Power Plants – 4 Herbs to Strengthen your Lungs

Definitely, the lungs are among the most important organs in the body. As such, it is also among the most compromised. On your way to your daily job alone, the busy streets can gradually – but surely – cause deterioration of the lungs because of the endless source of pollution – from car emissions to second-hand smoking.

lung diagram

Sometimes, taking medicine for the lungs is too much to ask. They can be very expensive, or may be too uncommon to find. These are just some of the reasons why people opt to switch to alternative medicine, such as tapping the healing wonders of herbs. Since these healthier options are natural products, they are safer, cheaper and can be more potent.

When it comes to taking herbs for medicinal purposes, especially from respiratory conditions, the common belief is that they are not as effective and as such, not worth taking. While the effectiveness of herbs has not been studied deeply to determine how well they work across the entire population, the healing effect of these natural alternatives has held up to most pharmaceutical drugs.

Taking herbs as an alternative medicine may not cure serious health condition like asthma, but it can aid in providing comfort from the ailment when taken religiously before harsh diseases happen.

Much of the time, pharmaceutical drugs attempt to mimic a compound that occurs in nature (like herbs), but often bring the risk of side effects in the process. While it is important to note that herbal medicines can be harmful in extreme doses, it appears their safety is much greater than that of pharmaceutical drugs.

So, if you’re looking to improve the quality of life through strengthening your lungs, here are the four best herbs to get the job done:

Licorice

Licorice is one of the most widely consumed herbs in the world. In fact, in traditional Chinese medicine, it occurs in more formulas than any other single herb. This is due to the fact that it is thought to harmonize the action of all other herbs.

licorice

Licorice root contains many anti-depressant compounds. As an herbal medicine, it has an impressive list of well documented uses and is probably one of the most over-looked of all herbal wonders.

Taking licorice gives a highly soothing sensation as it softens the mucous membranes of the throat and especially the lungs and stomach. At the same time, it cleanses any inflamed membrane that needs immune system support.

Furthermore, it can reduce the irritation in the throat. It contains saponins that loosen the phlegm in the respiratory tract so that the body can easily expel the mucus. Compounds within Licorice help relieve bronchial spasms and can also block the free radical cells that produce the inflammation and tightening of the body’s airways.

Meanwhile, licorice can also enhance immunity by boosting levels of interferon, a major immune system chemical that fights off harmful viruses. It also contains powerful phytoestrogens that can perform some of the functions of the body’s natural estrogens, which is very helpful for people in the phase of menopause. Glycyrrhizinic acid is also found to stop the growth of many bacteria and viruses such as influenza A.

more licorice

Eucalyptus

You may have associated this powerful plant as the favorite snack of koalas. However, it has more to it than its refreshing aroma. Eucalyptus greatly helps in improving the health of the respiratory system, starting off from soothing the throat to clearing the trachea airway.

The eucalyptus essential oil, derived from the crushed leaves of the tree, has made its own mark as one of the more potent natural medicine. Its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties have been used throughout centuries for cosmetic and dental use, to ward off insects, and to treat a wide range of respiratory problems.

Just the scent alone from the oil from its leaves makes the eucalyptus highly effective in helping respiratory problems. It leaves you relaxed and in tune with nature. Just imagine having a whole house air purifier in your home, which renders your home aromatically pleasant and therapeutically soothing.

eucalyptus

Usually present in products that offer soothing relief from respiratory discomfort, eucalyptus is a common ingredient in cough lozenges and syrups. Its effectiveness is due to a compound called cineole. Cineole has numerous benefits — it serves as an expectorant, can ease a cough, fights congestion, and soothes irritated sinus passages. Plus, since eucalyptus contains antioxidants, it supports the immune system when having a cold or any other similar illness.

Furthermore, it can help regenerate lung tissue, and aid in the whole breathing process. It stimulates the red blood cells to function more effectively, increasing the oxygen supply to every cell in the body. This explains why it is helpful during practically any disease. To treat respiratory ailments, inhale the vapors from the essential oil through a vaporizer, a humidifier, or an aroma lamp.

Peppermint

Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) also known as M. balsamea Willd, has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It has a pleasant taste and is a popular flavoring for food and drink.

The expectorant action of peppermint oil can help clear symptoms of upper respiratory congestion that may stem from allergies, asthma, cold, flu, bronchitis, and the other breathing-related abnormalities. For this reason, it’s often used as an ingredient in therapeutic lung cleansing balms that are rubbed on the chest. This allows for vapors to be almost directly inhaled through the nasal passages and cut through congestion. Unlike prescription medications and even certain OTC therapies, peppermint oil is not associated with drowsiness or other common adverse side effects.

mint

Peppermint and peppermint oil contains menthol — a soothing ingredient known to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing. Dried peppermint typically contains menthol, menthone, menthyl acetate, menthofuran, and cineol. Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of various healing compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene, and pinene.

Oregano

Oregano is one of the healthiest herbs out there, and also the most common. Although oregano contains the vitamins and nutrients required by the immune system, its primary benefits are owed to its carvacrol and rosmarinic acid content. The best thing about this herb’s content is that both compounds are natural decongestants and histamine reducers that have direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow.

According to the Global Healing Center, “Oregano has direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract, coughing reflex and nasal passage airflow.” Oregano’s rosmarinic acid content reduces fluid buildup and even swelling during an allergy attack, making it a natural histamine-reducing compound.

When pollen, dust, mold, chemicals, fungus, and bacteria are invading your body, it releases a chemical called histamine which causes a reaction similar to allergic reactions — nasal congestion, increased mucous production, and sneezing. Histamine-reducing herbs like oregano aid in counteracting histamine and may help reduce these uncomfortable reactions.

basil

Oregano can be taken topically, sublingually, through capsules or more alternatively through inhalation. To fight sinus infections, colds and allergies, add a few drops of oregano oil to a small pot with boiling water. Cover you head with a towel, close your eyes and put your face over the pot (but not close enough to get burned); inhale the steam. Repeat several times to clear the throat and nasal passages.

Oregano oil also fights off the dangerous bacteria Staphylococcus aureus better than the most common antibiotic treatments. Oregano has so many health benefits that a bottle of organic oregano oil should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet.

What you need to know about keeping healthier lungs

You may not notice it, but for quite some time now, you might have actually taken your lungs for granted. The moment you walk down the street together with the surrounding smoke from vehicles passing by, you’ve already incurred damage to your lungs. The moment you smoke even just a single stick of cigarette even once a month, you’ve already shortened your lungs’ lifespan. The moment you got a respiratory infection due to poor hygiene, you’ve already polluted your lungs.

lung diagram

The lungs are vital organs that play an important role to everyone’s body. Note that the lungs never take a rest since its role is to deliver oxygen inside your body for you to keep on breathing even when you’re asleep. Did you know that in a day, a healthy person inhales and exhales up to 25,000 times? It also has a natural defense system to keep off dirt and fight unwanted germs inside. However, due to various circumstances that a person encounters every day, a lot of harmful substances enter the body, causing the lungs to weaken and work improperly.

Types of Lung Diseases

A lung disease is any abnormality experienced by the lungs which causes them to working improperly. There are three main classifications of a lung disease:

a.)    Airway Disease: This type of ailment happens when the airways or tubes inside your body that carry oxygen or other gases in and out of your body are hampered. Common kinds of this disease include asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. A person who experiences this illness feels like he or she is struggling to breathe through a straw.

b.)    Lung Tissue Disease: The inflammation or scarring of the lung tissue is what causes this disease. In return, it hinders the lungs from fully expanding, making it difficult for the lungs to transport oxygen and release carbon dioxide. According to people experiencing lung tissue diseases, they seem to feel as if they are wearing extremely tight vests or jackets, and as a result, they are unable to breathe deeply. Examples of lung tissue diseases are Sarcoidosis and Pulmonary fibrosis.

c.)     Lung Circulation Disease: This type of disease mainly affects the blood vessels inside the lungs. Due to clotting, inflammation, or scarring of the blood vessels, the lungs are unable to take up oxygen, and at the same time unable to release carbon dioxide. It may also affect the heart function of a person. An example of this type is the pulmonary hypertension.

Note that several lung diseases involve a combination of the aforementioned types. Some other common lung diseases include atelectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism, tuberculosis, and lung cancer.

Pointers for Healthy Lungs

There are various ways to ensure that your lungs stay strong and protected from harmful substances around. Some highly beneficial tips fall under the changes in your diet, lifestyle and hardly restrained habits. Below are a few things to remember in order to keep your lungs healthy and your breathing invigorating:

1.)    Say NO to Smoking: With cigarette smoking, you allow thousands of harmful chemicals which are capable of bringing various health problems. As a matter of fact, smoking is the leading cause of COPD and lung cancer. When you are already suffering from any form of lung disease, saying no to smoking can help you in immensely so be determined to quit such an unhealthy vice and turn to a specialist to get professional medical advice.

cigarette smoke

2.)    Keep Away from Secondhand Smoke: Secondhand smoke is highly toxic which is very alarming to one’s health. In order to avoid inhaling these toxins, you should definitely avoid public places where smokers are rampant. Don’t tolerate anyone who smokes inside your house, your car or even in your workplace.

3.)    Avoid Exposure to Pollutants: Other than cigarette smoke, some other noxious pollutants are present in the atmosphere like the smoke coming from factories and automobiles. Also, synthetic fragrances coming from several laundry products and air fresheners used in a lot of areas are responsible for injuring your lungs’ health.

4.)    Enhance Indoor Air Quality: Getting the best air purifier for your home improves the quality of air when you start your day and before you retire for the night. Also, you may want to consider having indoor plants inside your household. According to studies, various houseplants are considered healthy air purifiers. They can filter volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which include benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene. Some indoor plants you may want to keep are aloe vera, fern, peace lily, spider plant and bamboo palm.

5.)    Perform Daily Deep Breathing Routines: By doing so, you can strengthen your lungs as it helps you detoxify the body, cleansing your airways and improving the functions of your lungs. To do this, pick a quiet place where you can fully relax, close your eyes and deeply inhale through your nose for about 5 seconds. Hold it for just a few seconds then release it slowly. Repeat this process for about 6 to 8 times every day.

6.)    Get Busy Playing Wind Instruments: Playing a flute, saxophone, mouth organ or any other wind instruments are actually beneficial to your lungs. Using these instruments helps your to get a regular lung workout, and as a result, strengthening them in the process. Singing can also provide a similar result as it makes your diaphragm work and keeps your lungs healthier.

7.)    Have an Exercise Regimen: Doing regular full-body workout exercises makes it easier for your lungs to have its own workout as well, keeping your heart and muscles “fed” with oxygen-rich blood. Cardiovascular exercises are a good way to start since they strengthen the muscles surrounding your lungs. You may also want to try aerobic exercises like walking, dancing, biking, or even swimming.

man running

Right Foods to Consume

You might think that what you eat doesn’t affect your lungs directly. In reality, with the right food and regular exercise, you have healthier lungs, ultimately getting an even healthier body. The best foods to get you started are fresh and raw foods which contain enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The following is a list of the essential foods with their corresponding advantages in your lungs’ health:

fruit and vegetables

1.)    Water: The very essence of water intake is to cleanse the body. It is also essential for good blood circulation to and from the lungs. By drinking clean and pure water, you tend to keep your lungs hydrated and help the mucus inside it flowing. The mucus is significantly needed with the right consistency for the cilia to move it, while bringing harmful microbes and toxins out of your body.

2.)    Ginger: Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties. It also supports the elimination of pollutants in your lungs.

3.)    Pomegranates: Pomegranates posses a lot of antioxidants such as ellagic acid, which is highly favorable for cancer patients, researches show. Also, pomegranate juice helps in slowing down the growth of lung tumors.

4.)    Apples: Apples are rich in Vitamins E and C, and flavonoids, which all help in improving your lungs’ performance.

5.)    Oranges: Oranges are also known to contain high amounts of Vitamins C and B6, both of which are essential for the lungs’ oxygen transfer.

6.)    Nuts, Beans, and Seeds: These contain rich amounts of magnesium and healthy fatty acids which are good for the cardiovascular system.