Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The 10 Best Herbs for Lung Cleansing

Our lungs are capable of incredible feats. After all, they are vital body parts. The average adult can take in as much as 6 litres of air and breathe a total of 11,000 litres every day. Besides being able to inflate and deflate like balloons, the internal surface of the lungs can stretch up to 100 square meters when fully expanded. Fun facts aside, the lungs function to absorb oxygen from the air we breathe so that our body could make use of it. Without oxygen, we couldn’t possibly survive!

It’s quite unfortunate that our lungs are so easily abused. Smokers expose their lungs to tar and thousands of toxic chemicals with their bad habit. Even people who don’t smoke unknowingly inhale poisonous fumes, radioactive gases, and other pollutants. Lucky for you, there are natural ways to undo damage done to your lungs and restore them to a healthier state.

Here are the 10 best herbs for lung cleansing.

1. Oregano

Oregano is a popular herb used for cooking. It belongs to the mint family and has this minty flavor and aroma that goes well with certain foods.

How it works: Whenever dust, molds, pollen, and toxic gases get into your lungs, your body releases histamine to prevent them from doing any more damage. But as a result, your body develops either allergies or allergy-like symptoms. You start sneezing and coughing, produce more mucus than usual, develop nasal congestion, and have difficulty breathing. Oregano can help reduce the severity of these symptoms because it has rosmarinic acid – a natural antihistamine. The herb also contains thymol, terpenes, and carvacrol which can effectively eradicate fungi and different types of bacteria from your lungs.

In addition to its antihistamine, antibacterial, and fungicidal benefits, oregano is a natural decongestant. Research by the ENT Department of the Israel Institute of Technology discovered that oregano – along with other aromatic herbs – improved airflow along the nasal passages. Oregano can therefore assist in clearing out your lungs of any excess mucus.

How to cleanse your lungs: Cook oregano with food. The aroma it gives off while cooking acts as a decongestant. Oregano can be prepared fresh or dry depending on your taste. You can also add a few drops of oregano oil in your milk, tea, or juice at least once a day to detoxify your lungs.

2. Mullein

The flowering plant has long been employed as an herbal remedy for respiratory ailments including asthma, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. Austrians traditionally took it as tea or added it to ointments and baths for external use. Today, extracts are often derived from its flowers and leaves to create herbal medicine. But you can still use mullein in more practical ways to cleanse your lungs.
How it works: Mullein is a natural expectorant. It contains saponins which break down mucus in the lungs and airways and reduces nasal congestion. The demulcent effects of the plant are also noteworthy. It has soothing properties which effectively calm irritated lungs and airways caused by exposure to air impurities.

How to cleanse your lungs: Prepare mullein as tea by adding 1 to 2 tsps. of dried flowers and/or leaves to a cup of boiling water. Steam the herb for 10 minutes then strain before drinking. It is also recommended that you inhale the steam once tea has been prepared, as this can help with nasal congestion. Another way to use mullein for lung cleansing is to smoke it. While smoking is usually bad for the lungs, this herb is an exception – it soothes and stops coughs.

3. Osha Root

Osha is a plant you rarely get to hear about, yet it is one of the most powerful lung detoxifiers you can imagine. It grows on the high mountains of northwest Mexico and the Rocky Mountains of Canada. Native Americans living in these areas were among the first to discover its medicinal properties. They used it for treating colds, cough, and other respiratory problems. In modern day, its roots are common ingredients in cough drops and lozenges because of their soothing effects.
 
How it works: Osha root contains oils that are essential for lung cleansing. Among its detoxifying ingredients are camphor, terpenes, saponins, phytosterols, and ferulic acid. Osha root promotes the expectoration of mucus from the lungs and sinuses while protecting you from respiratory infections. It also increases blood flow in the lungs which improves their overall health function. Osha root has antihistamine properties which are useful against asthma and other respiratory problems triggered by allergen exposure. If you have irritated airways or a sore throat, this herb can give you relief.

How to cleanse your lungs: Prepare an infusion by adding 1 to 2 tsps. of cut or crushed Osha root to 1 cup of boiling water. Steam for at least 25 minutes and drink as tea.

4. Lungwort

Also known as pulmonaria, this herb couldn’t be any more obvious on its lung cleansing benefits. It is a flowering plant that resembles lung tissue, hence its name. Lungwort has been used as a remedy for respiratory problems since the 1600s – a practice that persists today.
How it works: Lungwort acts by increasing the production of serous mucus in the air passages. This thins out phlegm and makes it easier to expectorate. Besides clearing out mucus, lungwort is known to remove accumulated tar from the lungs, throat, and airways. Smokers who want to quit smoking would greatly benefit from this herb. People suffering from bronchitis, asthma, and respiratory diseases that constrict the airways can benefit from lungwort as well due to its anti-inflammatory effects.

Studies have shown that the herb is equally beneficial for relieving irritated air passages. Further research proves that it helps fight bacteria and viruses which may cause respiratory infection. The protective qualities of lungwort can be attributed to its high levels of antioxidants, namely phenolic compounds.

How to cleanse your lungs: Lungwort is best taken as tea. You can prepare your own by mixing 1 to 2 tsps. of dried lungwort leaves to 1 cup of boiling water. Let the infusion sit for a couple of minutes. Drink 1 cup three times a day to cleanse your lungs.

5. Licorice Root

We’re not talking about licorice sticks. You know – that sweet candy we love to snack on. We’re talking about licorice, the plant from which this delectable treat is sourced from. You see, licorice root is not just an ingredient used to make sweets. It’s also one of the best herbs for lung detoxification.

How it works: Licorice root is well-known for its sweet flavor. While most herbs on this list rely on a minty flavor to provide relief, licorice root gives a similar effect behind a sweet punch! This herb effectively relieves throat and lung irritation caused by ailments like sore throat, dry cough, and allergen exposure.

You can very well expect licorice root to act as an expectorant during lung cleansing. It loosens up phlegm so it is easier to expel. It even has antibiotic properties, killing bacteria and viruses and preventing respiratory infection. Licorice root is also bronchodilator; meaning it makes breathing easier for people experiencing difficulties. Thus, it may be used to treat asthma and bronchitis.

How to cleanse your lungs: Licorice tea is very soothing. You can make some by adding 1 tsp. of crushed licorice root to a cup of boiling water and letting it steep. Drink the tea at least 3 times a day.

6. Thyme

Surprised? Thyme may be a common kitchen herb, but like Oregano, it can detoxify your lungs. The evergreen plant has had many uses since ancient times, although its lung cleansing effects weren’t discovered until recently.

How it works: Thyme leaves contain a potent detoxifying agent known as thymol – a naturally occurring substance with antiseptic effects. Thymol is so good at fighting microbes that it is commonly the active ingredient in mouthwashes. Thyme cleanses the lungs and airways by removing bacteria, viruses, or fungi. This makes it particularly useful against respiratory infections including pneumonia, bronchitis, influenza, and the usual coughs and colds. Additionally, thyme may be used to remedy nasal and lung congestion. That’s because it thins out phlegm for effortless expulsion.
  
How to cleanse your lungs: Add fresh or dried thyme leaves to a pot of boiling water. Let it sit for two minutes and drink as tea. You can have at least 2 to 3 cups of thyme tea for lung detox. But if you’re fighting a respiratory infection, it is advised that you drink a cup for every hour until you are fully recovered. Inhaling the steam from freshly boiled thyme leaves is also beneficial for relieving congestion.

7. Coltsfoot

Don’t let its toxicity scare you. When taken properly, this perennial herb can do wonders for your lungs. Coltsfoot leaves were used in ancient times as a treatment for colds, flu, cough, and other respiratory problems. It has been a part of Ancient Greek, Native American, and traditional Austrian medicine long before people started using it to cleanse their lungs.
Coltsfoot is also an effective treatment for the smoker’s lungs.
How it works: Coltsfoot assists in the recovery from smoker’s lungs by removing accumulated tar. For everyone else, it loosens up mucus and acts as an expectorant, clearing the lungs and air passages and easing congestion. Coltsfoot also has soothing effects because of its mucilage, which makes it excellent for the relief of sore throat and dry cough. It can be used as a remedy for asthma, bronchitis, pertussis, flu, coughs, colds, and pneumonia.
   
How to cleanse your lungs: Coltsfoot leaves are the typical choice for lung cleansing. However, its flowers are more potent. You can use both the leaves and flowers of this plant to create a tea that will detoxify your lungs. For best results, mix 1 part of coltsfoot leaves and/or flowers with 2 parts mullein and 1 part uva ursi. Add 1 tsp. of this mixture to a cup of boiling water and steep for 10 minutes before drinking. Drink the tea at least once a day.

8. Indian Tobacco

It’s not really tobacco but rather, a common name for a flowering plant that is now used for lung cleansing. Also known as Lobelia Inflata, the herb grows only once or twice a year in its native territory – North America. Native Americans are no stranger to the medicinal benefits of this attractive herb. They have used it to treat respiratory diseases and other illnesses long before we started using it to detoxify our lungs.

How it works: Lobeline is an alkaloid and the main component behind the Indian tobacco’s lung benefits. It promotes the expulsion of phlegm by loosening and thinning mucus found in the lungs and air passages. Lobeline opens up the airways since it is a bronchodilator. The herb stimulates the release of epinephrine which promotes easier breathing.

Lobelia Inflata is especially useful for asthma, bronchitis, and other Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPDs). But its antispasmodic effects make it an effective remedy for croup and laryngitis. It is also commonly used as a cold remedy.

Ironically, Indian tobacco may be used to prevent tobacco withdrawal in people who want to quit smoking.

How to cleanse your lungs: Add 5 to 10 leaves of Indian tobacco in boiling water. Inhale the steam for at least 10 minutes, 2X a day to cleanse your lungs.

9. Elecampane

Elecampane has a multitude of medicinal benefits. Traditional medicine employs this flowering herb as a remedy for advanced lung diseases like tuberculosis, although it is also used for more common respiratory ailments. In traditional Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic practice, it is often prescribed for asthma and bronchitis.

How it works: Elecampane roots contain sesquiterpene lactones which have antiseptic and soothing benefits. By eliminating the cause of respiratory infection and relieving irritated airways and lungs, it can effectively treat coughs and colds. Elecampane also functions to eliminate toxins from the respiratory tract, which is why it is used to treat tuberculosis, asthma, and emphysema. Furthermore, the herb contains inulin which, apart from soothing irritated passages, acts as an expectorant and expels mucus.

How to cleanse your lungs: Ground elecampane roots and add a teaspoon to a cup of water. The roots must be acquired from a plant not older than two or three years to detoxify your lungs. For non-threatening respiratory ailments like flu, coughs, and colds, drink it as tea 3 times a day until symptoms subside. If you have a more serious condition like tuberculosis, you can drink elecampane tea for up to 3 months. To relieve congestion, boil the roots and inhale its vapor for a few minutes. Elecampane roots have an odor similar to camphor – a known remedy for nasal congestion.

10. Plantain Leaf

Plantain leaves are often part of traditional delicacies in tropical regions of the world. But like everything else on this list, it is one of the best herbs for lung cleansing. For hundreds of years the plantain leaf was used to treat common respiratory disorders. It was even considered as one of the 9 sacred herbs in Anglo-Saxon medicine. The medicinal properties of plantain leaves are still applied today, as it is a popular choice for lung detoxification.
 
How it works: Studies show that plantain leaf contains pectin and glycerin, two common ingredients found in lozenges and cough syrups. They give plantain leaf the ability to act as a demulcent that creates a soothing film over irritated airways and stimulates the production of mucus. The herb can therefore be used for the relief of dry cough and other respiratory discomforts. But that’s not all. Plantain leaf also has antimicrobial, antitoxin, and anti-inflammatory properties which are essential in fighting and preventing respiratory infection.

How to cleanse your lungs: Make tea by brewing 1 to 2 plantain leaves in a cup of boiling water. Or, you can simply eat a boiled Plantain fruit. Continue ingesting the fruit or tea for 2 to 3 months or until your symptoms are gone.

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