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Respiratory Herbs - Hot/Dry



This has been a wild year for respiratory conditions. Actually, it has been a wild 3-4 years, beginning with CV which was initially thought to be a condition that mostly affected the lungs (we learned pretty quickly that it was a vascular condition that sometimes had a effects on the lungs.). We then all heard the chanting of "I can't breathe" in response to the tragic events around George Floyd. Then came the fires. One after another. We watched the burning of the earth's lungs, and felt the effects on our own. Yes, nature is drawing attention to our lungs.....which is where our grief is held. It seems that nature is saying....ok I'm going to get you to pay attention to the HUGE grief that is all around us one way or another.....and if you don't listen, I'm just going to keep going until you do. Ahhhhh but that is another tendril off of the subject of the respiratory system, and not the focus of this article. (However, if I may insert this little important bit here......please read Earth Grief by Stephen Buhner. It's important......and read the WHOLE thing....because it's easy to sink into the grief of it, but I promise when you read it all the way through, it brings you back around to a beautiful place.)


The recent fires in Canada, brought back a rendition of a formula I created a few years back for friends who were dealing with lung issues from the California Wildfires. These are hot and dry situations, ,which reflect in hot and dry conditions in the respiratory tract. They call for herbs that are cooling and moistening (Again, why I stress the importance of learning about herbal energetics and tissue states.)


The original formulation I created was called Renew Breath. It contained nourishing herbs that also help protect and restore respiratory tract tissues. I first called upon Reishi and New England Aster. Two wonderful plants for the respiratory tract. To help bring in some moistening qualities, I invoked the help of licorice root and marshmallow root. And lastly I added Osha. Now Osha is a very hot herb, but it also felt very important here. Normally I would have not chosen something so hot, when creating a blend for cooling and moistening.....however, many of the folks were also complaining about deep seated mucous - which mucous was a bit strange given such dry and hot conditions....and yet this was the situation. I knew something needed to be added to help to circulate that and bring it up. I also included a small bottle of lobelia to be used by drop dose on its own when needed. Lobelia stimulates the vagus nerve and relaxes the bronchial. It OPENS everything so we can better receive the medicines.

The formulation was 1 part Osha, 1 part Reishi, 1 part New England Aster. 1/2 part licorice root, and 1/2 part marshmallow glycerin. Taken 1 - 2 droppers full 2-3x daily. I also recommend cold infusions of marshmallow root and the mentioned drop dose of lobelia when needed.


When I redid this formula for the Canada Fires, something different was needed. Lungwort lichen was what called to me. The lichens ability to filter out different things (just think of their role on the trees they grown on), felt very important here, given the symptoms people were describing and the scents of the smoke they were inhaling. This formulation I called Renew Breath 2023, and the ratios were the same as the above mentioned formulation, with the addition of 1 part lungwort lichen.


The folks I shared this with have found it incredibly helpful along with additional measures such as staying indoors when smoke is thick, wearing N95 masks if they need to go outside (these actually can filter smoke particles), and I almost always feel that the addition of cleavers tea can be helpful when dealing with anything that compromises the body, as it is incredibly supportive to the lymphatic system.


This is a good formulation to have on hand, especially in the time of smoke and fire.

I hope that it is helpful to you.

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