The lungs never stop working, keeping oxygen flowing in and expelling carbon dioxide. Breathing is the magical rhythm that keeps us alive and if the lungs aren’t functioning properly, your breathing suffers. It’s very easy to for the respiratory system to weaken, with air pollution, airborne toxins, and viruses threatening you all the time. In fact, about 91% of people worldwide live in places where air pollution exceeds healthy limits.
From breathing exercises to holistic medicinal approaches, there are many ways to nourish the lungs and respiratory system. To keep them safe from pollutants and other threats, including wildfire smoke, smog, excess ozone, and viruses, experts recommend keeping the air around you as clean as possible. Consider investing in HEPA-certified filters in your home, portable air purifiers, or indoor plants that benefit lung function. If you don’t have the funds or desire to purchase those recommended items, consider supplementing with herbs for optimal lung health. Continue reading to discover five excellent herbs for your lungs.
5 Herbs For Your Lungs
No, this is not black licorice candy, but it does have that signature anise flavor. Have you had a cup of Throat Coat tea when you had a sore throat? Well, one of the featured ingredients in that tea blend is licorice root. Traditionally, people used it to help remedy coughs, colds, or other respiratory issues, and modern day studies found out how it’s able to do this. The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties of licorice root help protect sensitive tissues in the respiratory system from irritation or infection. A 2011 study found that glycyrrhizin, the active component in licorice root, helps sooth asthma symptoms. It also helps to strengthen the lungs by thickening membranes.
Originating in Europe and Northern and Central Asia, the plantain plant is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids. A quick clarification: this herb has no relation to the plantain fruit. The two primary flavonoids, luteolin and apigenin, have been known to boost respiratory health and ward off seasonal allergies. The combination of vitamins A & C, zinc, and iron also aid immune function. Some health experts attribute the lung benefits to the high vitamin C content, which historically helps overall lung function.
This fragrant herb is more than a mere spice for culinary applications. There is historical evidence that documents thyme as a “notable strengthener of the lungs,” in addition to it being a remedy for shortness of breath. Scientific research deemed thyme one of the most potent lung-cleansing herbs, and herbal medicine practitioners use thyme to help rid the respiratory system of excess phlegm. According to a 2016 study, thyme demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity on human lung cells. The results of the study found that reducing inflammation in the lungs led to better breathing and a reduced risk of shortness of breath.
In traditional medicine, mullein has a reputation of being a lung-boosting herb. It’s a weedy herb that commonly grows in Asia, Europe, and Northern Africa. It has a rich history of use, from the days of Ancient Greece to modern herbal concoctions. When you ingest mullein, it helps to reduce sore throat symptoms, including dry or scratchy throat. It also helps to soothe the respiratory tract, which researchers attribute to the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Finally, folk remedies used mullein as a remedy for tuberculosis (TB). Scientists believe that the antibacterial and antiviral properties were responsible for helping people overcome TB.
This is an excellent herb that has a similar long history of use to mullein. It is a popular herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and it contains over 100 active compounds, including flavonoids, polysaccharides, amino acids, and saponins. It has been known to boost immune function, reduce stress, improve digestion, and enhance respiratory function. Several studies found that supplementing with astragalus soothed the airways and boosted overall respiratory function. It’s also incredible for immune function, which reduces the risk of respiratory infection.