The 9 Best Herbs for Lung Cleansing and Respiratory Support

Healthy Lungs!

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. Unless you’re living in a bubble, the constant assault from impurities can take its toll. Fortunately, whether you’re experiencing the negative effects of inhaling toxins, or simply want to ensure your lungs are always at peak performance, nature has provided a number of herbs and botanicals 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 — which 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 problems.
  • They may be a source of antioxidants and reduce oxidative damage and redness.

Let’s take a look at the nine best herbs for respiratory health!

1. 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 be help calm respiratory irritation!

2. Eucalyptus

Native to Australia, eucalyptus isn’t just for Koala bears! 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 cineole. Cineole has numerous benefits — it’s an expectorant, can ease a cough, fights congestion, and soothes irritated sinus passages. As an added bonus, because eucalyptus contains antioxidants, it supports the immune system during a cold or other illness.

3. Lungwort

Lungwort is a tree-growing lichen that actually resembles lung tissue in appearance. However, this natural remedy doesn’t just look the part. As early as the 1600′s, lungwort has been used to promote lung and respiratory health and clear congestion. Lungwort also contains compounds that are powerfully effective against harmful organisms that affect respiratory health.

4. Oregano

Although oregano contains the vitamins and nutrients required by the immune system, its primary benefits are owed 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 a bottle of organic oregano oil should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet. I recommend you check out this article to learn all the uses for organic oregano oil.

5. Plantain Leaf

With fruit that is similar in appearance to a banana, plantain leaf 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 an added bonus in that it may help relieve a dry cough by spawning mucus production in the lungs. Good stuff!

6. Elecampane

The Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and even Indian Ayurvedic medicine have cited elecampane for respiratory support and, since the 1800’s, lozenges and cough drops have been produced 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.

7. Lobelia

Did you know that horses given lobelia are able to breath more deeply? 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!

8. Chaparral

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 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 problems by encouraging an expectorant action to clear airways of mucus.

9. Peppermint

Peppermint, and peppermint oil, contains 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.

Supplementing with Lung Support Herbs

All of the above herbs are available, in various forms, as nutritional supplements and in tea blends. 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 all the herbs listed above — organic and wildcrafted — as well as orange peel, menthol crystals, and nascent iodine.

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!

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

Free Sample E-Book: Learn How to Cleanse Your Body of Harmful Toxins Using Organic Methods


  • Curious

    Would you recommend obtaining some of these herbs in essential oil form and inhaling them via a therapeutic vaporizer?

  • ghc_health

    There are a lot of forms of extraction and ingestion and those two would definitely be near the top of my list.

  • Deborah

    I have emphysema COPD what do you suggest, doctors say there is no cure!

  • ghc_health

    I suggest doing all you can do live a clean lifestyle and promote the health of your lungs. COPD is a terrible beast and there is no magic bullet that will slay it overnight. Have you tried regular, consistent breathing exercises?

  • Cheryl

    I have COPD. They say there is no cure it do you think Allertrex would help as far as expelling mucus and breathing. I am so tired do always having a hard time breathing. I can’t even take a shower without feeling like I have no air. I just want to breathe a little easier. What do you think or suggest?

  • ghc_health

    Hi Cheryl, thanks for the feedback. Check out the reply to Deborah, below. Allertrex may have a place in an overall strategy, please let us know your results.

  • Pingback: Herbs For Lung Cleansing, Follow Your Passions, Live Your Dream | Extreme Health Radio - Your Healthy Living Resource

  • Tea

    What would you recommend for someone with Cystic Fibrosis and has had a double-lung transplant and is on several meds? It has been two years since the transplant and everything was great, breathing levels were at 100 until recently. Now they are in the 60′s. Would appreciate feedback. Thank you.

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Wow, that’s a very complex situation that requires VERY individual attention and evaluation… I would suggest that person do anything they can to protect their lungs, especially from pollution and irritants. They also ought work closely with a healthcare advisor who is intimately knowledgable about their personal needs.

  • C.Collins

    Can’t help but notice your not really answering anyones questions in terms of giving any sort of direction. Just promoting a product.

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Thanks for the feedback. I wish we could provide better, absolute guidance with regard to emphysema and cystic fibrosis but brief comments just aren’t an appropriate medium to responsibly do that.

  • Pingback: Herbs that Support Respiratory Wellness | Guilty Pleasures Organics

  • Jean

    I am 52 and just found out I have lung cancer,it is no where else in my body,I smoke cirgares ,I need somthing to help quit and to cleanse my lungs/ body

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Jean, it is imperative you stop smoking immediately. Get extreme if you have to — leave all money at home, give your better half control of your debit card. Don’t just rely on willpower, create a structure in which you simply can’t smoke.

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    Right on! How long did you smoke for?

  • jackie, with CF

    ^he’s right. i have CF too and i’ve just started doing my research about replacing all of my medications and antibiotics with natural forms and therapies. the problem being is that CF is 100% individualized and highly sporadic. some CFers only have digestion problems and therefore need things with higher digestion support and nutritional value. others suffer from intense bacterial infections while others are more prone to inflammation that damages lungs. some even have worse sinus problems than lung problems. it’s always best to go to your caretaker and understand fully your own needs and go from there. one person or comment cannot simply answer complex questions about complex individual diseases. this article does however outline natural herbs and their healing properties to give people the first steps towards their individual plans.

  • Debra

    I recently returned from a month of camping with my three dogs only to discover my house was infested with mice and FLEAS. I freaked out and probably overdid with both Wondercide’s EvoTreat (a nontoxic product that kills fleas at both the live and larvae stages) and Diatomaceous Earth. I stupidly did NOT wear a mask all the time (in my defense, I couldn’t turn on the fans or swamp cooler because I had the DE sprinkled absolutely everywhere and it was about 120 degrees in here, so I kept taking it off.). Anyway. about the fourth day of literal non stop cleaning, I felt kind of asharpness in my lungs when I took a breath. I immediately started taking 10 drops of wild oregano three times a day (I had already been giving it to my dog) but by today, day 7, it really hurts to breathe. I’ve been drinking a variety of herbal teas, with manuka honey added, that contain many of the above herbs you mention. I ordered Allertex right away (it’ll be here in two days). If you can recommend anything else I should be doing, I’d be very appreciative.

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