Natural Therapies for the Respiratory System
Posted: May 20th, 2011
Feeling congested? Have bronchitis, asthma or a head cold? There are so many natural things we can do to support and heal the respiratory system! Here are just a few ideas:
- 3 – 4 small Onions
- 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 cup Cornmeal, Flaxseed meal or Flour
- Cheesecloth or muslin
Chop onions into small pieces and saute’ them in oil until they are translucent, but not mushy. Pour enough apple cider vinegar into the pan to cover the onions. Reduce the heat and add 1 cup of cornmeal, flax seed meal or flour (these help hold the heat in and hold the mixture together). Mix well until you have a peanut butter consistency. Put the mixture on cheesecloth or muslin and fold it together. Rub vegetable oil on the chest to protect it before applying the pack. Apply the poultice to the chest. Put a plastic bag over the top of the poultice and a warm towel or a heating pad over the plastic bag. Relax and breathe deeply. You can keep the pack on as long as it is warm, but I recommend at least 20 minutes. This is also a pack that you can apply to the feet, especially for smaller children.
Note: a Mustard Pack can be made in a similar way. It is important to buy whole mustard seeds and grind them with a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder before using. Use 1 part mustard seeds to 4 parts Cornmeal, Flaxseed meal or Flour. You can add more flour for a child or if the pack feels too strong. Moisten with tepid water until you have a cream cheese consistency and follow the above directions. Make sure you apply the vegetable oil on the chest to protect it before applying the pack — mustard packs can irritate the skin.
Adding Essential Oils:
Essential oils can make a wonderful addition to either pack. Start with a little and you can add more later if needed, even by dropping some oil right on the muslin cloth. Good respiratory oils include Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Ravinsara, and Thyme linalool.
Fill the neti pot with 1-cup warm water (or herbal tea). Add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, rock salt, Celtic salt or kosher salt (NOT table salt) and stir until dissolved. Add herbal tea, an herbal extract or aloe vera juice if desired. Do not use essential oils in a neti pot. You can adjust the herbs depending on your symptoms. For a sinus infection, you may want to add Goldenseal, Yerba Mansa, Usnea, Oregon Grape Root or Sinus Soother tincture. For Sinus allergies and inflammation, you might consider adding Turmeric, Stone Root, Ambrosia, or Sinus Support tincture.
I have found that tinctures work wonderfully in a neti pot or even as an eye rinse as long as you add them to a saline solution. They are, in fact, my preferred way to make an herbal rinse. I use 30 — 60 drops in a one-cup saline solution and have no burning or mucus membrane irritation. Remember, though; if your membranes are already infected or irritated, doing any neti at all might burn, but this is helping those membranes to recover so don’t worry about the sting in that case.
To Do It: Bend over the sink and tilt your head to one side, placing the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril, letting the water run out the lower nostril. Just before switching sides, lean you head forward between your knees to let the solution run into your upper sinuses. After using half of the pot, repeat on the other side. This process can be done 1 – 2 times a day.
by Elaine Sheff
To learn more, see our article “A Tea Pot for Your Nose?”.