8 Tips & Herbs for Respiratory Health

Published on August 06, 2023

By Gaia Herbs

Gaia Herbs

Breathing may seem effortless, but our lungs and respiratory system work hard to make the process of inhaling and exhaling appear seamless. Our lungs play a crucial role in helping us take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.

These essential organs are constantly working for us day and night. Even when resting, our lungs transport oxygen into the bloodstream and remove carbon dioxide.

In short, our lungs help us stay alive and healthy, making it vital to support lung health and wellness. Let’s discuss ways to maintain optimal lung function and overall respiratory health throughout the year.

What is the Respiratory System?

The respiratory system is a critical component of overall health.REF#2505 It is responsible for exchanging gasses between our body and the environment, allowing oxygen to enter and carbon dioxide to exit.REF#2506 The respiratory (or pulmonary) system consists of the lungs and the respiratory tract, which work together to facilitate respiratory function.

The respiratory tract, comprising the nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles, helps transport air to and from the lungs. In addition to the lungs' crucial functions, the respiratory tract plays a vital role.

A healthy respiratory system offers numerous health benefits. It helps regulate the body's oxygen levels, which is necessary for cell function and energy production, and aids in removing toxins and waste products. 

Healthy lungs can also help protect against certain infections like colds, playing a crucial role in immune response and overall immune system function.REF#2507 For example, mucous membranes lining the respiratory tract can trap foreign particles and microbes, preventing them from entering the lungs and causing respiratory infections.

Unfortunately, respiratory issues can significantly impact overall health. Common respiratory problems include conditions like asthma and respiratory infections such as bronchitis. These conditions can impair lung function, causing shortness of breath, wheezing, sore throat, and phlegm.

The good news is that you can support respiratory and lung health with a few helpful tips and herbs. Let's explore these methods and learn about some of the herbs that can support respiratory health.*

How Can You Support Respiratory and Lung Health?

Since the pulmonary system is so important for overall health and wellness, it’s important to support lung health. Here are a few ways you can start supporting your lungs today.

Take Preventative Measures

Protecting your respiratory health can be straightforward with a few preventative measures. Firstly, avoid smoking, as it can severely damage the lungs and respiratory health. Also, try to limit exposure to pollutants and irritants, such as dust, pollen, and chemicals.

Also, remember to wash your hands frequently. Handwashing is an easy and highly effective way to protect yourself and your family from illness. Experts recommend scrubbing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, covering not just the hands but also the wrists, between the fingers, and underneath the fingernails.REF#2508

Additionally, regularly disinfect frequently touched objects (including door knobs, handles, and car keys) to help prevent the spread of germs. Removing germs from hands and surfaces can minimize the chance of germs entering the body and potentially spreading to the lungs.*

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Air quality is crucial for lung health.* An air purifier is an excellent option to help support air quality in your home. These devices purify the air by trapping airborne contaminants (such as dust, mold spores, dust mites, chemicals, odors, and toxins) and improving overall indoor air quality.

Many air purifiers are specifically designed for seasonal allergies, while others target indoor allergens and irritants like pet dander, mold, dust mites, or secondhand smoke. Determine which air purifier best supports your specific allergens. Many work in tandem with humidifiers to add moisture to a room, preventing upper respiratory system dryness.

Get Daily Exercise

Regular exercise can help keep your body in shape and support your respiratory and lung health*. As you exercise, your body demands more oxygen. 

Over time, aerobic exercise can encourage the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, including the absorption and transportation of oxygen. Exercise can also support lung capacity, which is the amount of oxygen you take in with each breath.* 

There are plenty of exercise options outside the gym, such as running, dancing, nature walks, HIIT workouts, and more. These activities are fun and easy ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

What Are Some Traditional Herbs for Lung Health and Support?

Aside from the helpful tips listed above, there are also some herbal medicines that can help support lung health. This is thanks to active compounds like antioxidants and plant flavonoids.REF#2509 Herbs such as these have been used by herbalists for centuries in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.

There are many herbs that you can incorporate into your daily routine that can help provide your lungs the support they need.* Here are a few herbs (and herbal supplements) that can nourish and maintain respiratory health.*


Eucalyptus, known for its refreshing pine-like scent, may help support respiratory health by loosening phlegm and secretions in the lungs.REF#2510 You might consider hanging fresh Eucalyptus in the shower to experience the benefits of its essential oils through shower steam. This can also create a soothing, spa-like ambiance in your bathroom. 

Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter vapor and chest rubs. 


Goldenseal, an herb native to the Appalachian region, was nearly driven to extinction due to overharvesting in the 1800s. However, its population has rebounded through education and preservation efforts in recent years. 

We source Goldenseal responsibly for our supplements, working with suppliers and harvesters who promote sustainable wild stewardship practices, including propagation. Our Echinacea Goldenseal, which also contains Echinacea and St. John’s Wort, may help maintain a healthy respiratory system.*


Licorice, often associated with the polarizing "black licorice" flavor found in candy, is an incredibly sweet herb, thought to be 50 times sweeter than table sugar. Licorice and Licorice root have been used for thousands of years to support respiratory health and digestion due to their expectorant properties.REF#2511 


Nettle, a versatile herb commonly found in meadows, has a wide range of uses.* Our Formulation Manager, Susan Hirsch, even considers it the one herb she would want with her if stranded on a deserted island, as it can be used for tea, soup, shelter construction, and lung health support.* 

Made with Gaia-grown® Nettle, our Nettle Leaf Liquid Phyto-Caps® can help maintain upper respiratory health.* Our Turmeric Supreme® Sinus Support, which combines Nettle with Turmeric, Black Pepper, Feverfew, and Goldenseal, can also support breathing easy and a healthy inflammatory response in healthy individuals.*

Plantain Leaf

Distinct from the Plantain fruit, the Plantain plant has been used for centuries in Europe and North America to support respiratory health.REF#2512

Other Herbs for Respiratory Support

There are plenty of other herbs that can support respiratory health, as well. 

These include:

Disclaimer: It’s important to note here that herbs are not a replacement for medical advice. If you are having difficulty breathing or your cough does not improve, schedule an appointment with your primary healthcare provider, as you may have an underlying health concern.

Give Your Lungs a Breath of Fresh Air

The importance of respiratory and lung health cannot be overstated. From help with oxygen exchange to immune health, your respiratory system plays a vital role in your overall health and wellness. 

When it comes to supporting your respiratory health, be proactive with the tips we’ve shared. Also, try adding some of the herbs listed above to your routine so you can continue to breathe easily.



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  • 3. Nature Immunology, "The Lungs at the Frontlines of Immunity", Nature Portfolio, December 18, 2014. .
  • 4. Panche, Archana N., A D Diwan, and Sanjeev Chandra., "Flavonoids: An Overview", Journal of Nutritional Science, December 29, 2016. .
  • 5. Handwashing | CDC., "When and How to Wash Your Hands", n.d..
  • 6. Mount Sinai., "Eucalyptus.", .
  • 7. Mount Sinai., "Licorice.", .
  • 8. Peace Health, "Plantain.", .