Beware of trying herbal remedies to ease your asthma - it could make the symptoms worse, says a new study.
"Results indicate patients using herbal remedies are less likely to take their prescribed medications," said Angkana Roy, paediatrician, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, (MSSM) in New York.
"These patients report worse asthma control and poorer quality of life than patients who follow medication plans. Underuse of prescribed medication is one of the main factors contributing to poor outcomes in asthma patients," observed Roy.
The study tracked 326 asthma patients over a 33-month period. Of those, 25 percent reported herbal remedy use and lower adherence to use of prescribed inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).
Patients using herbal remedies were younger and were more likely to have been hospitalised for asthma. They also have concerns about possible adverse effects of ICS and have difficulty following a medication schedule, said a MSSM release.
"Patients interested in herbal remedies need to use them to complement treatment and not as an alternative, or they will not maximise their health and may actually hinder it as this study shows," said Leonard Bielory, American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) Integrative Medicine Committee chair.
"Remember, asthma is a serious disease and needs to be treated that way. Always ask your allergist about medication concerns and discuss use of herbal remedies."