Lifestyle Changes, Alternative Remedies for Cystic Fibrosis
While there is no cure for cystic fibrosis – a disease that requires 4,000 Canadians to seek out specialized treatment – there are lifestyle changes you can make and alternative remedies you can use to ameliorate the symptoms of cystic fibrosis.
Note: Always discuss any lifestyle change or alternative treatments with your doctor before starting.
Lifestyle Changes that Can Help Cystic Fibrosis
Nutrition is something that people with cystic fibrosis have to take very seriously as part of their condition affects their ability to absorb nutrients from the food they eat and means that they need 50% more calories than a person without cystic fibrosis. According to the Mayo Clinic, in addition to the digestive enzymes that you doctor may prescribe, you might also consider adding:
- Special, fat-soluble vitamins
- Extra fiber to prevent intestinal blockage
- Extra salt, especially during hot weather
And always make sure to drink plenty of fluids to help thin the fluid in your lungs.
Exercise is also an important lifestyle change that can help people with cystic fibrosis. This can loosen mucus in your airways and strengthen your heart and lungs.
Other lifestyle changes that can help with cystic fibrosis symptoms include:
- Keeping immunizations up to date, including yearly flu vaccines
- Eliminating smoke, second-hand or otherwise
- Increasing hand-washing and encouraging those around you to do the same to protect against infection
Alternative Remedies for Cystic Fibrosis
Alternative remedies for cystic fibrosis includes herbs, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, and massage.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, herbs are, generally, a safe way to strengthen and tone the body’s systems. They recommend the following, possible herbs:
- Ginkgo for inflammation and as an antioxidant. Note: Ginkgo may increase bleeding in sensitive individuals, such as those taking blood thinning medications, including aspirin. Gingko may not be appropriate for certain people, including those who have diabetes, infertility, a history of seizures, or bleeding disorders.
- Green tea for antioxidant and immune effects.
- Cat’s claw for inflammation, immune and antibacterial or antifungal activity. Note: Cat’s claw may interact with certain medications, including blood pressure medications. Cat’s claw may worsen autoimmune disorders and Leukemia.
- Milk thistle seed for detoxification support. Note: Milk thistle may have an estrogen like effect, so people who have a history of hormone related cancers should use milk thistle with caution. Milk thistle is in the same family as ragweed and may cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to ragweed. Since milk thistle works on the liver, it may interact with medications.
- Bromelain for pain and inflammation. Note: Bromelain may increase bleeding in sensitive individuals, such as those taking blood thinning medications, including aspirin.
- Ground Ivy to reduce mucous production and to loosen phlegm. Note: Ground ivy can be particularly toxic to the liver and kidneys. People who have a history of seizure disorders should avoid ground ivy.
Please see here for additional information on how to take herbs for cystic fibrosis.
There have been few studies that have shown that any specific homeopathic remedy helps with cystic fibrosis but, based on experience, an experienced homeopath may consider the following two remedies:
- Antimonium tartaricum for wet, rattling cough (although the cough is usually too weak to bring up mucus material from the lungs) that is accompanied by extreme fatigue and breathing problems. Symptoms usually worsen when the person is lying down.
- Carbo vegetabilis for shortness of breath with anxiety, chills, and bluish skin discoloration.
Acupuncture may also help with the symptoms of cystic fibrosis. Acupuncture may help immune function, help with digestion, and strengthen respiratory function.
Finally, massage may help loosen and drain the mucus from the lungs.
“This article was written by award-winning mental health writer and speaker, Natasha Tracy.”