Complementary/Alternative Therapies in Asthma

  • Andrea Borchers
  • Carl L. Keen
  • M. Eric Gershwin
Part of the Current Clinical Practice book series (CCP)


  • Up to almost 60% of patients with asthma use some sort of complementary and alter native medicine therapy.

  • There is insufficient evidence to make recommendations for the incorporation of acupuncture into the treatment or management of asthma.

  • There are insufficient data to determine whether homeopathy is a valid adjunctive therapy in the management of asthma.

  • Breathing exercises may improve symptom scores and quality-of-life measures, but evidence for their effectiveness in improving lung function is still inconclusive.

  • Muscle relaxation shows some promise in improving lung function, but the available evidence on relaxation techniques is limited.

  • There is insufficient evidence to support the use of chiropractic spinal manipulation and other manual therapies in the treatment of asthma.

  • The authors suggest a healthy well-balanced diet with high intake of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidant vitamins, flavonoids, and minerals; there is not enough evidence to recommend supplementation with antioxidant vitamins or selenium for patients with asthma.

  • The authors also suggest supplementation with magnesium in the subset of patients with asthma with low intracellular levels of this mineral.

  • Supplementation with certain n-3 fatty acids and the n-6 fatty acid γ-linolenic acid reduces markers of inflammation in patients with asthma, but there is little evidence of a beneficial effect on lung function or asthma control.

  • There is as yet no conclusive evidence of effectiveness in the treatment of asthma for any botanical.

  • Do ask your patients whether and what botanicals they use, and do tell your patients about the potential risk of allergies, toxicities, and herb-drug interactions associated with many herbal compounds.


Lung Function Peak Expiratory Flow Rate Acupuncture Point Improve Lung Function Sham Acupuncture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Borchers
    • 1
  • Carl L. Keen
    • 2
  • M. Eric Gershwin
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology/Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of California at DavisDavis
  2. 2.Departments of Medicine and Nutrition, School of MedicineUniversity of California at DavisDavis

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