Take a stroll down the coffee and tea isle of your supermarket, and you’ll notice teas with names like Breathe Easy and Breathe Deep and Organic Lung Health Tea. A warm cup of tea certainly can be soothing. But is there anything more to these products than that? What does the science say?
The Quick Take
There is some scientific evidence that the caffeine in black and green tea can have a positive, although modest, effect on lung function by relaxing the smooth muscles in the lungs and opening airways. In fact, caffeine is similar to a drug called theophylline, which used to be a common treatment for asthma symptoms (though it’s not prescribed much today).
More research needs to be done to determine if caffeine provides more than a small, temporary benefit. And while some people find other types of tea — like ginger or peppermint — to be helpful, most of the information we have about them comes from individuals rather than scientific research.
Want to know more? Read on…
All About Tea and Other Natural Remedies
There’s an interesting article at Everyday Health called, Can Tea Help You Breathe Easier if You Have Asthma? Plus 7 Teas Worth Trying. In it, they dive a little deeper into the caffeine and asthma connection and the research that supports it. They also talk about seven different types of tea and how each might help your asthma.
Their advice: “Clearly teas can’t replace daily maintenance or rescue asthma medication, but experts agree there’s virtually no harm in adding certain teas to your routine. “All types of cultures have used teas like licorice, eucalyptus, and ginger for respiratory symptoms, and we haven’t seen people having adverse reactions to them,” says Dr. Mark.”
Remember though, you should never make changes to your prescribed treatment plan without speaking to your doctor or healthcare provider.
The article, Drinking Tea With Asthma, at Livestrong.com includes a recipe for home-brewed ginkgo tea and talks a bit about Chinese herbs, among other advice.
WebMD has a slideshow called, Natural Way to Ease Asthma Symptoms, which includes some simple, non-pharmaceutical ideas that may help your breathing.
And finally, Healthline answers the question, Are There Home Remedies for an Asthma Attack? Short answer: no. But, as usual, the full answer is a little more complicated. They talk about the pros and cons of several common home remedies for asthma, including caffeine, essential oils and breathing exercises.
If you have questions about your health or you’re not feeling well, contact your healthcare provider by phone or visit their website to determine whether you should be seen in-person.
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