6 LUNG HERBS for the BODY & MIND
Healing the Lungs, Grief, and Trauma
Especially with all the deep sadness with the ongoing fires in California, the necessity to write on the herbs that heal our lungs is vital. My heart is humbled and heavy with what is happening with the world at large. Seeing these fires and shootings affect so many friends and community members, it really shook my core on how precious and vulnerable life can really be. Today we’re reviewing lung herbs as these are herbs that not only help repair lung tissue, they assist in the recovery of emotional trauma, PTSD and grief. Below are herbs that are easy to find in most herb stores and markets, that can help you or a dear one cope with environmental toxicity, and support you emotionally.
Our lungs are always at work. At every moment of the day, they’re cleansing the air, delivering oxygen to the cells, and energizing the body with life. They are constantly filtering, protecting, and transforming the external world into a refined and perfected air, free from pollutants, and environmental irritants. If we don’t provide maintenance to our precious filters, they stop working well and allowing irritants to pass through easily into the body. In today’s world, it’s pretty impossible to evade toxins altogether through our air channels. Which just places a greater importance on keeping our lungs happy with the right diet and herbs before an issue manifests itself. Many people don’t tend to pay attention to the lungs unless they have to, yet its vital to keep them strong with the right herbs, diet, breathwork, and exercise to feed the body and mind oxygen-rich nourishment.
The word used for breathing in is “inspiration,” which is the main function of the Lung, both physically and spiritually. To be properly “inspired,” we must create space by getting the old stale air out, along with old, preconceived notions of reality. In emotional and spiritual terms, the Lungs rule our processing of grief and trauma and can be greatly detrimental by too much worry and sadness. Lungs balance the ability to yield and demand, give and take, hold on and let go. When the Lung (Metal) energy is out of balance, order and discipline are rigidly maintained, the emotions are kept under tight control, rules and routines become inflexible, and the body begins to stiffen up. Physically we are more prone to bronchial infections and sinusitis. Our allergies are amplified and issues like asthma and heaviness of the chest can appear.
There are quite a few lung tonics out there that really help on a long-term level, as well as select others that help with acute conditions — physically and energetically. The good news is that nature has provided us with a variety of herbs that provide medicinal constituents that support the entire respiratory system.
1. ASTRAGALUS. Perhaps one of the most treasured Lung tonic commonly used in Chinese medicine, also used for strengthening and tonifying Qi (our energetic system) and the immune system. In Chinese Medicine, the lungs and the colon make up the majority of the immune system, hence its immune enhancing properties. Astragalus works by building up the Wei Qi (immune defenses) and is great for colds, the flu, any difficulty breathing (such as asthma).
2. OSHA ROOT. One of Rocky mountain’s greatest medicines. Osha supports the thinning and expelling of mucus, which is very appropriate for dry, hacking coughs. It increases oxygenation in the lungs, acts as a diaphoretic, which causes sweating and helps to break a fever. This aids in the elimination of toxins which is especially useful in the first phase of an infection.
3. REISHI. One of the greatest tonic herbs on earth. It assists the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, and blood. Recognized as a medicinal mushroom for over 2000 years, and its powerful effects have been documented in ancient scripts and in modern scientific articles for its ability in promoting health and longevity. Along with many functions, its known to particularly strengthen the respiratory and immune system.
4. MULLEIN (easy to find all over California!) An infusion of mullein is a useful remedy for dry, irritated lung conditions or a dry, raspy throat. The leaf encourages secretions in dry mucous membranes.
5. WILD CHERRY BARK (also easy to find in the woods!) Wild cherry bark is a respiratory sedative and antitussive agent. It can be very helpful in alleviating rapid or shallow breathing that results from asthma or a bronchial infection. It helps to relax and strengthen the respiratory system in cases of infection and is often used in cough syrup and other cough formulas.
6. ELECAMPANE ROOT (also easy to find in the woods!) Elecampane can be used as a respiratory tonic and can also help to speed the recovery process for lingering lung infections. It is specific for respiratory conditions with excessive bronchial secretions, such as bronchitis, and for irritation of the trachea and bronchi that results in persistent and irritable coughing. Elecampane has a soothing action but also acts to reduce excess mucous.
There are so many, many more excellent herbs and roots that assist the lungs powerfully. Classics that you find in your pantry are Thyme and Parsley! Aromatic herbs tend to have a restorative lung quality to them. Consume them daily to build lung strength.
Check out this week’s astrology and an overview of what’s going on this month by an archetypal astrologer, Erica Jones. All about Jupiter’s grand transition into Sagittarius, Venus going direct, and the World Soul.