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Onion juice mix relieves asthma? No, go to doctor and use inhaler instead

A mixture of onion juice, honey and black pepper gives instant relief from asthma, claims a Facebook post shared in Nigeria in October 2019.

It reads: “Take 1/4 cup of onion juice, add a teaspoon of honey and 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper and drink; which will relieve congestion and alleviate breathlessness and is effective for immediate relief of asthma.” 

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. Its main symptoms are wheezing – a whistling sound when breathing – as well as breathlessness, a tight chest, and coughing.

When these symptoms get worse they can cause an asthma attack, which can lead to death.

‘Go to hospital if attack severe’

“I am sure the people writing all these mixtures do not know the theory and causes of asthma,” Emmanuel Aguwa, a professor of public health in the faculty of medical sciences at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, told Africa Check.

“Not every breath failure is an asthmatic attack. Some are even heart failure. A doctor has to be consulted for an asthma issue to be diagnosed,” he said.

“There is no scientific evidence to prove the mixture works.

“An asthma patient should try and identify their trigger agent – that is, environmental factors, either dust, cold, stuffy places or even substances inhaled like perfume or a choking aroma –and try as much as possible to avoid them.”

If the attack is severe, asthmatic patients should go to the hospital for treatment. “Most times Ventolin and some steroids are given to asthma patients. Ventolin helps with bronchial dilation,” Aguwa said.

Ventolin is the trade name of albuterol sulphate, a quick-acting drug that opens the body’s breathing passages and relaxes the muscles.

The drug is delivered via an inhaler. People diagnosed with asthma should make sure they have an inhaler, which can help prevent and relieve asthma attacks. – Jennifer Ojugbeli


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