It has never been harder to breathe – between horrible air pollution from recent fires, the fear of respiratory viruses and the challenging of inhaling enough oxygen through masks.
Essential oils, with their natural anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties, can help support your lungs and improve your ability to breathe easily again.
Your lungs help you breathe – carrying fresh, oxygen-rich air into your body and eliminating waste, like carbon dioxide.
Your lungs inhale and exhale an average of 16,000 times a day (anywhere from 15 to 25 times per minute). In your airways, your upper respiratory tract filters small particles. Coughing and sneezing remove larger irritants from the airways and nasal passages and are essential defensive reactions.
Chemical exposure to airborne toxins like cigarette smoke, car exhaust, sprayed pesticides, herbicides, air pollution, and other airborne chemicals or toxins, like pollen or mold spores, can compromise the integrity of your lungs. Exposure to mold and mold mycotoxins creates a constant assault on your lungs, a condition Harvard researcher and clinician Dr. Datis Kharrazian calls “leaky lungs,” where mold enters your body through your lungs, then spreads through your lymphatic system.
Symptoms of Compromised Lung Function
Symptoms like asthma, frequent coughing, or respiratory issues, like difficulty breathing or frequent clearing of the throat, may indicate compromised function. If lung function is compromised, you might notice you feel worse on days when air quality is compromised. An easy self-assessment is to take two deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling deeply. If these deep breaths trigger a cough reflex, you might consider supporting your lungs by inhaling essential oils that help strengthen the lungs.
The Power of the Inhalation Channel
The lungs are one of the most powerful channels into the body. When you breathe, air enters your body through your nose or mouth and transfers to the air passages, which carry oxygen to your lungs. Your lungs then pass oxygen into your bloodstream where is it transported to tissues and organs.
Therefore, anything you inhale via the lungs quickly travels to every cell of the body. In fact, the entire process from the initial inhalation of an essential oil to a corresponding response in the body can happen in a matter of seconds.
The effectiveness of this delivery channel explains why cocaine is snorted through the nose and why anesthesia is delivered via inhalation. When remedies are inhaled, they go straight into the bloodstream via blood vessels in the nasal cavity. Upon entering the bloodstream, the remedy can travel quickly to the brain, thus eliciting a host of intense effects shortly after snorting.
In addition to being the fastest channel into the body, the inhalation channel allows remedies to bypass the digestive tract and the liver, where it would be subjected to digestive processing. Read more about why inhalation is the most effective method of consuming Essential Oils HERE.
How Essential Oils Help You Breathe
Essential oils contain expectorant properties that can help de-congest and calm an irritated respiratory tract and support mucous drainage from your lungs. Expectorants help expel mucus out of your body and support your respiratory detoxification. In particular, eucalyptus oil possesses potent antibacterial, antiseptic, expectorant, and decongestant that can help clean and strengthen the lungs. Peppermint essential oil possesses expectorant qualities that may help support upper-respiratory congestion, caused by asthma, bronchitis, allergies, cold, or flu.
Eucalyptus radiata can be used on its own or as part of Breathe™ blend to help soothe inflammation in the lungs and calm bronchial spasms that can result in coughing fits. Since eucalyptus oil can be “hot,” meaning it can cause a hot or warming sensation when applied to the skin, including causing the skin to turn red, I recommend you dilute more aggressively with a carrier oil.
What’s more, essential oils have been shown to increase circulation and blood flow to the brain. For example, essential oils can help relax and improve the health of your blood vessels. This helps more blood circulate through them, improving your circulation and increasing brain oxygen levels in the process.
5 Essential Oils to Help You Breathe!
Breathe™ blend contains three different types of Eucalyptus oil, a potent antiseptic, expectorant and decongestant that can help clean and strengthen the lungs. Breathe™ also contains Peppermint™ essential oil whose expectorant qualities may help support upper respiratory congestion caused by asthma, bronchitis, allergies, cold or flu.
To use, apply 1- 2 drops topically on throat and upper chest (Breathe™ contains a lot of hot oils and can turn the skin red. Therefore, we recommend diluting with castor oil, coconut oil or olive oil before topical application). Breathe™ can also be inhaled using steam inhalation (Place 2 to 3 cups boiling water + 5 drops of Breathe™ in a bowl, cover your head with a towel, close eyes and bring face close to the bowl and gently inhale the steam) or used with a hot wet towel compress to the lungs and throat areas.
The vagus nerve connects your brain to all your lungs. Your vagus nerve tells your lungs when it is time to breathe and communicates with your diaphragm to produce deep breaths. This is a bi-directional signal, meaning that actively focusing on your breath and the movements of your diaphragm, like deep, calming diaphragm breathing, can help trigger the parasympathetic state and that inducing the parasympathetic state can help enhance deep breathing.
Slow, deep, intentional breathing not only allows us to take in oxygen and expel waste, it can also help us drop into the parasympathetic “rest and digest” state. Slow deep breathing tells the nervous system that there is no emergency that it’s safe to downshift into the parasympathetic state.
To trigger the parasympathetic state, simply apply a drop of the Parasympathetic™ blend to the vagus nerve (behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone).
Supporting circulation can help to open your lungs and expand your capacity breathe deeply and assimilate oxygen. For example, essential oils in the Circulation™ blend can be used to help your veins contract, stimulating blood flow. Circulation™ contains high levels of Cypress essential oil, which has demonstrated protective properties that research has found to neutralize threats to the lung lining. Cypress oil calms the respiratory system, clearing congestion, eliminating phlegm and exhibiting antispasmodic and antibacterial properties that can support severe respiratory conditions like asthma and bronchitis along with respiratory infections caused by bacterial overgrowth, according to a 2004 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Apply 2- 3 drops of Circulation™ on the sides or back of the neck, over the clavicles and lungs to help enhance breathing.
Histamine Balance™ Histamine is a chemical substance that can be released in the lungs and cause narrowing of the bronchial tubes and difficulty breathing. While the release of histamine is a normal defense mechanism, an exaggerated histamine response can contribute to chronic inflammation of the nasal passages, sinuses and lungs contributing to breathing troubles such as wheezing, severe coughs, asthma, or hiccups. The goal is to balance, not block, t
he histamine response as histamine performs critical functions in body, contributing to HCL production and neurotransmitter signals.
To help reduce over-active histamine reactions and allow healthy breathing patterns, apply 1 – 2 drops of Histamine Balance™ behind your ears, on the back of your neck, or on your sternum to open airways.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones which affect the lungs so that extra oxygen may be absorbed. Adrenaline from the glands causes the bronchioles of the lungs to expand for extra air flow into the lungs. Cortisone and cortisol are produced which affect the lung tissue itself. When babies are born prematurely, they are given cortisone to help their lungs develop. One sign of adrenal exhaustion happens to be frequent respiratory infections, so supporting the health of your adrenal glands can help you breathe easier.
Adrenal™ helps bolster the resilience of your adrenal glands to help support lung health. Adrenal™ contains a proprietary formulation of Cinnamon, Galbanum, Manuka, Rosemary, and Thyme essential oils. Rosemary and Manuka in particular are known to help support respiratory disorders.
Apply 1- 2 drops of Adrenal™ on the adrenal glands (on the lower mid-back, one fist above the 12th rib on each side).
Additional blends to help you breathe easily!
In addition to the 5 key blends above, the following 3 blends can also help boost respiratory health:
Sinus Support™ The sinuses make up the upper part of your respiratory tract from your nose into your throat. Any sinus-related issues that lead to restricted, congested or inflamed nasal passages can contribute to breathing difficulty. Sinus Support™ helps to clear and open the nasal passages and supports the relief of sinus pressure from chronic sinus infections and/or sinus issues related to allergies.
To help open sinus passages and improve breathing, apply 2 – 3 drops of Sinus Support™ to a Q-tip and swabbing the inside of the nasal passages 2 – 6 times daily. For optimal effectiveness, you can leave the Q-tip in the nasal passage for up to 20 minutes.™
Lung Support™ The lungs serve as a fundamental source of life energy –transporting oxygen from the atmosphere into the capillaries so they can oxygenate blood – as well as an important channel of elimination – releasing carbon dioxide from the bloodstream into the atmosphere. Similarly, emotions like feelings of grief, bereavement, regret, loss, remorse can obstruct ability of the lungs to accept and relinquish, impeding their function of “taking in” and “letting go”. Grief that remains unresolved can become chronic and create disharmony in the lungs, weakening the lung’s function of circulating oxygen around the body. When lung function is impaired, it leads to shortness of breath, fatigue and feelings of melancholy. Lung Support™ helps overcome grief and let go of negative experiences.
Apply 2- 3 drops over the lungs. Allow yourself to deeply exhale any grief as you apply the blend. A normal and healthy expression of grief may be expressed as sobbing that originates in the depths of the lungs, including deep breathes and the expulsion of air with the sob.
Immune Support™ blend builds on the popular immune fighting essential oil formula known as “Thieves” blend which traces its origins to the bubonic plague when thieves were stealing the gold teeth out of the mouths of the dead. When they were apprehended, they were offered a lesser sentence in exchange for sharing how they avoided the illness.
Their secret was this blend of hot antiviral essential oils – including 13 organic and/or wild crafted essential oils of Frankincense, Clove Buds, Cinnamon Bark, Lemon, Eucalyptus citridora, Ajowan, Thyme, Orange, Oregano, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Mandarin, and Ginger Root – that strengthen the immune system against sore throats, infections, viruses, bacteria, fungus, parasites, and microbes. In fact, research found that essential oils high in eugenol, like Cinnamon and Clove, gave the most protection against viruses. What’s more, oregano contains carvacrol and rosmarinic acid compounds that are natural decongestants and histamine reducers and have direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow
To prevent a sore throat or respiratory illness or nip it in the bud once it starts, apply Immune Support™ 2- 3 times daily on the throat (diluted) or the bottom of the feet. To keep the family healthy, rub the oil on the bottom of the feet prior to bed (kids can even be asleep when you apply it).
How to Use Essential Oils to Support Your Lungs
In addition to topical application, you can also inhale essential oils to support your lungs, using steam inhalation. Place 2 to 3 cups of boiling water and 5 drops of an essential oil like eucalyptus in a bowl, cover your head with a towel, close your eyes, bring your face close to the bowl, and gently inhale the steam. Or you can apply a hot wet towel compress to the lungs and throat areas.
Essential oils can also be used in combination with nebulizers, a pressurized air stream that breaks essential oils down into very tiny particles, allowing for quick absorption in your lungs. Nebulizing does not involve heat and does not alter the chemical composition of the oils. Datis Kharrazian recommends nebulizing essential oils of clove, thyme and oregano.