Natural Remedies

Effective Natural Remedies for Asthma

Salt Pipe Inhaler
Posted by Fluffy (Warwick, RI) on 11/13/2008
5 out of 5 stars

First of all, thank you Earth Clinic. It was through here I first saw a reference to salt inhalation as a remedy/relief from Asthma.

It was from KR's post that I started researching salt pipes and salt inhalation. Sounded interesting, so I made one (how to make your own below.)

My brother started suffering from Asthma about ten years ago, and started with serious prescription meds about six years ago -- and he doesn't like the side effects (or the idea of inhaling steroids twice daily) at all. To make things worse, he was wounded in Vietnam, and as a result of surgery to remove the shrapnel, he is missing part of a lung, and his diaphragm doesn't function well, ergo, bad breathing to begin with. While retraining himself to breathe correctly has had minimal success, breathing with the diaphragm is exceptionally difficult and painful for him. We have handled as best we can the environmental issues (taking up carpeting, not using the wood stove, installing air cleaner, shaving the cats...)but that has only helped minimally. So, we started searching for INEXPENSIVE alternative and natural treatments (that for the most part can be paid for by food stamps).

After looking at a plethora of salt pipe websites, I thought it would be easy enough to make, and it is. I have a large mini-teapot collection, and chose a nicely shaped porcelain pot (size would be 1-cup, or it would be considered a child's or doll's teapot)where the spout curves a little and sits low on the pot. Strainer holes are preferable, but can be worked around by stuffing a little sterile gauze in the bottom of the spout. I then went to my cupboard, and sure enough, there in the back was a box of Morton's rock salt which I use in the ice cream maker. Dump salt into pot, and bingo, a salt pipe. If the steam hole in the lid doesn't allow enough air, manipulate the lid a little with your hand/fingers. Use the spout as your mouth inhaler. It takes a little practice to consistently breathe in thru mouth, out thru nose, as there is no valve to prevent contaminated air going back into the pot/pipe. But, just starting with a little salt, if it becomes contaminated, just dump it out. Now, I mention Morton's specifically, because I tested it. One of the inhaler sites stated that THEIR salts were the best because everybody else's had fluoride or chlorine or other nasty stuff in it. I dissolved some salt in distilled water and tested it with a water test kit I got from my garden center. The ppm levels of "stuff" were somewhat-to-significantly lower than are naturally found in my municipal drinking water, so I don't see any big problem. Just a word of caution about mini-tea pots...porcelain and china are no-brainers; ceramic, stoneware, or other pottery may not have suitable glazes, or glazes that may react with the salt so dissolve 2 tbsp of salt with 6 ounces hot-to-boiling water and see if there is any discoloration after 2-3 hours; and, of course, NEVER use a metal pot, even if it has a porcelain finish. A little teapot that may be labeled "not suitable for use" more than likely means the glazing is not suitable for food-stuffs or tea tannins (which can leach out contaminants), however, it simply may mean the pot is not be able to stand up to heat, so do a test first, and if there are any problems, don't use it.

In any event, it has been 3 weeks now at generally two 15-minute sessions daily and a few minutes when he feels like an attack might be coming on. He began to feel better after a couple of days, with steady improvement. My bro has used his Advair only five times (instead of twice daily), and his inhaler only a few times. Overall, he feels an improvement in his breathing, and if nothing else, he is able to sleep more soundly at night. I am convinced that were he able to do breathing exercises properly that would even help more, but that's going to take time.

Based on results thus far (with zero side effects other than an occasional salty taste in the mouth), we certainly would recommend trying it.

BTW....just kidding about shaving the cats.