Whether you suffer from asthma or are easily irritated by air pollution—keeping lungs healthy and airways clear doesn’t always have to be approached with a cocktail of pharmaceuticals. Instead, there are several herbal solutions that have helped people keep their respiratory system healthy for centuries. From viruses to allergies—here are several herbal tools that can help you breathe easier.
Thyme (1) is a common herb with a mythical past, where ancient Greek soldiers were given the plant before battle to bolster their courage. It also seems that thyme may have helped them breathe easy as they swung their swords. It’s excellent for whooping cough, bronchitis, and asthma. It also soothes a sore throat, so is a great option when hit with a respiratory infection. Put it in an infusion (tea) or inhale the vapors.
Here are some other herbs to help you breath easy.
- 2. Oregano is another option that has a rich history and a prominent place in modern kitchens. It was historically considered a sign of happiness and joy, and could attract good luck when carried in a satchel. Inhaled, oregano vapors are great for opening the airways and aiding with sinus problems. Carvacrol and rosmarinic acid within oregano work to naturally aid in decongestion. Check out other oregano benefits here.
- 3. Peppermint contains menthol—an ingredient common in modern over-the-counter breathing remedies. As PreventDisease reports, menthol is able to smooth the muscles of the respiratory tract and make breathing easier.
- 4. Plantain leaves are about as easy to find as dandelions, and grow freely in many yards. These are powerful little plants able to soothe a cough and can even be used for hay fever, asthma, lung infections, and chest congestion.
- 5. Eucalyptus isn’t as common as the above choices, but can often be found in lozenges and natural sore throat and cough treatments. It’s an expectorant (which makes coughing more productive) and can soothe an irritated throat. It also supports the immune system with loads of antioxidants.
- 6. Sage is a particularly useful treatment that can easily be made into a tea or infusion. The essential oils in sage are good for throats and lungs, soothing coughs, and calming airways. While drinking the tea, hold it up to your face to allow inhalation of the medicinal vapors.
You don’t have to stock up on syrups and pills when you have a chest cold. Likewise, you can take preventative herbs for more chronic respiratory conditions. These herbs offer numerous benefits without the side effects of conventional treatments.