The medicinal power of herbs have been deeply rooted in their healing effects of infections, illnesses, and ailments for centuries. In fact, up until the 16th and 17th centuries, which sought to understand medicine in terms of chemistry, plants had been the main source of treatment and prevention for a number of diseases.1 One of the most powerful ways they work is through their support of lung and respiratory health, which is becoming all the more important with the rise of air pollution across the globe.2 Whether you are someone who struggles with chronic respiratory issues, or are dealing with a current infection, or you simply want to protect your respiratory system, these restorative herbs will bring a tremendous amount of relief in a holistic, natural way.
Don’t underestimate this common garden “weed.” With its natural cooling effect, the plantain leaf (or herb) is a powerful anti-inflammatory that has been used across Europe and North America to treat hemoptysis, asthma, tuberculosis, and lesions of the lungs.3 . Comprised of “mucilage,”which supports the health of one's mucous membrane, and loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds like flavonoids, terpenoids, glycosides, and tannins, the plantain leaf aids in keeping the lungs strong and the respiratory system clear. Along with having a potential protective effect for asthmatic patients, studies show that the immune-boosting properties of the plantain leaf may be clinically relevant in numerous diseases including chronic viral infections.4, 5
There are many other homeopathic uses of the plantain leaf and many ways to benefit from its anti-inflammatory, immune-enhancing characteristics. Ideally, the plantain leaf can be added to a tea, or even incorporated into soups or stews. Fresh, young leaves can even be eaten raw, though they must be free from pesticides, so be sure to check the source of any and all herbs you plan to use as plant medicine.
Bitter in nature, the horehound leaf is commonly used in cough syrups and cough drops and is known to alleviate mucus. Its expectorant properties are attributed to the presence of diterpene lactone in the plant, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can modulate the immune system.6 Horehound leaf would be extremely useful when dealing with heightened allergies, sinus congestion/infection, and post nasal drip.
As noted, horehound leaf is quite bitter, so it is best to use it as a tea with sweetener or as a tincture.7
As a mainstay in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, nettle leaves are an amazing herb to aid in the healthy maintenance of the body’s inflammatory response. Native to North America, Europe, Northern Africa, and Asia, these herbs have a positive effect on keeping the overall upper respiratory system in check by decreasing inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, and boosting the immune system.8 This would be especially helpful in easing asthma symptoms, reducing mucus, and relieving chronic coughs.
While steeping the dried leaves into tea is the most common use, you can also incorporate nettle into soups and stews or prepare as you would with any leafy vegetable, such as spinach.
medicine for a faster recovery.
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Dating back to ancient Europe, licorice has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as in Greece and the Middle East to treat a variety of ailments, one being upper respiratory health.9 Thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, licorice can soothe a sore throat while supporting bronchial wellness.10
Licorice shouldn’t just be relegated to the candy aisle at your favorite grocery store. It is also available as a tea, tincture, or in capsule form.
Mullein has dated back to almost 2000 years ago, trusted by ancient Greeks who believed in this dried flower as a means to support lung and respiratory health.11 With expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties, mullein has a soothing effect on bronchioles, promotes the discharge of mucus, relieves coughs, and can even ease ear infections.12 You can benefit from its antiviral and antibacterial properties by using it as a tea, elixir, or in capsule form.
Additional Ways to Support Lung Health
Beyond the use of herbs, there are a handful of lifestyle factors that can support and strengthen your lung and respiratory health too.
- Daily Physical Activity: One of the many benefits of exercise is its ability to transport oxygen throughout the body more efficiently, and effectively. In turn, this promotes and supports the volume of oxygen we take in with each breath. Exercise and daily physical activity come in all forms, from working out in the gym, to walking outside, to household chores, etc., and can be added up throughout the course of your day.
- The Practice of Controlling Your Breath: Known as “Pranayama,” this technique has deep roots in the yoga practice, and has been researched to show the amazing effects it has on the body. When practiced regularly, it has been shown to have great benefits in increasing all lung functions.13
- Wash Your Hands: One of the easiest ways we can protect against illness, and to stop the spread of germs from entering the body, is by washing our hands. When germs make their way into our lungs, we become prone to respiratory infections such as cough, cold, sinus infection, etc. By making sure we wash our hands for, at least, 20 seconds (including under the fingernails), and disinfecting surfaces that are germ prone, we are doing our part to prevent the spread.
- Invest In An Air Purifier: With different price points, and specific allergen needs, an air purifier is an excellent investment to improve indoor air quality, and remove contaminants that bring on respiratory infections.
It can be easy to forget how important lung and respiratory health is to our overall well-being, quality of life, and the ability to do what we do on a daily basis. Beyond lifestyle factors, the use of herbs to assist in strengthening healthy lung function, and supporting our immune system are extremely beneficial, and an effective, holistic approach to total wellness and keeping respiratory illness at bay.
Use these herbs to help support the health of your respiratory system, and if you do come down with an illness, consider taking Brillia Health products. Our non-prescription cold, flu, and cough medications gently and effectively ease symptoms that come with respiratory infections without harsh, synthetic chemicals. Unfortunately, many common cold and flu medications cause harmful side effects like drowsiness, nausea, or upset stomach. And many physicians report that such medications merely mask symptoms instead of resolving them. Our non-prescription products, Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control, contain targeted antibody ingredients that reduce the severity and duration of cold/flu symptoms like cough, sore throat, and congestion without harsh chemicals or harmful side effects. Both products control histamine response to reduce fluid buildup and symptoms like congestion, inflammation, and stuffy nose, while supporting your body’s immune response. While Cold-Flu Recovery is ideal for multi-symptom relief, Cough Control has the added benefit of reducing the frequency and severity of coughs while relieving sore throat pain.
Learn more about Brillia Health here and get started on your road to better health.
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