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Herbs for COPD
Herbs are very effective adjuncts for treating symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Incorporating herbal remedies as tools for coping with COPD offers you many benefits.
Herbs can help relieve coughing, thin mucus, reduce mucus production, and fight infections. Certain herbs provide nutrients that you may lack due to impaired nutrition. Herbs can also help to protect your heart from damage that sometimes occurs secondary to COPD. Most herbs are very safe to use regardless of whether or not you are using conventional medications.
Let’s take a look at some of the most valuable herbs which you may employ to make living with COPD easier.
1. Yarrow Relieves Coughing Spasms
If you have COPD, you probably awaken each morning and are affected many times each day by harsh coughing spasms. Yarrow is an excellent remedy for relaxing your chest muscles and relieving spasmodic coughs. It helps to dry up excess mucus from your lungs, too.
Yarrow is particularly beneficial if you cough up blood in your sputum, and has hemostatic properties, which means that it stops bleeding. The herb also helps to reduce allergies, which are often responsible for triggering increased COPD symptoms, and relieves swollen and inflamed air passages and fights infection.
It is a mild diuretic, which can help to relieve fluid buildup in your lungs and other tissues. It lowers blood pressure, energizes, and aids digestion while toning the tissues of the respiratory tract. If you develop a fever due to a respiratory infection, yarrow can be used to lower your temperature by increasing perspiration. If you have a poor appetite due to your disease, yarrow may help to improve it.
Essentially, yarrow helps your lung tissues to heal by giving them a rest. The entire plant may be used for healing. I recommend that yarrow be taken as a tea three times daily. Two to five mls of a tincture may be taken three times daily as an alternative to the bitter tea.
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2. Ginkgo Contains Powerful Antioxidants
Ginkgo improves the flow of blood flow throughout your body. If you have COPD, you have difficulty getting oxygen to your bodily tissues and removing excess carbon dioxide from them. Gingko improves oxygenation of your tissues by supporting your circulation. The herb also reduces the oxygen needs of your heart, which reduces shortness of breath and resultant chest pain.
If you do not get enough oxygen to your brain, you may become irritable, anxious or confused. A well-known tonic for brain function, ginkgo improves blood flow to the brain. It also contains concentrated nutrients that enhance the health of your entire body.
Many people who have COPD take corticosteroid medications in order to reduce inflammation and open up their air passages. Unfortunately, corticosteroids cause thinning of the skin and a tendency to bruise easily. Ginkgo strengthens the walls of blood vessels, preventing bruising and tissue damage.
The herb may also be used as a mild blood thinner if you cannot take aspirin. However, do not use ginkgo without consulting with your health care provider if you take warfarin or other anticoagulants.
It may take up to two months before you see benefits from treatment with ginkgo. Take a minimum of 40mg of a standardized extract or its equivalent three times daily, and follow product label instructions.
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3. Horseradish for Instant Relief of Congestion
If you need relief from thick mucus right now, start grating some horseradish root. Your mucus may even begin to thin while you are preparing the root.
Roots may be gathered from the wild in temperate climates, grown vigorously in a garden, or purchased in the produce department of large grocery stores. If you do not have a root, you may purchase grated horseradish, in vinegar, off the shelves of your local grocery store.
Simply take a spoonful of fresh root whenever you need to clear your lungs. It is spicy, so you may want to consume horseradish with bread or another food.
Horseradish is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It is a warming herb that helps rid your body of toxins, with strong antibacterial qualities that prevent and fight infections. Horseradish stimulates the appetite and helps digestive juices to flow readily. If you have a fever, horseradish will reduce it.
While most people can use as much horseradish as they desire, it may irritate your stomach if you have an ulcer. Limit its use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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4. Chinese Star Anise: Sweet Relief for Coughing Spells
Chinese star anise is a culinary herb that may be found in herb shops, large grocery stores and oriental markets. Be sure that the product you buy contains true Chinese star anise, Illicium verum, as other varieties of star anise are harmful. This sweet, fragrant, mild herb is in demand because most of it is used to make a drug for shortening the duration and intensity of influenza symptoms. The herb is an expectorant, which means it thins mucus and relieves spasms.
Make a cup of tea with a teaspoon of Chinese star anise by pouring one cup of water over the dried herb. Place a cover on the container. Gently simmer the tea for 20 minutes before straining out the herb and drinking the tea while it’s hot. Add honey if you want extra flavor and healing benefits.
Chinese star anise tea is tasty anytime, however it is most effective if consumed before bed, as it may help you to get a better night’s sleep.
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5. Sage: An Ancient Remedy for Soreness and Inflammation
Various species of sage have been used across the globe for thousands of years medicinally. Ordinary garden sage is a potent remedy that relieves a wide array of ills, including symptoms of COPD.
You likely experience times when your throat, chest, lungs and whole body is sore due to coughing, illness, lack of sleep, impaired mobility due to your disease. Sage effectively coats mucus membranes, reduces swelling within air passages, thins mucus, and facilitates the expectoration of sputum.
Make a tea by covering one teaspoon of dried, or one tablespoon of fresh, sage leaves per cup of water. Pour the water over the herb and cover the container. After 20 minutes, strain out the herb.
You can either drink the tea or make it into a mouthwash and gargle. If you want to make a gargle, simply add a teaspoonful of lemon juice or vinegar, and a teaspoonful of salt to the tea. Gargle vigorously several times, using at least one fourth of a cup of the mixture.
Research shows that sage effectively relieves pain of the mucus membranes. It fights infections and supports tissue healing as well as helping to relieve congestion in the lung tissues.
While these herbs are generally well tolerated, check with your health care provider before using herbs to control your symptoms of COPD. Be sure that prescribers are aware of any allergies that you may have, as well as all herbs, supplements, and medications you use.
Read more about alternative therapies for COPD over at NewLifeOutlook.