Here in our beautiful southern Oregon landscape and community, we have recently been dealing with a significant rise in Covid cases. On top of that, wildfire smoke with unhealthy air quality is now becoming a part of our summer reality. With these challenges to lung health and cold and flu season just around the corner, now is a time to focus on our respiratory health, with supportive allies from the botanical medicine toolbox.
Why is lung health important?
In TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine), the lungs are referred to as the lung organ network, and in Mederi Care, we refer to this network as the Lung and Oxygen Network. This network consists of the physical structures and the functional qualities of the lungs. The lung network oversees the distribution of fluid in the body, and is likened to a mountain, whose rivers and streams carry water to the surrounding areas. It is also responsible for the generation and maintenance of the defense Qi of the body, which is like a barrier that protects us from invading pathogens.
Herbs that support respiratory health offer one or more of the following benefits:
• Soothe irritated throat and lung tissues
• Fight viruses and bacteria that cause colds and flu
• Calm coughs
• Quell the release of histamines to calm allergies
• Help break up and expel lung congestion
• Relax and open the bronchial network
• Nourish the respiratory system
• Strengthen the Lung Network
Specific herbs strengthen the lungs, and adaptogens like American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) provide foundational support to the Lung and Oxygen Network.
4 Herbs for Respiratory Health
1. Elecampane root has been used historically for the treatment of colds, flu, and respiratory ailments. It not only relieves coughs but is also rejuvenating and strengthening to the entire respiratory system.
2. Throughout the centuries, herbalists have valued Sundew for relieving dry coughs, asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough. Sundew contains medicinally active compounds, including quinones, which possess broad-spectrum antimicrobial effects and inhibit drug resistance to pathogens.
3. Mullein leaf and flowers have long been used in traditional herbal medicine for relieving cough and cold symptoms, and have been employed in the treatment of asthma. Mullein leaf is rich in mucilage, which has soothing and relaxing expectorant properties.
4. Lobeline, an alkaloid compound in Lobelia, is an expectorant and bronchodilator; it helps to break down congestion, thin mucus, expand airways, and encourage deeper breathing. Lobelia is also useful for spasmodic coughs caused by bronchitis, croup, and laryngitis.
For daily or acute symptomatic support, consider adding Natura Health Products® Lung & Bronchial Tonic to your immune health medicine chest. As always, we recommend working with a qualified healthcare practitioner who can provide targeted recommendations based on your specific needs.