6 home remedies for respiratory problems

If you're having minor respiratory problems and would like to keep unnecessary chemicals at bay, these natural home remedies may be just what you're looking for.

6 home remedies for respiratory problems

1. Inhale eucalyptus vapours

Inhaling eucalyptus vapours may help relieve congested lungs.

  • If you have dried eucalyptus, boil crumbled leaves and let them steep for four to five hours.
  • Strain out the leaf pieces before heating the liquid for inhalation. Alternatively, add five to 10 drops commercial eucalyptus oil to the steaming water.
  • Put the liquid, with no leaves in it, in a bowl at the edge of a table.
  • Sit down, bend your head over the bowl and put a towel over your head to form a tent. Breathe the vapours for about 10 minutes, taking care not to get too close to the steam.

2. Double dose your bronchitis

The head-clearing pungency of freshly grated horseradish paired with the acidic aroma of lemon may help dissolve mucus in the sinuses and bronchial tubes. To make a piquant cough medicine, follow these instructions.

  • Grate a peeled horseradish root (or cheat and use prepared horseradish) and transfer 225 grams (one cup) grated horseradish to a small bowl.
  • Add 150 millilitres (0.33 cup) of lemon juice and stir well.
  • Dose yourself with two grams (0.5 teaspoon) of the mixture at a time, taking it two or three times a day.

The expectorant action should set you coughing after each dose, ridding your lungs of mucus.

3. Loosen mucus with mullein

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), a longtime folk remedy for respiratory ailments, contains saponins that are known to loosen phlegm and promote expectoration.

  • It also contains gelatinous mucilage that tones and soothes the mucous membranes.
  • To make mullein tea, steep 10 grams (two teaspoons) of dried mullein leaves in just-boiled water for 10 minutes.
  • Herbalists advise drinking the tea up to three times a day to ease bronchial distress.

4. Elecampane the expectorant

Buy elecampane tea or liquid extract, sweeten the tea with honey and drink 250 to 500 millilitres (one to two cups) a day to stimulate the lungs' natural "housecleaning" mechanism.

  • The active principle in elecampane (Inula helenium) is alantolactone, an expectorant with roots back to New World settlers, who used elecampane to treat the symptoms of asthma, whooping cough, pneumonia and tuberculosis.

5. Fight asthma with fish

Omega 3, the fatty acids found in sardines, tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines and other oily fish, works much like a class of drugs called leukotriene inhibitors, which disable bodily compounds that contribute to inflammation of the airways.

6. Chamomile's two faces

  • For an allergy-fighting tea using chamomile, pour 250 millilitres (one cup) of boiling water over 10 to 15 grams (two to three) teaspoons of minced flower heads of German chamomile and steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain and drink three to four times daily.
  • Not that while chamomile is a traditional hay fever fighter, it actually aggravates symptoms in anyone allergic to ragweed, a chamomile cousin.

If a homemade, natural remedy for your respiratory ailments is what you're looking for, these solutions may come in handy to clear air passages and relieve problems with breathing. As with any sickness, seeking medical attention may be necessary to ensure you aren't suffering from a more serious condition.

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