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Herbs Help You Breathe More Easily ...

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There are many ways to enjoy the beneficial aspects of herbs and spices. You can cook with them, infuse them, inhale them, burn and smoke them, make extracts, oils, lotions, potions and salves, bathe in them, strew them  ... the list is endless.

Here on The Herb Boat, I have had a long history of smoking one of the most addictive herbs known to humanity, Tobacco, Nicotiana tabacca. Once commonly used medicinally as a relaxant, sedative and expectorant, it has been widely available for centuries as tobacco, tinctures and snuff.  When the truly addictive nature of nicotine was understood, along with the it's toxic, carcenogenic properties, particularly when smoked, it's medicinal use declined, though it is still widely commercially available as tobacco for smoking and chewing, and snuff. Many people cannot understand why anyone would choose to smoke, and many smokers battle with their addiction.

Whilst the long term detrimental health effects are now well known, the highly addictive nature of this herb makes it a habit that is hard to kick. Smoking is linked to many cancers, not just those of the lungs, gum disease, premature ageing, poor circulation and inevitable damage to the delicate membranes of the lungs. This was brought home to me in a frightening way recently when a chest infection made my annoying little "smoker's cough"  worse, and worse and eventually culminated in me being admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties last week. 

I'm now home, and feeling much better ... and yes, I have stopped finally smoking .....  but I have been diagnosed with COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder. I am still learning about what this will mean in the long term, but for now just getting out of bed results in wheezing and coughing. So I have been taking things easy and using a soothing blend of herbs as an inhalation, to help ease my wheeziness and soothe my bruised lungs.

Inhaling steam alone has long been used to help relieve coughs, breathing difficulties and congested sinuses. The addition of some herbs, spices and / or essential oils can enhance the soothing effect of the steam.

inhale1

My choice of herbs is;

Sage, known to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties,

Eucalyptus for it's powerful anti-bacterial, anti septic, astringent, antispasmodic , analgesic (pain killing) and expectorant properties,

Rosemary for it's soothing, anti-inflammatory properties,

Lavender for it's calming, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties,

Peppermint known to be an expectorant and decongestant

And a sprinkle of Orange Peel which provides support against respiratory distress, exerts a lung cleansing activity, breaks down and expels congestion (phlegm). It also contains high levels of histamine and antioxidants, which may help in relieving various respiratory complications like bronchitis, cold, flu.

So I place the herbs in a deep bowl, and add water that has just cooled from boiling

inhale2 inhale4

 

Then find a large towel and form a tent over your head and the bowl, keeping a good 30cm away from the bowl, and inhale the steam for 5 to 10 minutes. If at any point you feel any discomfort, just pop your head out of the tent.

inhale3

Not only does the steam moisten and open congested air passages, it also raises skin temperature causing blood vessels to dilate and thus improves blood circulation. So you will also benefit from a mini-facial. Be gentle with your facial skin after the inhalation, splashing it with cold water and patting it dry.

Other herbs, spices and essential oils to try inhaling for coughs, colds and sinus problems are Bay, Cloves, Cardamom, Tea Tree, Myrrh, Basil and Pine.

Obviously, if you are pregnant, breast feeding, taking any medication or if your symptoms are persistent and severe, you should always consult a qualified practitioner.

And obviously, if you are a smoker, you should get as much help, love and support as possible to help you stop.

Keep trying and say NO to Nick O'Teen

 superman_vs_nick_o_teen

TTFN

Bunny