Alternative therapies for asthma

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 1997 Jan;3(1):61-71. doi: 10.1097/00063198-199701000-00010.


Many traditional drugs and techniques are gaining popularity in the treatment of asthma, although scientific proof of their value is usually inadequate. Alternative remedies, including herbs and nonmedication management techniques, have not been shown to be useful primary measures, but they still appeal to patients who feel unsatisfied with orthodox medicines. Dietary modification may be worth considering; evidence suggests that salt reduction and magnesium supplementation have value in reducing asthmatic symptoms. The evidence on the role of steroid-sparing agents is not encouraging, but administering steroids once a day in the mid-afternoon may provide benefit. New aerosol techniques are appearing, but judgement is needed to select the best device for each medication as well as for each patient.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / diet therapy
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Complementary Therapies / methods*
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted
  • Diuretics / administration & dosage
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Food, Fortified
  • Humans
  • Magnesium
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Nebulizers and Vaporizers
  • Plants, Medicinal


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Diuretics
  • Magnesium