It can be hard to accept that a progressive and detrimental disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition with little to no options for successful treatment.
As of now, most COPD patients are simply told to continue on a regimen of prescriptions and supplemental oxygen. These may help make the disease symptoms more comfortable, but it doesn’t commonly help in returning any lung function even temporarily.
The common end treatment, a lung transplant, is very invasive and doesn’t boast a high success rate. People have begun to seek alternative treatments that are less invasive and show higher success; these include consuming some herbs that may help with COPD.
Which Herbs Help?
There are a number of herbs that are known to help with lung function, and this has led to some people seeking out the same benefits in an attempt to treat their lung disease. Here are some herbs that are likely to be in your kitchen right now that may help:
Have you ever opened a can of mints or even a bottle of peppermint oil and took a deep sniff? Of course you have, we all have. This herb contains menthol, an agent that promotes the relaxation of the muscles in the respiratory tract.
A favorite in Italian cooking, this herb can also be used in other types of food. It has carvacrol and rosmarinic acid which act as a decongestant and histamine reducer. For those of you suffering from lung disease and the annual onslaught of pollen that spring brings, try cooking with more oregano to help counteract the season.
There are a few less common herbs that are known to help the lungs:
A recent study published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) reported that curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, has a wide variety of benefits for people suffering with lung disease.
Namely, the herb can help prevent and modulate inflammation in the airways, and it can help manage stress that is induced by a lack of oxygen in the body. Although turmeric is an herb commonly used in southern Asia, it is widely available in the United States as well.
Noted as one of the best lung support herbs found naturally in the United States, osha root grows in the Rocky Mountains. Native Americans have been using this herb and its active ingredient, camphor, for centuries.
The ingredient helps increase circulation to the lungs and produces an effect similar to antihistamines.
The journey to breathe easier and get your life back doesn’t have to be one of passively waiting for a lung transplant while consuming numerous pills every day. There are alternative options like dietary changes that can help.
Always consult with your doctor to find the best treatment plan for you that includes dietary changes.
Christine Kingsley, APRN is the Health and Wellness Director at the Lung Institute where she focuses on providing helpful online resources for people looking for information on various lung diseases, breathing exercises, and healthy lifestyle choices. She advocates for holistic care that involves working with your doctor to explore all options including traditional and alternative care while focusing on diet and exercise as proactive measures.