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Thread: herbs to clear lungs

  1. #11
    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: herbs to clear lungs

    Quote Originally Posted by oldhippie View Post
    are there any herbs to help clear lungs of congestion?
    The best mucolytic (to break up mucous) is steam. Just plain old hot water steam. You can add all the herbs or oils to it that you like, but it's actually the steam that is doing most of the work. Fill up the bathroom basin with water from the kettle, add the herbs and oils if you wish, then hang over it with a towel over your head and breathe in the steam (make sure there's a vent)... do that two or three times a day for a as long as you can before you get bored. I usually last about two minutes lol.

    Also humidify the room by placing a bowl of water on your nightstand. You are in the US right? So it's winter there? Heaters are a major culprit for colds and flues because they dry out the atmosphere. So if you have the heater or fire going, put a bowl of water by it, or on top of the wood stove/fire/mantelpiece (heat proof container, obviously) and next to your bed. And one in every room you're going to spend time in. You can get some fancy humidifiers that plug into powerpoints, but you can replicate the effect for free if you have a heater. You're not aiming for the water to be obviously hot, it's just there to put some moisture into the air as it evaporates naturally.

    I usually use essential oils rather than herbs for colds and flues, because they are much more effective when added to a steam bathe than herbs are. But you could use the following herbs. Or you could use a combination. My standard 'expectorant and decongestion' mix is below. Add a few drops of the mixture into a steam bath, a regular bath, an oil burner/aromatherpy diffuser or dilute it in a carrier oil and rub it on your chest. DO NOT INGEST THIS.

    Rosemary - decongestant and anti-inflammatory. It's also a diuretic so if you are using the herb itself, limit ingestion if you have kidney problems, and ensure that you are drinking enough fluids.
    Eucalyptus - decongestant, analgesic (for the headaches and for sore throats), anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and general all-round extremely-useful oil. This is the mainstay of Australian cold and flue remedies (along with various cleaning purposes and wound healing). Never ingest anything from the eucalyptus family. Only koalas can do that safely.
    Black Pepper - expectorant. It can be irritating to some skins so never use it neat and if you're sensitive then don't add it to a chest rub.
    Peppermint - decongestant, expectorant, analgesic (for the headaches), among other things. It can also be irritating to some skins - see above.

    All of the above, apart from Eucalyptus can be ingested, so you could use it sans Eucalyptus as a tea. Most people have Rosemary and Black Pepper in their kitchens (at least they do here). The Black Pepper is the peppercorns, the Rosemary is ideally the whole flowering head but the leaves will do, the Peppermint is the leaves.

    You can also add a bit of Lavender at night, or use a separate oil mix at night. Normally I use the above mix during the day, then do Lavender and Eucalyptus at night, with Peppermint if I have a headache (Rosemary is a stimulant so I don't use it at night). Either in an oil burner (if you can burn one safely while you sleep - we put ours inside the bathtub in our ensuite as the door is right next to the bed) or put a few drops on a square of cloth and put it inside your pillow, under your pillow, or on your nightstand (depending on how much you can stand the smell... you should be able to smell it but not have your eyes watering). You could also put the crushed herbs into a sachet inside your pillow - crushing them releases the oils, so if you are not eating them you can still get the benefit. I would be inclined do to this rather than drink it as tea before bed.

    Quote Originally Posted by thalassa View Post
    Honestly though, go to the drugstore and evaluate whats going on--for chest congestion, you need an expectorant (in the US, likely guanfacine), if its sinus congestion, you need a decongestant (phenylephrine or pseudephrine), and if you are hacking your lungs out, a cough supressent (dextromorphan). If its a combination, then you can usually find them in different combinations. Make sure you drink lots of fluids too...any expectorant or decongestant will be somewhat dehydrating.
    Thal, can I add something to this? Don't take a cough suppressant if the cough is productive (ie if you are coughing stuff up). Suppressants are okay if it's dry, but if it's productive then it generally needs to be coughed up. Or use one of the combination products that is specifically for your exact type of cough, because those are usually in the correct balance to allow you to get the phlegm up with minimal coughing. You want a mucolytic to break up the mucous and then an expectorant to encourage you to cough it up. Suppressants stop the coughing and so the mucous and phlegm stays in the lungs, which isn't that helpful. But a lot of non-productive coughing is not helpful either. So you need to find that balance.

  2. #12
    Copper Member Rick's Avatar
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    Re: herbs to clear lungs

    Quote Originally Posted by oldhippie View Post
    I can understand avoid smoking but why avoid dairy ?
    I don't know if it affects all people, but for just about everyone I know dairy causes flemming to a greater or lesser degree. I know if I eat ice cream, I have to hit the inhaler (small price to pay for ice cream).
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  3. #13
    Member blue_coyote's Avatar
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    Re: herbs to clear lungs

    Apples are supposed to be good for lung health.

  4. #14
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    Re: herbs to clear lungs

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    I don't know if it affects all people, but for just about everyone I know dairy causes flemming to a greater or lesser degree. I know if I eat ice cream, I have to hit the inhaler (small price to pay for ice cream).

    Dairy doesn't actually increase mucus at all, but it does make it feel like it for some people. So cheese away if it doesn't bother you.

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    Re: herbs to clear lungs

    Plain steam is most effective, IMO, especially for those with other chronic respiratory illnesses or who already have irritated airways (like from coughing). If you're already sensitive to scents when you're operating at 100%, then there's a good chance you might be more sensitive when you're not.

    blue_coyote mentioned apples. Apples can actually help a little bit because they contain quercetin, which does some anti-inflammatory stuff. I've personally used them for mild asthma symptoms. They're not a replacement for anything, obviously.

  6. #16
    Bronze Member iflewoverthecuckoosnest's Avatar
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    Re: herbs to clear lungs

    Ooh, one more thought: spicy food is excellent for breaking up mucus. It will make your nose run, but it will get that shit out of your system. Get well soon

  7. #17
    Sr. Member oldhippie's Avatar
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    Re: herbs to clear lungs

    Quote Originally Posted by iflewoverthecuckoosnest View Post
    Ooh, one more thought: spicy food is excellent for breaking up mucus. It will make your nose run, but it will get that shit out of your system. Get well soon
    yes it makes nose run but I don't do spicy food as it gives me really bad heartburn

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    Re: herbs to clear lungs

    I may be the only person in the world who puts jalapeno slices on breakfast sandwiches. Definitely clears out the sinuses!

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  9. #19
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    Re: herbs to clear lungs

    Quote Originally Posted by iflewoverthecuckoosnest View Post
    Ooh, one more thought: spicy food is excellent for breaking up mucus. It will make your nose run, but it will get that shit out of your system. Get well soon
    Sniffing horseradish works too.

    Also, some yarrow in the steam water can help.
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  10. #20
    Sr. Member oldhippie's Avatar
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    Re: herbs to clear lungs

    had some canned corn a while back that had hot peppers in it
    and I did not get much sleep that night as soon as I would lay down
    I could feel the burning coming back up my throat

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