The main task of the lungs, an essential respiratory organ, is to take in oxygen when we inhale and release carbon dioxide when we exhale. As they never rest, it is important to keep them healthy. Cleansing the lungs on a regular basis is a good practice.
A lung cleanse helps detoxify and cleanse the delicate respiratory linings of the bronchial passages and lungs, which often have an accumulation of environmental toxins, harmful organisms and irritants.
It promotes normal lung functioning, reduces any swelling and inflammation, and rejuvenates lung vitality and strength. Furthermore, it helps clear mucus from the airways and improves circulation to the lungs.
It even helps treat chronic bronchitis, asthma, throat infections as well as bad breath. Cleansing the lungs is not a very elaborate task. You can easily do it with some home remedies paired with lifestyle and dietary changes.
Here are the top 10 ways to cleanse and detox your lungs.
1. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing can help improve lung capacity by delivering more nourishing oxygen to your body. This will strengthen your lungs, clear the airways and cleanse them. Furthermore, it will increase energy and reduce stress.
- Lie flat on your back in a comfortable place.
- Place your hands on your stomach at the base of the rib cage.
- Close your eyes. Breathe in deeply through your nose while counting to 5.
- Hold your breath for 2 seconds, then slowly breathe out to a count of 5.
- Repeat 9 or 10 times per session.
- Do this breathing exercise 2 or 3 times a day.
2. Castor Oil Pack
For lung cleansing, you can also make use of a homemade castor oil pack. A castor oil pack stimulates waste elimination and helps draw toxins out of the lungs as well as the uterus, digestive system and liver. It even reduces inflammation and improves lymphatic circulation.
Use only organic, cold-pressed castor oil to make the pack.
- Soak 2 or 3 pieces of wool flannel in 1 cup of warm castor oil.
- Lie down on a large plastic sheet.
- Put the soaked wool flannels over your chest and sides, covering the lung areas.
- Cover the flannels with a large plastic sheet.
- Put a heating pad over the plastic sheet for 1 to 2 hours.
- Finally, remove the packs and rinse your body off with warm water to get rid of the oil residue.
- Repeat 2 times a week for at least a month.
Oregano is rich in compounds like carvacrol and terpenes that act as lung-cleansing elements. The herb can help reduce inflammation and congestion in the lungs, and improve nasal passage airflow and the health of your respiratory tract.
- Drink 2 cups of oregano tea daily when suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems. You can make the tea by steeping fresh or dried oregano in hot water for about 5 minutes.
- To detoxify your lungs, add a few drops of oregano oil to a glass of warm milk or tea and drink it at least once a day.
- Also, use fresh or dried oregano in your cooking.
Another effective herb that can cleanse your lungs is licorice. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help reduce inflammation of the bronchial tubes.
Furthermore, its antibacterial and antiviral properties help prevent and treat mild lung infections, as well as reduce lung irritation due to a sore throat, a dry cough or allergen exposure.
A 2002 study published in Planta Medica noted the antimycobacterial and anti-legionella activity of licorice roots in the treatment of severe lung infections.
- Drink 2 to 3 cups of licorice root tea for a few days when suffering from respiratory or lung problems. To make the, add 1 teaspoon of licorice powder to a cup of hot water, cover and steep for 10 minutes.
- Another option is to mix ½ teaspoon of licorice powder with a little honey and have it twice daily for a few days.
Note: This herb may not be suitable for pregnant women, infants and people who have diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease or low potassium levels.
You can also use ginger to detoxify your lungs. It contains several chemical compounds that help the lungs function more effectively by eliminating air pollutants from the air passages before they irritate the lungs. It also improves blood circulation.
Furthermore, ginger can even help in the treatment of lung cancer. A 2012 study published in Anticancer Agents in Medical Chemistry indicates the promising chemo-preventive effect of ginger extracts against lung cancer.
- Drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea daily to enjoy strong lungs. To make the tea, boil 1 teaspoon of sliced grated ginger in 1 or 1½ cups of water. Allow it to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain it and add a little lemon juice and honey for taste.
- Include raw ginger in your cooking. You can also take a supplement after consulting your doctor.
Note: People who take heart or high blood pressure medication should avoid taking ginger in excess.
Peppermint is another good option for naturally cleansing your lungs. Peppermint and peppermint oil contain menthol that helps relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract. This promotes effortless breathing and helps clear symptoms of any upper respiratory congestion.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology noted that the anti-congestive, antispasmodic and expectorant properties of peppermint oil helped relax the trachea in rats.
- For strong lungs, chew 3 to 5 peppermint leaves each day.
- To treat congestion, add a few drops of peppermint oil to a pot of hot water and inhale the steam.
- You can also drink 2 cups of peppermint tea daily. To make the tea, add 1 teaspoon of dried peppermint leaves to a cup of hot water. Cover and steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
Note: Do not use this herb if you have a history of gallstones.
7. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is highly beneficial for the lungs due to its potent decongestant, antiseptic and expectorant properties. This oil can ease a cough, fight congestion and soothe irritated sinus passages.
A 2010 study published in Alternative Medicine Review noted that cineole (a compound in eucalyptus oil) has immune-stimulatory, antioxidant and antispasmodic effects.
- Add 5 to 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a pot of hot water.
- Cover your head with a towel and bend your head over the pan to take in the steam.
- Do a steam inhalation for 5 to 10 minutes, once or twice a day to cleanse the lungs when suffering from congestion.
Another herb that can cleanse and relax your lungs is lobelia. The alkaloid in it, known as lobeline, promotes the expulsion of phlegm by thinning the mucus.
It even stimulates the release of epinephrine, which relaxes the airways for easy breathing. Researchers believe that this compound may also help reduce the effects of nicotine in the body.
- Add 5 to 10 leaves of lobelia to a pot of boiling water. Cover and steep for 5 minutes, then inhale the steam. Do this for 10 minutes each morning and evening for a few days to cleanse your lungs.
- You can also take this herb in the form of herbal tea or tincture. This herb can be potentially toxic so take it under the supervision of a qualified herbal practioner.
Note: Pregnant women, nursing mothers and people with heart disease or high blood pressure should not take this herb.
9. Improve Air Quality
The air you breathe in has a huge impact on your lung health. You may not have control over outdoor air pollution, but you can surely improve your indoor air quality where you spend most of your time.
Indoor air is as contaminated as outdoor places, due to regular use of chemical-based cleaners, air fresheners, and other scents.
Indoor air pollutants include carbon monoxide, radon gas, formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia and trichloroethylene can cause harm to your lungs.
- Ensure regular cleaning, dusting and mopping of floors to remove dirt and dust.
- Use a vacuum cleaner with strong suction, rotating brushes and good quality filter to ensure proper cleaning.
- Minimize the use of harsh cleaners and cleaners with strong fragrances. Switch to non-toxic options for cleaning.
- Avoid using aerosol sprays laden with chemicals.
- Use at least 2 houseplants such as fern, spider plant, peace lily, bamboo palm, aloe vera, English Ivy, dracaena, and others per 100 square feet of space. These plants should be in 10- to 12-inch pots.
- Ensure adequate ventilation.
- Use a good quality humidifier to maintain proper humidity level.
- Make your home a no-smoking zone.
10. Lung-Cleansing Foods
Foods you eat may affect the health of your lungs. A healthy diet stimulates the body’s natural cleansing mechanisms and strengthens the immune system.
- Start your day with a glass of lemon water and make sure to drink an ample amount of water throughout the day. Proper hydration facilitates the cleansing process.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as grapefruit, kiwi, bell peppers, oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, and pineapples.
- Include antioxidant-rich foods like garlic, onion, cayenne pepper, ginger, oregano, turmeric, apples and green tea in your diet.
- Eat folate-rich foods, such as lentils and black beans.
- Opt for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, while avoiding foods that contain trans-fat and saturated fat.
- Take a hot shower or sit in a sauna for 15 to 20 minutes to aid detoxification.
- Quit smoking. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Exercise daily to increase lung capacity.
- Exercise outdoors in an open area, away from traffic or other sources of pollution if possible.
- Avoid highly polluted and industrialized areas.
- Avoid sodas, coffee and alcohol.
- Play a wind instrument to increase your lung strength and endurance.