Herbs to support the respiratory tract

Between wildfires and cold/flu season, supporting the respiratory tract can be a full time job during the fall and winter months. Here is a list of categories of herbs to chose from for formulating herbal blends to enhance respiratory health.

Demulcents to soothe & protect the respiratory tract

*Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis)

*Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

*Mullein leaf (Verbascum thapsus)

*Slippery elm (Ulmus rubra--only use organic cultivated!) 

Acute immune boost

*Elderberry (Sambucus spp)

*Echinacea flower and/or root (E. purpurea)

*Yarrow flower(Achillea millefolium)

*Ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinalis)

Deep immune support

*Medicinal mushrooms: Reishi, turkey tail, cordyceps

*Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus)

*Dang Shen (Codonopsis pistularis)

Antitussives and expectorants

*Yerba santa leaf (Eriodyction californica)

*Gum weed flower (Grindelia spp)

*Wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina)

Bronchodilators

*Lobelia (L. inflata)

Clear the sinuses

*Ragweed (Ambrosia spp.)

*Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis--only use organic cultivated!)

*Steam inhalation of eucalyptus, thyme or peppermint

Red flags to seek medical attention for respiratory problems:

*Obvious respiratory distress

*Can’t speak full sentences

*Appears confused

*Uncontrolled coughing

*Tripod position

*Use of accessory muscles (neck, belly)

*Skin is pale, blue, or bright red

*Rapid respiratory rate or pulse

*Audible wheezing

*Reports frequent use of inhaler

*Reports multiple medications or serious health conditions or recent hospitalization or surgery

Benjamin Zappin