TOP HERBS FOR The Lungs + Respiratory Health

TOP HERBS FOR The Lungs + Respiratory Health

By Adriana Ayales

Whether you’re dealing with a respiratory infection or you suffer from chronic respiratory issues like asthma, chest congestion, chronic bronchitis, and allergies, take comfort in the wonderful lung tonic herbs. Many of the lung tonics below can be easily grow in your backyard like mullein, pulmonaria and wild cherry, and are a pleasure to intake for general lung health. Each herb plays a different role when assisting the respiratory system – some play within the recovery part like thinning mucus, or soothing a dry and irritated cough, and others in the prevention part of the process, like clearing and boosting the strength of lungs. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Fall is the season associated with the Lungs.

Every organ in the body is paired with another in TCM, and the two complement each other as either yin or yang. Each organ pairing is typically linked to the seasons of the year, and fall is associated with the Lung (yin) and Large Intestine (yang) in the body. The Lung controls our respiration which also helps regulate the flow of water in our body. The Large Intestine takes care of releasing waste in our bodies, so needless to say they are incredibly important for optimal health.

THE LUNGS are also the organs of respiration (clearly), responsible for supplying oxygenated blood to every organ of the body and eliminating the waste matter from the cells through our exhalation.

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, cleansed of pollutants, and environmental irritants. If we don't provide maintenance to our precious filters, they stop working well, and allow irritants to easily pass through 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. Many people don't tend to pay attention to the lungs unless they have to, yet it’s of vital importance to keep them strong with the right practices, herbs, and diet to feed the body and mind oxygen rich nourishment.

THE LARGE INTESTINE. At a first glance, the lungs and the large intestine don’t seem to have much in common with each other. One is involved with respiration, and the other with digestion/elimination. But, Traditional Chinese Medicine views things energetically, rather than purely physical. The bowel is the organ of elimination, and responsible for helping the body eliminate waste. Only when the body is cleansed of toxic residue, can it receive the more refined energy (Qi) brought in by its partner, the Lungs. The Large Intestine is responsible for making distinctions between harmless and harmful elements, and it discriminates between the nutrients the body needs, and those that must be eliminated.


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 affected 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.  

More Herbs for Respiratory Health… 

Other useful respiratory herbs include Nettle leaves, Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary, Golden Rod, Black Elderberry, and Flower, Schisandra, Peppermint, Anise hyssop, Horehound, Sage, and more!  
Note: Please seek immediate medical attention if your symptoms are severe, such as difficulty breathing. These herbs are not a substitute for life-saving pharmaceuticals like inhalers or EpiPens. Please seek the guidance of an herbalist or naturopathic doctor if you have serious health issues or are on pharmaceutical medications.

*We’re launching a very potent Elderberry syrup the third week of October! (Yes, finally!!) Elderberry is a renowned anti-viral, nutrient dense, respiratory tonic with a plethora of healing benefits. It’s a classic syrup made by herbalists since ancient times in North America and Europe for immune protection. Our Black Elderberry Syrup will be a high potency extract, containing other powerful anti-viral and lung supportive plants like Skullcap baikal, Cordyceps, Shiitake, Maitake and Ginger (YUM!).



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