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Stop Asthma with Water!
by Miriam Knight

I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon and evening speaking with Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, a medical doctor and the crusading author of “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” and “ABC of Asthma, Allergies and Lupus.” My years in the scientific and health fields made me skeptical of simplistic explanations, but I came away convinced of the soundness of Dr. B’s message that most of today’s chronic illness is the result of the body’s attempts to cope with chronic dehydration. Dr. B back’s up his work with so much irrefutable science and important information that it is a bit overwhelming. So, rather than trying to cover it all in one article, this will be the start of a series of articles on the role of water in health and various disease conditions.

The first topic is Asthma, a frightening, potentially life threatening condition that has been sharply on the rise, particularly among children. Dr. B (called Dr. Batman by some of his younger patients) says that both the constriction of the bronchioles and the secretion of mucus that make breathing so difficult are defensive reactions to cut down the loss of water vapor from the lungs. Breathe on a mirror, if you need a reminder of how much you exhale with every breath.

At first it seemed like a bit of a leap in logic to connect the two, but then I remembered reading about something called croup in that textbook of Motherhood 101, Baby and Childcare by Dr. Spock. I had occasion to be grateful to him when my infant suddenly developed a breathing difficulty in the middle of the night and I was able to stop it. The emergency treatment Dr. Spock recommended was steam from a hot shower – breathing water vapor. The medical texts I later studied stress the importance of treating the dehydration that accompanies croup, but never take the logical next step of recommending prevention through adequate hydration.

Dr. B’s whole crusade developed in reaction to the blinkered approach of the medical establishment of which he was a part. Twenty years of research and many thousands of case histories of patients who fully recovered within hours or days attest to the validity of Dr. B’s contention that the patients are dehydrated rather than sick. He has been largely ignored by the medical establishment, he suggests, because of the close relationship between the drug companies and medical research and the healthcare industry, since there is no money in actually curing patients, especially with water that costs pennies

Medical education trains doctors to rely on an arsenal of drugs. They are experts in matching up individual symptoms with the latest drugs, but fall far short in treating the whole person and in understanding the biochemistry of the physiological mechanisms. The drug companies get richer while the patients struggle to overcome both the disease and the side effects of the treatment.

One father was at his wit’s end when his severely asthmatic infant stopped responding to increasingly large doses of steroid inhalants. He began searching the Internet for all he could learn about asthma after his daughter was admitted to hospital emergency. He found Dr. B’s website,, and, frantic, he called Dr. B who told him to give the baby a bottle of water. The father said that he had tried, but the child refused to drink water. Dr. B told him to dip his finger in salt and place it in the baby’s mouth. The father did so and immediately the child drank a whole bottle of water. Within minutes her symptoms subsided and the father took her home. They continued following Dr. B’s advice, and the child had no further attacks.

Salt is the other half of the hydration equation. You can short-circuit an asthma attack by drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water and placing a pinch of salt on the tongue. Salt is vital for the generation of hydroelectric energy and transmission of nerve impulses in all the cells. Salt acts as a natural antihistamine through salt-sensing nerves on the tongue. Histamine is the body’s water-regulating hormone. It is a neurotransmitter that manages water distribution and rations water during drought management, which is why it is involved in shutting down the bronchioles in asthma. Dr. B says that people with asthma need to drink no less than 10 eight-ounce glasses of water every day of their lives along with about a half teaspoon of salt (see below). They should also add salt to their food. In his opinion, a low-salt diet is a major contributing factor to the onset of asthma. The other major culprit is caffeine, because of its strong dehydrating effect. Dr. B blames a good part of the increase in childhood asthma on addiction to caffeinated soft drinks.

Do visit his website and get a copy of his books. In the meantime, here is a summary of Dr. B’s Water Cure:

  • Drink 1/2 your body weight of water in ounces, daily. (150 lb = 75 oz = about 9 glasses of water daily. Your urine should be almost colorless. Drink the water hour before a meal
  • Take 1/4 tsp. of sea salt for every quart of water you drink, preferably dissolved in a cup of water and taken all at once.
  • Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. They are diuretics and will need an additional 10 to 12 oz. of water for every 6 oz. of caffeinated or alcoholic drink.
  • Avoid excess potassium. Orange juice, bananas and “sports drinks”, especially before exercise, can precipitate an asthma attack