The respiratory system is likely to be one of the systems most sensitive to the action of medicinal herbs for the lungs. Many forms of phytotherapeutic treatments exert a beneficial action on the respiratory organs, for instance, the following:
- Hot infusions or decoctions of pectoral plants, which first act locally when passing close to the larynx and the upper areas of the high airways. Then their active components pass to the digestive tract, from there to the blood, and reach the lung and bronchial cells.
- Syrups: This method of preparation is traditionally employed for respiratory afflictions. Sugars usually have a balsamic action for the bronchi, especially notable in honey. Syrups should be thus prepared with honey whenever possible. They are especially recommended for children since the flavor masks the likely lousy taste of the plants they are made of.
- Inhalation of essences: Aromatherapy, that is, the use of essences or essential oils, is one of the great rediscoveries of modern phytotherapy. The simple inhalation of an essence exerts medicinal actions on the respiratory system: antiseptic, bronchodilator, and mucolytic (thinning of the bronchial mucous). By breathing the aroma of eucalyptus or that of a raw sliced onion, a cough is calmed and bronchi cleared.
- Vapor inhalations: Water vapor is one of the most effective mucolytic substances known. The inhalation of water vapor, adding to the water some drops of an essence to achieve better effectiveness, combines the therapeutic effects of the water with those of the employed herbs for the lungs.
- Baths, poultices, and fomentations with herbs for the lungs. These are other effective methods of use for treating the afflictions of the respiratory system.
All respiratory organs gain significant benefits from the use of medicinal herbs for the lungs. Their action is not limited to neutralizing the symptoms of any disease, but they exert an actual cleansing action for excessive mucus in the interior of the airways. Besides, some plants such as nasturtium or thyme also contain antibiotic substances which prevent bacteria growth in the remanding mucus.
Every day we breathe about one thousand liters of air into our lungs. In cities, this air contains smoke, germs, and small polluting particles. Our bronchi have an effective cleansing mechanism, their interior being covered by a mucous layer that catches and expels the polluting particles and germs, which the air we breathe contains. Under normal conditions, this mechanism is enough to keep the bronchi clear.
However, due to the action of tobacco smoke, other smokes or irritant substances, certain harmful germs, or bad respiratory habits, the bronchi cleaning mechanism stops working effectively, and then we suffer from bronchitis. Medicinal herbs for the lungs can then act by restoring the effective working of the bronchial mucous membrane. Obviously, the primary condition to repair it is for the cause of the dysfunction to disappear. Applying the best phytotherapeutic – or other kinds of – treatments would be almost useless if the patient kept on smoking or breathing polluted air.
Top Herbs for The Lungs
Top Respiratory Afflictions
Bronchitis: It is inflammation of the mucous membrane that covers the interior of the bronchi. It is usually provoked by infectious causes, to which the inhalation of irritant smoke, such as tobacco smoke, can help it become more severe. The symptoms are fever, cough, pain when coughing, and occasionally, breathing difficulties, when this disease appears with a specific frequency, chronic bronchitis.
The phytotherapeutic treatment consists of the ingestion and inhalation, employing essences or vapor, of balsamic (soothing the respiratory mucous membrane), mucolytic (which break mucus and ease its elimination), expectorant and antibiotic plants. See more plants with these actions below. The ones mentioned here exert a gripping preventative effort against new crises or relapses.
Tracheitis is the inflammation of the trachea, from which both main bronchi grow. The phytotherapeutic treatment is the same as bronchitis since tracheitis is a localized form of bronchitis.
Pneumonia: This condition is inflammation of the lung tissues, usually due to infectious causes. The phytotherapeutic treatment is based on infusions and decoctions of pectoral and antibiotic action, inhalation of essences, vapors, and poultices of mustard flour, as a complement to the anti-infectious specific treatment.
Asthma: A disease whose characteristics include attacks of breathing difficulty (with wheezing breath, cough, and sensation of constriction due to bronchial spasms). Infectious or allergic reasons usually cause it. The phytotherapeutic treatment is based on plants with antispasmodic (to relax the bronchial spasm), a bronchodilator, and expectorant actions. Herbs for lung health generally have a preventative measure against new relapses.
Lung Emphysema: The excessive and permanent dilation of lung alveoli. It usually appears as a consequence of repeated bronchitis. The best herbs for lung health are one more element in treating this affliction, with mainly preventive action. All pectoral plants are also recommended.
Hemoptysis: The emission of blood with expectoration coming from the respiratory system. A physician must always check out this disorder to discard tumors or tuberculosis as its cause. Once the cause is known, hemostatic herbs for lung health can be administered to stop bleeding.
Cough: Coughing is, in many cases, a defense mechanism of our body to expel mucus or foreign bodies located in the interior of the trachea or the bronchi. In these cases, coughing is productive and expels mucus. In other cases, coughing is dry, nonproductive, and caused by an irritating focus of infectious, or more rarely tumoral, origin.
These antitussive herbs for lung health can ease coughing by employing several mechanisms: by relaxing the bronchial muscle spasms (antispasmodic action) or producing nerve sedation.
These herbs for lung health act favorably on the respiratory system afflictions in general. All antitussive, bronchodilator, balsamic, and expectorant plants are also pectoral.
These herbs for lung health ease the expulsion of the trachea and the bronchi mucosal secretions. They act by diminishing the mucus viscosity; it is easier to eliminate because it’s more fluid. Thus, expectorants clean the bronchi and ease coughing.
The below natural herbs for lung health also have antitussive action, though this is not their main property.
|New Jersey tea||Hedge mustard|
|Cat’s foot||Rusty back|
|Irish moss||Hemp nettle|
These herbs dilate the bronchi by relaxing the muscle fibers that cover them. They are helpful for the treatment of bronchial asthma.
These plants contain balsamic substances (a mixture of essences, resins, and oils) with soothing action on the respiratory system.
|St. John’s wort||Ground cherry|
These herbs dissolve or break down mucus, making it more fluid and thus easier to be expelled. Expectorant plants also have mucolytic action.
Fomentations with an infusion or a decoction of medicinal herbs produce a potent anti-inflammatory and decongestant action on the respiratory system. They can be carried out with any pectoral or balsamic plants mentioned. Instead of the infusion or decoction of a plant, its essence can also be employed by adding some drops to the water. Lavender, eucalyptus, and thyme essences are especially recommended.
Mullein and wild clover are examples of antitussive plants. The pine tree is balsamic; it soothes the mucus membrane of the respiratory system.
People who perform outdoor physical exercise, such as cyclists, need to have both bronchi and lungs in optimum conditions. The infusion of pectoral medicinal herbs for lung health, such as one of four flowers, prepares the respiratory system for fulfilling its breathing function with maximum efficiency.
This famous pectoral infusion of four flowers is prepared with ten grams each of the following flowers per liter of water: coltsfoot, poppy, cat’s foot, and high mallow. It is very effective for bronchial catarrh, bronchitis, asthma, and other bronchi and lung afflictions due to the right combination of the respective medicinal actions of each of the four plants.
The iris, the eucalyptus, and the common plantain are three expectorant plants that work well at cleansing the mucus of the bronchi and easing coughs.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 281. Print. [herbs for the lungs]