The lungs provide oxygen to the bloodstream and expel the waste gas, carbon dioxide. Body temperature is also partly maintained by the process of respiration. Asthma and bronchitis (dealt with in detail elsewhere) are conditions which interfere with this process. Bronchitis, which is characterized by difficult breathing along with coughing, wheezing and the spitting up of mucus, is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes (air passages of the lungs). It can be acute (almost always a complication of an upper respiratory infection) or chronic (usually a result of smoking, air pollution, or a symptom of a more severe problem such as emphysema). Emphysema involves structural damage to the alveoli (tiny exchange mechanisms which are designed to get oxygen into the blood). A more or less constant sensation of suffocation comes from inhalation, followed by the inability to exhale. In pneumonia, the tiny air sacs (alveoli) become filled with fluid, usually as a result of bacterial or viral infection. The body responds with inflammation and the generation of fluids, which interfere with oxygen intake. Pleurisy, usually a complication of other inflammatory conditions, is infection of the sac-like membrane surrounding the lungs and pleural cavity. This causes pus, other fluids and sometimes fibrous material to be exuded into the chest cavity.

Recommended Action

The bowels must be kept free and moving in order to detoxify the system, and a liquid diet adhered to. The appropriate herbs should be used to keep the bacterial and viral infections under control. Congestion of the chest and lungs can be effectively relieved by the use of poultices (such as mustard packs), fomentations, clay packs, etc., while demulcent and expectorant herbs soothe the inflamed membranes and aid in expelling the mucous secretions.

Single Herbs: Slippery Elm, Licorice Root, Marshmallow Root, Mullein, Comfrey (demulcent and expectorant), Goldenseal, Garlic, Echinacea, Ma Huang, Myrrh Gum (antiseptic), Reishi (tonic).

Combinations: Reishi/Cordyceps, Reishi Extract, Goldenseal Plus Formula.

Nutritional Supplements: Beta-carotene (20,000 IU, twice daily), Vitamin C (500 mg, six times daily), Multivitamins and minerals.

Suggested Program: Reishi/Cordyceps (2-3 capsules, 3 times daily), Reishi Extract (3 capsules, 2-3 times daily), If infection is involved, add Goldenseal or Barberry or Coptis (1 capsule, twice daily). Follow a Mucusless Diet.