Asthma is the Greek word for troubled
breathing. For many years, it was considered an allergic
affliction, exacerbated by pollen, dust and other airborne
allergens. Famous Russian clinician G. A. Zakharyin
(1829-1897) believed in healing without the reliance on
medicine and saved many patients from asthmatic attacks by
removing dusty curtains and throwing out carpets and rugs
from the bedrooms. He believed “That only hygiene can win
the battle against illness”.
In 1956, Hans Celie, the founder of the theory of stress,
discovered through his research that during allergic
reactions and/or asthma attacks the adrenal glands have
lower functionality. In the 1960’s, the medical community
began using new treatments for asthma and allergies
containing hormones such as cortisone and corticotrophin;
producing variable results.
These days, pharmaceutical companies offer an increasing
amount of new medications for the treatment of asthmatic
symptoms such as restricted airways and to promote better
breathing. However, the number of people affected by asthma
is growing, and it is now considered one of the greatest
“epidemics” of the civilized world. We believe this is due
to an unfavorable ecological environment, and do not exclude
the possibility that vaccines may also play a role.
Today, Americans are struggling with asthma and in the
United States, 4,500 people die from asthmatic attacks each
Usually, death occurs at night. In the 17th
century, British doctor J. Floyer, himself afflicted by
asthma, believed that suffocation and wheezing was common at
night because of “inflation of the nervous fibres of the
lungs by Windy Spirits”. Though it is less common, asthma
attacks can occur due to irritation of the bronchial tubes
from smoke, toxins, laughing, coughing or simply the
inhalation of cold air.
According to the most recent scientific findings, asthma is
considered a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory
system. This inflammation is the result of complicated
interactions between chemical triggers and highly sensitive
cells in the respiratory pathways.
Immunological research found that there are two types of
cells in the airways of human organism that provide
protection against “invaders”; lymphocyte Th 1 and
lymphocyte Th 2. Subtype Th 1 secretes certain substances,
such as gamma interferon and interleukin-10, that are
important in the fight against bacteria and viral
infections. Subtype Th 2 is “pro-atopic” or “pro-allergic”
because it produces substances that aid in the reproduction
of eosinophiles and so called mast cells which produce IgE,
the mediators of allergy.
Due to the lowering number of childhood infections and
respiratory diseases in the Western world, the Th 1 wing of
the immune system becomes weaker, causing the Th 2 to
overcompensate, and resulting in the number of allergic
reactions (such as asthma) and different autoimmune
conditions to grow. Artificial predisposition of organisms
to allergies and growing environmental pollution lead to a
growing number of people affected by allergies and asthma.
In developing countries that do not vaccinate as heavily as
Western countries, this tendency is not yet noted.
Though this may seem strange, the condition of
your gastro-intestinal tract and digestive system is
directly related to the development of asthma. In the words
of G. A. Zakharyin, “medicine is as wide as life, wrong
doing causes diseases”.
During the normal digestive process, the
products are digested completely (ie. proteins become amino
acids) without producing byproducts and toxins. Only not
completely digested food is the source for allergic
reactions and inflammation.
In the 1990’s, research conducted in South Africa proved
that for 75% of asthmatics, all their attacks were triggered
by food. For another 15% of asthmatics, the attacks were
triggered by a combination of food and airborne allergens.
In recent years this has become worse due to an increase in
artificial flavors, colors and preservatives that are being
added to all the products, even though many have already
been banned. How many people in general, asthmatics in
particular, know about these additives?!
Existing products which may provoke
allergic reactions and asthmatic symptoms include canned
food, wine (sulfate), glutamates (MSG), peanuts, milk,
marinated herring (Tiramine), soy sauce, caviar, eggs, chili
peppers and nutmeg. However, allergic reactions, including
asthma, can be triggered by virtually any product if you are
allergic to it. You will not necessarily experience rashes
or itchiness when you ingest these products; allergic
reactions come in many forms and only some of them produce
With aging or the long term ingestion of antacids, food is
no longer being digested by stomach acid and enzymes, but by
intestinal bacteria, resulting in different toxins and
histamine levels that are much higher in people affected by
allergies. This is why antihistamines are being prescribed
as a salvation from allergies. Of course, histamine is also
produced by mast cells as a reaction to allergens, but if
these levels are heightened by billions of bacteria, the
sensitivity levels would be much lower and the adverse
reactions would occur faster.
The liver function is also very important in the body’s
protection against allergies. Normally, the liver destroys
histamine with the aid of a special enzyme called
histaminase. If the liver malfunctions, this process is
stopped. Many scientists think that long term use of
antihistamines has negative effects on the liver and
elevates histamine levels simultaneously as it causes higher
production of cortisone by the adrenal glands. This is
characteristic of stress. Is the circle closed?
That is why normal liver function and digestive processes,
and intestinal flora are important means of fighting and
It is also known that besides atopic and inflammatory
asthma, psychosomatic asthma also exists. This form is
caused by long term emotional stress or a mental snap.
Children are often afflicted with this form when they seek
attention from busy parents or are faced with social
difficulties. The most characteristic manifestations of this
form are episodic rages and nighttime asthma attacks.
A book that I recommend to parents and that describes the
emotional condition of an asthmatic boy is Dorothy Baruch’s
One Little Boy.
The three forms of asthma I mentioned above are very rare in
“pure” form, and are usually interrelated. This is why the
treatments must be similar, despite the seemingly different
It happens that during one’s lifetime the type of asthma
changes: during one’s youth it was predominantly atopic and
later in life became infectious. Difficulty breathing could
be triggered by different factors such as emotions, change
of weather, etc.
Regardless of the nature of the asthma, the reason for the
bronchial tightness is a spasm of the bronchial muscles,
swelling of the mucous membrane and it’s hyper secretion. In
many cases, medical intervention is necessary.
Usually these attacks are rhythmic (daily, monthly,
annually) so it is possible to be prepared and to try to
prevent it. It is known that asthmatics do not sleep as well
as healthy people, and this lack contributes to the
development of the disease. The sleeping position and the
quality of air in the bedroom are very important. Since
symptoms at night are more common, many physicians prescribe
higher dosages of medication to be taken at night than
during the day.
Most asthmatics know the rhythm of their disease and are
able to predict a crisis. An instrument exists, a sort of
“asthmatic barometer”, that measures the speed of exhaled
air and thus helps to predict an oncoming attack.
Some reactions can be neutralized with the use of
immunotherapy if the most typical allergen for an individual
can be found.
I want to stress that a huge influence on the development of
this disease is the hygiene of the persons living area,
general fitness, correct breathing techniques, proper
nutrition and so on. These make the organism stronger
against the influence of unfavorable factors in the
environment, help to prevent asthma, and lower it’s clinical
In my practice, I pay equal attention to all aspects of the
development of asthma: it’s chronobiology (rhythm of the
disease) and triggers of it’s development. When you pull the
rug from under your enemies feet, they can not resist.