COPD is a very serious and progressive disease where you have difficulty in breathing. The symptoms it causes include coughing with a lot of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.
To say that it is uncomfortable is an understatement and it can be life-threatening.
COPD is caused by smoking and long-term exposure to irritants and pollution. Today it is a major cause of disability and the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S.
It can be very debilitating and COPD suffers may not even be able to do basic tasks like walking or even cooking.
According to the National Heart, Lung and blood institute, "there is no cure and doctors don’t know how to reverse the Damage to the airways and lungs."
But at the national meeting of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) in Denver, good news is being found in much of their reported research.
Two separate studies have reported breakthroughs that can help people with COPD and the treatments are not drug related but include a vitamin and an ancient natural treatment.
In traditional Chinese medicine there is a paste that has been used for over a thousand years to help with breathing difficulties and that includes COPD and asthma.
The main ingredients of XCP are plants that are native to China – Ephedra vlugaris, Asarum heterothropoides and Acorus gramineus Soland.
The researches had 142 research subjects that were placed randomly into two groups. One group received the XCP and the control group received a placebo paste. The pastes were applied to acupuncture points on the back four times during the eight-week period of July and August. The acupuncture points were those traditionally used to treat these kind of resportary problems.
Dr. Bian said in a media statement:
"Treatment with XCP significantly reduced the frequency of winter exacerbation compared with patients treated with placebo. XCP patients experienced statistically significant reductions in steroid use and episodes of shortness of breath, and XCP patients also reported an improved quality of life compared to those treated with placebo."
Apparently there have been no formal studies on this treatment until now even though it has been used as a conventional therapy for thousands of years.
Additional good news came from a separate study where researchers in Belgium reported data showing that Vitamin D deficiency is common among patients with COPD and supplements of Vitamin D may significantly help with their breathing difficulties.
In a press statement, Miek Hornikx, a phsiotherapist and doctoral student in the department of pneumology at Katholieke University, Leuven, Belgium said:
"Our study shows that high doses of vitamin D supplementation on top of a standard rehabilitation program improve the outcome in terms of exercise capacity and respiratory muscle strength.
Low levels of vitamin D in the blood have been related with muscle weakness, a major target for respiratory rehabilitation and increased risk of falls.
Since vitamin D is often depleted in patients with COPD, we wanted to see if vitamin D supplementation would have a beneficial effect on rehabilitation among these patients, perhaps by increasing muscle strength."
Their study took 50 COPD patients with a history of exacerbations that had been referred by their doctors for rehabilitation. They randomly assigned these patients to take either a monthly dose or a placebo dose.
They were given 100,000 IUs a month which is far above the tiny recommended daily allowance of only 600 IUs Vitamin D.
All the research subjects participated in a pulmonary rehabilitation program for three months. They had their peripheral and respiratory muscle strength, exercise capacity and vitamin D levels measured at the beginning of the study and at the end of the 3 months.
At the end of the 3 months, they found that those that were treated with vitamin D had significant improvement in their exercise capacity and respiratory muscle strength compared to the patient that were in the placebo group.
Ms. Hornikx concluded:
"These results support the idea that correcting vitamin D deficiency by adding vitamin D supplements to training programs allows DOPD patients to achieve better results from rehabilitation, including improvements in muscle strength and exercise capacity."
This is good news and shows that natural treatments need to be looked at much more than they have been.
This study did not take a look at the benefits of taking Allicin and Vitamin D too. There are many people who have gotten good results in their condition using Dr. Josling’s Alligin and adding Vitamin D supplementation.
It is encouraging to see these studies and it would not be a bad idea for COPD suffers to talk with their health practitioner about adding this Chinese remedy to their use of Vitamin D and Alligin.