lifestyle

Breathe Easy with Tips & Herbs for Respiratory Health

Our lungs are constantly working for us, day in and day out. Even when you're resting, they're still carefully transporting oxygen into your bloodstream and moving carbon dioxide out. Supporting lung health is important, because on top of seasonal challenges, we are continuing to move through a difficult immune season. Learn about ways you can help keep your lungs working optimally, as well as herbs that support your respiratory health.*

4 Easy Ways to Support Lung Health

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

An air purifier is a great option to improve air quality in your home. Air purifiers purify the air by trapping airborne contaminants such as dust, mold spores, dust mites, chemicals, odors, and toxins to improve overall indoor air quality. There are lots of models available at varying price points offering different benefits. Some purifiers are designed specifically for seasonal allergies, while others tackle indoor irritants such as pet dander, mold, or secondhand smoke. The key is determining which air purifier will best support your specific allergens.

Incorporate Exercise Daily

Exercising regularly helps your body stay in shape, while also helping oxygen flow throughout the bloodstream more efficiently. Exercise can also improve lung capacity, which is the amount of oxygen you take in with each breath. There are lots of options to exercise outside of the gym. Consider dancing, going on a Nature walk, trying a 10-15 minute HIIT workout, or playing tag with your little ones. These are all fun and easy ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.

Practice Preventative Measures

Woman washing her hands with fruit bowl in background

Washing your hands is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself and your family from illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least a 20-second scrub with soap and warm water that extends beyond the hands to the wrists, between the fingers and underneath the fingernails. You should also regularly disinfect frequently touched objects such as doorknobs, handles, and car keys to help prevent the spread of germs. By removing germs from hands and surfaces, it decreases the chance of germs entering the body and potentially spreading to the lungs.

Tune into the Breath

The yogic practice of pranayama, or the practice of controlling the breath, has been studied by various researchers and has been shown to improve the overall performance of the body. More specifically, the regular practice of pranayama has been proven to "increase chest wall expansion and almost all lung functions."1 One way to practice pranayama is through the breathing technique called nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing. Learn how to practice nadi shodhana.

5 Traditional Herbs to Support Lung Health*

Adding herbs to your daily routine can help provide your lungs the support they need.* Here are a few of our favorite herbs (and herbal supplements) to maintain respiratory health.*

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus tree in nature

With its distinctive and refreshing pine-like scent, Eucalyptus can help support your respiratory health in multiple ways.* Hanging fresh cut Eucalyptus in the shower is one way to reap the benefits of the essential oils through shower steam, plus it creates a calming spa-like aesthetic in your bathroom. Eucalyptus is also used in many over-the-counter vapor and chest rubs. Support the throat and lung health of your little ones with our GaiaKids® Bronchial Wellness Syrup, which combines Eucalyptus with Grindelia, Myrtle, Plantain, Helichrysum and Citrus essential oils.*

Goldenseal

Goldenseal is an herb native to the Appalachian region. This forest botanical was heavily harvested in the 1800s, almost to the point of extinction. It has thankfully made a comeback in recent years through education and preservation efforts. For our supplements, we source Goldenseal that is harvested responsibly, working with suppliers and harvesters that encourage wild stewarding practices including propagation. This way, we can help ensure the continued success of this plant for generations to come. Paired with Echinacea and St. John’s Wort, our Echinacea Goldenseal helps maintain a healthy respiratory system.*

Licorice

When you hear the word "Licorice," you probably picture those black candy ropes from childhood. In the U.S., most foods do not actually contain licorice and in many cases use anise oil, which provides that distinctive and polarizing "black licorice" flavor that people either love or find revolting. The herb Licorice is actually incredibly sweet herb and is believed to be 50 times sweeter than table sugar. Licorice has been used for thousands of years to support respiratory health and digestion.* Support your bronchial health with a warm and soothing mug of our Bronchial Wellness Herbal Tea, which combines Licorice with Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Grindelia, and Plantain.*

Nettle

Found growing in meadows or along hiking trails, Nettle is a versatile herb that is used for many purposes. It's so versatile in fact, that our Formulation Manager, Susan Hirsch, says this is the one herb that she would want with her if stranded on a deserted island, as it can be used to make tea or soup, is sturdy enough to use for building a shelter, and it supports lung health.* Made with Gaia-grown® Nettle, our Nettle Leaf Liquid Phyto-Caps® help to maintain upper respiratory health.* Combining Nettle with Turmeric, Black Pepper, Feverfew, and Goldenseal, our Turmeric Supreme® Sinus Support helps you keep breathing easy and supports a healthy inflammatory response in healthy individuals.*

Plantain Leaf

Plantain herb in nature

Not to be confused with the delicious Plantain fruits that are similar to bananas, the Plantain plant has been used for hundreds of years in Europe and North America to support respiratory health.* Combining Plantain with Black Elderberry, Eyebright, Anise, Fenugreek, and Thyme, GaiaKids® Sinus Support provides great-tasting support for your children to help maintain easy breathing.* Plantain leaf can also be found in our Red Clover Supreme that helps maintain lymphatic function, which in turn supports bronchial health.*

Give Your Lungs a Breath of Fresh Air

With both a heightened immune season and seasonal challenges, it’s more important than ever to support your respiratory health. By being proactive about your overall health and well-being and adding herbs traditionally used for lung health to your routine, you can continue to breathe easy.*

References:
1 Effect of Pranayama and Suryanamaskar on Pulmonary Functions in Medical Students. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4316242/