Top 10 herbs for lung health
Whether you’re dealing with a respiratory infection or you suffer from chronic respiratory issues like asthma, chest congestion, chronic bronchitis, and allergies, take comfort in these Top 10 herbs for lung health.
Herbs provide a natural, plant-based option to help your body maintain healthy lung and sinus function, and to support a strong respiratory system.
In this article, we discuss the Top 10 herbs for lung health to keep you breathing easy.
Consider each plant’s actions to choose the best ones for you. These are not one-size-fits-all. Each has a different role to play in respiratory health: thinning mucus to clear phlegmy coughs; relaxing irritated, dry, spastic coughs; soothing and opening the lungs. They can be used as single herbs or in a formula, based on your specific situation and needs.
Without further delay here are our Top 10 herbs for lung health:
- Mullein leaves. Mullein is a supreme, safe, and profound respiratory tonic. It helps open the lungs, eases spasms, tightness, and cough, and soothes irritation and dryness. Use in tea, syrup, steams, or tincture. Be sure to strain the irritating hairs through a cloth or paper filter.
- Horehound Leaf. This herb eases spasms and loosens and expectorates mucus associated with wet coughs. Incredibly useful in any instance where mucus is excessive, including sinus infections, allergies, chest congestion, and post-nasal drip. Use in tea form. Add honey or stevia to taste.
- Schisandra. Schisandra berries can be dried and left whole. These are generally used for teas and tinctures. To make a Schisandra berry tea, brew 3gm of dried berries in hot water for 40 minutes drinking. Schisandra berries can be dried, powdered and filled into capsules too. Although tea is the best option.
- Marshmallow Leaf and Root. Mallows are the supreme moisturizing herbs, soothing and slimy and useful whenever the lungs and respiratory system feel dry or irritated. How to use: Make fresh marshmallow tea by adding boiling water to dried root and/or leaves. Allow to soak for 10mins then strain. Add honey to taste.
- Plantain Leaf. Plantain has been used throughout Europe and North America to support a healthy immune response, strong lungs, and a clear respiratory system. Because plantain naturally contains mucilage and has moist cooling properties, it has an inherent ability to support mucous membrane health by soothing occasional irritation. How to prepare: Boil water and pour over the leaves in a bowl, cover with the lid and let them steep until the bowl is cold to touch. Strain out the tea and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Yarrow. Yarrow could reduce the structural damage of lung tissue due to bleomycin. In such tissues there were less infiltration of inflammatory cells in alveolar spaces. Thickness of alveolar walls has been reduced and less collagen deposition was observed. The leaves and flowers can be made into tea by steeping 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 grams) in boiling water for 5–10 minutes.
- Hyssop. Hyssop is a warming plant with application to the lungs and upper respiratory system, ridding cold, hard phlegm, useful for inflammation of the lungs, asthma, old hard cough, catarrh and ear problems. A typical dose is 2 grams of dried herb made into tea, up to three times per day.
- Licorice root. Due to their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, both licorice root extract and tea may aid upper respiratory conditions. Licorice root has been used in both Eastern and Western medicine to treat a variety of illnesses ranging from the common cold to liver disease. It acts as a demulcent, a soothing, coating agent, and as an expectorant, meaning it helps get rid of phlegm. To make licorice root tea, boil 1 cup of water and pour over one licorice root. Allow licorice root to steep for 5 minutes. Strain and serve.
- Thyme. Thyme helps fight respiratory infections and is a natural expectorant that serves as an antiseptic and helps expulse mucus. It’s also good for soothing coughs and fighting nasal congestion. Directions: Boil two cups of water. Place fresh or dried thyme in a mug. If using dried thyme, place it in a tea infuser. Strain and serve.
- Lungwort. Lungwort is also used in cough medicines, to relieve fluid retention, and to treat lung diseases such as tuberculosis. Lungwort can be used to reduce the irritation in your lungs associated with COPD. It is very easy to prepare lungwort tea: take 1 teaspoon of dried lungwort leaves, add 150 ml of boiling water and steep for 10-15 minutes. Then, strain, add some honey or lemon juice and enjoy your herbal tea.
More Ways to clear the lungs:
Steam therapy. Steam therapy, or steam inhalation, involves inhaling water vapor to open the airways and help the lungs drain mucus. People with lung conditions may notice their symptoms worsening in cold or dry air. This climate can dry out the mucous membranes in the airways and restrict blood flow.
Drain mucus from the lungs
Postural drainage involves lying in different positions to use gravity to remove mucus from the lungs. This practice may improve breathing and help treat or prevent lung infections.
Postural drainage techniques differ depending on the position:
On your back
Lie down on the floor or a bed.
Place pillows under the hips to ensure that the chest is lower than the hips.
Slowly inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Each exhale should take twice as long as the inhale, which is called 1:2 breathing. Continue for a few minutes.
On your side
Lie on one side, resting the head on an arm or pillow.
Place pillows under the hips.
Practice the 1:2 breathing pattern.
Continue for a few minutes.
Repeat on the other side.
On your stomach
Place a stack of pillows on the floor.
Lie down with the stomach over the pillows. Remember to keep the hips above the chest.
Fold the arms under the head for support.
Practice the 1:2 breathing pattern.
Continue for a few minutes.
Percussion is another effective way to remove excess mucus from the lungs. A healthcare professional or respiratory therapist will use a cupped hand to rhythmically tap the chest wall to dislodge trapped mucus in the lungs.
Combining chest percussion and postural drainage can help clear the airways of excess mucus.
Magic lung tea for lung detox
This magic lung tea is simple to prepare and can even be helpful for those who are suffering from irritating cough consistently. Here’s how you can prepare it.
The magic lung tea can be prepared by taking 1 inch piece of ginger or 1 tsp of ginger powder. Then, take 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder. 1 tsp dried tulsi (basil), 1 tsp of dried thyme leaves, 1 tsp of dried hyssop, 1 teaspoon of mullein leaves, 1 teaspoon horehound, 1 tsp marshmallow root, pour boiling water over, allow to sit for 10mins, strain, sweeten with honey. Drink 3 times a day.
Please seek immediate medical attention if your symptoms are severe, such as difficulty breathing. These herbs are not a substitute for life-saving pharmaceuticals like inhalers or EpiPens. Consider seeking the guidance of an herbalist or naturopathic doctor if you have serious health issues or are on pharmaceutical medications.