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The Best Herbs To Boost Your Lung Health

Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen

During these times, many are rightfully worried about contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19.) The illness primarily affects the respiratory system, and common symptoms among those with the virus include a cough and shortness of breath. 


If you have COVID-19, and you’re coughing or struggling to breathe, why not try some alternative treatments to improve your lung health and help speed up your recovery? You may even want to try strengthening your lungs BEFORE you develop any symptoms. Here is a list of various herbs that are widely used to treat lung problems.

Licorice root


Licorice root is a popular herb in Chinese medicine. Besides its long history of use in China, it’s been used in Greece and Egypt to treat respiratory problems for hundreds of years. Nowadays, people use it to soothe their cough and fight infection.




Coltsfoot, used by the Native Americans for thousands of years, strengthens the lungs and rids them of mucus. It’s also used for asthma, coughs, and bronchitis. It can be consumed in a tea or tincture.



This common plant actually has quite a few benefits for the respiratory system. Make a cup of peppermint tea and breathe in the vapor; this will help clear out your nasal passages. Menthol, the active compound in peppermint, acts as a decongestant, which makes it easier to breathe.


Osha root


Another herb used by the Native Americans, osha also has significance in Hispanic culture. It is used to treat respiratory problems, including cough, cold, pneumonia, and sore throat. The herb is uncommon, due to its endangered status, but it can still be found online.



Besides its use as a cooking spice, thyme is also used as a treatment for bronchitis, cough, and sore throat. It is commonly brewed into a tea.




Oregano is used mostly in Italian food, but it also contains two natural decongestants and antihistamines: Carvacrol and rosmarinic acid. These two compounds can help improve lung health and aid respiratory issues.



This plant has been used for centuries to treat respiratory conditions. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and helps boost your immune system. It’s also a common ingredient in cough syrups. Eucalyptus contains a chemical called cineole, which can fight congestion, reduce severity of a cough, and even clear out your sinuses.



The ancient mullein plant is another remedy for those with lung issues. It can help clear the lungs of mucus and reduce inflammation. It’s used to treat cough, pneumonia, and all sorts of respiratory problems. Surprisingly, smoking the leaves can clear out the lungs, but making mullein tea is also effective for lung health.


There’s no reason why you should have to deal with COVID-19 symptoms without having any remedies on hand to soothe your lungs. Try some of the herbs above, many of which can be found at your local grocery store, and see if they work for you.

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