15 Plants & Herbs That Can Boost Lung Health, Heal Respiratory Infections & Repair Pulmonary Damage
In the past, people used herbs as a form of treatment for illness. Nowadays, the mainstream belief is that they are not as effective and not worth taking. For each health issue people use pharmaceutical drugs. This is because effectiveness of each herb and their use has not been studied deeply to determine how effective it can be. On the other hand, pharmaceutical drugs are attempted to mimic a compound that occurs naturally in nature (herbs). They can also bring the risk of side effects. According to stats released by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, no deaths have been reported due to the use and consumption of herbs. However, pharmaceutical drugs and physician prescribed medications kill approximately one million Americans each year. It is important to note that herbal medicines can be lethal in extreme doses it appears their safety is much greater than that of pharmaceutical drugs.
Pharmaceutical drugs can have side effects on human health. For example antibiotics in particular are adding to the wave of increased viral strength when it comes to certain infections. Herbs on the other hand can be a useful tool in fighting infections that have turned into super bugs due to the overuse of antibiotics. Just as we would be so skeptical about herbs, we should be just as skeptical about pharmaceutical drugs.
Be careful before taking any herbs, because each illness can have different root causes and it’s always important to understand them before relying on any treatment to solve the entire problem.
Here is a list of herbs that can only boost lung and respiratory health:
- Licorice Root – Glycyrrhiza Glabra
This is one of the most consumed herbs in the world because it is thought to harmonize the action of all other herbs.
Licorice is very soothing and softens the mucous membranes of the throat and especially the lungs and stomach and at the same time cleanses any inflamed mucous membrane. It reduces the irritation in the throat and yet has an expectorant action. It is the saponins (detergent-like action) that loosen the phlegm in the respiratory tract so that the body can expel the mucus. Compounds within this root help relieve bronchial spasms and block the free radical cells that produce the inflammation and tightening of the air ways. It also has antibacterial and antiviral effects to them as well which helps fight off viral and bacterial strains in the body that can cause lung infections. Glycrrhizins and flavonoids can even help prevent lung cancer cells from forming which means they can even prevent lung cancer. For people with high blood pressure this should be taken with caution.
- Coltsfoot – Tussilago Farfara
This plant has been traditionally used by Native Americans for thousands of years to strengthen the lungs. Coltsfoot clears out excess mucus from the lungs and bronchial tubes. It soothes the mucus membranes in the lungs, and has been shown in research to assist with asthma, coughs, bronchitis, and other lung ailments. This plant is available in dried form for tea or as an alcohol extract.
This contradictory plant has amazing health benefits of human health.The toxic breakdown of therapeutic compounds in cannabis from burning the plant are totally avoided with vaporization. Extraction and inhaling cannabinoid essential oils of the unprocessed plant affords significant mitigation of irritation to the oral cavity that comes from smoking. It is believed to be one of the most effective anti-cancer plants in the world shown in study after study to stimulate cannabinoid receptor activation in specific genes and mediate the anti-invasive effect of cannabinoids. Vaporizing cannabis allows the active ingredients to stimulate the body’s natural immune response and significantly reduces the ability of infections to spread. Vaporizing cannabis (especially with very high amounts of cannabinoids) opens up airways and sinuses, acting as a bronchodilator. It is even a proven method to treat and reverse asthma.
- Osha Root – Ligusticum porteri
It is found in the Rocky Mountain area and has historically been used by the Native Americans for respiratory support. The roots of the plant contain camphor and other compounds which make it one of the best lung-support herbs. One of the main benefits of osha root is that it helps increase circulation to the lungs, which makes it easier to take deep breaths. Also it is known that osha root calms respiratory irritation.
- Thyme – Thymus
Thyme has been used as a lung remedy consumed since antiquity and is used extensively today to prevent and treat respiratory tract infections and bacterial infection pneumonia. Thyme is very powerful in the fight against chest congestion. It produces powerful antiseptic essential oils which are classified as naturally antibiotic and anti-fungal. Thyme tea has the power to chase away and eliminate bacteria and viruses so whether your infection is based on either, it will work.
Many subspecies and strains of oregano have been developed by humans over centuries for their unique flavors or other characteristics. Tastes range from spicy or astringent to more complicated and sweet. Although oregano contains the vitamins and nutrients required by the immune system, its primary benefits are owed to its carvacrol and rosmarinic acid content. Both compounds are natural decongestants and histamine reducers that have direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow. Oil of oregano fights off the dangerous bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, better than the most common antibiotic treatments. Oregano has so many health benefits that a bottle of organic oregano oil should be in everyone’s house.
- Lobelia Inflata
Lobelia Inflata, also called Indian tobacco, has a long history of use as an herbal remedy for respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, and cough. Did you know that horses given lobelia are able to breathe more deeply? Its benefits are not limited to equestrians. It has been used as “asthmador” in Appalachian folk medicine. It is thought to be one of the most valuable herbal remedies in existence. Extracts of Lobelia inflata contain lobeline, which showed positive effects in the treatment of multidrug-resistant tumor cells. Lobelia contains an alkaloid known as lobeline, which thins mucus, breaks up congestion. Additionally, lobelia stimulates the adrenal glands to release epinephrine, in effect, this relaxes the airways and allows for easier breathing. Also, because lobelia helps to relax smooth muscles! Lobelia is available in liquid extracts, tinctures, and as a dried herb in capsules and for teas. It may also be put on the skin in the form of ointments, lotions, and plastics.
*Use with caution as too much can cause side effects.
- Elecampane – Inula Helenium
Elecampane is one of the largest herbaceous plants. It is found widely distributed throughout England, though can scarcely be termed common, occurring only locally, in damp pastures and shady ground. It is probably a true native plant in southern England, but where found farther north may have originally only been an escape from cultivation, as it was cultivated for centuries as a medicinal plant, being a common remedy for sicknesses.
Elecampane has also been used for many years to clear out excess mucus that impairs lung function. It is known as a natural antibacterial agent for the lungs, helping to lessen infection particularly for people who are prone to lung infections like bronchitis. Herbal practitioners often recommend one teaspoon of the herb per cup of boiling water, drunk three times daily for two to three weeks.
- Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus Globulus
Aborigines, Germans, and Americans have all used the refreshing aroma of eucalyptus to promote respiratory health and soothe throat irritation. Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in cough lozenges and syrups and its effectiveness is due to a compound called cineole. Cineole has numerous benefits — it’s an expectorant, can ease a cough, fights congestion, and soothes irritated sinus passages. Eucalyptus leaf is used for infections, fever, upset stomach, and to help loosencoughs. The leaf is also used for treating respiratory tract infections, whooping cough,asthma, pulmonary tuberculosis, osteoarthritis, joint pain (rheumatism), acne, wounds, poorly healing ulcers, burns, bacterial dysentery, ringworms, liver and gallbladder problems, loss of appetite, and cancer. Also eucalyptus contains antioxidants, it supports the immune system during a cold or other illness.
- Mullein – Verbascum Thapsus
The plant has a long history of use as a herbal remedy. Although this plant is a recent arrival to North America, Native Americans used the ground seeds of this plant as a paralytic fish poison due to their high levels of rotenone. Its flowers have been used in the traditional Austrian medicine internally (as tea) or externally (as ointment, tea, baths or compresses) for treatment of disorders of the respiratory tract, skin, veins, gastrointestinal tract, and the locomotor system. Both the flowers and the leaves of the mullein plant are used to make an herbal extract that helps strengthen the lungs. Mullein is used by herbal practitioners to clear excess mucus from the lungs, cleanse the bronchial tubes, and reduce inflammation that is present in the respiratory tract. A tea can be made from one teaspoon of the dried herb to one cup of boiled water. Alternatively, you can take a tincture form of this herb.
- Lungwort – Pulmonaria officinalis
Lungwort has been used to promote lung and respiratory health and clear congestion. Pulmonaria selections come in all kinds so seek a herbologist for direction. Lungwort also contains compounds that are powerfully effective against harmful organisms that affect respiratory health.
Chaparral is a plant used for lung detoxification and respiratory support. Chaparral contains powerful antioxidants that resist irritation and NDGA which is known to fight histamine response. NDGA inhibits aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis (the energy-producing ability) of cancer cells. Chaparral is also a herb that fights harmful organisms. The benefits of chaparral are mostly available in a tincture extraction but chaparral tea may support respiratory problems by encouraging an expectorant action to clear airways of mucus.
- Sage – Salvia Officinalis
It has been grown for centuries for its healing properties, and was often described in old herbals for the many miraculous properties attributed to it. The specific epithet, officinalis, refers to the plant’s medicinal use—the officina was the traditional storeroom of a monastery where herbs and medicines were stored. Sage’s textured leaves give off a heady aroma, which arises from sage’s essential oils. These oils are the source of the many benefits of sage tea for lung problems and common respiratory ailments. Sage tea is a traditional treatment for sore throats and coughs. The rich aromatic properties arising from sage’s volatile oils of thujone, camphor, terpene and salvene can be put to use by inhaling sage tea’s vapors to dispel lung disorders and sinusitis. Alternatively, brew a strong pot of sage tea and place it into a bowl or a vaporizer.
- Peppermint – Mentha × Piperita
Peppermint is a popular flavoring for gum, toothpaste, and tea, is also used to soothe an upset stomach or to aid digestion. It has a calming and numbing effect, and is often used to treat headaches, skin irritation, nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, flatulence, and anxiety associated with depression. It is also an ingredient in chest rubs used to treat symptoms of the common cold. Peppermint, and peppermint oil, contains menthol — a soothing ingredient known to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing. Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene and pinene. Paired with the antihistamine effect of peppermint, menthol is a fantastic decongestant. Many people use therapeutic chest balms and other inhalants that contain menthol to help break up congestion. Additionally, peppermint is an antioxidant and fights harmful organisms.
- Plantain herb – Plantago major and P. lanceolata
It is traditionally used for upper respiratory support, and is topically used for minor cuts, bruises, and stings. Medicinally, plantain leaf is approved by the German Commission E for respiratory catarrhs and mild inflammation of the oral and pharyngeal mucosa. Plantain leaf has been used for hundreds of years to ease cough and soothe irritated mucous membranes. Many of its active constituents show antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antitoxic. Clinical trials have found it favorable against cough, cold, and lung irritation. Plantain leaf has an added bonus in that it may help relieve a dry cough by spawning mucus production in the lungs. It is very easy to cultivate, it succeeds in any soil and prefers a sunny position, and some forms have been selected for their ornamental value.