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15 Plants & Herbs That Can Boost Lung Health, Heal Respiratory Infections & Repair Pulmonary Damage

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healthy_lungs_herbsWhen it comes to taking herbs for medicinal purposes, it seems the mainstream belief is that they are not as effective and not worth taking. While the effectiveness of herbs has not been studied deeply to determine how well they work across the entire population, the same could be said for most pharmaceutical drugs. Much of the time, pharmaceutical drugs attempt to mimic a compound that occurs in nature (herbs), but often bring the risk of side effects in the process.

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Safety is one of the most critical areas of review amongst herbs and drugs. According to stats released by the American Association of Poison Control Centers, no deaths have been reported due to the use and consumption of herbs.[4] However, pharmaceutical drugs and physician prescribed medications kill approximately one million Americans each year. While it is important to note that herbal medicines can be lethal in extreme doses, it appears their safety is much greater than that of pharmaceutical drugs. [2]

Interestingly, pharmaceutical drugs are actually adding to the world-wide issue of declining health due to their side effects and encouragement of viral resistance. Antibiotics in particular are adding to the wave of increased viral strength when it comes to certain infections. [3] Herbs, on the other hand, can be a useful tool in fighting infections that have turned into superbugs due to the overuse of antibiotics.

It is always useful to perform as much research as possible, or as you see fit, when it comes to both pharmaceutical drugs and herbs prior to taking them. Just as we approach the use of herbs with skepticism, so too should we approach the use of any pharmaceutical drugs with the same discerning eye.

Contrary to popular belief, our reluctance to use herbs in Western culture is not a result of their inefficacy. It is because pharmaceutical companies (and those who can benefit from the sale of pharmaceutical drugs) have done a great job of making them seem unsafe and inadequate. Herbs cannot be patented and owned, unlike synthetic drugs, which is why many pharma companies operate the way they do. Seek out the assistance of a naturopathic doctor, traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, ayurveda practioner, or herbologist before you use herbs. Like any medical issue, each illness can have different root causes and it’s always important to understand them before relying on any treatment to solve the entire problem.

Below is a list of herbs that can not only boost lung and respiratory health but can also repair it.
Herb information is courtesy of John Summerly who is a nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner.

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1. Licorice Root – Glycyrrhiza Glabra

Licorice is one of the more widely consumed herbs in the world. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it occurs in more formulas than any other single herb because it is thought to harmonize the action of all other herbs. Licorice is very soothing and softens the mucous membranes of the throat and especially the lungs and stomach, and at the same time cleanses any inflamed mucous membrane that needs immune system support . It reduces the irritation in the throat and yet has an expectorant action. It is the saponins (detergent-like action) that loosen the phlegm in the respiratory tract so that the body can expel the mucus. Compounds within this root help relieve bronchial spasms and block the free radical cells that produce the inflammation and tightening of the airways. The compounds also have antibacterial and antiviral effects to them as well, which helps fight off viral and bacterial strains in the body that can cause lung infections. Glycrrhizins and flavonoids can even help prevent lung cancer cells from forming. For people with high blood pressure this should be taken with caution.

2. Coltsfoot – Tussilago Farfara

Coltsfoot has been traditionally used by Native Americans for thousands of years to strengthen the lungs. It clears out excess mucus from the lungs and bronchial tubes. It also soothes the mucus membranes in the lungs and has been shown in research to assist with asthma, coughs, bronchitis, and other lung ailments. Coltsfoot is available in dried form for tea or as an alcohol extract known as a tincture.

3. Cannabis

The toxic breakdown of therapeutic compounds in cannabis from burning the plant are totally avoided with vaporization. Extracting and inhaling cannabinoid essential oils of the unprocessed plant affords significant mitigation of irritation to the oral cavity that comes from smoking. Cannabis is perhaps one of the most effective anti-cancer plants in the world, shown in study after study to stimulate cannabinoid receptor activation in specific genes and mediate the anti-invasive effect of cannabinoids. Vaporizing cannabis allows the active ingredients to stimulate the body’s natural immune response and significantly reduces the ability of infections to spread. Vaporizing cannabis (especially with very high amounts of cannabinoids) opens up airways and sinuses, acting as a bronchodilator. It is even a proven method for treatment and reversal of asthma.

4. Osha Root – Ligusticum porteri

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, produces a similar effect and may help calm respiratory irritation.

5. Thyme – Thymus

Thyme is very powerful in the fight against chest congestion. It produces powerful antiseptic essential oils which are classified as naturally antibiotic and anti-fungal. Thyme is well known to zap acne more so than expensive prescription creams, gels, and lotions. Thyme tea has the power to chase away and eliminate bacteria and viruses, so whether your infection is based on one or the other, it will still work. Thyme has been used as a lung remedy since antiquity and is used extensively today to prevent and treat respiratory tract infections and bacterial infection pneumonia.

6. 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. Oil of oregano fights off the dangerous bacteria Staphylococcus aureus better than the most common antibiotic treatments. Oregano has so many health benefits that a bottle of organic oregano oil should be in everyone’s medicine cabinet.

7. Lobelia Inflata

Did you know that horses given lobelia are able to breathe more deeply? Its benefits are not limited to equestrians. It has been used as an “asthmador” in Appalachian folk medicine. Lobelia, by some accounts, is thought to be one of the most valuable herbal remedies in existence. Extracts of Lobelia Inflata contain lobeline, which showed positive effects in the treatment of multidrug-resistant tumor cells. Lobelia contains an alkaloid known as lobeline, which thins mucus and 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!

*Use with caution as too much can cause side effects.

8. Elecampane – Inula Helenium

Elecampane has been used by Native Americans for many years to clear out excess mucus that impairs lung function. It is known as a natural antibacterial agent for the lungs, helping to lessen infection, particularly for people who are prone to lung infections like bronchitis. Herbal practitioners often recommend one teaspoon of the herb per cup of boiling water, drunk three times daily for two to three weeks. Elecampane is also available in tincture format for ease.

9. Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus Globulus

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.

10. Mullein – Verbascum Thapsus

Both the flowers and the leaves of the mullein plant are used to make an herbal extract that helps strengthen the lungs. Mullein is used by herbal practitioners to clear excess mucus from the lungs, cleanse the bronchial tubes, and reduce inflammation that is present in the respiratory tract. A tea can be made from one teaspoon of the dried herb to one cup of boiled water. Alternatively, you can take a tincture form of this herb.

11. Lungwort – Pulmonaria officinalis

As early as the 1600’s, lungwort has been used to promote lung and respiratory health and clear congestion. Pulmonaria selections come in all kinds so seek a herbologist for direction. Lungwort also contains compounds that are powerfully effective against harmful organisms that affect respiratory health.

12. Chaparral

Chaparral, a plant native to the Southwest, has been appreciated by the Native Americans for lung detoxification and respiratory support for many years. Chaparral contains powerful antioxidants that resist irritation, and NDGA, which is known to fight histamine response. NDGA inhibits aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis (the energy-producing ability) of cancer cells. Chaparral is also an herb that fights harmful organisms. The benefits of chaparral are mostly available in a tincture extraction but chaparral tea may support respiratory problems by encouraging an expectorant action to clear airways of mucus. [Source]

13. Sage – Salvia Officinalis

Sage’s textured leaves give off a heady aroma, which arises from sage’s essential oils. These oils are the source of the many benefits of sage tea for lung problems and common respiratory ailments. Sage tea is a traditional treatment for sore throats and coughs. The rich aromatic properties arising from sage’s volatile oils of thujone, camphor, terpene, and salvene can be put to use by inhaling sage tea’s vapors to dispel lung disorders and sinusitis. Alternatively, brew a strong pot of sage tea and place it into a bowl or vaporizer.

14. Peppermint – Mentha × Piperita

Peppermint and peppermint oil contains menthol — a soothing ingredient known to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing. Dried peppermint typically contains menthol, menthone, menthyl acetate, menthofuran, and cineol. Peppermint oil also contains small amounts of many additional compounds including limonene, pulegone, caryophyllene, and pinene. 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.

15. Plantain herb – Plantago major and P. lanceolata

Plantain leaf has been used for hundreds of years to ease coughs and soothe irritated mucous membranes. Many of its active constituents show antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as being anti-inflammatory and antitoxic. 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.

Sources:

1. http://www.everygreenherb.com/lungs.html

2. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100209183337.htm?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

3. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/antibiotics-may-make-fighting-flu-harder

5. http://thegoodnewsnp.com.au/files/45th_Edition_small_file_size._pdf.pdf

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Natural Measles Immunity — Better Protection & More Long-Term Benefits Than Vaccines

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Natural immunity compared to the immunity provided by vaccines is extremely different. Public health authorities have made a case for measles eradication since the early 1980s, 50+ years of mass measles vaccination have stopped nothing.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do pharmaceutical companies continue to make false claims about vaccines, using mass marketing? Why are they allowed to? And why does everyone believe them?

Stories about vaccines in the popular press tend to be unabashedly one-sided, generally portraying vaccination as a universal (and essential) “good” with virtually no downside. This unscientific bias is particularly apparent in news reports about measles, which often are little more than hysterical diatribes against the unvaccinated.

Although public health authorities have made a case for measles eradication since the early 1980s, 50-plus years of mass measles vaccination and high levels of vaccine coverage have not managed to stop wild and vaccine-strain measles virus from circulating. Routine measles vaccination also has had some worrisome consequences. Perhaps the most significant of these is the shifting of measles risks to age groups formerly protected by natural immunity. Specifically, modern-day occurrences of measles have come to display a “bimodal” pattern in which “the two most affected populations are infants aged less than 1 year and adults older than 20 years”—the very population groups in whom measles complications can be the most clinically severe. As one group of researchers has stated, “The common knowledge indicating that measles [as well as mumps and rubella] are considered as benign diseases dates back to the pre-vaccine area and is not valid anymore.”

A little history

Before the introduction of measles vaccines in the 1960s, nearly all children contracted measles before adolescence, and parents and physicians accepted measles as a “more or less inevitablepart of childhood.” In industrialized countries, measles morbidity and mortality already were low and declining, and many experts questioned whether a vaccine was even needed or would be used.

Measles outbreaks in the pre-vaccine era also exhibited “variable lethality”; in specific populations living in close quarters (such as military recruits and residents of crowded refugee camps), measles mortality could be high, but even so, “mortality rates differed more than 10-fold across camps/districts, even though conditions were similar.” For decades both prior to and following the introduction of measles vaccination, those working in public health understood that poor nutrition and compromised health status were key contributors to measles-related mortality, with measles deaths occurring primarily “in individuals below established height and weight norms.” A study of measles mortality in war-torn Bangladesh in the 1970s found that most of the children who died were born either in the two years preceding or during a major famine.

Moms who get measles vaccines instead of experiencing the actual illness have less immunity to offer their babies, resulting in a ‘susceptibility gap’…

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Measles vaccination and infants

Before the initiation of mass vaccination programs for measles, mothers who had measles as children protected their infants through the transfer of maternal antibodies. However, naturally acquired immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are qualitatively different. Moms who get measles vaccines instead of experiencing the actual illness have less immunity to offer their babies, resulting in a “susceptibility gap” between early infancy and the first ostensibly protective measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine at 12 to 15 months of age.

A Luxembourg-based study published in 2000 confirmed the susceptibility gap in an interesting way. The researchers compared serum samples from European adolescents who had been vaccinated around 18 months of age to serum samples from Nigerian mothers who had not been vaccinated but had experienced natural measles infection at a young age. They then looked at the capacity of the antibodies detected in the serum to “neutralize” various wild-type measles virus strains. The researchers found that the sera from mothers with natural measles immunity substantially outperformed the sera from the vaccinated teens: only two of 20 strains of virus “resisted neutralization” in the Nigerian mothers’ group, but 10 of 20 viral strains resisted neutralization in the vaccination group. This complex analysis led the authors to posit greater measles vulnerability in infants born to vaccinated mothers.

…many vaccines may eventually become susceptible to vaccine-modified measles…and consequently complicate measles control strategies

The Luxembourg researchers also noted that in the Nigerian setting, where widespread vaccination took hold far later than in Europe, the mothers in question had had “multiple contacts with endemic wild-type viruses” and that these repeat contacts had served an important booster function. One of the authors later conducted a study that examined this booster effect more closely. That study found that re-exposure to wild-type measles resulted in “a significantly prolonged antibody boost in comparison to [boosting through] revaccination.” Taking note of expanding vaccine coverage around the world and reduced circulation of wild-type measles virus, the researchers concluded in a third study that “many vaccinees may eventually become susceptible to vaccine-modified measles…and consequently, complicate measles control strategies.”

Bimodal distribution

With the disappearance of maternally endowed protection, what has happened to measles incidence in infants? A review of 53 European studies (2001–2011) focusing on the burden of measles in those “too young to be immunized” found that as many as 83% of measles cases in some studies and under 1% in other studies were in young infants.

At the same time, the predictions of an increased percentage of measles cases in older teens and adults have also come true. Reporting on a higher “death-to-case ratio” in the over-15 group in 1975 (not many years after widespread adoption of measles vaccination in the U.S.), a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researcher wrote that the higher ratio could be “indicative of a greater risk of complications from measles, exposing the unprotected adult to the potential of substantial morbidity.”

In recent measles outbreaks in Europe and the U.S., large proportions of cases are in individuals aged 15 or older:

  • In the U.S., 57 of the 85 measles cases (67%) reported in 2016 were at least 15 years of age. U.S. researchers also have conservatively estimated that at least 9% of measles cases occur in vaccinated individuals.
  • Among several thousand laboratory-confirmed cases of measles and an additional thousand “probable” or “possible” cases in Italy in 2017, 74% were in individuals at least 15 years of age, and 42% of those were hospitalized.
  • Examining a smaller number of laboratory-confirmed measles cases in Sicily (N=223), researchers found that half of the cases were in adults age 19 or older, and clinical complications were more common in adults compared to children (45% versus 26%). Likewise, about 44% of measles cases in France from 2008 to 2011 (N=305) were in adults (with an average age in their mid-20s), and the adults were more than twice as likely to be hospitalized as infected children.

Time to reevaluate

Pre-vaccination, most residents of industrialized countries accepted measles as a normal and even trivial childhood experience. Many people, including clinicians, also understood the interaction between measles and nutrition, and, in particular, the links between vitamin A deficiency and measles: “Measles in a child is more likely to exacerbate any existing nutritional deficiency, and children who are already deficient in vitamin A are at much greater risk of dying from measles.” Instead of inching the age of initial measles vaccination down to ever-younger ages, as is increasingly being proposed, there could be greater value in supporting children’s nutrition and building overall health—through practical interventions that “improve[e]…existing dietaries through the inclusion of relatively inexpensive foods that are locally available and well within the reach of the poor.”

Ironically, while acute childhood infections such as measles protect against cancer, the rise of chronic childhood illnesses (disproportionately observed in vaccinated children) is linked to elevated cancer risks.

There are many other tradeoffs of measles vaccination that remain largely unexplored, including the important role of fever-inducing infectious childhood diseases in reducing subsequent cancer risks. Ironically, while acute childhood infections such as measles protect against cancer, the rise of chronic childhood illnesses (disproportionately observed in vaccinated children) is linked to elevated cancer risks. These tradeoffs—along with the dangerous loss of infant access to protective maternal antibodies and the higher rates of measles illness and complications in older teens and adults—suggest that measles vaccination deserves renewed scrutiny.

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10 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Walk Everyday

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    There are multiple health benefits to be gained by taking a simple walk every day. These benefits are measurable, and if you don't already have an active lifestyle it can be a great way to assist you with your health.

  • Reflect On:

    Reflect on how the human race has become extremely sedentary, and how disease rates continue to climb as a result of the modern human lifestyle.

The human experience has become extremely sedentary, the average human lifestyle in the western world has been linked to multiple diseases and is one of the main causes of why disease rates continue to climb, among many other factors that surround all aspects of human life, like big food, for example. With technology in place and jobs that require tremendous amounts of sitting, there is no doubt that it’s having a detrimental effect on our lives.

That being said, the world is clearly becoming way more health conscious. It’s like we needed this experience of unhealthy food, the corporate take-over of everything, and our motionless lifestyle to knock us out of it. We are seeing a health revolution take place, where more and more people are becoming health conscious, and are always being encouraged to be more active.

Ultimately, we can’t really blame the human experience for our lack of movement, it’s something that all of us have the time to incorporate into our lives in one way or another, and if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy being too active, a simple walk every day can have tremendous amounts of benefits. As pointed out in the video below, by Bright Side.

If You Want To Increase The Benefits Even More, Walk Barefoot

It’s called grounding, or ‘earthing’ and it involves placing your feet directly on the ground, without shoes or socks as a barrier. Why? Because there is an intense negative charge carried by the Earth, it’s electron-rich, which serves as a good supply of antioxidants and free radical destroying electrons.

A study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health titled “Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons” postulates that earthing could represent a potential treatment for a variety of chronic degenerative diseases.

That’s right, many positive health benefits occur as a result of walking barefoot, and these are measurable.

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The picture below represents improved facial circulation (right image) after 20 minutes of grounding, as documented by a Speckle Contrast Laser Imager (dark blue=lowest circulation; dark red=highest circulation). Image Source: Scientific Research Publishing

If you want to read more publications and access the in-depth science with regards to grounding, you can refer to the article linked above the picture.

10 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Walk Barefoot On Earth 

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Nature Valley Ad Shows The Down Side Of Children Addicted To Technology

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Technology has impacted most of our lives in a really big way. We use it daily for everything we do pretty much. Kids today, unlike previous generations, use technology more than ever and spend much less time in nature.

  • Reflect On:

    How much is too much technology for young and developing minds? Is it time to reevaluate our children's relationship with technology and get them back into nature?

Technology has become a staple in most of our lives, really, could you imagine life without it? In the video posted below, Nature Valley asks 3 generations what it was that they did for fun as a kid, the answers from the youngest generation may or may not surprise you, but is it time to cut back on the technology and bring kids back to nature?

Technology is not bad per se, that isn’t the discussion here. This is about how we use it.

Before technology, children would look to nature for entertainment. They would play outside on the lawn, go sledding, build forts, and use their imagination to create their own entertainment. Nowadays it’s all too easy for kids to get sucked into technology, there are video games, tablets, computers, cell phones and television, all of which provide a type of escape from the real world. Although, there are many ways that technology is and has been used for good in the world, is the disconnect that it is causing children and adults to part from nature causing more harm?

With the rise of mental disorders and illnesses, is it possible that the answer to these issues is simply to get kids back into nature, more time with self, using their brains to build things, be creative and connect to the energy from the Earth? We already know how effective a simple walk or hike in nature is and how they both can literally change our brains. Nature appears to be much more important than we generally give it credit for.

In my own experience, disconnecting from technology and going camping on my own proved to be a very cathartic and healing experience for me. I’ve come to realize that although being immersed in nature regularly does have a lot of benefits, but even just making time for it at all can cause a positive impact. For many of us who live in cities, with the constant bombardment of noise and of course EMF frequencies etc., just disconnecting for a short period can make a huge difference.

The following video is a brilliant ad from Nature Valley, check it out.

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It’s easy to get emotional watching something like this as it shows just how far removed the newer generations are from what has been most natural to children for centuries, simply playing in nature. The children are essentially self-proclaimed tech addicts and get their entertainment by playing video games, watching videos or tv shows, texting etc. Is it time to go back to the basics and start evaluating how detrimental too much technology can be on young and developing brains? You can read more about this issue here, Is Your Child Struggling From Nature-Deficit Disorder?

Is it up to the parents to ensure they are setting proper boundaries with the amount of time their children are allowed to use technology? Or is this the future and something we should simply let happen as a natural part of evolution?

Much Love

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