Our lungs are at the center of life. They are constantly working to bring oxygen to every part of our bodies. When they struggle, it affects nearly every aspect of our lives.

Unfortunately, lung ailments are incredibly common. Just a few common lung issues include:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Pneumonia
  • Cancer
  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Emphysema
  • Infections, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria

These ailments are serious and can require hospitalization, cause permanent damage, and even end in death. However, there are ways to help build up our lung health naturally. 

Our lungs, just like every other part of our body, can wear with age. It can become more difficult to breathe as they lose elasticity and strength. With the right lifestyle and natural remedies, we can maintain the strength of our lungs into old age.

Breathe Deeply for Years to Come

A healthy lifestyle is vital for maintaining lung health, but it’s impossible to avoid all of the toxins and exposure in everyday life. From poor air quality to secondhand smoke to stressful lifestyles, our lung health suffers.

Powerful herbal extracts that have been used for centuries have the research to help support and benefit the lungs. Let’s go over a few:

Mullein Leaf

Practitioners have used mullein leaf for thousands of years to combat many lung ailments that we still have today. Some of the conditions they used mullein leaf to treat include cough, bronchitis, asthma, and congestion. In fact, it became a popular treatment for tuberculosis during the Victorian era. Even Indigenous tribes in North America smoked mullein leaf to relieve both asthma and bronchitis.

Today, science has pinpointed why the plant can relieve numerous lung ailments. Scientists have identified many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in mullein leaf. Just a few of them include:

These antioxidants are powerful for empowering the body to fight numerous ailments in the lungs. They can also help ease the pain that often comes with lung issues. Research shows these antioxidants are anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-tumor, and pain-relieving. Mullein leaf is helpful for conditions such as asthma and tuberculosis because research shows it can support the relaxation of the air pathways.

Researchers have also found that it has strong antibacterial and antiviral activity. Numerous studies have demonstrated its ability to fight various viruses and bacteria that even antibiotics struggle to treat. Yet another study found that it was effective against the flu. A third study found that it could help fight a virus in the herpes family.

In addition to viruses, research has demonstrated mullein leaf’s ability to fight strains of bacteria. One study found that it was effective against multiple bacteria strains, including e. Coli and drug-resistance MRSA. Researchers have also discovered in other test-tube studies that mullein was also effective against different strains of streptococcus pyogenes and Bacillus cereus.

Although these are limited to test-tube studies, they help demonstrate mullein leaf’s bacteria-fighting properties. In fact, they have only started discovering what mullein can help fight.

Mullein leaf also has anti-hyperlipidemic activity that has the potential to protect the lungs. Dyslipidemia, or elevated serum triglycerides, is a growing health problem in modern society. It plays a factor in both heart disease and obesity, and both conditions can put a strain on the lungs. In addition, there is research that connects elevated lipoprotein with several lung disorders.

By encouraging normal lipid levels, mullein leaf can bring down inflammation in the lungs and support healthy function.

Mullein leaf has numerous properties that benefit lung health. Research backs up what many traditional cultures already knew: mullein leaf provides a powerful health boost.


The story goes that when Paris kidnapped Helen of Troy, yellow flowers sprouted from her tears. This gave elecampane its name, “Helen of the campaign.” 

Elecampane is an herb that is traditionally used around the world and goes by many names, including Elfdock, Horse-Elder, Velvet Dock, and Wild Sunflower. It gained popularity in the 17th century as a lozenge. However, science is still discovering the benefits of the tall yellow flower.

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Herbal medicine practitioners have long used elecampane to ease lung pain. Some of their pain-relieving effects include asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough. Some research backs its soothing effects on the throat, relieving coughs, and asthma. One study on guinea pigs found that they help ease the muscles in the throat. It was one of the most potent herbs of the 16 natural remedies tested.

Elecampane’s anti-inflammatory properties also help reduce cough and lung issues. One review of over 120 studies found that it has strong antioxidant properties. These properties enabled it to fight inflammation and inflammatory diseases. Another 2015 study showed that it was beneficial in treating oxidative-stress related diseases.

Researchers also found that it is effective against various strains of bacteria. One study found that it helped fight multiple strains of staph infections, including MRSA. As antibiotics struggle to treat resistant bacteria, research is pointing to herbs, such as elecampane, as a useful aid. It can be helpful to take alongside more traditional medical treatment.

Elecampane is full of a unique carbohydrate called inulin. It’s a soluble fiber that works as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are different from probiotics because they are not living bacteria themselves. Instead, they feed and encourage healthy bacteria in the gut, which promotes a healthy microbiome. 

A healthy microbiome is critical for all functions in the body. One essential task is maintaining a healthy immune system. In fact, research confirms that elecampane has immunomodulatory properties that support the immune system.

Elecampane provides a unique blend of anti-inflammatory and prebiotic that are not often found in nature. It provides a powerful boost to lung-and overall-health.

English Ivy

When most people think of English ivy, they may imagine a house plant that helps purify the air. However, the benefits of ivy surpass its ability to brighten a house. It’s actually a powerhouse to improve lung health and relieve irritation.

Even ancient Greek health practitioners understood ivy’s potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. They commonly used it to reduce swelling and as an antiseptic.

Ivy is full of anti-inflammatory properties that make it particularly useful for the lungs. Research has found that it is full of antioxidants. One study found that it helped treat both chronic and acute inflammation in rats. 

Overall, researchers have established ivy as an incredibly effective in treating cough and improving asthma symptoms. Ivy contains polysaccharides, which act as a demulcent and relieves irritation. This creates a soothing effect on the lungs and can support alleviating a cough.

A survey of over 17,000 participants found that it could be useful in reducing cough. Another study found that it was as effective as cough medicine for soothing chronic bronchitis. A 2016 randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study found it was a safe and effective cough remedy. Another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial also established ivy’s cough-soothing effects on acute bronchitis.

English ivy has also been tested and found effective in children. Researchers tested ivy on children with bronchial asthma in a placebo-controlled trial. The children that used ivy extract experienced increased air in the lungs. However, the study authors warned that the sample size was not large enough to conclude. Another 2014 double-blind study also found that ivy supported improvement and the effectiveness of treatment in children with asthma. Yet a third study also found that it was effective in relieving children’s cough.

Ivy may be able to clear mucous as well, although more studies need to be conducted. An initial animal study shows that it could be effective in reducing mucous. The research is promising in ivy’s many lung-boosting abilities.

Far more than a houseplant, English ivy can bring powerful relief to lung ailments naturally.


Many of us have sweet memories of sucking the nectar from honeysuckle in the late summer. What most of us might not realize, though, is that honeysuckle is a nutritional powerhouse that benefits the lungs.

There are over 200 species of honeysuckle, but it is the Japanese Honeysuckle that has long been used by ancient TCM practitioners. Its unique properties make it ideal for treating inflammation and upper respiratory infections. Today, research has found many uses for honeysuckle to improve respiratory health.

Scientists have isolated more than 140 compounds in Japanese honeysuckle that make it especially powerful. These compounds are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antiviral.

Most significantly, though, science has found that honeysuckle is especially useful for aiding the immune system and fighting off viruses. Researchers found that honeysuckle works as an immunomodulatory agent. What that means is that it can lower or raise the immune system as needed to bring it into balance. It can calm overactive immune systems, such as asthma. For those who need a boost, like with the flu or infections, honeysuckle can strengthen it. A 2015 study helped confirm its immunomodulating properties. Another 2018 study confirmed its ability to boost the immune system.

Whether you need help calming or boosting your immune response, honeysuckle can be helpful.

Osha Root

A cross between the carrot and parsley families, osha root goes by many names: Bear Root, Colorado Cough Root, and Mountain Lovage are just a few. Both Hispanic and Indigenous cultures traditionally use it in the high regions of Colorado and New Mexico for centuries.

Researchers have found that locals use the root for a good reason. It is a particularly rich source of antioxidants. Many lung ailments are root in either chronic or acute inflammation. Anti-inflammatory- rich foods like osha root can be powerful in reducing symptoms.

Multiple studies demonstrate osha root’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities. One study found that osha root showed significant antioxidant activity and reduced inflammatory markers. Another test-tube study showed that it helped protect against oxidative damage.

Osha root is also a powerful antimicrobial agent that helps the body fight off infection. Researchers found that it can fight everything from staph infections to e. Coli to bacillus cereus. Because of the limited amount of research, this may only scratch the surface of the bacteria that it could help fight.

With its strong antioxidant properties and ability to boost immune response, osha root is a powerful tool to improve lung health.

Life Hacks for Lung Health

While supplements can provide a powerful boost to lung health, they can’t completely undo an unhealthy lifestyle. To breathe deeply and freely for years to come, we must look after our lungs. The right diet and lifestyle choice can help maintain longevity.

Here are some ways that you can care for your lungs both now and in the long term:

Don’t Smoke

It’s no secret that smoking is detrimental to your health. Just one example of how devastating it is, smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers. Cigarette smoke is full of thousands of toxins that damage and weaken the lungs.

Smoking is a significant problem. The CDC reports that more than ten times as many US citizens have died prematurely from smoking than all the US wars. Also, it is the cause of 90% of all lung cancer deaths. Women are more likely to die from lung cancer than breast cancer each year.

Quitting smoking is one of the most powerful ways to impact our health positively. Not only will it stop the damage, but it can even reclaim lung health. The lungs are self-healing agents and will naturally start to improve when not filled with toxins. The longer the lungs are smoke-free, the more they can return to normal. Even within 12 hours of quitting, carbon monoxide levels begin to drop in the blood.

While it is powerful for becoming healthy, quitting is not simple. Many people find that it takes multiple tries to break the addiction. Getting support can be useful and make quitting more successful.


Exercise is beneficial for so many aspects of health. Promoting healthy lungs is one more to add to the list. 

Exercise forces the body to work harder and increase breathing rate, which improves oxygen supply to the whole body. It increases circulation and helps remove excess carbon dioxide. The body then learns to adapt to the increasing need, which improves lung capacity. Exercise also enhances various health aspects that impact lung health, including fighting obesity and improving cardiovascular health.

To get the maximum benefit of exercise for the lungs, try core and upper-body training. Chest and shoulders presses and deadlifts, for example, help strengthen the chest, shoulder, and back muscles. Strengthening these muscles promotes a breathing-friendly posture.

Aerobic exercise can also be particularly valuable for lung health. It encourages heavy breathing, which improves lung capacity.

A little exercise is more beneficial than none. Even walking 10-15 minutes is beneficial for lung health.

Drink Green Tea

Another general good habit, green tea can provide a powerful boost. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and other helpful properties. These properties can help combat inflammation that fuels many lung disorders.

Research supports green tea’s helpful properties. A 2018 study of over 1000 participants studied lung outcomes and green tea consumption. Researchers found an association with better lung function amongst those who drank at least 2 cups per day.

Take Vitamins

While vitamins help keep the body healthy in general, specific vitamins have been identified explicitly for lung health. While supplements can help, eating foods that are rich in particular vitamins are even more powerful. Food contains co-vitamins and minerals that improve absorption.

Vitamin C

One of the best ways to improve your lung health is by boosting your immune system. Vitamin C is powerful not only for warding off infection but also for improving lung capacity and strength. A 2014 review found that vitamin C helps improved lung function during stress. It helps reduce oxidative stress from exercise to keep the lungs healthy.

Some foods rich in vitamin C include citrus, kiwis, broccoli, kale, and berries.

Vitamin E

Another potent antioxidant, vitamin E is essential for keeping the lungs healthy. A 2017 study found that it helps reduce inflammation for asthma.

Because vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, it’s critical not to have too much of the synthetic vitamins. Try incorporating vitamin E-rich foods instead. Nuts and seeds, olive oil, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash are all great sources of vitamin E.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been getting a lot of attention lately, and for a good reason. It is connected with many processes in the body, including the lungs. Unfortunately, far too many people are low in this essential vitamin. 

One study found that it protects against respiratory infections and can lower the risk of COPD flare-ups. Another study with over 5,000 participants researched the effects of low levels of vitamin D. Researchers found it increased their risk of wheezing, asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. High levels, however, were associated with improved lung function.

While sunlight is the best way humans get vitamin D, it is limited. We can only convert vitamin D in the middle of the day and during certain times of the year. Those who live in the Northern Hemisphere are even more restricted. Also, being indoors and using sunscreen hamper the body’s ability to create vitamin D. 

Thankfully, there are ways to get it into our diets. Tuna, salmon, sardines, oysters, and egg yolks are all rich sources of vitamin D.

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

If there is one thing to take away from this article, it’s how inflammation is associated with lung disease. An anti-inflammatory diet can help fight inflammation in the lungs and improve overall health. 

Some anti-inflammatory foods to include for lung health:

While anti-inflammatory supplements can boost lung health, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can make supplements even more powerful.

Decrease Indoor Pollution

Most people know that outdoor pollution can be harmful to lung health. Smog and toxins in the air are damaging. However, indoor pollution can be even more detrimental to human health. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, some pollutants are two to five times greater indoors. This is especially concerning because Americans spend 90% of their time indoors on average.

Some ways to decrease indoor pollution include:

  • Dust and vacuum weekly
  • Open windows often
  • Keep a clean home
  • Use natural cleaning products
  • Avoid synthetic air fresheners and candles

By maintaining a natural and clean home, we can reduce our exposure to many harmful toxins that could damage our lungs.