How to Heal the Lungs Naturally

Five Methods:Preventing Lung DiseaseMaintaining Diet and NutritionIncorporating ExerciseUsing HerbsConsidering Methods for Asthma Treatment

The lungs and the respiratory system possess a number of natural defenses. The air inhaled through the nose is filtered by the tiny hairs in the nose. The lungs also produce mucus, a thick, sticky substance that forms a barrier and prevents many bacteria from attaching to the lungs. Healthy lungs are essential for a fulfilling, happy life. Unfortunately, our lungs get exposed to a lot of harmful chemicals and pollutants as we breathe in and out each day, which can lead to poor lung health and conditions such as tuberculosis, whooping cough, pneumonia, and bronchitis. There are also long-term diseases such as asthma, COPD, and lung cancer that affect the lungs over a long period of time. If you want to help improve your lungs, you can follow some great natural methods to restore them to peak condition.[1][2]

Method 1
Preventing Lung Disease

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    Stop smoking. Prevention is always better than treatment. With this is mind, you should try not to expose your lungs to extra stress, particles, carcinogens, and smoke. With this in mind, you should not smoke, or quit smoking if you do. It is debilitating to your lungs, puts harmful chemicals such as nicotine into your body, and wrecks your lungs through the constant exposure to smoke. Smoking also causes tar to coat your lungs, which is extremely harmful to your lung health.
    • Nicotine withdrawal can be quite severe if you quit smoking. Common symptoms include mood problems, dizziness, weight gain, anxiety, depression, increased coughing and insomnia. [3]
    • You don't have to quit without help. You can use support groups, nicotine gum and patches, or prescription medicines, such as Chantix.
    • For support in this sometimes difficult process, try help site such as The American Cancer Society, Smoke Free and the American Lung Association.[4][5][6]
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    Protect yourself against pollution. If you live in an area with high levels of air pollution, or if you have asthma, you can take a number of approaches to protect yourself. You can wear a mask when you go outside. You may also consider getting a home air filter system. This can protect you in your home against pollution.[7][8]
    • There are special masks you need to buy for lung health. Try masks that have active carbon or charcoal in the filter to prevent you from breathing in most allergens, pollutants, smoke, and chemicals. You can also buy more specialized masks with a stronger P100 filter, those made for specifically for the effects of cold weather, or ones that help with respiration.[9]
    • You can also sign up for an alert system, such as EnviroFlash, which sends email alerts regarding the air quality in your area. With a bit of advance notice, you can either stay at home when the air quality is bad or be aware of the problem and wear a protective mask when you go outside.[10]
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    Allow yourself to cough. One of the best natural methods to support your lungs is to allow yourself to cough. Many people tend to use cough suppressants, but in most circumstances, you should not do this. Coughing is how your lungs get rid of the mucus in your lungs that has allergens or infection in it. Suppressing the cough allows the infected mucus and allergens to remain in your lungs.
    • Consider using a cough suppressant only if the coughing causes significant discomfort or if you cough so much that you can’t catch your breath.

Method 2
Maintaining Diet and Nutrition

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    Switch to organic foods. Diet can help you protect and heal your lungs through the vitamins and minerals found in certain foods. Switch to organic foods as much as possible. Studies show that a number of different preservatives and additives found on in non-organic foods may be associated with asthma attacks, lung cancer, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
    • These additives include sulfites, aspartame, parabens, tartrazine, nitrates and nitrites, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and benzoates. Jin H, Xu C-X, Lim H-T, et al. High Dietary Inorganic Phosphate Increases Lung Tumorigenesis and Alters Akt Signaling. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2009;179:59-68</ref>
    • If you can't switch over to a full organic diet, try to avoid any foods that have these additives in them. Check the labels of foods to ensure you avoid these products as much as possible.
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    Limit processed and pre-packaged food. When trying to heal and support your lungs, you should limit the amount of pre-packaged and processed foods you eat. This will help you limit your intake of additives and preservatives, which can cause breathing problems and increased lung sensitivity. You should try to make most of your food from scratch, though it may take some extra practice and planning.
    • You will be healthier if you cook more from scratch and use foods that have not been processed. This is because they retain most of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients inherent in the foods.
    • A way to tell if a food is too processed is to see if it is too white, such as white bread, white rice, or white pasta. Instead, eat whole grain breads, brown rice, and whole grain pasta.
    • This means that you should include only unprocessed complex carbohydrates. If you avoid white bread and other processed foods, you have essentially excluded any other carbohydrates. When complex carbs are processed, they are broken down into the simple carbohydrates that are used by the body.[11]
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    Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits. In your daily food routine, you should try to increase your portions of vegetables and fruit. Reduced amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables are associated with lung diseases, particularly with asthma and COPD. Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of antioxidants, which have been shown to protect against asthma and COPD and may protect against cancer.[12][13]
    • For the highest level of antioxidants, choose brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, raspberries, apples, plums, oranges and citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, winter and summer squash, and bell peppers.[14]
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    Limit meats. When promoting lung health, you should limit your meat intake, especially red meat. If you do want to eat meat, make sure the beef is lean, preferably grass fed and hormone and antibiotic free. Eat poultry that's raised without hormones or antibiotics. You should also remove the skin.[15]
    • Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, are rich sources of vitamin A. People with vitamin A deficiencies are susceptible to bacterial infection in the lungs. Increasing your intake of vitamin A helps to kill harmful micro-organisms from the lining of lungs.[16]
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    Eat fatty fish. You should incorporate more fish into your diet. You will gain more lung-healing benefits from fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, herring and sardines. Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which promote lung health.
    • The anti-inflammatory property of omega-3 fatty acids helps increase the capacity to exercise, which improves lung health.[17]
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    Incorporate beans. As part of your healthy diet, try to include more beans and legumes in each meal. Navy beans, black beans, and kidney beans are good sources of protein. These beans, as well as legumes such as lentils, contain many of the vitamins and minerals needed to help maintain lung function.
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    Take supplements. Consider supplementing your diet with extra minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium. These minerals are necessary for proper lung function and improved health. Also, consider supplementing your diet with Vitamin D3 every day. Poor respiratory function is correlated with low Vitamin D levels.[18][19]
    • Always speak to a knowledgeable health care professional before taking any supplements and follow manufacturers' instructions when taking supplements.
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    Do not take beta-carotene supplements. Beta-carotenes are found in natural foods and provide the building blocks for Vitamin A. The supplements, however, should not be taken if you smoke or are at risk for lung cancer. Some research indicates that beta-carotene supplementation may be associated with an increased risk of lung cancer in people who smoke.
    • There is no evidence, however, that ingesting beta-carotenes in everyday foods can increase the risk for cancer.[20]
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    Drink lots of water. Drinking lots of water keeps the lungs hydrated and free of mucus. It also allows for easy blood flow. Aim to drink 64 oz of water per day. Drinking enough water is also necessary to keep your mucus thin, which helps to prevent too much mucus from building up in your lungs and airways.
    • You can also increase your body's hydration levels by drinking herbal teas and juice. Any fluid that is non-caffeinated is considered part of your daily fluid intake.
    • You can also increase your fluids by eating fruit and vegetables with a high water content, such as watermelon, tomatoes and cucumbers.[21]

Method 3
Incorporating Exercise

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    Increase cardiovascular workouts. Exercise is important in maintaining cardiovascular health, but it is important for lung health as well. Exercise increases blood flow to the lungs and allows all the necessary nutrients to reach them. You should take it slowly at first and proceed with caution so you do not overdo it. Find the right pace for you and increase the level of exercise as you are comfortable.
    • When you first start, go for a long or brisk walk or use an elliptical machine. These exercises are not too strenuous but will get the blood and air moving through your lungs and body.
    • If you have lung or breathing problems, consult your doctor before doing any new exercises. She may have examples of safe exercises that will help increase your lung capacity and help you gain lung strength.
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    Start breathing exercises. Breathing exercises are done to help increase the amount of oxygen you take in and your ability to release the carbon dioxide. At first, any of these exercises might make you a bit dizzy. This is why most healthcare professionals advise a slow and steady approach. Once you get used to the method of breathing that works best for you, you will find that you are using that method more and more, often without actively or consciously thinking about it.
    • You can find a personal trainer or physical therapist who can guide you in increasing that capacity. Ask your health care professional for a referral.
    • Always speak to your physician or health care professional before starting any program of exercise. If you are working toward greater lung health, she may refer you to a pulmonary rehabilitation specialist.
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    Try pursed-lips breathing. In general, most physicians will recommend one of two methods to ease any difficulty in breathing and increase lung capacity. The first method is pursed-lips breathing. Start this method by breathing in through your nose for about two or three seconds. Next, pucker your lips and breathe out slowly through your pursed or puckered lips for four to nine seconds. Repeat as often as you are comfortable.
    • If you get uncomfortable, wait an hour and try again. It will take practice and dedication, but if you do, you will soon find it easier to breathe and find that you feel better.[22]
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    Use diaphragmatic breathing. You should teach yourself to do diaphragmatic breathing, which is breathing through your belly instead of your chest. Although most people don’t breathe this way, this is considered normal breathing. It uses the diaphragm, which is the strip of muscle below your lungs that is the main muscle of breathing. First, relax your shoulders, back and neck. Place one hand on your belly and one on your back. Inhale through the nose for two seconds. As you inhale, move your belly outward. Then, breathe out through pursed lips to help control the rate of exhalation while gently pressing on your belly. This pushes up on the diaphragm, strengthening the muscle.
    • This will take some practice to master. It is not easy to retrain yourself to use the diaphragm, but if you watch babies, this is the way they breathe. They don’t use what are called the “accessory muscles of breathing,” which is the muscles of the neck, shoulders, back, and rib cage. Once you get it, use the method for as long and as often as you are comfortable.[23][24]
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    Perform a deep breathing exercise. There is a variation on the pursed-lips and diaphragmatic breathing methods adapted from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. For the deep breathing method, lie flat on your back. Use pillows under your knees and neck to make sure you are comfortable. Put your hands palm down on your stomach, right below the rib cage. Place the fingers of your hands together so you can feel them separate and know you are doing the exercise correctly. Take a long, slow deep breath by expanding your belly. Your fingers should separate as they lie on your belly.
    • This exercise ensures that you are using your diaphragm to breathe rather than your rib cage. The diaphragm creates suction that pulls more air into your lungs than can be achieved by expanding the rib cage.
    • Do this whenever you are short of breath or as often as you can. At first, you may feel a bit dizzy because you are pulling more oxygen into your lungs than you are used to. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, stop. However, you can repeat this as often as you want.[25]
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    Use humming breath. You can increase your lung capacity by strengthening your diaphragm. To do this method, first start with the deep breathing exercise. As you exhale, make a humming sound. This noise moves your diaphragm and helps strengthen the muscle. Do this whenever you are short of breath or as often as you can. At first you may feel a bit dizzy. Don't be alarmed. This is because you are getting more oxygen than you are used to getting at one time.
    • If at anytime you feel uncomfortable, stop. However, you can repeat this as often as you are comfortable.[26]
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    Try the Chinese breathing exercise. For this exercise, you need to sit down comfortably. Take three short inhalations through the nose. On your first inhale of breath, lift your arms, reaching in front of you and keeping the arms at shoulder level. On the second intake of air, move your arms to the side, keeping your arms at shoulder level. On the third intake, lift your arms over your head.
    • Repeat 10 to 12 times.
    • If this exercise causes any dizziness, stop. Once you do, the lungs natural rhythm will take over immediately.[27]

Method 4
Using Herbs

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    Use herbs. There are many herbs that can help with breathing and lung health. There is not one correct way to take any of these herbs. You can drink them by making them as teas. You can also take them as supplements. If you don't want to ingest them, you can use these herbs as aromatherapy by heating them in water and letting the scent permeate the room.
    • To make a tea, use one teaspoon of dried herb per cup of boiled water. If you use as a supplement, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
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    Try oregano. The Italian herb oregano is a natural decongestant, anti-microbial and anti-histamine. The active agents appear to be volatile oils called carvacrol and rosmarinic acid. You can add this herb, either fresh or dried, to recipes for tomato sauces and to rubs on meats.
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    Use peppermint. Peppermint's active ingredient is menthol. Menthol relaxes the respiratory tract muscles and acts as an anti-histamine. You can use peppermint as a fresh or dried herb in recipes for fish or desserts. You can also get it as an oil, which you put in food, take it as a dietary supplement, or apply it as a topical cream. There are also some versions of the oil that you can burn to permeate through the air.
    • Don’t apply peppermint or menthol oil directly to the skin of children. It has been associated with a decrease in the respiratory rate in children.[32][33][34]
    • Many people use menthol-based chest balms and throat sprays to help break up congestion.
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    Try eucalyptus. The leaves of a eucalyptus tree have been used for centuries. It's a natural decongestant, which loosens mucus, making it easier to cough out. The agents responsible for these properties are cineole, eucalyptol and myrtol. Clinical research suggests that eucalyptus can effectively treat chronic and acute bronchitis. You can take eucalyptus oil by mouth or as a topical rub, but it must be diluted.
    • Eucalyptus oil vapor acts as a decongestant when it is inhaled, making it effective in the treatment of bronchitis. Try placing a couple of drops of the oil into a bowl of hot water and inhaling the steam.
    • The diluted form of eucalyptus oil helps with coughing, swelling of the respiratory tract, bronchitis and numerous other respiratory problems.
    • It can be applied to the skin to help the swelling of respiratory tract mucus membranes.[35][36][37]
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    Take additional supplements. A few additional supplements might also be useful for lung health. You can take white horehound. It has been used in many traditions, including ancient Egyptian medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, Australian aboriginal and Native American medicines to treat different respiratory conditions. Cough lozenges such as Ricola drops contain horehound. Take 1-2 lozenges every 1-2 hours as needed.
    • Lungwort has been used for centuries as a treatment for lung disorders. It is a potent antioxidant and acts as an expectorant, which allows you to cough.
    • Elecampane contains inulin, which helps support mucus production and relaxes bronchial passages. It also has anti-bacterial properties.[38][39][40]
    • Do not use horehound if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.

Method 5
Considering Methods for Asthma Treatment

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    Control your asthma triggers. Problems relating to asthma can cause serious damage to your lungs. A way to avoid this is to prevent attacks based on triggers, such as air quality and environmental issues. If you have asthma, you may consider wearing a mask to help protect you from some of the common triggers, including pollen, mold, pet dander, pollution and, to some degree, strong odors.[41]
    • You can also use air filtration systems to remove and prevent many asthma triggers from entering your home.[42]
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    Avoid certain foods when you have asthma. People with asthma may have certain food triggers that are typically unique to each person. In general, individuals with asthma should avoid the common triggers such as eggs, fish, peanuts, soy, yeast, cheese, wheat and rice. Foods with a variety of preservatives, such as Monosodium glutamate (MSG), nitrates or nitrites, also can be triggers for asthma. These substances also decrease the efficacy of rescue inhalers.
    • These common allergies are the basis for the suggestion of an organic, whole food diet for asthma sufferers.[43]
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    Avoid sugar and sugar substitutes. Sugars and sugar substitutes can be detrimental to your lung health. A study has shown that asthma can be associated with high sugar intakes. Avoid candy, sugary beverages, snack cakes and other sugary snacks.[44]
    • If you need a sweetener for tea or coffee, try using the herb stevia as a sugar substitute.


  • Understand that you probably won't be able to completely heal yourself from any major lung issues.
  • Keep in mind that although these steps may help you maintain your lung problems a little bit better, it's always important to discuss medication with a trained professional.

Sources and Citations

  1. Quie, PG.,Lung defense against infection.J Pediatr. 1986 May;108(5 Pt 2):813-6
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Categories: Respiratory Health