Breathing is perhaps the most vital function necessary for our survival. Yet, it is also one that is often taken for granted. We can survive for weeks without food and days without water, but only a few minutes without air.
Every system in your body depends on the oxygen taken in from your lungs. There are many ways you can support your lung health—avoiding the inhalation of toxins and polluted air being the biggest one. Eating healthy, exercising often, investing in an air purifier, staying hydrated, practicing deep breathing exercises—all of these can help to support your lung health.
Another great way to support your lung health is with the use of certain herbs that support the respiratory system. In this article, we’ll share an excellent respiratory tea recipe that you can drink daily to keep your lungs in top condition. This respiratory health tea may also be beneficial during times where you’re respiratory health is compromised, such as with a cough or cold.
Herbal Tea for Respiratory Health
The ingredients for this respiratory health tea include:
- Zuma Nutrition’s Lung Detox & Support Tonic
- Fresh mint
- Freshly squeezed lemon
- Hot water
How to Make the Respiratory Health Tea
Making this tea is quick and easy. Simply:
- Heat up some purified water and pour 1-2 cups into your cup of choice
- Add in a tea bag of organic peppermint tea, or add loose-leaf organic peppermint into a tea strainer
- Allow the tea bag or strainer to soak for 2-5 minutes, then remove it from the water
- Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the water (you can use a strainer to avoid getting seeds in the cup)
- Add in 5 pumps of our Lung Detox & Support Tonic
- Drink and enjoy!
It’s that simple, and right away, you may begin to feel the effects of the tea, helping you to breathe deeply and clearly. If you’d like, you can also choose not to add in the peppermint tea, as the Lung Detox & Support Tonic does have peppermint in it, but we have found that adding the extra loose-leaf peppermint into the tea gives a nice refreshing, minty taste to the tea.
Below, we’ll discuss the benefits of the ingredients in this tea recipe:
Zuma Nutrition’s Lung Detox & Support Tonic
The primary ingredient for this respiratory health tea is our Lung Detox tonic, which contains a unique blend of organic herbal extracts that have been well-researched for their benefits on lung health. These include:
Osha (Ligusticum porteri) is a perennial herb and a member of the carrot family that can be found in deep, moist soils rich in organic matter at elevations between 9,000 –10,000 ft. in New Mexico and other Rocky Mountain regions of the Southwest.
Osha root is incredibly beneficial to respiratory health and can help alleviate a variety of respiratory issues. Osha root helps clear mucus from the sinuses and lungs by increasing expectoration, which relieves congestion and makes breathing easier. It also increases blood circulation to the lungs, which increases dilation during constriction and helps one to take deeper breaths. (1)
Osha root also has antibacterial and antiviral properties and is commonly used as a natural therapy for cold and flu symptoms, as well as for fighting infections.
*Osha has become a popular plant for its medicinal uses and unfortunately has suffered from overharvesting and is now considered to be an endangered plant. Since osha defies cultivation outside of its unique habitat, commercial osha root is almost entirely harvested from the wild stands of the plant. The Osha root that we at Zuma Nutrition use is sustainably wildcrafted to protect the plant population of this very important and sacred root. Our team replants seeds as we harvest small amounts of this nutrient-dense plant to make sure we are adding more to the plant species than what we are taking.
Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) is al plant that has been used around the world for a variety of respiratory ailments, including coughs, colds, bronchial detoxification, and catarrhal concerns. The benefits of lungwort are attributed to its high mucilage content, which may help to alleviate a variety of respiratory conditions like asthma and chronic bronchitis. (2) In traditional herbal medicine, Lungwort was used to treat a variety of different lung diseases.
Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus) is a popular herbal remedy for many respiratory issues. It is native to Europe, the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Asia and has been widely naturalized in North America and Australia. Mullein has a very long history of use.
The leaves of the plant are traditionally used as medicine and made into a tea, tincture, or powder, though the flowers and roots have been used medicinally as well.
A number of pharmacological activities have been attributed to mullein, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, antihepatotoxic, and anti-hyperlipidemic activity. (3)
Mullein’s medicinal use has primarily been focused on respiratory ailments and has been shown to be especially effective at relieving symptoms of asthma, which causes your airway to swell and results in symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. (3)
The effectiveness of mullein is largely attributed to its many active compounds, such as:
· saponins, which have anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving, properties
· flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
· phenylethanoid glycosides, which have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties
· iridoids which have anti-inflammatory properties (3)
Broadleaf plantain (Plantago major) and Narrowleaf plantain (Plantago lanceolate) are species of flowering plants that have been used as herbal medicines for centuries. Plantain (not to be confused with the green banana-like fruit with the same name) is native to most of Europe and northern and central Asia but has widely naturalized elsewhere in the world, including across North America.
Plantain contains a number of beneficial chemical constituents, including flavonoids, alkaloids, terpenoids, phenolic acid derivatives, iridoid glycosides, fatty acids, polysaccharides, and vitamins, which contribute to its many therapeutic effects. (4)
Studies on plantain have found that it has antiulcerative, antidiabetic, antidiarrhoeal, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antinociceptive, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. (4)
Plantain has a very long history of use for supporting respiratory ailments as it reduces mucus secretion in the airways, which makes it helpful in treating colds, catarrh, sinusitis, lung and bronchial allergic conditions such as hay fever and asthma.
Peppermint (Mentha × piperita), included in both our Lung Detox & Support Tonic and as an ingredient in this respiratory tea recipe, is an aromatic herb in the mint family that is a cross between watermint and spearmint. Peppermint leaves contain several essential oils including menthol, menthone and limonene. Menthol is the oil responsible for peppermints cooling properties and minty scent.
Research on menthol demonstrates that it improves the perception of airflow in your nasal cavity. Therefore, steam from peppermint tea may help you feel as though your breathing is easier. (5)
Peppermint also contains rosmarinic acid, a plant compound found in rosemary and plants in the mint family. Rosmarinic acid is linked to reduced symptoms of allergic reactions, such as runny nose, itchy eyes and asthma. (6)
Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant and essential nutrient that helps to protect the immune system and fights off free radicals, protecting the body from oxidative stress. (7) According to research published in the National Library of Medicine:
“The antioxidant properties of vitamin C are considered highly beneficial for chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), helping to reduce lung damage.” This study also shows that vitamin C enhances the antiviral activities of lung epithelial cells. (8)
While the ingredients in this tea may seem simple at first glance, after some research into the benefits of these ingredients, we see that it is really a unique and powerful tea recipe for respiratory health. We feel that this is the best tea for respiratory health, given the unique combination of the herbs in our formula, combined with the benefits of lemon and peppermint.
What Tea is Good for Respiratory Health?
Aside from this respiratory health tea recipe, there are many other herbal teas that are beneficial for the lungs. Some people have found benefits with common green tea and respiratory health, as well as with other popular teas like mint, ginger, licorice and fennel.
Some commonly used teas for respiratory health include:
- Green tea
- Lemon balm
- Ginger, lemon, honey
Most teas that benefit lung health do so by reducing inflammation in the lungs, relaxing the respiratory muscles and airways, improving antioxidant activity, increasing mucus secretion, or expelling mucus and other debris in the lungs.
The best tea for you may depend on the type of lung issue you’re struggling with. According to traditional health systems like Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine, the remedies you use should balance out the qualities of your condition.
For example, if you have a hot, dry cough, you may want more cooling and soothing ingredients like anti-inflammatory and demulcent herbs (such as turmeric, peppermint and licorice). If you have a damp, moist, mucus cough, than you may benefit from more warming and expectorant herbs like ginger or mullein.
Our Lung Detox & Support Tonic was crafted by our master herbalist to be a very balanced and synergistic blend that may support a wide range of respiratory ailments—regardless of whether they are considered “hot and dry” or “damp and moist” from the traditional herbal perspective.
Breathe Deeply and Enjoy the Moment
Our lungs, like many of our organs, are often underappreciated and overlooked. Breathing is so familiar to us that we tend to take for granted the fact that every breath we take keeps us alive and allows us to experience life. The body is a miraculous thing, and by taking care of our body and our health, our body can continue to take good care of us.
We invite you to express some gratitude for your breath and your body and to take a deep breath in. Breathing deeply can help us let go of stress and come back to the present moment. It can also help us connect to what a gift it is to be alive here and now, in the present moment.
Your lungs are working for you 24/7. Show them some love by breathing deeply, eating healthy, exercising often, staying hydrated, managing stress, and supporting your lungs with beneficial herbs like the ingredients in this respiratory tea recipe.
Every moment that we are breathing is worth appreciating. So, breathe deeply and enjoy this moment!