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An exciting new study supports another long used therapy in Anthroposophic (humanized) medicine. Therapeutic speech formation was studied in a randomized controlled trial and found to be effective in controlling asthma and increasing patient quality of life. There were 49 participants and statistically significant results were demonstrated.

Therapeutic Speech Formation involves use of rhythm combined with elements of speech. Old hexameter verse was popular in ancient Greece. It is used in a few English poems, such as "Evangeline" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:


               Now had the season returned, when the nights grow colder and longer,
               And the retreating sun the sign of the Scorpion enters.
               Birds of passage sailed through the leaden air, from the ice-bound,
               Desolate northern bays to the shores of tropical islands.


The speech therapists worked with patients individually for 11 sessions, once per week. Each patient had their own individually crafted exercise with the goals of:



-extending and deepening respiration- making it more rhythmical

-reducing hyperventilation

-reducing the feeling of stiffness and congestion in the chest and diaphragm area

-opening airways by using speech- vowel "A" plus a consonent "B, D, or C"


Anthroposophic Speech Therapists undergo a 4 year training and work in hospital settings in Europe as well as independently. This study found that validated asthma scores and scores for quality of life were improved in the speech therapy group. It has not yet been shown if lung physiology is permanently changed with speech formation.

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I feel very fortunate to have encountered a great speech formation professional, Serge Maintier. Any doubt I had of the power of speech to also work into the human body, soul and spirit evaporated when I met him. Here is a link to an excellent introduction on speech formation.

Of course, speech formation is not the only therapy we have to work on asthma in Anthroposophic medicine. Another remedy with scientific validation is citrus cydonia (lemon and quince extract). This article details the beneficial effect of citrus cydonia on the respiratory membranes. I have personally witnessed patients with difficult asthma achieve benefit with lemon quince treatment. It is possible to use as an injection or as a nebulized addition to asthma therapy.


Natural Cough Medicine

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata) is a common weed with overlooked medical potential. Many people wonder what natural medicine can be given for a difficult cough, bronchitis, asthma, or lung congestion. One of my favorite remedies is made by Uriel pharmacy in Wisconsin and contains plantain. This handy herb has been studied in medical journals and found to have three important properties for the respiratory tract.

It is anti-inflammatory- the lung passageways can become inflamed from infection, allergy or autoimmune processes. These cause production of mucous and bronchoconstriction- tightening of the smooth muscle in the smaller air passages. Bronchoconstriction is what happens in asthma, bronchitis and COPD and typically causes air trapping. So the anti-inflammatory properties of plantain are welcome in the lung.

It is spasmolytic. This simply means it relieves spasm in the lung- in particular the bronchospasm mentioned above that is key to the wheezing heard in asthma and bronchiolitis as well as COPD. 

It is immunostimulatory. Plantain has immune boosting properties so that lung infections- both viral and bacterial can be cleaned up and resolved faster by your body. 

Let's compare the plantain trifecta with the three key treatments we use in conventional mediicne for a COPD exacerbation, COPD is a chronic lung condition that people often get through cigarrette smoke exposure or other chronic lung scarring. Often an acute worsening of COPD will occur that results in wheezing and severe shortness of breath. In acute case we try to treat three things: 

  • We give an antibiotic as often there are bacteria worsening the breathing
  • We give a steroid to decrease inflammation in the lungs
  • We give breathing treatments to open up the airways

Unfortunately these treatments, though highly effective in the short term, don't address any of the causes of COPD. Many times I witness patients with a dependence on steroids which also depress the immune system and cause other system-wide effects on the body. Can we do better for this condition? I will explore COPD in another post as it is a big topic.

I give plantain for most lung conditions with phlegm and mucous as well as wheezing. 



Beer, André-Michael, and Dieter Loew. “[Medicinal plants for infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract: practical recommendations].” MMW Fortschritte der Medizin 150, no. 41 (October 9, 2008): 29–33.
Vigo, E., A. Cepeda, O. Gualillo, and R. Perez-Fernandez. “In-Vitro Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Pinus Sylvestris and Plantago Lanceolata Extracts: Effect on Inducible NOS, COX-1, COX-2 and Their Products in J774A.1 Murine Macrophages.” The Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology 57, no. 3 (March 2005): 383–91.
“WC500123351.Pdf.” Accessed February 15, 2018.
Wegener, T., and K. Kraft. “[Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.): anti-inflammatory action in upper respiratory tract infections].” Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift (1946) 149, no. 8–10 (1999): 211–16.
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