In alternative medicine, fall is the season of the lungs. Your lungs are responsible for passing oxygen into the body, and they are one of five elimination systems. Seasonal allergies and environmental toxins will take a toll on your lungs, even with the healthiest of individuals.
Did you know that with shallow breathing only 10% of the blood is cleansed, while with deep diaphragm breathing 80-100% of the blood is cleansed? Deep breathing is critical for lung health and eliminating toxins.
Herbal remedies are also an important part of lung health, and these are five lung-friendly herbs that you can easily grow at home. They all have medicinal qualities for lung health, and most are aromatic. So plant away, and breathe in the healing goodness of these herbs!
Five Herbs For Lung Health That Are Easy to Grow
1. Oregano (Origanum Vulgare)
Oregano contains carvacrol and rosmarinic acid, which are natural decongestants and histamine reduces that impact the respiratory tract and nasal passage. Additionally, oregano contains antioxidants, which support the immune system during a cold or other illness.
Oregano is a perennial and will grow back year after year. It is best planted in full sun in well-drained soil. Because oregano is an invasive plant, it is best to grow in a container, whether it is indoors or outside.
Fresh oregano adds amazing flavor to many recipes. To harvest, cut in the morning and store in a cool, dry area of your home. After about a month, you can remove the leaves and store in an airtight container.
Eucalyptus receives its healing properties from cineole, which can be used as an expectorant to ease a cough, fight congestion, and soothe irritated sinus passages. Additionally, eucalyptus contains antioxidants, which support the immune system during a cold or other illness.
Eucalyptus trees can grow to be 60 feet tall, so a smaller shrub size might be easier to grow either inside or outside. If planted outside, it loves full sun. Inside, place the eucalyptus near a south-facing window where it will receive a lot of the sun. When it grows beyond its container, you can transfer it outside or donate it to a park.
To help treat a sinus infection, steep eucalyptus leaves in a pot of boiling water, and inhale the steam, being careful not to burn yourself. You can also combine eucalyptus and peppermint oils to use in a chest rub, or sprinkle on the floor of your shower.
3. Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)
Peppermint contains menthol, which makes it a great decongestant, along with its antihistamine effect and promotion of free breathing.
Similar to oregano, peppermint is extremely invasive, and whether indoors or outside, you will want to plant it in a container. Peppermint prefers partial to full sun and well-drained soil.
Use the peppermint leaves as a herb in your favorite recipes or tea, and combine the oil with eucalyptus on your chest as a calming balm.
4. Lungwort (Pulmonaria Officinalis)
Lungwort’s name says it all. The plant actually resembles lung tissue, and as early as the 1600s, lungwort has been used to promote lung and respiratory health and clear congestion.
The lungwort flower is beautiful, and the plant itself is very resilient. Lungwort is best grown in the shade and is perfect for under trees.
You can cook the leaves just as you would spinach.
5. Elder (Sambucus Canadensis)
Elder improves circulation throughout the body, opening the lungs, blood vessels, and capillaries. Plant elderberry shrubs outside in full sun to partial shade where they will grow quickly. They grow best in soil with a pH between 6 and 8. Elderberry fruit is delicious, and elder flowers can be brewed in tea.
Additional herbs which are great for lung health, albeit not quite as common, are Osha Root, Butterbur, and Mullein.