a cup of coffee, drinking coffee

Q. Is it true that coffee can help an asthma attack if you don’t have your medicine handy?

A. Caffeine acts somewhat like a traditional asthma medicine (theophylline). A review of the scientific literature says that caffeine modestly improves airway function for up to four hours (Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2001, No. 4).

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  1. Sandi

    I have asthma pretty bad. Take use my breathing machine daily. I was sick for like 2 months straight! Waking up with horrible asthma attacks and the treatments weren’t working… coffee worked! I started waking up and taking my treatments and drinking hot coffee. It’s really does work.

  2. Ellen H.

    I have been drinking coffee since I was 4 (it was only a quarter cup with milk then, I just liked being one of the grown ups. I went to a full cup when i got into Jr High ) and boy, it was a godsend when I came down with asthma. I had meds, but I really think coffee helped me grow out of it.

    I still get mild relapses once in a great while but not enough for any medical treatment. It’s good for maintaining weight, as well. I drink at least one cup of either coffee or tea everyday. I particularly like the chinese teas, like Darjeeling and Oolong cause they’re not loaded with sugar, but I do enjoy Starbucks now and then, especially when they roll out the gingerbread latte :)

    If you don’t like coffee or tea, I would imagine an apple cider or hot chocolate would do a little bit of good because of the steam (much like chicken soup). So even though it doesn’t replace a doctor, I always try coffee before I make an appointment. Hope this helps someone :)

  3. Barbara

    I’ve been a long time coffee drinker. I never really felt like it interrupted my sleep, maybe a bit of upset tummy. I didn’t really appreciate the benefits of coffee until I I went to the hospital. I was about 6 months pregnant, and having terrible headaches. Being pregnant the options to help me were limited. But, the doctor had them give me coffee, pepsi, and as I recall 7 Up, (That one could have been just for potential tummy issues.) Irregardless, that boost of caffeine worked! It wasn’t too long and my headache was gone.

    This morning I used coffee to help my elderly mother-in-law breathe easier, and i helped her too. I’m just a Mom, no medical training. But, in the event of an emergency, and no other help available, I’d use coffee to help my family breate easier. God Bless.

  4. jb

    Still, if you REALLY have a problem, then inhalers are good, and Advair is terrific for long term (daily) use. You don’t want to use inhalers for daily use. For an emergency inhaler if you don’t have a prescription one, you can go to any pharmacy including Walmart, and get Bronchaid Mist over the counter. It tastes terrible when inhaled, but it works.
    People’s Pharmacy response: If you need an inhaler, you should talk with your doctor about this and make a plan for emergencies.
    You may also be interested in a new book, A Cure for Asthma? What Your Doctor Isn’t Telling You–and Why, by Dr. David Hahn. We published it.

  5. Barbara

    Woke up about 45 minutes ago and started coughing. I do have the flu, but I also have asthma. I’m awake a lot due to the wheezing and coughing. Dr gave me meds, but they don’t help very much. I will try the coffee…..I’ve got nothing to lose! Thanks for the info everyone.

  6. Amanda

    This really worked!
    I have asthma and had a bad cough with a cold and I had trouble sleeping at my friend’s house with no asthma puffer, so this was a relief, Thank you

  7. erika

    I ran this morning and and was having trouble breathing and felt tightness in my chest. I took 2 puffs of my expired inhaler because it was all I had. It did not help. I just drank about 10 oz. of coffee and I feel so much better. I am going to my Dr. to get a new prescription of albuterol though.

  8. Jroth

    I can’t stop drinking coffee or my asthma returns. I take no inhalers because I can’t stand the side effects and have controlled my wheezing by drinking coffee for over 20 years.

  9. jeff

    Not crazy at all, it’s the caffeine that’s helping the breathing problem. The problem is, caffeine typically keeps you up, not puts you to sleep, so stick with a small amount.

  10. Tired Mommy

    My son has been having problem sleeping at night . He has been waking with an awful cough and so I decided to give him some green tea or a small amount of Pepsi before bed and he sleeps through the night!!!! CRAZY

  11. mbo

    As a School Nurse I have given children Mello Yello or Mountain Dew when they were having an asthma attack and no inhaler at school. It eased breathing difficulties until parent could get to school with an inhaler.

  12. jeff

    It’s harder to breathe when laying down. Though I do have bad asthma often, at times my asthma will be so light I won’t even notice I’m having a problem until I try to lay down to sleep. If I take anything with caffeine, I’ll be up all night.
    Any ideas for something to take at night, without caffeine?

  13. PP

    Somewhere I heard that caffeine is a natural anti-histamine. In Texas where there I experienced a lot of allergies, a hot cup of coffee cleared my upper respiratory system within minutes.

  14. FJS

    Hot coffee, drunk slowly, does open airways in a few minutes. Green tea has the same effect but takes longer. How does caffeine and theophylline achieve this? Does it relieve smooth muscle contraction or short-circuit the inflammatory response?

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