Are you having trouble breathing? Do you feel as if you cannot draw a full breath? Have you been looking for a cure? Do not worry. Steam Inhalation may be the solution you are looking for.
Steam inhalation is one of the oldest and most commonly used home therapies for treating the common cold and upper respiratory tract infections. This blog will describe all you need to know about steam Inhalation.
What is Steam Inhalation?
Steam inhalation is the inhalation of warm, moist vapors produced by boiling water. It helps to open, clear, and soothe your nasal passages, thereby providing relief from the breathing difficulties caused by conditions such as common cold, sinus infection, nasal obstruction in allergic rhinitis, etc (Vathanophas et al.5).
According to research conducted at the University of Munich’s Institute of Medical Balneology and Climatology, steam inhalation can improve upper respiratory problems, asthma symptoms, bronchitis, and cough, by loosening phlegm and mucous and soothing sore throat (Lyons).
How does Steam Inhalation Help?
Steam therapy uses water vapors in the form of hot, humid air. Once the water vapors are inhaled, they:
- Acts as natural expectorants and help relax the mucus in your nasal passageways, throat, and lungs.
- Ease the swollen, inflamed blood vessels in your nasal passages and improve the blood circulation in the respiratory tract.
- Cause the release of mucosal secretions and clear your airways. This results in a reduction in respiratory resistance and relieves inflammation and congestion.
- Prevent mucous membranes from drying and cause the release of mucous from the throat and lungs. This might help to reduce breathlessness.
According to a study, when steam therapy was used in individuals suffering from bronchiolitis, respiratory distress decreased significantly within 24 hours (Singh et al. 945).
Combining Steam Inhalation with Zinda Tilismath
The addition of Zinda Tilismath to steam provides a significant boost to the efficacy of the treatment. Zinda Tilismath is a well-recognized herbal medicine that acts as a reliable herbal cure for common diseases. It contains different ingredients including eucalyptus oil, menthol, thymol, etc. The benefits of Zinda Tilismath are:
Eucalyptus oil and menthol, present in Zinda Tilismath, possess antimicrobial activity and have proven to be effective against different bacteria, viruses, and fungi (Bachheti et al. 625).
Eucalyptus oil has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to reduce mucous secretions (Gbenou et al. 1131).
Analgesic and Cooling Effect
Menthol has analgesic and cooling properties and helps treat sore throat pains (Zhao et. al. 289).
Eucalyptus oil and thymol have antioxidant activity which helps treat free radicle-borne diseases (Salehi et. al. 1702).
Zinda Tilismath when used with steam provides additional relief from symptoms. Respiratory problems such as asthma and sinusitis may be improved as eucalyptus oil and menthol interact with mucous membranes and produce a cooling sensation respectively, thereby facilitating the opening up of upper respiratory airways (Lu et al. 168; Schäfer et al. 757).
How to Inhale Steam?
Steam inhalation therapy can be easily performed at home using methods like hot water in a kettle or bowl, hot towel, steam machine, or sauna room.
Using hot water in a bowl is the easiest way. For this, you require water, a large bowl, microwave or stove (for heating the water), and a towel. The steps are as follows (Cafasso, and Sampson):
- Heat the water to boiling.
- Pour 10 drops of Zinda Tilismath in about two glasses of hot water.
- Gently transfer the water to the large bowl.
- Wrap the towel over the back of your head.
- Start a timer.
- Close your eyes and gradually lower your head towards the hot water until you are roughly 8 to 12 inches away from the water. (Note: Do not make direct contact with the water)
- Take slow and deep breaths through your nose for at least two to five minutes.
You can repeat steam inhalation twice or thrice a day depending upon your symptoms. However, you should not steam for more than 10 to 15 minutes for each session. You can also use an electric steam inhaler or other breathing devices which may be safer to use.
Benefits of Steam Inhalation
A single round of steam Inhalation may help you get rid of your breathing troubles. The vapors prevent your respiratory tract from getting dried up and help thin the mucous in your sinuses enabling them to clear out more easily. This decreases the chances of infection and temporarily returns your breathing to normal.
The key benefit is that the warm, moist air provides relief from the feelings of irritation and inflamed blood vessels in the nasal passages, thereby, making it easier to breathe.
Studies have revealed mixed results regarding the efficacy of steam inhalation (Little et al. 948; Singh et al. 12). However, subjective evidence shows that it helps to relieve:
- Congested nose
- Dry or irritated nasal passages
- Breathing troubles caused by airway congestion
- Dry or wet cough
- Throat pain and irritation
- Facial pains felt during sinusitis
Although steam therapy may help alleviate the symptoms of common cold and upper respiratory tract infections, it cannot treat the infection as it does not kill the bacteria or virus causing the infection. At best, it may help make you feel better as your body fights against the infection. This is where Zinda Tilismath comes in.
Zinda Tilismath has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory actions which may help to treat your infection. Eucalyptus oil and menthol kill and disrupt the growth of bacteria (Trombetta et al. 2474). In asthmatic patients, menthol improves airway hyper-responsiveness without altering the airway resistance and thus makes breathing easier (Tamaoki et al. 504).
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Uses of Steam Inhalation
Steam therapy may offer short-term relief from the symptoms of:
- Flu (influenza)
- Common cold
- Nasal allergies (asthma)
- Sinus infections
- Chest congestion
Side Effects of Steam Inhalation
Steam inhalation is believed to be a safe home treatment if performed properly. Yet, it is possible to harm yourself if you are not cautious or use it for more duration than recommended. The side effects include:
Risk of Scalding
There is a chance of scalding yourself if you come in contact with the hot water or if you are exposed to steam for extended periods. Furthermore, you may accidentally knock over the bowl of hot water into your lap, causing severe burns (Baartmans et al. 473).
To avoid burns:
- Ensure that the bowl of water is placed on a level, even surface, and cannot be knocked over.
- Keep your eyes closed and prevent the steam from making contact with your eyes.
- Keep the children away while performing the therapy.
Steam therapy should not be used for children. According to a study, children are most susceptible to receive burns from steam therapy (Baartmans et al. 475).
Damage to Mucous Membranes
Excessive heat can cause damage to the mucosal linings of the nose and throat.
Constantly using the same water for steam can increase the chances of bacterial infections.
Steam inhalation may be useful to clear and open your nasal and respiratory passages, thereby, relieving the breathing problems caused by infections, such as cold and flu. However, it can not cure your infection and your body has to fight against the infection itself. Combining Zinda Tilismath with water and inhaling the vapor can prove to be quite effective and may help your body fight off the infection.
Baartmans, Martin et al. “Steam inhalation therapy: severe scalds as an adverse side effect.” The British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners vol. 62,600 (2012): e473-7. doi:10.3399/bjgp12X652337
Bachheti, R. K., Archana Joshi, and Arjun Singh. “Oil content variation and antimicrobial activity of eucalyptus leaves oils of three different species of dehradun, Uttarakhand, India.” International Journal of ChemTech Research 3.2 (2011): 625-628.
Cafasso, Jacquelyn, and Stacy Sampson. “Steam Inhalation: Cold, Sinuses, Procedure, Benefits, Cough, And”. Healthline, 2021, https://www.healthline.com/health/steam-inhalation#how-to.
Gbenou, Joachin D., et al. “Phytochemical composition of Cymbopogon citratus and Eucalyptus citriodora essential oils and their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties on Wistar rats.” Molecular biology reports 40.2 (2013): 1127-1134.
Little, Paul et al. “Effectiveness of steam inhalation and nasal irrigation for chronic or recurrent sinus symptoms in primary care: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l’Association medicale canadienne vol. 188,13 (2016): 940-949. doi:10.1503/cmaj.160362
Lu, X. Q., et al. “Effect of Eucalyptus globulus oil on lipopolysaccharide-induced chronic bronchitis and mucin hypersecretion in rats.” Zhongguo Zhong yao za zhi= Zhongguo zhongyao zazhi= China journal of Chinese materia medica 29.2 (2004): 168-171.
Lyons, Jessica. “What Are The Benefits Of Sauna & Steam Rooms For Asthma?”. Leaftv, 2021, https://www.leaf.tv/4479811/what-are-the-benefits-of-sauna-steam-rooms-for-asthma/.
Salehi, Bahare, et al. “Thymol, thyme, and other plant sources: Health and potential uses.” Phytotherapy Research 32.9 (2018): 1688-1706.
Schäfer, K., H. A. Braun, and C. Isenberg. “Effect of menthol on cold receptor activity. Analysis of receptor processes.” The Journal of general physiology 88.6 (1986): 757-776.
Singh, Meenu et al. “Heated, humidified air for the common cold.” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews vol. 8,8 CD001728. 29 Aug. 2017, doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001728.pub6
Singh, M et al. “Evaluation of steam therapy in acute lower respiratory tract infections: a pilot study.” Indian pediatrics vol. 27,9 (1990): 945-51.
Tamaoki, J., et al. “Effect of menthol vapour on airway hyperresponsiveness in patients with mild asthma.” Respiratory medicine 89.7 (1995): 503-504.
Trombetta, Domenico, et al. “Mechanisms of antibacterial action of three monoterpenes.” Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy 49.6 (2005): 2474-2478.
Vathanophas, Vannipa, et al. “The effect of steam inhalation on nasal obstruction in patients with allergic rhinitis.” Asian Pac J Allergy Immunol (2019).
Zhao, Ying, Li-Da Du, and Guan-Hua Du. “Menthol.” Natural Small Molecule Drugs from Plants. Springer, Singapore, 2018. 289-294.