Lungs, the primary organs of the respiratory system in humans, are constantly working. All day, every day, their function is to extract oxygen from the atmosphere and transfer it into the bloodstream; and to release carbon dioxide from the bloodstream into the atmosphere, in a process of gas exchange. Unfortunately, it can also be an entry point for pollutants, irritants, dust, mold, fungus, harmful organisms, and other toxins into your body. These, when released into the atmosphere, mix with air you breathe. So, the very air we breathe in to stay alive, sadly, can sabotage our wellness thereby leading to diseases. Needless to add that, the constant assault from impurities can take its toll. And so, daily life toxins overload the body’s natural detoxifying systems accumulating in your lungs and other organs of the body. Because these natural elimination organs are overwhelmed, the toxic burden spreads in the entire body sapping its energy.
Why do you need to cleanse?
There is no question about that. As noted above, our daily lives generate toxins and we live in a toxic environment too. We even manufacture toxins with our own hands. Many people use harsh household cleaners containing ammonia, hydrochloric acid and other toxic chemicals that can cause ill health ranging from nausea to allergic skin reaction, wheezing or fluid in the lungs. How about your beauty skin products? The products you apply to look your very best, may be what is killing you. In the quest to attain a radiant skin, some people unfortunately use harsh synthetic products, which erode the epidermis resulting in damage to the structure of the skin and consequent premature aging (early wrinkles and lines). Not only can these products damage your skin, they penetrate your pores and enter your bloodstream and cause all manner of problems throughout the body. Beware of that toxic chemical that may be hidden in your perfumes, soaps, shampoos, creams and lotions! Nowadays, more and more chemicals, heavy metals and pollutants are being discovered in people’s blood, kidneys, and liver even in newborns’ umbilical cord.
Signs that your lungs need cleansing include:
• Shortness of breath while doing everyday activities or during physical activities
• Fast heart rate
• Chronic cough and wheezing
• Chest pain, often when you inhale
• Frequent respiratory infections
• Bluish coloring around nails and lips, which means there’s a lack of oxygen in the blood
• Constant tiredness and lack of energy or chronic fatigue syndrome
• Producing a lot of mucus or phlegm and having to clear your throat first thing in the morning, due to excess mucus in your lungs
If you have one or more of the above listed symptoms on a regular basis, then you definitely want to seek expert advice. However, if you simply want to ensure your lungs are always at peak performance, nature has provided a number of botanicals that supply deep nutrition for the respiratory system. These botanicals have numerous medicinal properties, some of the documented properties and actions are summarized as:
• Expectorants: Help break up and expel chest congestion.
• Carminative: Soothes irritated nasal passages and airways.
• Muscle relaxers: Relax the muscles near the upper respiratory system to quell a cough.
• Anti allergic/anti inflammatory: Calms the release of histamines and reduces inflammation.
• Anti-bacterial: Fights harmful organisms that can produce upper respiratory problems.
• Analgesics: Remedying pain by reducing inflammation.
• Antioxidants: Reduce oxidative damage and protect against lung cancer.
• Tonics: Restores and invigorates the lungs and general body wellbeing.
Let’s take a look at some of these helpful botanicals for respiratory health:
Eucalyptus: A wonderful herb with an amazing refreshing aroma used 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 cineole. Cineole exhibits an expectorant property and thus, can ease a cough, fight congestion, and soothe irritated sinus passages. As an added bonus, because eucalyptus contains antioxidants, it supports the immune system during a cold or other illness.
Oregano: Contains vitamins and nutrients required by the immune system as well ascarvacrol and rosmarinic acid. Both compounds are natural decongestants and histamine reducers that have direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow. Oregano can be safely used in the kitchen as spice. When next you visit a grocery store, buy a bottle of oregano and your lungs will thank you! The oil is also available in health stores.
Thyme: Yes thyme! The very spice you use in cooking is potent to fight against congestion. Thyme produces strong antiseptic essential oils noted for their natural antibiotic and anti-fungal properties. Thyme tea eliminates bacteria, so it will be effective in treating your infection. This spice has been used since ancient times as a lung remedy. Today, it is also used to prevent and treat respiratory infections and pneumonia.
Garlic: Has expectorant abilities as well as strong antibacterial qualities. In case your lungs are harboring any type of infection, use fresh garlic made into a tea with lemon and honey. This mixture is great for lung health. You can also cut up 1-2 clove of garlic (depending on the size) and allow the smell to saturate the air for about seven minutes; mix with honey and take in an empty stomach. Do this for seven days, repeat every month for about 3 times.
Ginger: Also acts as expectorant, turning unhealthy mucous buildup into a more fluid substance that is easier to detox. Ginger when mixed with garlic and thyme will give your lung a powerful cleanup it so long deserved. Sounds very simple, isn’t it?
Cinnamon: Simply add 1 tsp to hot water, stir and drink. Before you ask, is that all? Cinnamon is great for the digestive system, promoting smoother and regular function of the lungs.
Mint: its leaves and 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.
Beta carotene: This precursor of Vitamin A has been shown in research to protect the lungs against toxins that are linked to lung cancer. Fortunately, it is easily found in many foods and is abundant in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, golden and water melons, mango, pumpkin, tomatoes, pawpaw, sour sop, tangerine, pink grape fruit, passion fruit, pink guava, apples and tamarind. All of these fruits and vegetables can be purchased locally from our markets and the availability of some of depends on their harvesting periods.