Lungwort, also known as lungwort leaf or Pulmonaria officinalis, is a natural plant that has been used around the world for a variety of respiratory ailments, including coughs, colds, bronchial detoxification and catarrhal problems. Lungwort is found in native damp habitats and coastal areas in Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa. Because it’s very sensitive to environmental toxins, the areas in which it is found are typically unpolluted old forests, and thus, the presence of lungwort is often a good indicator of an ecosystem’s health.
A Brief History of Lungwort
In the early 1600s, a theory known as the “Doctrine of Signatures” was widely accepted. Essentially the foundation of this practice was that plants resembling certain human physical attributes were believed to be beneficial to the part of the body they resembled. It was during this time that lungwort–which resembles the tissue inside the lungs–was discovered to be an effective remedy for respiratory ailments.
Over time, the medical accuracy of many “Doctrine of Signatures” based remedies was discredited. However, modern research suggests lungwort has certain traits, specifically as an antioxidant and secretolytic that may be beneficial to lung health.
Lungwort for Reducing Irritation
The University of North Carolina classifies lungwort as a plant helpful for reducing irritation and providing soothing qualities. It is believed that these beneficial properties, based mainly on overwhelming anecdotal support, is deemed as a respiratory aid.
Lungwort and Respiratory Issues
Lungwort’s high mucilage content is known to be helpful in respiratory conditions, namely asthma and, in particular, chronic bronchitis. While there isn’t a ton of research currently available, it is widely accepted that lungwort can be used by people with these conditions–in conjunction with doctor recommendations–as a complementary approach.
Lungwort’s Antioxidant Benefits
Lungwort’s role as an effective respiratory therapy is also due in part to its antioxidative properties. A Bulgarian study confirms these findings, noting high phenolic content and antioxidant properties in teas made from the plant.
It’s already well established that antioxidants serve vital roles in the human body, from protecting the cardiovascular system to supporting healthy aging. Antioxidants are crucial for supporting organ health and wellbeing, especially in the presence of pro-oxidants, or free radicals. That being said, it is believed that lungwort is effective against harmful organisms that affect lung and chest function due to its high level of flavonoid glycosides, another name for specific types of antioxidants.
Supplementing with Lungwort
Lungwort is most often available in tinctures, teas, and capsule form. Short term or infrequent use of lungwort is generally considered safe. For supporting health on all levels, I recommend lungwort in its pure, natural form. Lungwort is one of the many high-quality, plant-based ingredients available in Allertrex®, an important natural tool designed to support lung and respiratory health.
Lung Cleansing Benefits of Osha Root
Osha or Ligusticum porteri, (also called bear root) is an important perennial herb that inhabits the dry, upland meadows and ravines of the Rocky Mountain. The beneficial part of the Osha plant is the root, which has long been used and considered sacred by Native Americans for cold, cough, and other respiratory ailments. The root contains oils, including camphor, saponins, ferulic acid, terpenes, and phytosterols. Because of the range of mechanisms it has, Osha root is, arguably, the best American herb for lung and throat problems.
Osha Root as Relief for Respiratory Problems
Osha root can help alleviate breathing problems in a number of capacities. Osha root helps clear mucus from the sinuses and lungs by increasing expectoration; this relieves congestion and makes breathing easier. Osha root also increases blood circulation to the lungs, which increases dilation during constriction. For this reason, it is of particular interest as a support mechanism for emphysema, pneumonia, asthma, and allergies. The bronchodilating effect is compounded by Osha root’s ability to help the efficacy of the lungs by increasing oxygen utilization and uptake in the body. It is believed the increased blood oxygenation is facilitated by an increase in gas exchange through the alveoli in the lungs. In simpler terms, Osha root helps one to take deeper breaths.
Osha Root for Cold and Flu Symptoms
Osha root is commonly used as a multi-therapy for cold and flu symptoms. The root has demonstrated activity against harmful organisms and, when taken at the onset of cold, may help reduce the window of time in which indications are experienced. Although Osha root doesn’t have a direct antihistamine action, its effect is similar, and using a root tincture during a histamine flare-up can lessen indications of head colds and respiratory ailments. One of the most notable benefits of Osha root is its numbing effect, used to help soothe the irritated tissue of a sore throat. It has been an ingredient in cough drops and lozenges and can even be made into a cough syrup that is more effective than echinacea and goldenseal.
Although Osha root should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women, the plant is considered safe and not associated with any negative side effects. Because the plant is difficult to grow in commercial cultivation environments, it is generally sold as wildcrafted and available in sprays, tinctures, and capsule forms.