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Herbs for Lungs, Sinus, and Respiratory Tract
Prana—it is the vital life force, also called chi in Traditional Chinese Medicine. We breathe it in as oxygen and we ingest it through the food we eat and water we drink. Our respiratory system plays a vital role in delivering prana to every cell in our body, thus when we are having sinus problems, our prana may be diminished.
There are three major parts to the respiratory system—the airway (or upper respiratory tract), the lungs, and the muscles of respiration. The nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses are part of the upper respiratory tract. Healthy sinuses are lined with a soft, pink tissue called mucosa. They are normally empty except for a thin layer of mucus.
When they are off balance, they let us know with congestion, sinus pressure, and, often, headaches. Because our sinuses are part of the whole, sinus problems may directly influence the rest of the respiratory system, including the bronchi and the lung tissue.
Fortunately, nature has given us herbs for the lungs, for healthy respiratory system function, and for natural sinus relief.
What Supplements Are Good for the Lungs?
Ayurveda offers a plethora of lung health supplements and herbs for sinus health that promote proper lung functioning, strong lung capacity, and clear, easy breathing.
- Lung Formula is Banyan’s go-to supplement for the lungs, which is a blend of soothing and warming herbs designed to expel excess kapha from the system, helping to clear the lungs and chest so they can breathe freely.
- Licorice root is well-known to soothe and tone mucous membranes, and also liquify mucus so that it can be discharged from the body.
- Pippali’s warming qualities help support healthy circulation, especially in the lungs.
- Vasaka is a bitter and astringent herb that promotes bronchodilation, supporting the elimination of both excess pitta and kapha from the respiratory tract.
- Tulsi is another lung-supportive favorite, and is available as a tablet, bulk herb, and liquid extract. It is also calming, soothing, and wonderful for supporting mood and stress levels.
- Sitopaladi is a traditional Ayurvedic formula of lung cleansing herbs that removes excess vata, pitta, and kapha from the head and chest. Its blend of herbs and spices are naturally heating and help stoke the digestive fire or agni.
- Breathe Free Balm offers warming herbs cooked into a base of organic oils for external support, including the addition of camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol crystals.
- Nasya Oil is recommended for the daily maintenance of sinus health, as well as clear breathing and a clear mind. Daily nasal lubrication is said to help release tension in the head and relieve stress.
How to Improve Your Lung Health
Ayurveda recognizes that every organ and system in the body is part of a greater whole, and as such, the respiratory tract benefits from mindful self-care and tending to overall health and well-being. In addition to the supplements and herbs for lung health mentioned above, Ayurveda recommends the following practices:
- Pranayama, or breathing exercises, are a wonderful way to oxygenate the body, tone the muscles of the respiratory system, and increase lung capacity. If the lungs have been damaged by smoking or air pollution, pranayama can help to nourish and rejuvenate the health of the lung tissue.
- Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, supports the entire respiratory system by fortifying the strength of the lungs, tonifying the heart, and encouraging deep breathing.
- Drinking tea that offers natural lung support, like Tulsi Fields tea, helps nourish and soothe the sinuses and respiratory tract. It also provides an opportunity to pause and slow down, which naturally leads to deep, rejuvenating breaths!