Here are the 10 best herbs for lung health, plus our DIY decongestant recipe to make at home.
Herbs can be an incredibly powerful tool to help protect and improve lung health. Anything that supports the lungs and proper breathing will benefit the rest of your body. Pharmaceutical drugs are often the first course of treatment recommended by doctors. Yet, some people find that just changing their diet and incorporating certain herbs helps with breathing problems in a more natural way.
Best Herbs For Lung Health
You can use herbs to treat a variety of conditions, especially when it comes to respiratory health. The herbs that help with breathing problems have compounds that reduce congestion. You may want to experiment with some to find the ones that work best for your constitution or condition.
Be sure to speak to your healthcare professional before starting any kind of herbal treatment, especially if you are already taking pharmaceuticals. This is because herbs can interact with some medications and cause harm.
1. Sage For Respiratory Health
Sage is a common herb found in many households that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It reduces inflammation in the throat and lungs, helping to reduce congestion associated with colds or allergies.
You can easily make an herbal tea remedy if you are suffering from asthma or bronchitis. Just steep one teaspoon of dried herb in hot water for 5 minutes, then strain.
You can also use sage as a gargle for sore throats, tonsillitis, and similar problems.
2. Licorice Root for Breathing Problems
Licorice root contains a compound called glycyrrhizin. Glycyrrhizin is 50 times sweeter than sugar and is responsible for the plant's function in the respiratory system.
Licorice has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to ease asthma and soothe airways that can cause chest tightness or difficulty breathing. It also has expectorant properties which means it helps to loosen and expel mucus.
Licorice also has immune-boosting properties. Licorice should be used with caution since it should not be taken in conditions of high blood pressure.
3. Ginger To Fight Off Coughs and Phlegm
Ginger is another popular herb often used to treat respiratory ailments, especially during the winter months. The fresh rhizome warms the stomach to fight off colds, chills, and coughs, especially where there is phlegm.
When ginger is mixed with licorice and hot water to make tea, it is very powerful. They work together to clear blocked sinuses and help you breathe better. Or make ginger shots! They are a great way to get your daily dose of lung health benefits
4. Peppermint Has a Long History of Use in Lung and Respiratory Health
Peppermint is used as an expectorant and anti-inflammatory to help congestion and inflammation in the lungs and throat. One of the reasons peppermint helps reduce inflammation is because it kills the bacteria that cause it in the first place. (6)
Another reason peppermint is so effective is that it contains menthol. (7) Menthol is the herb that everyone thinks of, with regard to helping you to breathe. Menthol is a natural decongestant and helps to open up the airways in the lungs, making it easier to breathe.
Inhaling a few drops of menthol mixed into a bowl of hot water can be very effective in treating respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Peppermint also helps to shrink inflamed membranes in the nose, making breathing easier and allowing air to flow into the lungs more freely. Used often in tea form, peppermint is used to ease coughing, bronchitis, stuffy nose, asthma, or allergies.
5. Eucalyptus For Colds and Flu
A natural decongestant, eucalyptus is helpful if you are struggling with a cold or flu. It can also help to clear congestion and open up the airways. Eucalyptus can be used in a diffuser or applied to the skin mixed with a carrier oil.
If you are looking for a great all-around herb to help with breathing, eucalyptus is a great choice. It is particularly good for asthma and sinusitis. (9)
6. Echinacea is a Natural Anti-histamine and Boosts Immunity
Many people struggle to breathe during the hay fever season. This is often spring and summer when flowers and grasses release pollen. This leads to sneezing and breathing difficulties caused by histamines which is an allergic reaction.
Lungwort is a powerful herb that has been used for centuries to treat respiratory issues due to its high mucilage content. It helps to reduce inflammation in the lungs, making it an effective herb for asthma, whooping cough, and bronchitis. (13)
9. Plantain Leaf is a Natural Expectorant
Plantain leaf is often used in teas and tinctures to help reduce mucus in the lungs. It is an expectorant, which means it helps to expel phlegm from your airways. Plantain also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it helpful for bronchitis or other respiratory illnesses. (14)
Plantain leaf can be brewed into tea or taken in capsule form.
10. Horseradish is a Powerful Remedy for Colds
Horseradish is not only a condiment, but it's also a powerful home remedy for colds. It has traditionally been used to open up the sinuses and treat symptoms of congestion and sneezing. (15)
Here's a recipe for homemade decongestant using the powerful herbs of ginger and horseradish.
Homemade Ginger & Horseradish Decongestant Recipe
You will need:
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 Cup horseradish, peeled and grated
Combine all the ingredients in a small jar and cover it with apple cider vinegar. Put on the lid and shake it really well to mix the ingredients.
Take 1-2 teaspoons a day as needed. It should last for about 2 weeks but make sure you store it in the fridge.
*On a Current Note – Marshmallow, myrrh, licorice, and elder herbs show promising outcomes for those suffering from breathing difficulties due to the coronavirus, Covid-19. (16).
Conclusion of Best Herbs For Lung Health
Herbs have been used for centuries as remedies to improve lung health and help relieve breathing difficulties. From eucalyptus to horseradish, herbs are a natural way of helping with conditions like asthma, colds, flu and Covid-19.
As already mentioned, it is advisable to seek a doctor's advice before self-medicating with herbs and plants, especially when experiencing breathing difficulties.
In a crisis, people will turn to plants once again for both food and medicine. And there are some plants that will vanish faster than all others. So the only way to make sure you have them when you need them is to grow them in your own backyard.
- Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Medicinal Property of Sage (Salvia) to Prevent and Cure Illnesses such as Obesity, Diabetes, Depression, Dementia, Lupus, Autism, Heart Disease, and Cancer https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003706/
- Glycyrrhizin and Long-Term Histopathologic Changes in a Murine Model of Asthma https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3957157/
- The synergistic anti-asthmatic effects of glycyrrhizin and salbutamol https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4085675/
- Liquorice and ginger herbal decongestants https://theherbalacademy.com/licorice-and-ginger-herbal-decongestants/
- The power of peppermint https://www.uchealth.org/today/the-power-of-peppermint/
- Antibacterial and antioxidant activities of Mentha piperita L. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878535211000232
- UV-B modulates the interplay between terpenoids and flavonoids in peppermint (Mentha × piperita L.) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1011134410001107?via%3Dihub
- What is Vicks VapoRub? https://www.healthline.com/health/vicks-vaporub-benefits#what-it-is
- 9 Unexpected Benefits of Eucalyptus Oil https://www.healthline.com/health/9-ways-eucalyptus-oil-can-help
- 10. Camphor Oil: This Organic Compound Heals Your Lungs, Makes You Breathe Easy https://www.netmeds.com/health-library/post/camphor-oil-this-organic-compound-heals-your-lungs-makes-you-breathe-easy
- 11. Mast cell degranulation and calcium influx are inhibited by an Echinacea purpurea extract and the alkylamide dodeca-2E,4E-dienoic acid isobutylamide https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29042288/
- 12. The 4 Best Natural Antihistamines https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/best-natural-antihistamines
- 13. Lungwort – Uses, Side Effects, and More https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-216/lungwort
- 14. Evaluation of the Nomenclature of Herbal Expectorants on Russian Pharmaceutical Market: Current Status and Future Prospects https://www.sysrevpharm.org/articles/evaluation-of-the-nomenclature-of-herbal-expectorants-on-russian-pharmaceutical-market-current-status-and-future-prospec.pdf
- 15. Horseradish: Nature’s Decongestant https://www.theepochtimes.com/horseradish-natures-decongestant_1229028.html
- 16.COVID-19: Is There Evidence for the Use of Herbal Medicines as Adjuvant Symptomatic Therapy? https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2020.581840/full#B508