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Restore Your Lungs: Proven Natural Methods After Smoking

Smoking has long been portrayed in advertisements, magazines, and movies as sexy and seductive. Unfortunately, many people fell into its trap. Over a century of research has uncovered the ugly truth about the harm of smoking.

Cigarettes are full of toxins and chemicals that are harmful to nearly every part of the body. Just a few of the consequences of smoking include:

Fortunately, many of these risks can be decreased and even completely avoided by quitting. Within hours of quitting, the body begins to heal from the damage of smoking. However, the initial days and weeks can come with unpleasant side effects too. Many people experience coughing, and mucous production as the body gets rid of the toxins in the body. Anxiety, depression, headaches, and sleep issues are all common as the body withdrawals from nicotine. 

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Quitting smoking is one of the best things that we can do for our health. There are herbs and mushrooms that can support the body as it heals much of the damage that smoking causes. They can even help with the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Read on to see how powerful herbs and mushrooms can help improve your overall health after smoking.

Herbs & Mushrooms to Help Improve Lung Health

Each of the herbs and mushrooms below packs a powerful punch with anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Research shows they help improve almost every aspect of overall health.

Mullein Leaf 

Found in the most unexpected places, this plant with beautiful yellow flowers grows best in compacted and poor soils. It has been used for thousands of years in both tea and syrup. The first recorded use of mullein was by the Greek physician Dioscorides about 2,000 years ago for lung conditions.

Today, science has discovered the properties that make mullein so unique.

Mullein is rich with anti-inflammatory properties that make it especially useful for the respiratory tract. It helps relieve cough, which can be a significant issue for those who are trying to quit smoking.

Mullein extract also supports the immune system to fight off a wide variety of viruses and bacteria. Among its many drawbacks, smoking suppresses the immune response, and many smokers need a boost for their immune system. 

Research is limited to specific strains of bacteria and viruses, including influenza and a herpes virus. More research needs to be done to find more strains it could help fight.

Mullein extract encourages healthy lipid levels in the body. The lungs are not the only part of the body that suffers from smoking. Heart disease is a common complication. Mullein can help support the heart because of its hyperlipidemic activity. This activity not only supports heart health but reduces inflammation in the lungs as well.

Elecampane Root

As a member of the sunflower family, elecampane grows up to an impressive eight feet tall. It is native to both Europe and Asia and has a long history with health practitioners. It was even popular as a flavor for sweet treats and candies.

Elecampane is rich in anti-inflammatory properties. It is full of antioxidants and treats oxidative-stress related diseases, which is vital to heal from smoking. Research has long connected smoking with both oxidative stress and inflammation in the body

In addition to helping reduce the inflammation and oxidative damage of smoking, elecampane is particularly helpful for the microbiome. Smoking affects gut health. In fact, smoking-induced alterations of the gut resemble inflammatory bowel disease. Research shows that smokers have significantly different microbiome than non-smokers.

Elecampane can help restore gut health. It is a particularly rich source of inulin, a prebiotic. Unlike probiotics, which add healthy bacteria, prebiotics feed the healthy bacteria already in the gut. Elecampane can provide valuable fuel to help rebalance the microbiome.

Numerous studies show that elecampane helps support the immune response against bacteria, even the antibiotic-resistant MRSA. Researchers have also suggested that it can help make antibiotics more effective when used together. 

The process of healing from smoking can cause some discomfort. Chronic coughing can irritate the throat and lungs. Elecampane can help relieve respiratory pain. It eases the muscles in the throat to slow coughing.

Most people know the increase of lung cancer that is correlated with smoking. However, there is actually an increase in many cancers associated with smoking. Elecampane is full of anti-cancer properties to support the immune system as it fights cancer.

English Ivy 

A common houseplant decorating gardens all over the world, English ivy holds surprisingly potent health-boosting properties. Even ancient Greek practitioners used it for its anti-inflammatory effects. 

There’s an impressive amount of science behind the health benefits. Ivy is rich in both triterpenoid saponins and flavonoids, which strengthen the body. They are also particularly useful antioxidants to support healing from smoking.

Ivy helps soothe bronchitis and COPD symptoms, which are both common conditions for smokers. Those who are suffering can find relief as it relaxes the airways and reduces coughing.

It is also an expectorant to help remove mucus from the lungs. Mucus is a problem as the lungs heal from smoking, so ivy may provide some relief. One study found that saponins in ivy help soothe spasms so that coughing was less painful. Another study found that it has polysaccharides to help relieve irritation.

The anti-inflammatory properties in English ivy can help support the immune system during cancer. Inflammation is a known accelerant for cancer. Since smokers are particularly at risk for cancer, anti-inflammatories like ivy can offer powerful support.

Japanese Honeysuckle

While there are hundreds of kinds of honeysuckle, Traditional Chinese Medicine has pinpointed one species as particularly useful to human health. Practitioners have used Japanese honeysuckle for everything from fevers to skin infections to inflammation.

Today, scientists have pinpointed powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in the Japanese honeysuckle. Since smoking causes inflammation throughout the body, honeysuckle can help to cool it. One study found that it could help modulate inflammation.

Honeysuckle can also be used to aid the immune system to keep the body strong. One 2018 study found mice that supplemented with it increased their Natural Killer (NK) cells. NK cells are critical for killing off both viruses and tumor cells to help the body remain healthy. Another 2015 study found that it worked as an immunomodulating agent. It helped adjust the immune response to be more effective.

Type 2 diabetes is another problem for smokers. The toxins in cigarettes mess with blood sugar levels until insulin resistance becomes an issue. However, honeysuckle can be a powerful aid against diabetes and its symptoms.

One 2015 study found that honeysuckle had anti-diabetic effects on type 2 diabetes. Another study found that its potent anti-inflammatory properties helped reduce the severity of diabetic nephropathy.

Osha Root 

Unique to the high regions of New Mexico and Colorado, osha root has been used by indigenous cultures for centuries. 

Modern researchers found that osha root is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. One study found that it reduced inflammatory markers. Another found that natural phthalides in osha root had anti-inflammatory effects. Another found that it protected against oxidative damage.

Osha root also provides a powerful boost to the immune system to help it fight certain strains of bacteria. Researchers have so far found that it is effective against staph infections, e. Coli, and Bacillus cereus. More research needs to be done to see what other bacteria and viruses it can help fight.

Life Hacks to Quit Smoking

While smoking can be detrimental, the good news is that quitting significantly improves our health. No matter how long we use cigarettes, quitting provides almost immediate benefits.

However, many smokers struggle with quitting because it is a powerful addiction. For those who’ve failed before, though, there’s no need to be discouraged. It takes many of us multiple tries before quitting becomes permanent.

There are ways to make it easier, though:

  • Get motivated. Figure out your way to stay motivated when things get difficult.
  • Prepare first. While cold turkey might work for some people, the addictive nature of nicotine can hijack your reasoning skills. Line up support groups, resources, and research methods before your last cigarette. Cold turkey only works 3-5% of the time, so come up with a plan instead.
  • Use Nicotine Replacements. The withdrawals can be incredibly strong. Nicotine gums, lozenges, and patches can help slowly wean you off of it.
  • Find Ways to Relax. Cigarettes are usually used to release stress. Finding new coping techniques will help with the transition. Get a massage, go for a walk, or pick up a new hobby to relax.
  • Find a Support System. Quitting is difficult to do alone. Find a support group, get accountability from friends or family to get encouragement and support.
  • Celebrate Small Victories. The road to quitting can seem long sometimes. Even going 24 hours without a cigarette can be monumental. Celebrate each step along the way.

Tackling quitting alone isn’t the only option. Look to nature to find some gentle support.

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