To all of those who checked in since midnight, if you were wondering why my most recent post under this title seemed incomplete, it’s because it was! Somehow half of it was deleted, and for technical reasons I had to delete the entire post and resubmit it from scratch, which meant that comments attached to the original were also deleted. Sorry about that!
Three years ago, I got really sick with a bad case of bronchitis that lasted over two months. For the rest of that winter, I couldn’t breathe freely in the cold air, but then the spring came and all my symptoms disappeared.
Until the following winter, when I started having problems breathing again. I had to wrap up very well when I went outside, with my mouth covered, and then it would take me about 20 minutes of not saying anything, while holding a cup of hot tea in front of my mouth, to be able to breathe freely again. I would have uncontrollable coughing until my lungs warmed up. I didn’t pay much attention to it, just figured it was some kind of residual thing from the bronchitis the year before.
Then this winter came along. And this year even I couldn’t wave it off - it seemed to have gotten progressively worse from last year. After five minutes outside in the cold (and by that I mean in my car, not literally outside), and it would take forty minutes of coughing and wheezing until I could breathe normally. I couldn’t even stand in front of my open door in the winter while inside my house without having coughing spasms. In the nighttime, I dreaded laying down, because as soon as I did, the coughing started. And I would cough so hard that I couldn’t stop, and had to sit up. It would often take an hour of coughing until I was so exhausted I could fall asleep.
I was feeling very incapacitated by this, and I became almost afraid of cold air. I’ve always been a pretty hardy person, and it bothered me to feel so delicate. When I went somewhere, it was pretty noticeable, and I was always being asked if I was sick. Two separate friends asked me if I had asthma, to which I of course answered no, even though my symptoms were so similar. But that got me thinking, and I started researching.
I felt like I hit pay dirt when I learned that asthma can develop as a result of severe respiratory infections. Once I knew what I was dealing with, I decided to buy some herbs to treat my symptoms (remember that big order of herbs a while back?). Among the other herbs I got were lobelia and mullein. I made a blend of equal parts of each, (maybe 1 T. each), put them in a piece of muslin, and tied it off at the top. Then I let it steep in about two cups of boiling water for about fifteen minutes, and drank it.
It wasn’t delicious – it has an unpleasant ticklish feeling going down – but it wasn’t horrible, either. And I didn’t have any more coughing for several days. But I wasn’t quick to ascribe any special significance to this, even though it was unusual, because I didn’t want to fall prey to wishful thinking. But then a few nights later, I went out in the evening, and there was no problem at all. That I did take note of, because the week before going to the same place, I had thought to myself that I should probably stop going out in the evenings at all because it was causing me so much discomfort. I had another cup of the same mixture when I felt a slight tightness in my chest around then.
A week later, I was out at my regular Sunday night meeting, and I spent a half hour chatting outside afterwards with a friend in the cold air. No coughing, nothing. I was just cold. That was almost two months ago, and that has been the coldest part of the year; since then, I’ve had no night time coughing, no coughing in cold air – nothing. It honestly feels like a miracle – I’m not saying that lightly. After three years and feeling like this was a problem I was going to have the rest of my life, it just ended after three cups of this herbal tea, with the only cost being a few teaspoonfuls of dried herbs (less than two dollars’ worth).
My ds15 was diagnosed with sports asthma last year, which basically means that when it’s cold or he is very active, his breathing gets labored and his chest feels tight. When he complained about it to me about eight weeks ago, I gave him the same thing I had taken. He hasn’t complained since then. I asked him last night how he’s been feeling before writing this, wanting to be accurate, and he said that though he occasionally feels out of breath when he runs around a lot, otherwise he’s been fine. He used to have a hard time catching his breath even after walking to shul in the morning, and he said since he had the tea it hasn’t been a problem (and he walks every morning, no matter how cold it is). I think it’s likely that if he drank some a bit more often, he wouldn’t even experience this, but he knows what to do if he feels he needs it. I guess it’s a statement of success that he doesn’t feel the need to take anymore of it!
I wouldn’t say this is going to work for everyone, but I would definitely encourage anyone suffering from asthma-like symptoms to try it. It can’t hurt, and it might even hugely help.