At every moment in our lives, our lungs are constantly working; carefully transporting oxygen into the bloodstream and transferring carbon dioxide out. Responsible for the breath that carries us through life, it’s essential to keep them functioning well and to plan for environmental factors such as wildfire season, poor air quality, and seasonal concerns from winter months to pollen-rich springtime.
Herbs make fantastic allies when it comes to keeping your lungs working optimally. Wherever you might live, it’s a good idea to utilize supportive rituals and to build up the home apothecary with botanicals that support the respiratory system.*
7 Rituals to Support the Respiratory System
1. Drink Herbal Tea
Drinking tea daily is a wonderful and simple way to keep yourself hydrated and warm, so everything moves and flows the way it is supposed to. You get the benefits of a nourishing cup of tea and a moment to breathe deep while using herbs to support the lungs. Our Breathe Easy tea features a time-honored Traditional Chinese Medicine formula with Bi Yan Pian, a beloved blend of eleven Chinese herbs along with the power of licorice to promote respiratory health.*
2. Use Herbal Syrups
If your respiratory tract feels energetically cold, wet, and boggy, consider a daily respiratory support blend with astringent, aromatic, and warming herbs like elecampane and thyme – which can be found in Urban Moonshine’s Clear Chest herbal syrup.
3. Do Herbal Steam Inhalations
One of our favorite warming rituals for winter is an herbal steam. Pour boiling water over aromatic herbs like eucalyptus, thyme, peppermint, rosemary, and lavender, and breathe in the vapors. To capture more herbal goodness, you may choose to drape a towel over your head and the steaming bowl, close your eyes and inhale deeply.
Eucalyptus is widely known as a plant for promoting relaxation and clearing. You can reap the benefits of it by hanging it in your shower. Shower steam helps activate and release the oil compounds into the air, allowing you to breathe in its refreshing scent. Gather a few branches of fresh eucalyptus, which can often be found locally at flower shops or supermarkets, and tie them together and hang on your showerhead. Position the bouquet so that it is not directly under the water stream. Replace the bouquet every 3 weeks or until you no longer smell eucalyptus.
5. Diffuse Essential Oils
Aromatherapy can refresh the air around you in your home or your workspace. We use herbs like eucalyptus, peppermint, and evergreen oils like cedar, spruce, and pine to clear and cleanse. If you don’t have a diffuser, a pot of water with essential oils simmering on the woodstove or stovetop will also work. It’s a simple self-care practice that offers a lot of benefits for our mental and physical wellbeing.
6. Try a Neti Pot
Rinsing the nasal passages with lightly salted warm water using a neti pot (a small container with a long spout) is an ancient Ayurvedic practice to flush out irritants while also helping to move blockages. This practice is great at hydrating the mucus membranes inside our nose and helps avoid the uncomfortable dryness that so often accompanies cold and dry winter air. Find directions on how to Neti here.
7. Use an Herbal Chest Compress
An old trick to bring comfort and warmth, one your grandmother has probably talked about using, is a chest compress. Eucalyptus, thyme, peppermint, rosemary, and lavender are supportive aromatic herbs with a long history of traditional use. We have a simple recipe for herbal compresses here, and you can easily make them warm by replacing cool tea with hot tea. Leave the compress in place for at least 10 minutes. Longer applications can be even more helpful. The cloth can be changed out as it cools. Repeat application 2 to 3 times per day for soothing relief in persistent situations.