Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fall Respiratory Health--Part 2

In addition to using herbal allies like Wild Cherry Bark Cough Syrup to start to clear a cough and congestion, there are other simple ways to break up phlegm, open the lungs,  and clear sinuses. Many people use a humidifier this time of year, and you can easily add essential oils to these in order to inhale the volatile oils (be sure to check the manufacturer recommendations).   Similarly, you can create an herbal steam for a more targeted approach.

Here's how:
  • Pour boiling water into a bowl   
  • Add 3-7 drops of essential oil and let evaporate for 15 seconds (please note that more is not better!)
  • Be sure to close your eyes!
  •  Stoop over bowl with towel placed over your head and breathe deeply
  • You can also pour boiling water over the herbs and breathe in
 My favorite respiratory herbs are peppermint and thyme.  Both are bronchodilators, and have a soothing and opening effect on airways.  Peppermint, with it's cooler nature is best used for phlegm that is sticky and yellow.  Thyme is warmer, and great for phlegm that expectorates as clear or whitish.

But you don't have to stop at using just the essential oils.  Incorporating thyme and peppermint into your diet this time of year is a great preventative as well.  Other delicious foods that can help keep your respiratory system healthy are garlic, ginger, and onions. Even cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg have warming properties that can not only assist digestion, but keep blood circulating  to warm the lungs and keep the tissue healthy.  It's no wonder that we crave these flavors this time of year! 

If we start tuning into these seasonal cravings more, vs. just grabbing the easiest pre-packaged item on the shelf, we can dramatically change our health and wellness.  So tune in, and enjoy the flavors of the season.

Be Well,
Kristin Henningsen MS, CH, RYT 


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