It has been a difficult fire season on the West Coast. When the smoke gets bad, there are a few herbs and teas I always try to have on hand. Here are a few herbs you can use for tea or aromatherapy to help your lungs weather the intense smoke, dryness, and heat of this fire season.
Cedar & Rosemary Stovepot Infusion
Cedar and rosemary steam may increase circulation in your lungs if the steam is breathed. They also may aid in the removal of toxins, such as excess carbon or wildfire smoke, from the bloodstream.
To help cleanse your lungs and carry away toxins, make a cedar and/or rosemary infusion at home. Fill a large pot with water and set it on the stove over medium-high heat. Once the pot begins to steam, lower to a simmer. This can be left to steam all day, replenishing water as needed.
Note: Make sure to set a timer to replenish the water in your pot. The last thing anyone needs right now is more smoke in their home!
Mullein has a long history of helping with upper respiratory issues. It can help inflammation by soothing the little air filled sacks in your lungs called bronchioles. It calms the respiratory tract and reduces mucus. Great for soothing a scratchy throat! Tea can be made by combining 1 tbsp mullein with 3 cups of freshly boiled water. Steep for ten minutes.
Note: Can't find mullein? Ask your local herbalist, co-op, or health food store if they have mullein. Also, make sure to pour the tea through a mesh filter, as the small hairs on the leaves can be irritating.
Most mint plants, like peppermint and spearmint, naturally contain menthol. Menthol is used in cough drops. So that means mint naturally clears breathing passages, and soothes inflammation. You can make a mint tea infusion by combining 1 tbsp of mint leaves with 3 cups of freshly boiled water. Steep for ten minutes.
Cool fact: all members of the mint family have square stems!
This plant is in the Asteracae (sunflower) family. Often found in rocky, dry soil, it tolerates hard freezes. It may help with runny or congested nose, sore throat, and chest congestion. Tea can be made by steeping 1 tbsp of dried leaves and flowers of of the plant for ten or more minutes in freshly boiled water.
Note: Can't find Pearly White Everlasting? Ask your local herbalist, co-op, or health food store if they have it.
Mint & Mullein Smoke Clearing Tea Recipe
1 tbsp dried mullein 1 tbsp mint (peppermint or spearmint) 4 cups water
Place above ingredients in a pot or teapot. Cover, and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately remove from heat and let steep, covered, for fifteen minutes (or overnight for maximum effect). Pour through a sieve, and enjoy three times a day.
Note: Combine all three herbs above for an even stronger tea. If you don't have one of the herbs, substitute more of what you do have.
FDA Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are experiencing persistent symptoms it's best to see a qualified medical professional.