Best Tea For Asthma/Breathing

I have nocturnal asthma now. Tea often helps me to start breathing again after an accumulation of mucus. Currently, I find that green tea helps the most with this, but I’m wondering which variety of tea is the best. Thoughts? Experiences? Anyone who has trouble breathing due to mucus or asthma, do respond, please.

48 Replies
boychik said

I have seasonal allergies year around pretty much. i really like sheng with camphor notes. i feel like its opening up the passages. i have to think now which ones. ones i remember i will let you know.

They all pretty much help clear up my allergies, which are indoor/dust related. Camphor is wonderful!

I second sheng, I’ve had the best luck with ones from Teavivre if you want to check them out! Caffeine is also sometimes helpful. If it is allergies, nettles are also sometimes good for me. However, I am on an inhaler, nose spray and pill for my asthma and allergies so it is tough to determine which is the most useful from those and tea.

Steaming with eucalyptus might also help a bit. Have you tried any over-the-counter allergy pills? I would check with a doctor before taking any medications, but they might also be helpful. Also if you don’t already, try sleeping with 2 pillows (not down filled, just synthetic) and I would also look into an air purifier for your bedroom to filter out dust. In the extreme, I also only use Tide Free & Gentle for washing my clothes, as there are no added perfumes which sometimes irritate my air ways and skin. I hope you get feeling better soon!

boychik said

I forgot to mention Mucinex. its over the counter. helps thin mucus

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I’m an extremely severe asthmatic and I can’t say tea has ever helped my breathing in that regard. If my nasal passages are stuffy tea sometimes helps for that.

Do you have a good allergist or pulmonary specialst?

No. I don’t have a doctor at all. I cannot afford it, nor can I afford an inhaler. A year ago when I was nearly suffocating to death each night, I managed to get an inhaler prescription from the emergency room after I told them that if I didn’t have something to allow my lungs to work at night, I would be dead very soon.

The specialist, who wasn’t even a doctor, refused to consider that I might have asthma because I “had no history of asthma.” I was 22 years old. Although she admitted to being completely unsure about what was happening to me, she gave me medication for the whooping cough, only I never had the “whooping” noise. I had to insist that she give me something to allow me to breathe at night.

Three weeks later, even with the inhaler, I stopped breathing completely one morning and almost died. What happened? Well, I hadn’t drunk any tea the night before or that morning, that’s for sure. Continual water alone was nowhere near enough. Needless to say, it wasn’t a “cough” preventing me from breathing. Even with further, additional prescriptions for eradicating and controlling these “whooping cough” symptoms, I became much worse and nearly died.

The medicine didn’t help, but the inhaler surely did. Now, I only experience symptoms at night, which reach their peak between 2 and 3 AM, when I wake up wheezing and gasping for breath, no matter what the environment is or how I position my body. Steam helps to loosen and expel some mucus but does not help my lungs or relax my chest. About fifteen minutes after drinking strong, STRONG white tea, after the caffeine goes full swing, my chest relaxes and I can magically take deep breaths for the first time, and this lasts for two and a half hours, which allows me to sleep some before choking again on clear mucus in my restricting lungs. Except it isn’t magic, it’s caffeine:
“Six trials involving 55 people showed that in comparison with placebo, caffeine, even at a ‘low dose’ (less than 5 mg/kg body weight), appears to improve lung function for up to two hours after consumption.”

A year later, I have no infection and still I choke every night, starting with mild wheezing at 10 PM and increasing to suffocation at 3 AM. There is actually no end to the mucus I can cough up. So far, beside the inhaler, only caffeine has allowed me to breathe again after nighttime attacks.

No, I haven’t been diagnosed with asthma by a doctor. However, I don’t have an infection, and I doubt that the “hundred day cough” ever lasts a year. The reality is, my asthma symptoms began because they were aggravated by a combination of almost every asthma trigger at once, and living in that environment. After reducing as much of the triggers as possible, I am able to make it through each night without fear of suffocating to death.

If it’s not asthma, then it is exactly similar to it. I know I should have a doctor, but I simply don’t have insurance. Tea does clear my nasal passages, but this seems only related to dust. Only strong white tea and green tea has allowed my lungs to relax for a short period. Even now, I am only breathing for this reason. I don’t get much sleep these days.

cookies said

I know it sucks to hear, but there’s only so much that can be done without proper medication. According to my allergist nighttime asthma symptoms are a warning sign that your asthma is out of control and needs attention ASAP. If you didn’t sign up in time for ACA open enrollment you can see if you qualify for an exemption or Medicaid. You can also apply for short-term coverage from outside marketplaces. If none of those are options you can find a free clinic to write you a prescription. If you are diagnosed with asthma you will most likely be given a steroidal inhaler (everyday, not an emergency inhaler) to control the symptoms. You can get a coupon for Symbicort (your doctor/clinic should have them) for free. Your next refills will only be $20.
Since you’re waking up with mucus it’s probably allergies that are setting your asthma off. If you haven’t already you could possibly try an OTC allergy medication and see if that helps at all.

Also, that specialist sounds like a moron. Adult-onset asthma is not uncommon.

boychik said

Agree with cookies.

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Zack S. said

Something with eucalyptus definitely, perhaps other strongly minty teas as well.

I grow a spearmint plant. I make tea with the dried leaf sometimes for my stomach and because it gives me a sort of “high” feeling that is relaxing. Does mint help lung constriction or reduce mucus?

Also, I was reading about anise and I’m going to try that for infusions as well.

Uniquity said

Another vote for mint. It is my go-to when afflicted with head cold or breathing symptoms. It seems to cut the mucus in my throat (sorry, tmi) but I don’t know if that is the hot liquid, or the mint itself. If nothing else, it helps clear nasal passages somewhat and soothes.

Not at all TMI. The mucus beneath my head is what kills me.

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yssah said

Coffee helps for sure cpz its a more potent bronchodilator but not sure if you want to go there

Oh, I do. As I’m sitting here at 4 AM, having been awakened of suffocation at 2:30, the white tea has allowed me to breathe and even to effortlessly expel excess mucus by coughing. Now I realize that some fresh coffee early, early before the morning might help this horrible condition more day to day. I have no inkling as to why it didn’t occur to me before, to take a heavier dose of caffeine at the critical time that I need it. Perhaps because the caffeine, while helping me to breathe, doesn’t have the best side-effects for taking at 2 AM. I will test this tomorrow to see if the benefit is worth the side-effect of wakefulness.

Thanks, Yssah.

yssah said

I’m glad, teatortoise! I really hope that it will help with your breathing. I had an episode when I thought I was gonna die. Thank God, someone was able to get me an inhaler! Didn’t know about coffee then. about mix coffee with some tea so the L-theanine will balance out the extra dose of caffeine. You will still be awake but minus the jitters and caffeine crash of pure coffee hopefully.

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Ubacat said

I have a similar problem but it’s due to allergies. It only gets a bit worse when I lie down but never the severe attack you’ve been having. I only drink herbal in the evening: peppermint, nettle, chrysanthemum,p’au darco. Eucalyptus helps too but it tastes so bad. Eucalyptus is better as an essential oil added to a cream. It smells great but tastes bad. I also nebulize with colloidal silver once in awhile but not on a regular basis. There are homeopathic remedies that may help you too.

You might be having an allergic reaction to something in your room. The biggest culprit is usually down filled pillows. Try checking your room for anything you might be allergic to.

Forgot to add: lemongrass & ginger teas are good too.

Unfortunately, it happens to me no matter where I stay or where I sleep. I went camping for two weeks. I also recently moved, twice.

I’ll try a real lemon/fresh spearmint tea and see if that helps at night. Someone else said mint. Fruit is supposed to help in the long run.

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K S said

I also tried inhalers with some success for a while until it got worse. From what you are describing, this sounds like sleep apnea. I’ve had it my whole life. Just didn’t know it had a name until 15 years ago. I would wake up gasping and one night noticed in the mirror I was turning blue. A C-Pap is hard to get used to, but life saving. There is probably financial help out there if you start looking.

As for teas, puerh – especially some shengs, tend to have the most lung freeing affect for me. I’ll try to look through my notes and come up with some examples.

I’ll try to try some more sheng. Even if I am awake and stay up all night, the process happens the same way. Even without a watch, I know when it is 12, 12:30 AM because my chest becomes tight and I start wheezing much more loudly. A couple hours later, I’m choking on mucus—no sleep needed.

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Phi said

I have awful allergies and the doctor thinks I might have asthma as well… what I find works:

Yogi Tea’s Egyptian Licorice: This helps when nothing else does… it has a bunch of good respiratory stuff like ginger and licorice root… it might not be the best tasting tea but its cheap, decaf, and really helps.

Olbas Oil (or peppermint + ginger oil)- Get some tissues, put them to the side. Put about 3-6 drops into a larger tea cup or mug. Put near boiling water from your kettle in but don’t fill it all the way yet. Breath in the steam through your nose or mouth (depending on where the symptoms are focused). Use the tissue to get rid of some of the stuff that is coming out. Add more hot water to the cup. Repeat as many times as necessary. This is helpful for when you have a migraine or sinus pressure.

As much as it sucks… on days your symptoms are really bad… STAY AWAY FROM AGED TEA and limit caffeine. As much as it sucks… aged tea are very histamine friendly. While they may have some use on days you are strong… fermented and aged foods in general may cause a higher histamine levels. Then tea in general can mess with DAO. So on days your respiratory system isn’t up to par, enjoy fresh teas as well as herbals. This is brought to you by: my sister having a histamine intolerance. I’m not a scientist, but she has done extensive research/ nagging on the subject. But there seems to be a consensus on aged/fermented foods as well as tea in general messing with histamine/DAO.

You also might look into some herbal supplements. I’ve used those in the past, but they aren’t excessively cheap. One of the less expensive ones I’ve found that has helped for general maintenance is Source Naturals Wellness Formula: I can’t remember exactly which formula of theirs I tried but they are all fairly similar and a bottle lasts forever.

Saline spray is your friend as well… I totally don’t do it as often as I should.

Also… examine your diet. A lot of problems can be eased greatly by doing an elimination diet or other such thing, and figuring out if there are foods that cause dysfunction and illness in your body. A lot of people never take this suggestion because it takes a lot of discipline… but I’ve seen it work wonders with a few people I’m close to. They were able to drastically decrease the amount of medicine they were intaking. Also a lot of science is starting to prove the importance of gut health in so many illnesses (mental and chronic) so I’d say in the long term this would be your best bet. For me this didn’t help my respiratory very much (I’ve just always had bad lungs since I was a kid- it runs on my fathers side of the family) but it solved so many other health issues.

If you didn’t want to go full on elimination, look up some foods that have caused other people issues and just eliminate those at first. A big offender I can think of is dairy.

Hmm I’ll edit this post if I think of anything else for general respiratory wellness.

boychik said

i have to agree on diet. I knew that one Asian lady in nail salon i go sometimes had respiratory problems all her life. Someone recommended her to do tests. turned out she was allergic to RICE. She ate a lot of rice every day since its a staple in a their diet.
I disagree on aged tea. During my outbreaks if i had fresh tea i was sneezing and coughing more. I have a follow on IG who has allergies too, he said to stay away from fresh teas since they have pollen that contributes to it. He also recommended to eat local raw honey.

Uniquity said

I have heard that local raw honey does wonders if it is a histamine/allergen issue. I use it occasionally because I prefer the taste but I like thinking it’s helping my body prepare for pollen, etc.

I also recall that milk increases mucus production so limiting or removing dairy may be of help long term.

I have seen a lot of recommendations to drink honey infusion. Makes sense to me. At any rate, there are only good reasons to drink honey. I also have read about dairy. Generally, I try to avoid dairy because I don’t digest it well at all. Cheese and milk can cause problems in my stomach and digestive track for days. So, I already have limited dairy consumption. Maybe I should stop altogether, but this is difficult as I am incredibly thin and my metabolism is off the chain. I also eat fruits and vegetables every day, which is supposed to help.

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ZhenTea said

In general white tea works fantastically on respiratory system, especially the aged ones. So it might help.

I have people asked me the same question. But I want to say that tea is just tea. It can’t solve all the problems no matter how good or healthy it is. Find a real doctor and have the problem looked at. I would suggest to try TCM. But finding a professional, reliable, and experienced doctor can be quite challenging in the west.

Studies show it’s the caffeine that helps with relaxing your lungs and helping you breathe. Even caffeine by itself. As for the doctor, tell me about it!
Perhaps my mother’s doctor will have something to say for me. He used to be my family doctor and he’s pretty helpful.

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Cwyn said

My sister had what she thought was just asthma, and it was worse at night too. Turned out acid reflux was the problem. Stomach acid came up and went into her bronchial tubes.

I do have acid reflux. But I also do a lot to improve my digestion, and I go to sleep sitting up. Also, this happens even when my reflux isn’t acting up, and when I don’t lay down or sleep at all. Could that still be the cause…?

GERD may worsen asthma symptoms, and asthma and some asthma medications may worsen GERD symptoms. Treating GERD often helps to relieve asthma symptoms, further suggesting a relationship between the two conditions.

Doctors most often look at GERD as the cause of asthma when:

*Asthma begins in adulthood, called adult-onset asthma *Asthma symptoms get worse after a meal, after exercise, at night or after lying down"

These hold true for me.
Perhaps, I should cut out evening meals altogether… What are your all’s thoughts on that…?

boychik said

i think you need to go to a doctor or two. You may have both or just GERD. instead of guessing because i dont think all of us are qualified. You may have asthma episodes or not. i think its very serious and no tea can solve the problem.

Of course not. I’m not looking for a tea remedy. I just know that it helps consistently. I guess the more caffeine and the less tannins/acidity the better.

Cwyn said

Gerd, yes that is the name of what my sister has. I forgot it has a name. She does drink tea and prefers shou puerh.

Uniquity said

Acid reflux changes things up a bit though. I understand that this is personal, but when heartburn/acid reflux is bothering me, I have to cut out tea altogether. The tannins really bother me.

yssah said

I’m a nursing student and one of the interventions for GERD is no food 2hours before sleeping. So you could have a light early dinner. If you have small frequent meals, that could help too.

Acid reflux bothers me more with a lot of foods, but I usually choose light teas if it’s later, and earlier if I want a more oxidized tea. I don’t think it makes it worse for me. Eating late makes it a lot harder for me to breathe afterward and hence for most of the night, even while waiting three hours before bed helps the discomfort/pain. I’m going to eat a light meal before six and nothing afterward, see if that improves my breathing.

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AllanK said

Definitely go to a doctor. I have asthma as well. I developed it due to my work environment. I filed a worker’s compensation lawsuit and won. Then the insurance company appealed and I won there as well. You can definitely develop asthma as an adult. However while caffeine may be a minor bronchodilator what you need for asthma is a medicine like Symbicort or Advair. Even with my Advair I have had multiple trips to the emergency room for my asthma. Even if you have to pay out of pocket see a doctor. I would start by seeing an asthma specialist directly. Your family doctor may be ill equipped to diagnose and treat asthma.

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