Heal Respiratory Infections & Repair Pulmonary Damage With The Help Of These 15 Plants and Herbs
The long held social stigma surrounding the use of herbal supplements to treat and prevent illnesses as well as promote health is slowly dwindling. However, doubts remain that such treatments are as effective as their chemical counterparts. Mainly because herbals have not been as predominantly vouched for within the medical community. Studies on the effectiveness are not as widely available as pharmaceutical compounds that are designed to mimic herbals, though the depth of the studies have been the same.
Safety is one of the most important things to consider when reviewing the use of natural herbs and man made drugs. Prescribed medications kill approximately one million Americans every year. Herbals, on the other hand, have caused no direct deaths. It’s true that some herbs can be lethal when ingested in very large doses; however, they are safer than the pharmaceutical alternatives.
The world wide epidemic of declining health is due in large part to the growing viral resistance and side effects caused by mainstream medications. Antibiotics, for example, add to the increasing resistances of certain infections as the bugs that cause them adapt.Herbals are a useful alternative to battling the antibiotic resistant superbugs.
The stigma that comes with herbal supplements in western culture stems directly from the influence of pharmaceutical companies and those who profit from the sale of their drugs. These companies act as they do because only synthetic drugs can be patented and owned whereas herbs cannot. Thus it is important to learn as much as possible before taking both pharmaceutical medications and herbal remedies. Before starting an herbal treatment, consult with a Naturopathic doctor.
Lung and respiratory health is just one area that herbals have a great effect on. Below are 15 herbs that can both improve and repair lung health.
1. Licorice Root
Licorice Root, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is thought to balance and support all other herbs. Because of this, it is one of the most popular herbs worldwide. It soothes and softens the mucous membranes of the throat, lungs and stomach while reducing inflammation and loosening phlegm so it’s easier for the body to expel. The root also helps relieve the tightening of the airways caused by free radical cells and relieves bronchial spasms. Not only those but it also works as both an antibacterial and antiviral agent as well as preventing the formation of lung cancer cells.
For thousands of years Native Americans have used coltsfoot to strengthen the lungs. This herb, taken as a tea or in an alcohol based extract or tincture, reduces inflammation and irritation of the mucous membranes while aiding the clearing out the mucous. Research has shown that coltsfoot has a positive effect on the symptoms of lung related ailments such as cough, asthma and infections.
Several studies have shown that cannabis is one of the most effective anti-cancer treatments. It also stimulates the immune response reducing the spread of infection. Through the use of vaporization, cannabis is shown to act as a bronchodilator which opens the airways. Vaporizing, or the inhaling of extracted cannabinoid essential oils, avoids the toxic breakdown of the compounds which happens when it is smoked or burned.
4. Osha Root
Native to the Rocky Mountains, Osha Root has been used by Native Americans to support the respiratory system. It is considered one of the best herbs in America for lung support because it contains compounds such as camphor. The root increases circulation to the lungs which allows easier deep breathing. Osha also has similar effects on the sinuses as an antihistamine and may aid in calming respiratory irritation.
Thyme has been used throughout history to treat lung illnesses. It is used to treat congestion as well as respiratory tract infections such as bacterial pneumonia. This herb is a natural antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal. It’s also better at treating acne than prescription methods.
Oregano contains the compounds carvacrol and rosmarinic acid both of which act as natural histamine reducers and decongestants. Oregano oil also works better than most antibiotics against the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus.
Used as an “asthmador,” or asthma remedy, in Appalachian folk medicine, and is considered by some one of the best herbal remedies. This herb contains the alkaloid lobeline, which has shown success in the treatment of drug-resistant tumor cells. It also stimulates the release of epinephrine from the adrenal glands which relaxes the airways and smooth muscles.
Another herb used by the Native Americans, elecampane clears out excess mucus. It’s also an effective antibacterial agent, particularly in those who are prone to lung infections.
Eucalyptus has a refreshing aroma and the compound cineole which promotes respiratory health. This herb, which is native to Australia, acts as an expectorant while soothing the throat and sinus passages. Not only that but it also supports the immune system.
Mullein strengthens the lungs by clearing excess mucus and reducing inflammation. Both the flowers and the leaves are used in this respiratory supporting tea.
As the name suggests, this lichen which grows on trees, looks remarkably like lungs. It’s been used as far back as the 1600’s to protect against harmful organisms and promote lung and respiratory health.
Another go to herb of the Native Americans for respiratory support is Chaparral which contains powerful antioxidants that relieve irritation. It also contains NDGA which acts as an antihistamine and inhibits the energy-producing ability in cancer cells. The benefits work best when taken as a tincture while the tea words as an expectorant.
Sage can be taken either though drinking tea or inhaling the vapors from the tea. It’s used to treat sore throats, coughs, sinusitis, and other common respiratory problems.
Peppermint, as a whole, is an antihistamine, antioxidant and fights harmful organisms. The menthol within peppermint is the main source of respiratory benefit. Not only does it aid in freer breathing by soothing the smooth muscles but it also clears congestion.
15. Plantain Leaf
For hundreds of years, the Plantain Leaf has been used to aid respiratory function. It soothes irritation, reduces inflammation and stimulates mucus production to ease a dry, painful cough.
Herbal information supplied thanks to the nutritionist, herbalist and homeopathic practitioner, John Summerly.