Herbs for the Lungs
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) root is harvested in spring and steeped in organic grape alcohol for a minimum of 6 weeks. The thick tuberous root of skunk cabbage, a native of North America, has historically been used primarily as an expectorant, assisting in cases of whooping cough, asthma and bronchitis. Today, skunk cabbage root is still used mostly as an expectorant but it is also taken to relieve upper respiratory problems such as nasal congestion and hay fever.
Yarrow also has antiseptic action against bacteria. The bitter constituents and fatty acids in yarrow are credited with promoting bile flow from the gallbladder, an action known as a cholagogue effect. Free-flowing bile enhances digestion and elimination and helps prevent gallstone formation. Because of these anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and cholagogue actions, yarrow is useful for gallbladder complaints and is considered a digestive tonic.
Yarrow has a drying effect and can be used as a decongestant. Sinus infections and coughs with sputum production may be improved by yarrow, especially when mixed with equal parts goldenseal. Note that a cough with ample sputum production may be a sign of bronchitis or pneumonia and requires the attention of a physician.
Yarrow's astringent action is helpful in some cases of allergy, in which watery eyes and nasal secretions are triggered by pollen, dust, molds, and animal dander. Yarrow also has long been used to promote sweating in cases of colds, flu, and fevers, thus helping you get over simple infections.
In addition to its antispasmodic activity, the herb contains salicylic acid (a compound like the active ingredient in aspirin) and a volatile oil with anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful to relieve pain associated with gynecologic conditions, digestive disorders, and other conditions. Taken daily, yarrow preparations can relieve symptoms of menstrual cycle and uterine disorders, such as cramps and endometriosis.
Uses for Thyme
Use thyme tea for relief from coughs, bronchitis, and common colds. Mixing thyme with licorice or mint improves the taste. In addition to fighting infections, thyme dries mucous membranes and relaxes spasms of the bronchial passages.
The ability of thyme to relax bronchial spasms makes it effective for coughs, bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Its drying effect makes it useful to reduce the abundant watering of the eyes and nose associated with hay fever and other allergies. And gargling with thyme tea can reduce swelling and pus formation in tonsillitis.
Thyme has been used medicinally since ancient times. This is based upon proposed antimicrobial, antitussive, spasmolytic and antioxidant activity.
Thymol, one of the constituents of thyme, is contained in antiseptic mouthwashes, such as reductions in plaque formation, gingivitis and caries.
Traditional uses of thyme include for coughs and upper respiratory congestion; it continues to be one of the most commonly recommended herbs in Europe for these indications. The German Commission E (expert panel), has approved thyme for symptoms of bronchitis, whooping cough, and catarrh (inflammation of upper respiratory tract mucous membranes).
Comfrey is used for Bronchitis constipation, the bowels must be cleared and kept open with the lower bowel tonic or herbal laxatives. If one has shortness of breath and needs the throat cleared of mucus, they can use an emetic. Cayenne is very effective for cutting the phlegm, as are fruit juices such as grapefruit, lemon, orange, or pineapple. Chickweed, comfrey, marshmallow or mullein are the greatest cleansers to get the mucus out of the body. One can relax the throat, stomach, and bronchi rapidly with a very small amount of lobelia. Other useful aids for relief are a hot vapor or steam bath followed by a cold shower or sponging; also hot fomentation of pleurisy root or mullein (with lobelia in it) on the chest and spine. If you want to speed up any fomentation, add cayenne as a counterirritant.
Bronchitis, Bronchial and Spasmodic Coughs, Whooping Cough
American ginseng is to be used in the form of Panax quinquefolium tincture. Take as directed on the label. American ginseng clears bronchial passages and reduces inflammation.
Bromelain is to be used in the form of tablets. Take 250 to 500 milligrams; 2-3 per day between meals. Bromelain liquefies and decreases bronchial secretions. Bromelain also prevents progression of sinusitis to bronchitis.
Coltsfoot: use a tea bag, take 1 cup, 3 times per day. Discontinue use after one week. Coltsfoot relieves acute congestion and hoarseness.
Couch grass use a tea bag, take 1 cup up to 4 times per day. Couch grass relieves inflammation.
Elderberry is to be used in the form of Sambucol. Take as directed on the label. Elderberry relieves nasal congestion and fever.
Elecampane is to be used in the form of a tea bag prepared in 1 cup of water. Take 1 cup up to four times a day. Elecampane gently stimulates coughing of mucus from the lungs and it fights bacteria as well.
Fenugreek in capsule or tea. Take as directed on the label. Fenugreek reduces the flow of mucus.
Lobelia capsules: take 500 to 1,000 milligrams three times a day. Do not take for more than two weeks at a time. The strength of the product varies so Take a lower dosage if recommended on the label. Lobelia breaks up bronchial congestion and stops wheezing.
Osha tincture: take 10 to 15 drops in ¼ cup of water as a mouthwash. Osha acts against viruses if used at the first signs of bronchitis.
Plantain seed in a tea bag; 1 cup, 3 times per day. Plantain coats sore throat and loosens phlegm.
Reishi is to be used in the syrup. Take ½ teaspoon three times a day. Reishi stimulates macrophages to fight bacterial infection and it prevents secondary infection.
White mustard seed is to be used in the form of a plaster. You should apply it twice a day. White mustard seed stimulates secretion of fluids into the lungs in turn making expectoration easier.
Herbs for Bronchitis
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the medium sized airways in your lungs. It can last for weeks and often has symptoms of a bad cough, lots of phlegm coming up from the lungs, and shortness of breath and wheezing. The phlegm is often caused by the airway inflammation, and it can also be the cause of breathing problems.
Most herbs used to treat bronchitis are used for their ability to help the body force the phlegm out. Some antibiotic herbs are used as well, because sometimes bronchitis can occur with an infection.
Several common infection fighting herbs are used such as garlic, goldenseal, and echinacea. All of these are strong natural antibiotics, and can be used to alleviate a brochial infection.
Ginger is an excellent herb to use in the bathtub because it helps promote perspiration, relieve congestion, and bring down fevers. It's often used in cough syrups and when used with cayenne it's an effective way to relieve sinus cavity congestion.
Fenugreek is known as a "lung herb" because it does a great job of expelling mucus and phlegm from the bronchial tubes.
Lobelia is most often used to soothe, calm, and relax. It also relieves spasms and works great for respiratory problems.
Marshmallow root soothes and coats inflamed areas in the body, including afflictions in the respiratory system.
Mullein is often used for respiratory problems and diseases. It loosens mucus and helps expel it out of the body. It also calms spasms, helps ease pain, and helps reduce swelling in the glands.
Poke Root is another natural antibiotic, and it's especially useful for cleansing swollen, infected glands. It helps to break down mucus throughout the body, as well as expel wastes and toxins.
Yarrow is considered to be particularly good for use against flues and fevers. It helps the body open it's pores and perspire more, which does a great job of lowering fevers. It's healing and soothing to the glandular system and mucous membranes. It's also helpful for most respiratory problems.
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) soothes mucous membranes, relieves fluid retention, promotes the ejection of mucous, prevents coughing, and may be beneficial for asthma, bronchitis, laryngitis, colds, emphysema, and cystitis.
Chronic Bronchitis and Expectorants for Cough
Essential oil monoterpenes: a combination of essential oils, including eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), a citrus oil, and an extract from pine, has been suggested for several respiratory illnesses, including both acute and chronic bronchitis. One study found that people with acute bronchitis treated with essential oil monoterpenes did better than people who took placebo. Another study found that people who took the herbal treatment did as well as those who took antibiotics. However, more studies are needed.
Lobelia (Lobelia inflata): also called Indian tobacco, lobelia has a long history of use as an herbal remedy for respiratory problems including bronchitis. It is an effective expectorant, meaning that it helps clear mucus from your lungs. However, lobelia can be toxic and should only be used under a doctor’s supervision.
Mullein (Verbascum densiflorum, 3 g per day): mullein is an expectorant, meaning it helps clear your lungs of mucus. Traditionally, it has been used to treat respiratory illnesses and coughs with lung congestion. However, it has not been studied for bronchitis.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita): peppermint is widely used to treat cold symptoms. Its main active agent, menthol, is a good decongestant. Menthol also thins mucus and works as an expectorant, helping loosen and break up phlegm.
For acute bronchitis use South African geranium (Pelargonium sidoides ): preliminary scientific evidence shows that a specific extract from South African geranium shows positive results in a number of studies. In one study, people with acute bronchitis recovered quicker while taking this extract, than those who took placebo. In another study, people who took the extract did as well as those who took antibiotics and without some side effects of the antibiotics.
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