By Sara O Brown
Breathing is essential to living. Unfortunately, breathing the air outside has become harmful thanks to pollution that is at its peak these days. Our lungs take a daily beating when we inhale dust, pollutants, mold, toxins and other irritants. It means we need a lung cleansing.
Unfortunately, this is difficult to avoid because we must step out of our homes whether for our daily jobs or even for groceries. Alongside this, activities like smoking also contribute to bad respiratory health. All of this can cause us to develop a number of health conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and even lung cancer.
One good way to prevent your respiratory health from deteriorating is to include herbs in our diet. Throughout history, people have used herbs in traditional medicine for centuries.
Even cannabis, which is commonly considered a drug, has elements like THC that are considered therapeutic in nature.
So let’s see which herbs are the best for lung cleansing.
Lungwort, also known as Pulmonaria officinalis is a herbaceous rhizomatous plant from the family Boraginaceae. As is evident from its name, lungwort resembles the tissues inside the lungs and is actually beneficial for pulmonary health.
For decades, people have used lungwort as a remedy for respiratory ailments such as the common cold and bronchial detoxification. It has a number of properties that make it useful for the lungs. Its high mucilage content helps conditions like chronic bronchitis and asthma.
Also, it has a high number of antioxidants called flavonoid glycosides which protect the chest function against harmful organisms. Lungwort is commonly available in tea blends, capsules, and even tinctures.
Oregano is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family. Many know oregano as a seasoning for Italian food, but it does more than that. Oregano has a number of components that can help in respiratory conditions like chest congestion and irritated nasal passages.
It counters the histamines loose in our system as a response to dust, pollutants, fungus, and chemicals. Also, the rosmarinic acid in oregano helps in allergy attacks by reducing swelling and fluid build up because of the structure of lungs.
Even otherwise, oregano is extremely beneficial for coughing and airflow in the nasal passage.
Also known as Velvet plant, mullein is a flowering plant from the figwort family Scrophulariaceae. Although it is a weed, it has been used since ancient times as a medicinal herb for various inflammatory diseases.
Mullein has antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties that help in several respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, sore throats, influenza, and tonsillitis.
Mullein can be had in tea or smoked in pipes, however, smoking should not be done for prolonged periods.
The licorice plant is a herbaceous legume whose root is very sweet, popularly lending its taste to candies and sweets.
Licorice root has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda for centuries for all kinds of lung problems. It is an expectorant which helps in expelling thick mucus from the throat and lungs.
The plant also acts as a demulcent which helps in soothing damaged and inflamed tissues. It is also great for sore throats and even asthma.
Elecampane, also known as Horse heal or Elfdock, is from the sunflower family Asteraceae. Like licorice root, it has long been used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese for respiratory ailments.
Since the 1800s, people use the root as an ingredient in cough lozenges and drops. Elecampane has a number of properties that make it beneficial for the lungs.
It contains a phytochemical known as inulin which warms and soothes the bronchial linings and helps in conditions like bronchitis and bronchial asthma. Inulin also acts as an expectorant which helps reduce excessive secretions.
Elecampane also has alantolactone, which, besides having expectorant properties, has antimicrobial and antifungal effects which help the body in fighting against harmful organisms.
When treating pulmonary tuberculosis, you can also use elecampane.
Peppermint is one of the most commonly used herbs for treating respiratory problems. It has soothing and relaxing properties that help with cold, throat irritation and sinus-related irritation.
Peppermint has antihistamine properties which helps with allergies and menthol that acts as a decongestant.
It also has rosmarinic acid that helps in reducing swelling due to allergies.
Coltsfoot, also called Coughwort, is a herb from the daisy family Asteraceae. Smoking coltsfoot in tobacco helps in lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, catarrh.
The fresh leaves or syrup of coltsfoot are useful against a dry cough and wheezing. Coltsfoot helps in cleansing the lungs of tar which accumulates with years of smoking.
You will find most of these herbs available in the market in tea blends. Also, for those who don’t love tea, you can also find it in the form of supplements but beware of investing in something that isn’t organic.
Using natural methods like herbs is a good and time-tested way of cleansing your lungs. They are a good alternative to allopathic drugs, to which many people are sensitive or may develop allergic reactions.
About the Author
Sara O Brown is a working mom, lives with her dentist husband and her adorable dog, Casper. She is passionate about traveling and cooking.