Herbs for the Lungs

Several herbs and spices actions are of value to proper respiratory functioning:

Basil: Hindi name is ‘Tulsi’. It is rich in antioxidant and renowned for its restorative powers, Tulsi has several benefits:

-Relieves stress
-Bolsters immunity
-Enhances stamina
-Provides support during cold season
-Promotes healthy metabolism
-A natural immuno-modulator

     “Modern scientific research offers impressive evidence that Tulsi reduces stress, enhances stamina, relieves inflammation, lowers cholesterol, eliminates toxins, protects against radiation, prevents gastric ulcers, lowers fevers, improves digestion and provides a rich supply of antioxidants and other nutrients. Tulsi is especially effective in supporting the heart, blood vessels, liver and lungs and also regulates blood pressure and blood sugar.” Dr. Ralph Miller, former Director of Research for the Canadian Dept. of Health and Welfare.
       The unique chemistry of Tulsi is highly complex. Tulsi contains hundreds of beneficial compounds known as phyto-chemicals. Working together, these compounds possess strong antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, adaptogenic, and immune-enhancing properties that promote general health and support the body’s natural defense against stress and diseases.

Licorice – Hindi name is ‘Mulaithi’, commonly used in paan. Licorice is counter indicated for those with high blood pressure.

1. It lubricates inflamed, ulcerated respiratory tissue
2. It also reduces inflammation, spasms and expels phlegm.   

Cinnamon -It is called ‘Dal-chini’ in Hindi.

     It has warming effect therefore can be used at the beginning of chesty colds. It is also used in chest infections. Cinnamon is also great for the digestive system, and was traditionally used in convalescence.

 Thymehas a significant disinfectant and germicidal effect in conditions of the upper respiratory passages.

1.   It helps dissolve and remove congestive obstructions.
2.   It relieves spasm.
3.   It makes an excellent remedy for coughs whether they are caused by nerves and anxiety or an infection such as bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurisy
4.   It has a relaxing effect on the bronchial tubes relieving asthma and whooping cough
5.   Its stimulating action increases the production of fluid mucus and helps liquefy phlegm.
6.   The ability to be both relaxing and stimulating as is needed makes it a particularly beneficial herb as a restorative for the lungs
7.   It is particularly useful for dry, hacking coughs.
8.   When given internally( in food), it is eliminated via the alveoli of the lungs and is concentrated at the site where its effect is required
9.   Its spasmolytic action on bronchiolar spasm is an important characteristic of thyme. maryann@evenstaronline.com

    More than a seasoning for cooking, this lung herb has antiseptic properties as well as being an expectorant and digestive tonic. It helps ‘disinfect’ the air passages, and has a calming effect on the bronchial tube. It is generally used for more asthmatic conditions and dry coughs, but not really for bronchitis.

 Chamomile – has a marvelous ability to relax smooth muscles throughout the body
 1)  Its relaxant effect on the bronchial tubes helps to reduce bronchi-constriction in asthma
2)  Its relaxing and balancing effect helps to deal with emotional problems underlying many allergies
3)  It is a natural antihistamine and has an anti-allergic effect by reducing the body’s response to allergens and by reducing the severe allergic response.

Ginger– Hindi name is ‘Adrak’. It has a stimulating and expectorant action in the lungs.
1.  It helps in expelling and relieving catarrh coughs and chest infections;
2.  It acts as a tonic on the mucous membranes
3.  Ginger has an inhibitory effect that blocks the release of important        inflammator  mediators,i.e it has anti-inflammatory effect. The imbalanced inflammation in the body can be reduced with intake of ginger. 
4.  It does not interfere with the enhancement of the formation of the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory substances.

    Ginger is great in cases of excess phlegm, and bronchitis, and can also be used at the beginning of a cold like many of these lung herbs. It is great for the digestive system also. Ginger is often used for nausea, and helps circulation.

 Garlic – Has many benefits, great both in the digestive system, and the lungs. Hindi name is ‘Lahasun’

  1. It helps ‘sterilize’ the bronchial passage in the lungs, and has been used in bronchial infections like tuberculosis.
  2. It is great for the ‘common cold’, and garlic capsules can be bought. Kyolic garlic (saundh)  is excellent even though its an aged garlic.
  3. It is great for tonsillitis, throat infections, and similar. As well as its cleansing effect on the lungs, garlic helps encourage mucous to cough up.

Fenugreek Hindi name is ‘ Maithi Dana’

  1. softens and dissolves hardened masses of accumulated mucus.
  2. Loosens and expels mucus accumulated in the bronchial tubes and helpful in treating lung infections.
  3. Helps to promote healthy lung function by promoting free flowing blood circulation and proper lymphatic drainage i.e. reducing excessive water retention in the body (Caution: Do not use during pregnancy as it may stimulate contractions.) maryann@evenstaronline.comAll these properties of Fenugreek really give lot of relief to people with ILD and COPD.


Peppermint is used to calm queasy stomachs and to quell indigestion. It is a general stimulant. This herb has a long history as a digestive aid and as a treatment for the symptoms of cough, colds, and fever. It kills microorganisms that can cause food poisoning, relieves the pain of sprains and strains, and helps freshen lingering bad breath. It also is good for nausea and vomiting (colic, food allergies, indigestion, motion sickness, Cohn’s disease, hepatitis, food poisoning, gallstones, headache and stress, irritable bowel syndrome).

Onionsare good for respiratory health. For colds, put a thick slice of raw onion in a cup, pour boiling water over it and let it stand until the water has cooled a little; then strain and drink the water.>.

Various combinations of Herbs and Spices, which can be taken tea form: 

-The essential oils in the leaves of Tulsi that contribute to the fragrance and refreshing flavor of Tulsi Tea, are a particularly rich source of valuable phyto-chemicals. 

 – Turmeric, ginger, fenugreek and black pepper are mucolytic and hence are considered to be good for expelling mucous from the body especially from the respiratory tract. Take these herbs in any form; raw or cooked it will be better for your lungs.

– Tea of powdered cinnamon and fresh ginger.seeds and black pepper will be beneficial.

– Simple lukewarm water with lemon juice and pinch of rock salt will give temporary relief in coughing and congestion.

– Fresh garlic, consumed within 15 minutes of being cut open, in a tea with honey and lemon juice, is also an excellent remedy, with very strong antibacterial andantimicrobial benefits.

-Take 200 ml of spinach juice and 300 ml of carrot juice daily. This will help making lungs stronger

Various applications of paste of herbs on skin:

 The following herbs are used to enhance the lung function. In addition to taking the herbs internally, they can also be rubbed on the chest and back three to four times per day.

     – Application of garlic juice along with sesame oil over the chest is highly beneficial in treating the pneumonia.

 – Mustard foot baths are a good way to handle coughs and colds. Take a plastic bucket, put in two heaping tablespoons of ordinary English mustard powder and half-fill the bucket with water as hot as the “patient” can stand. Keep a jug of really hot water handy, to top off from time to time. After about 10 minutes, when the feet are bright red, take them out and towel dry. Put on thick (white) cotton socks and go to bed at once. For really hot feet, put on RED cotton socks.


-Sometimes people have respiratory problems because of their ability of ingestion of milk products, i.e.: milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, therefore they can reduce the amount of these products. There is no medical evidence related to increase of phlegm due to milk.

-Yogurts should be avoided at night, though it is very good for people with ILD and COPD during the day as these people are on lot of medication and yogurt has enzymes to protect our lining of stomach and intestines.

-Red meats and sugar also contribute to mucus problems.

Remember to keep all your eliminating systems functioning properly.


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