The natural lung cleanse protocol below is specifically designed to detox, clear and flush excess mucus, phlegm, and toxins from the lungs, with the best lung cleansing foods, drinks, juices, recipes, and lung cleansing herbs.
As all our body cleanse protocols, the lung cleanse protocol is also based on safe traditional medicine that have been practiced for centuries as well as backed up by modern science.
If you’ve had years of breathing in cigarette smoke, pollution, viruses, and other toxins, the idea of cleaning out your lungs and getting a fresh start can sound very appealing. But if you’re tempted to buy vitamins, teas, or essential oils that say they will “detox” your lungs, save your money, says Joshua Englert, MD, a pulmonologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
“There are countless products for sale on the internet that claim to remove toxins from the lungs, but there is no scientific research to support the use of any of them,” he says.
Thankfully, the lungs are remarkably good at cleaning and repairing themselves in some situations — and there are steps you can take to keep your lungs as healthy as possible.
How the Lungs Handle Damage
“If you have an acute illness, such as a pneumonia, or acute bronchitis, in most cases, the lungs will fully recover,” says Norman Edelman, MD, a professor of medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
But after chronic injury, like the damage done from decades of smoking, the lungs can only do so much to repair themselves, he says.
Smoking causes two kinds of long-term damage to the lungs: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Together, these are known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In emphysema, the tiny air sacs that exchange oxygen are destroyed. In chronic bronchitis, there is inflammation of the airways that lead to the air sacs. “Once the air sacs are destroyed, they can’t be replaced,” Edelman says. “Though some of the swelling and inflammation from bronchitis can go away, the structural damage will remain.”
Still, the earlier you quit smoking, the greater chance you have of repairing some damage. One large study found that 20 years after quitting smoking, the risk for COPD drops to the same level as if you’d never smoked. And after 30 years, the risk of lung cancer also drops to nonsmoking levels. “The sooner you quit smoking, the more likely the lungs are able to heal,” Englert says. “But if you smoke for too long, the damage can become permanent.”
The 9 Best Herbs for Lung Cleansing and Respiratory Support
Your respiratory system is constantly working. All day, every day, it is the vehicle for oxygen to enter your body. Unfortunately, it can also be an entry point for pollutants, irritants, dust, mold, fungus, harmful organisms, and other toxins. The constant exposure to impurities can take its toll.
Fortunately, whether you’re experiencing the effects of inhaling toxins, or simply want to ensure your lungs are always at peak performance, nature has provided a number of herbs and botanical that provide deep nutrition for the respiratory system.
How Are Herbs Beneficial for the Respiratory System?
Herbs that support lung health typically do so by offering one or more of the following benefits:
- They may be an expectorant that helps break up and expel chest congestion.
- Soothe irritated nasal passages and airways.
- Relax the muscles near the upper respiratory system to quell a cough.
- Calm the release of histamines.
- Fight the harmful organisms that can produce upper respiratory concerns.
- They may be a source of antioxidants and reduce oxidative damage and redness.
9 Best Herbs for Lung Cleansing & Respiratory Health
Native to Australia, eucalyptus isn’t just for Koalas! Aborigines, Germans, and Americans have all used the refreshing aroma of eucalyptus to promote respiratory health and soothe throat irritation.
Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in cough lozenges and syrups and its effectiveness is due to a compound called cine-ole. Cine-ole has numerous benefits — it’s an expectorant, can ease a cough, fights congestion, and soothes irritated sinus passages. As a bonus, because eucalyptus contains antioxidants, it supports the immune system during a cold or other illness.
Lung-wort is a flowering rhizomes perennial herb that resembles lung tissue in appearance. However, this natural remedy doesn’t just look the part. As early as the 1600s, lung-wort has been used to promote lung and respiratory health and clear congestion. Lung-wort also contains compounds that are powerfully effective against harmful organisms that affect respiratory health.
Although oregano contains the vitamins and nutrients required by the immune system, its primary benefits are due to its carvacrol and rosmarinic acid content. Both compounds are natural decongestants and histamine reducers that have direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow. Oregano has so many health benefits that the oil should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet.
I recommend you check out this article to learn all the uses for organic oregano oil. Oregano oil also blends well with other healthful oils. If you’d like a premium, concentrated blend of organic oregano oil, organic peppermint, and cayenne oil in an organic extra virgin olive oil base with no artificial, chemical or toxic byproducts, then I recommend Oregatrex™. With a minimum 80 percent carvacrol content, Oregatrex can help boost your immune system and promote good health.
4. Plantain Leaf
The plantain leaf (Plantago major) has been used for hundreds of years to ease cough and soothe irritated mucous membranes. Clinical trials have found it favorable against cough, cold, and lung irritation. Plantain leaf has a bonus in that it may help relieve a dry cough by spawning mucus production in the lungs. Good stuff!
The Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and even Indian Ayurvedic medicine practitioners have cited elecampane for respiratory support and, since the 1800s, people have made lozenges and cough drops from elecampane root.
The reason? Elecampane has a relaxing effect on smooth tracheal muscles. There are two active compounds in elecampane root that provide the beneficial effect — inulin, which soothes bronchial passage, and alantolactone, an expectorant with antitussive action.
Did you know that horses given lobelia can breath more deeply? But its benefits are not limited to equestrians. Lobelia, by some accounts, is thought to be one of the most valuable herbal remedies in existence. Lobelia contains an alkaloid known as lobeline, which thins mucus, breaks up congestion.
Additionally, lobelia stimulates the adrenal glands to release epinephrine; in effect, this relaxes the airways and allows for easier breathing. Also, because lobelia helps to relax smooth muscles, it is included in many cough and cold remedies. Lobelia should be part of everyone’s respiratory support protocol!
Chaparral, a plant native to the southwest, has been appreciated by the Native Americans for lung detoxification and respiratory support.
Chaparral contains powerful antioxidants that resist irritation and NDGA (nordihydroguaiaretic acid) which is known to fight histamine response. Chaparral is also an herb that fights harmful organisms. The benefits of chaparral are most available in a tincture extraction, but chaparral tea may support respiratory concerns by encouraging an expectorant action to clear airways of mucus.
Peppermint and peppermint oil contain menthol — a soothing ingredient known to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing.
Paired with the antihistamine effect of peppermint, menthol is a fantastic decongestant. Many people use therapeutic chest balms and other inhalants that contain menthol to help break up congestion. Additionally, peppermint is an antioxidant and fights harmful organisms.
9. OSHA Root
OSHA is an herb native to the Rocky Mountain area and has historically been used by the Native Americans for respiratory support. The roots of the plant contain camphor and other compounds which make it one of the best lung-support herbs in America.
One of the main benefits of osha root is that it helps increase circulation to the lungs, which makes it easier to take deep breaths. Also, when seasonal sensitivities flare up your sinuses, OSHA root, which is not an actual antihistamine, does produce a similar effect and may help calm respiratory irritation!
Supplementing With Lung Support Herbs
All of the above herbs are available in various forms such as nutritional supplements and tea. Additionally, many people grow herbs in their garden and simply consume them as food. That’s not a bad idea!
If you grow them yourself, you can rest easy knowing the source is a good one. If not, it can be difficult to know if nutritional supplements use herbs that are organic, contain pesticides, ethically harvested, given clean water, etc. These are not factors for which you can or simply should assume the best – ask questions and verify that you’re getting the best product possible.
To make it easy, I recommend Allertrex®, which contains several of the herbs listed above — organic and wild crafted — as well as lavage, bee balm, orange peel, and menthol crystals.
Check out our article on 10 Ways to Detox Your Lungs!
Have you used any of these natural remedies to support your respiratory health? What benefits did you notice? Please leave a comment below and share your experience with us!
Natural ways to cleanse your lungs
Lung cleansing techniques may benefit people who smoke, people who get regular exposure to air pollution, and those with chronic conditions that affect the respiratory system, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cystic fibrosis.
Breathing in air pollution, cigarette smoke, and other toxins can damage the lungs and even cause health conditions. Maintaining the health of the lungs is essential for keeping the rest of the body healthy.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to air pollution results in 4.2 million deaths worldwide each year. Cigarette smoking is the cause of death for one in every five people in the United States.
In this article, we discuss some of the methods that people can use to try to cleanse their lungs.Medical News Today Newsletter Stay in the know. Get our free daily newsletter
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Ways to clear the lungs
Below, we look at breathing exercises and lifestyle changes that can help remove excess mucus from the lungs and improve breathing.
1. Steam therapy
Steam therapy, or steam inhalation, involves inhaling water vapor to open the airways and help the lungs drain mucus.
People with lung conditions may notice their symptoms worsening in cold or dry air. This climate can dry out the mucous membranes in the airways and restrict blood flow.
Conversely, steam adds warmth and moisture to the air, which may improve breathing and help loosen mucus inside the airways and lungs. Inhaling water vapor can provide immediate relief and help people breathe more easily.
A small study involving 16 males with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung condition that makes it harder to breathe, found that steam mask therapy led to significantly lower heart rates and respiratory rates than non-steam mask therapy.
However, the participants did not report lasting improvements in their respiratory function.
This therapy may be an effective temporary solution, but researchers need to do more research before they fully understand the benefits of steam therapy on lung health.
2. Controlled coughing
Controlled coughing can help send mucus through the airways.
Coughing is the body’s way of naturally expelling toxins that it has trapped in mucus. Controlled coughing loosens excess mucus in the lungs, sending it up through the airways.
Doctors recommend that people with COPD perform this exercise to help clear their lungs.
People can follow the steps below to cleanse their lungs of excess mucus:
- sit down on a chair with the shoulders relaxed, keeping both feet flat on the floor
- fold the arms over the stomach
- slowly inhale through the nose
- slowly exhale while leaning forward, pushing the arms against the stomach
- cough 2 or 3 times while exhaling, keeping the mouth slightly open
- slowly inhale through the nose
- rest and repeat as necessary
3. Drain mucus from the lungs
Postural drainage involves lying in different positions to use gravity to remove mucus from the lungs. This practice may improve breathing and help treat or prevent lung infections.
Regular exercise can improve people’s physical and mental health, and it decreases the risk of many health conditions, including stroke and heart disease.
Exercise forces the muscles to work harder, which increases the body’s breathing rate, resulting in a greater supply of oxygen to the muscles. It also improves circulation, making the body more efficient in removing the excess carbon dioxide that the body produces when exercising.
The body will start to adapt to meet the demands of regular exercise. The muscles will learn to use oxygen more efficiently and produce less carbon dioxide.
Although exercising may be more difficult for people with chronic lung conditions, these individuals can also benefit from regular exercise. People who have COPD, cystic fibrosis, or asthma should consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise regimen.
5. Green tea
Green tea contains many antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation in the lungs. These compounds may even protect lung tissue from the harmful effects of smoke inhalation.
A recent study involving more than 1,000 adults in Korea reported that people who drank at least 2 cups of green tea per day had better lung function than those who drank none.
6. Anti-inflammatory foods
Eating cherries can help fight inflammation.
Inflammation of the airways can make breathing difficult and cause the chest to feel heavy and congested. Eating anti-inflammatory foods can reduce inflammation to relieve these symptoms.
7. Chest percussion
Percussion is another effective way to remove excess mucus from the lungs. A healthcare professional or respiratory therapist will use a cupped hand to rhythmically tap the chest wall to dislodge trapped mucus in the lungs.
Combining chest percussion and postural drainage can help clear the airways of excess mucus.
Toxins from cigarette smoke or air pollution that enter the lungs can affect the whole body. These toxins eventually become trapped inside mucus.
Good respiratory health depends on whether or not the body effectively removes mucus from the lungs and airways.
People who have damaged lungs may have a harder time than others clearing mucus from their system. Chronic conditions, such as COPD, asthma, and cystic fibrosis, cause excess mucus production or unusually thick mucus that can clog the lungs.
Lung cleansing techniques, including postural drainage, chest percussion, and breathing exercises, can help dislodge mucus from the lungs and airways. Steam therapy may offer temporary relief to people who suffer from congestion or chronic respiratory conditions.
Regularly exercising, drinking green tea, and eating anti-inflammatory foods are lifestyle changes that may improve lung health and decrease the risk of health conditions.
7 Natural Foods & Herbs for Stronger, Healthier Lungs
Breathe easier with these natural foods and herbs that will protect your lungs from harmful pollution and strengthen with anti-inflammatory properties.Sarah Tuff Dunn Updated:Feb 14, 2019Original:Apr 6, 2015
The Scoop: Minty fresh breath is beneficial not only to those around you, but to your body, too. The American Cancer Society points to peppermint oil for treating ailments of the lungs, while recent research shows that the herb may help athletes breathe better. In an Iranian study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, participants who drank water spiked with peppermint essential oil had improved respiratory rates, probably because of the way the mint relaxed their bronchial muscles.
For Better Air: Add 3 to 4 drops to hot water for inhalation, which is the dosage recommended by the American Cancer Society. The amount used in the study, meanwhile, was 0.05 milliliters of peppermint oil in 500 milliliters of mineral water.
The Scoop: If just the thought of vacationing in Australia causes you to sigh deeply, there may a reason. Eucalyptus, which grows naturally in the Land Down Under, has been shown to prevent bronchitis flare-ups when combined with two other essential oils containing components of lime and pine. That also explains why cough drops often contain extracts of the eucalyptus plant.ADVERTISEMENT
For Better Air: Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of boiling water (place a towel over your head to make a tent to contain steam) then close your eyes and slowly breathe in the vapors for 10 minutes. A study in the Alternative Medicine Review notes this method is effective for easing symptoms of respiratory infections, rhinitis and sinusitis thanks to the oil’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Vitamin D
The Scoop: People who are deficient in vitamin D may be more likely to get respiratory tract infections, according to a recent report in Vitamins & Hormones. The study authors also point to the sunshine vitamin as a possible treatment for asthma.
For Better Air: While the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board recommends getting 600 U of vitamin D daily, the tolerable upper intake level is 4,000 IU daily. Ask your health-care provider if a supplement is right for you.
The Scoop: In a Journal of Inflammation study using guinea pigs, the harmful effects of cigarette smoke – oxidative stress, inflammation, programmed cell death (apoptosis) and lung injury – were prevented by an infusion of black tea. Like many other food sources that can help improve lung health, it seems to be the tea’s high antioxidant content that provides the benefits.
For Better Air: Choose black tea over black coffee as a morning warm-up or an afternoon pick-me-up.
5. Whey protein
The Scoop: Can whey guide the way to a clearer respiratory system? At least one study has reported that supplementing with whey based products can help patients with cystic fibrosis. That’s because whey increases levels of glutathione, an antioxidant that defends against damage to the lungs.
For Better Air: Add 10 grams whey protein isolate twice daily, the amount used in the study, to your diet.
The Scoop: An apple a day may keep lung problems at bay, a recent report out of London reveals. Researchers from St. George’s Hospital Medical School discovered that among 2,500 study participants, those who had five or more apples per week had slightly better overall lung function. Quercetin, an antioxidant found in apples, may help protect the lungs against smoke and other pollutants.
For Better Air: Pick organic apples over other fruits as a late-afternoon snack (apples have also been shown to improve alertness).
The Scoop: Lately, the news on blues has been good, with studies linking the berries to improved heart health, sharper brains and even slimmer waistlines. Now, researchers reveal that blueberries – which pack more antioxidant punch than most other produce – may reduce the harmful effects of air pollution. In an observational study presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in 2014, scientists found that changes in heart function during heavy smog days around Boston tended to be less likely among elderly male participants who had recently eaten flavonoid-rich foods such as blueberries. (Chocolate and wine are also full of flavonoids, but contain more calories, which could counteract the benefits.) It’s suspected that flavonoids may help regulate the immune system and even “reprogram genes” to protect you against air pollution.