushing people to eat dairy. When I was young we ate heaps of dairy. I was a very sick child. I was bedridden with hay fever, at times. It was not until I started studying naturopathy in my 30s that I learned that I should lay off dairy.
As soon as I gave up dairy everything improved. I see this with my patients as well, not only with asthma, but with a lot of skin conditions. When you put things into your body that your body does not like, your body will create mucus to try and clear this substance from your body. This mucus exacerbates and can cause asthma symptoms.
What is it about diet that can cause asthmatic symptoms?
Dairy is very mucus forming as is any food your body does not like. The more dairy you eat the more mucus that will be formed the more your body will get clogged up and the harder it will be to breathe.
Also, there is nothing wrong with wheat per se. However, the wheat in Australia for the last 20 years or so has been genetically modified and there is wheat in everything. Almost every processed food has wheat in it; soy sauce has wheat in it, corn flour has wheat in it unless it specifically says otherwise. It is like a mono of diet of wheat we are on. Anything you eat in excess will make you sick. If you eat 15 apples in one day it will make you sick.
The idea is that when you eat too much of one thing your body begins to think it is toxic and creates mucus which creates the asthmatic response. Is that it?
Right and you are not getting a balanced diet which can trigger asthmatic symptoms.
What are the biggest hidden culprits of where wheat is unexpectedly found?
Definitely in processed food. I would really recommend people limit their processed foods and if they do eat it I would highly recommend that they read the labels.
On the labels does it say wheat or is it ever referred to as something else?
Usually it will say wheat. If it says that it contains ‘bakers flour’ that can also mean that it contains wheat. So you need to be very, very careful.
Should they be looking just for wheat on the labels or are there other things asthmatics should be looking for in reading the labels?
The triggers for asthma can vary a little from person to person. As a general rule for asthmatics, I’d recommend eating as little processed food as possible. Prepare your own sauces and foods so you know what you are eating. If you listen to your body, it will tell you what is good for you and what isn’t.
What is the different between wheat and gluten? Are they different?
They are very, very different. Most grains contain gluten. Gluten is in pretty much every grain except for corn, soy and rice.
But gluten is not a concern for asthmatics?
Gluten may be a concern for some asthmatics but I haven’t noticed it as a specific trigger.
The problem with wheat is not the wheat but how much we eat of it?
Yes and the fact that it is genetically modified.
I have talked to so many people on how they found an asthma cure, but I still think it is challenging to know where to start in the healing process? Do you have any ideas on this?
Definitely look at the diet. Some people appear to get away with eating rubbish for a long time and others cannot. If you put the healthiest things in the body, the body will get healthier over time which will undoubtedly help the asthma. Nutrition is so important to feeding the cells in every part of your body.
What are your dietary recommendations for people looking for ways to prevent or cure their asthma?
Definitely no dairy, no wheat, lots of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water and purified water if possible. There are a lot of good foods that are good for the lungs.There is an essential oil called frankincense which slows and deepens the breathing. Dilute it in vegetable oil or a natural lotion and then rub it on your chest to open up your airways. You have to dilute it or it will burn your skin. I used to make up some for my mother who had emphysema and although she thought everything I did was witchcraft she did say that the oil I gave her helped her breathe and she was asthmatic as well.
What ratio do you recommend in diluting frankincense?
I would recommend 5 drops of frankincense to every 100mls of carrier oil/lotion.
Is frankincense something you apply when you are feeling asthmatic symptoms or is this something you do as a preventative measure?
It is something you do when you are feeling asthmatic symptoms. Make sure it is pure essential oils. If you get the cheap version it can do more harm than good. Generally they are available at health food stores. If somewhere on the label it says ‘pure essential oil’ and it has the botanical name which is Boswellia carteri that means it is the right kind. Eucalyptus is good as well. Make sure you dilute it. You cannot put it on the skin undiluted as it will burn.
Do you have any recommendations for people who are looking for an asthma cure or to lessen their asthma symptoms beyond diet, herbs and essential oils?
Generally with asthma people look for the outside triggers, but if you can clean up the internal body’s environment those outside triggers won’t bother you as much. Treatments beyond diet and oils are dependent on the individuals.
I think it is an interesting point you bring up regarding people who always look or even blame the outside triggers for their asthma. I would say 99.999% of everything I read about asthma is about allergies, pollution and air quality. Why do you think we are not talking about diets and how asthmatics as you say can, ‘clean up the body’s internal environment?
People always want to look to the outside for the answer. They need to look at the root cause and the root cause is usually your body is totally clogged up with rubbish and you need to clear it and with asthmatics their lungs are their weak point that suffers when their system gets all clogged up. You can’t get away from the importance of diet. It’s about taking responsibility for your health rather than blaming outside triggers.
What are your successes in helping people find an asthma cure?
Over the years I have worked with quite a few asthmatics. When I work with these people and they change their diet the asthma goes away and some can come off of their asthma medication entirely. There has been some research that shows that asthma medication actually causes the asthma. I don’t know if you have heard of that one before.
No, but I have witnessed it.
Yes, my husband can go for weeks without his inhaler and then when he falls off the wagon and pizza starts to look good to both of us within a few days his asthma symptoms come back and he needs to use his asthma inhaler. He then feels he needs to use it every two hours until he can wean himself off of it again.
I am sure they are addictive. I babysat a little girl a long time ago when she was young and she was on that nebulizer every 10 minutes. I said to her father later on, ‘You really need to monitor her use of that. It is like her fluffy blanket. It seemed to be her comfort thing. Like a teddy bear.’
I have absolutely witnessed that. I talked to a doctor in New Zealand who cured himself of asthma. New Zealand and the US are the only countries which allow pharmaceutical advertisements on TV. He told me that everytime he saw one of those ads he would feel he would need to use his inhaler, even if it had been months when he had not needed it.
It is horrible. You need to be careful with mainstream information. A lot of it will tell asthmatics that it is completely fine to eat dairy. The mainstream will tell you have to get your calcium through dairy, but there are many other places to get your calcium.
Where else can asthmatics get their calcium?
There are many non-dairy foods which are high in calcium. Almonds, sesame seeds, tahini, broccoli, eggs, tuna and salmon with bones, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts and many more.
Do you have any books, websites or other products you recommend for people looking for asthma prevention techniques or a cure for asthma?
There is an excellent book by an Australian naturopath called Sandi Rogers. The book is called Fruit & Vegetables as Medicine. I’m not sure if it is available anymore but the section on asthma says –
Drink almond milk. This is recommended as a treatment but if you are prone to this condition, then drink it daily as a preventative measure. It is important to note that this is meant as a complimentary formula and should be taken in conjunction with those medicines prescribed by your medical practitioner.
Place a cabbage poultice onto your chest.
Drink 1 part cabbage and 2 parts carrot juice daily.
Drink warmed carrot juice.
A formulation that works well as a complimentary medicine for asthma is a combination of 50% carrot juice, 25% apple juice and 25% onion juice.
TO ASSIST IN THE PREVENTION OF ASTHMA
Eat horseradish. This can be eaten as a complimentary addition to a main meal.
Introduce figs into your diet.
Take onion syrup daily. Dosage: children 1 teaspoon, adults 1 tablespoon.
Introduce sorrel into your diet.
Eat onion and garlic to keep your chest clear.
Eat leafy green vegetables.
Anything else you would like to add?
I have heard people get good results from the Boytenko Method. I don’t know a lot about it myself, but I have heard good things about it. I can see the barrier go up with some asthmatic patients when I say ‘no wheat, no dairy.’Then I suggest they do it for two weeks and they invariably come back and tell me that they feel so much better. When you are first trying the diet you may see an increase in symptoms and mucus, but it should only last a few days and after two or three weeks you should see a dramatic improvement.
To learn more about Ingrid please see: http://www.ingridperri.com/