Caffeine is known more as a pick-me up than a home remedy, but for years scientists have wondered whether it may have benefits for people with asthma.
The suspicion stems in part from its chemical structure, which resembles that of theophylline (a common asthma medication that relaxes the airway muscles and relieves wheezing, shortness of breath and other respiratory problems). When caffeine is ingested and broken down by the liver, one byproduct is small amounts of theophylline.
A study carried out in 2007, found that caffeine produced small improvements in airway function for up to four hours, and even a small dose could improve lung function for up to two hours.
So, a cup of coffee or strong tea might provide some momentary relief.
However, the studies show that improvements are very slight and are certainly not enough to make caffeine a replacement for medication.
Caffeine’s benefits for asthma are real but minimal.
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