Our lungs are front and center in terms of areas of concern to our health during this COVID 19 pandemic. Most of the time we don’t think a lot about our lungs unless we experience asthma or other respiratory issues. However, they are actually one of the most important organs of our bodies. Lung support is essential, now more than ever.
Not only do we breathe with our lungs (we can’t live without that!), they are also one of our seven channels of elimination. That means that besides providing oxygen for every cell, they are incredibly important in their actions of getting rid of carbon dioxide buildup and they also eliminate excess mucous.
A few simple, easy tips for lung support and overall health.
Drink warm liquids throughout the day. Warm liquids offer a number of interesting benefits.
Hot tea has been giving British comfort for many centuries. A cup of tea slows a galloping soul. You can’t exactly grab your tea and gulp it down! The very act of holding the warm cup helps us, in our crazy schedules (or crazy thinking) to just take a pause.
Warm hands, gentle heart…
Interestingly, here’s a scientific study that showed that holding a hot cup of coffee made one feel friendlier to someone you just met, compared to holding a cup of iced coffee. Warm sensations are reported to activate a part of the brain where judgments occur, seemingly making us less critical. I’ll have to watch for that one on Downton Abbey!
I love a hot cup of coffee as well as the next person, however, with regard to lung function, I am suggesting here a few beverages that have traditionally been used for their medicinal value.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, tea is a hot drink made by infusing the dried crushed leaves of the tea plant in boiling water. We can broaden that definition to include various ingredients besides just leaves infused in hot water.
Teas for lung support, and peacefulness.
- First thing in the morning, make a simple drink of hot water and lemon. Not only is this supportive of your lungs, but also really great for your liver.
- Try a tea bag of ginger along with green tea for a wonderful and relaxing warm drink. Fresh ginger tea is easy to make too. Fresh ginger tea can be stored in the refrigerator in a glass jar. Easy and convenient. You can simply warm and enjoy throughout your day. Ginger helps to break down mucus, making it easier for your body to expel air. It also helps improve circulation to the lungs and reduces inflammation.
- Mullein tea is well known as lung support. Mullein can also be purchased as a tincture and is a common addition to many detox remedies.
- A personal favorite tea of mine is Throat Coat, which I used for years. Speaking engagements and constant travel can cause your lungs and throat to become quite irritated. Throat Coat offers a combination of a number of excellent respiratory and anti-inflammatory herbs working synergistically to provide bronchial ease.
A squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and/or a small amount of local or Manuka honey can make any tea even more immune-supportive – and enjoyable.
You may “feel better” with a bit of sweetener in your hot beverage!
Ron Eccles, a Professor at Cardiff University and the Head of the Common Cold Centre, suggested that using hot drinks helped reduce pain levels and diminish the need to cough. Sweet hot drinks stimulate endorphin release from the brain stem. This alone might explain a person “feeling better”.
Although less of a tradition here in the US, tea is a treasured respite in many lives.
Who knows, when this flu season has come and gone, you may find yourself gathering with your best friends once again – in a tea room!
Steam is well known to clear the sinuses and open the lungs (an additional part of the joy of the hot beverage as well!). In our house, when we’re congested, for allergies or any other reason, we open up our nasal and throat passages with a small steamer that can be found in any drug store. It covers your nose and mouth comfortably and easily. For even more intensity, you can place a towel over your head. You will emerge a much clearer, if slightly damp, individual.
Probiotics offer lung support!
Did you know that there is increasing evidence that orally delivered probiotics are able to regulate immune responses in the respiratory system? Research shows that the respiratory and GI systems are closely related. Great news for today’s challenges! Be sure that a probiotic is part of your daily lung support routine.
Extremely important at this time, and perhaps an opportunity that we haven’t had available is to take the time to practice deep breathing and exercise regularly. If possible (at a 6-feet distance with a mask) get outside and move. Belly breathing and physical exercise both increase your lung capacity and heat up your core, making you stronger and much more resistant to infection of any type. Be sure and stay hydrated!
As I’ve mentioned on Facebook, I’ve found throughout my life that simple tips are the most valuable. Daily practices and rituals provide a sense of safety, calm – and warmth. I hope you’ll join me in a cup of warm tea, and let’s breathe together. Stay safe.