NOTE: This article will help you create a tea blend with herbs that are supportive of your lungs and respiratory health. If you’re dealing with smoky skies from recent fires, are living in a city with lots of pollution, or just need a little help taking a deep breath, these options may help!
It seems every year fires spring up here in the Western U.S. Some years are devastating, like this year. When that smoke pours over your valley, covering your home in fumes, and creating an environment of unclean air, a little herbal tea can really help a lot!
Here are some guidelines I use to create my own lung supportive and respiratory blends for tea and tinctures, but if you want a specific recipe that’s gotten some serious rave reviews and is easy to make, take a look at this recipe for Lung Support Herbal Tea.
We’ve had some crazy bad fires here in Idaho, Oregon, and N. California this year. Just terrible! Smoke affects your entire quality of life, and it starts with your ability to take a good breath of air. Smoke is irritating to the tissues lining your respiratory system, from the sinuses to deep within the lungs.
Herbs can help!
The other night, I simply could NOT breathe well, due to the fires in our area, and so I turned to my herbs, and secondarily to my essential oils.
If you’re a person like me, who has always struggled with lung issues such as bronchial issues, bouts of pneumonia, asthma, allergies, wheezing, etc., or have someone close to you who does, then you’re in the right place! You’ll be able to find some relief and ideas here.
**And, if you’re into preparedness and concerned about the supply issues with drugs in the stores, this article can help you get prepared as well!
In the meantime, let’s talk about categories of herbs you’ll want to include in your own tea blend for cases when breathing is difficult, especially when caused by outside irritants, like smoke.
FTC Disclosure: There are affiliate links scattered here and there in this article. This simply means that if you click through and make any kind of purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you at all.
How to Create a Tea for Respiratory Support During Times of Difficulty Breathing
It’s no secret that natural methods for supporting your body have been proven over and over again. So, why. not try out some of these herbs to see how you can start improving your health with herbs?
Here are herbal categories and my favorite choices to consider when putting together a tea or tincture blend for healthy lungs and breathing. These are the herbs I personally turned to for my own breathing issues during our recent smoky air, when we didn’t even see the sun for nearly a week!
To create a tea blend for the lungs, simply choose an herb from each category. If you feel like you need a little extra help, add two from a category. For more directions on tea formulation, visit this article, because I share how I determine percentages of specific herbs.
Scroll down after the herb categories for some specific ideas for blends you can try for yourself!
These types of herbs have a high amount of mucilage, which helps soothe and moisten dry, inflamed and painful mucous membranes (like those found in your eyes, nose, and throat, among other areas).
Herbs in this category include marshmallow root and leaf, slippery elm bark, wild violet leaves, and ground flax seed.
Respiratory Supportive Herbs
These will be primary herbs in your blend, since they directly act on the respiratory system.
Herbs in this category may have some variations in actions on the lungs and overall respiratory system, so I’ve included my favorites for general support and highlighted a couple that I consider premier choices.
Pine needles (yep—that pine growing in your yard is wonderful, as long as it’s not sprayed with pesticides and is a true pine tree), bee balm (yep—that beautiful flower growing in your garden), goldenrod (Solidago spp), and your aromatics like rosemary, thyme, and oregano.
My favorite heavy hitters in this category include mullein (my first go-to) and elecampane. I keep this on hand all the time so they’re available to me and the family. They’re safe and gentle…and they work amazingly well.
Relaxing Nerve System Support
These are known as relaxing nervines, and they help calm and soothe frazzled nerves and bring a sense of peace to the mind and body. This is particularly important when you’re dealing with difficulty breathing due to smoke, asthma, or other issue because when you can’t get enough oxygen into your lungs, it causes extreme stress.
The problem is, the more you stress out, the harder it is to breathe! So, using these herbs will help your body and mind relax to an extent, which in turn will help with your breathing ability. It will also help protect your immune system to an extent, as stress plays a large role in decreasing our immune defenses.
I like these choices, in general order from weakest to strongest (keeping in mind that herbs work differently on different people): lemon balm, chamomile, California poppy, skullcap, passion flower, and for an extreme choice, valerian.
Here’s a tea blend for relaxation, if you’re interested in a daily helpful tea.
Immune System Support (Optional)
Herbs like thyme, elder berry, and echinacea can help support your endocrine and immune systems. When your lungs are weakened by smoky skies or other pollutants, and your body is fighting for a breath, your immune system can be affected due to the stress this causes.
Any kind of stress on the body can compromise the immune system. So keeping your defenses strong is of utmost importance all the time!
Stimulating Herbs (Optional)
One final category I always consider in any blend I create are the stimulating herbs. Now, these aren’t stimulating like caffeine is stimulating (although a stimulating herb can certainly contain caffeine, which I don’t recommend for this type of herbal tea blend).
However, they work to enhance the actions of the primary herbs in a blend. Herbs such as ginger, peppermint, cinnamon, black pepper, and turmeric are good additions, if you like any of these flavors. These also serve to make your tea taste great!
A Note on Adaptogens: Adrenal Support for Stress (Optional)
Similar to herbs that directly support the immune system, are those that help the body simply deal with the stress response and stay in a balanced state. These are known as adaptogen herbs, and you can find out more in this article.
Some choices I like to add to herbal blends like this are astragalus (also highly immune supportive), ashwagandha, nettle leaf or root, and tulsi (Holy basil).
The important thing to know about adaptogenic herbs is that they tend to work over time, with consistent use. In other words, if you choose to use eleuthero (for example) to help regulate your energy stores in the body, it’s best used for a couple of months at least before truly taking effect.
Since I drink herbal tea regularly, that addition of an adaptogen in a tea for respiratory health may be more effective than just adding it for a few days. Just something to think about as you make your herbal choices.
And that’s it!
Choose an herb or two from among the top three categories (demulcent, respiratory supportive, and relaxing to the nerves) add one or two from the optional categories if you want, and that’s it! 🙂 Blend them together, and create your perfect cup of tea.
Respiratory Supportive Tea Blend Recipes
Now, here are some ideas for where to start. Remember, though, if you want a tried and true herbal tea blend that I’ve had great success with clients, students, family, and friends, check out my recipe for Lung Support Tea.
Breathing Support Tea Blend #1:
2 parts mullein
1 part marshmallow leaf
1 part lemon balm
Breathing Support Tea Blend #2:
1 part elecampane
2 parts marshmallow root
1 part chamomile
1 part astragalus
Breathing Support Tea Blend #3:
3 parts mullein
2 parts slippery elm
1 part skullcap
1 part ginger
It’s really as simple as this! You could mix and match many of these herbs for a helpful blend.
Where to Purchase Your Bulk Herbs
I like to grow or forage the herbs we use. Honestly, the quality is unbeatable because they’re so fresh.
But for those I have to purchase, I like to shop at Starwest Botanicals. I’ve always had great luck with their products. Starwest has high quality culinary and medicinal herbs, fast shipping, and they support causes I can get behind.
By the way, you can certainly purchase herbs on Amazon, but you may not be getting the freshest possible herbs there. It depends on the company, and there are so many, it can get confusing.
Final Thoughts on Creating a Tea Blend for Fire Smoke and Other Difficult Breathing Situations
Making your own tea blends for various situations is easier than you think!
The trick is getting used to using herbs in the first place!
You see, many people are afraid to start using herbs for a number of reasons, mainly because they just don’t have the experience with them. I’m here to tell you herbs DO work, and you CAN begin to add these phenomenal health choices to your family home apothecary.
You just need to start.
** I’ve created an Herbal Medicine Making Basics Course that includes four full-length eBooks so you can get your home apothecary started with confidence. Use the code CELEBRATION at check out for over 50% off for a short time.
** Also, I have a FREE Herbal Foundations 5-Day email course. Join nearly 2,500 students who’ve taken it and started their herbal journeys!
Finally, join my free private Facebook group, Practical Herbs with Heidi, where you can learn herbs in a wonderful, supportive community!
Here are some other articles for herbal teas you might find interesting:
15 Best Herbs for the Beginning Herbalist
Herbs for Liver Support and a Detoxifying Tea Blend Recipe
Herbal Tea for a Deep, Peaceful Sleep
Healthy Bones Herbal Tea Blend
And there are tons more on the website! I hope you’ll go explore when you have a chance!
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Hugs, Health, and Self-Reliance,
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FDA Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. I’m a certified aromatherapist and community/clinical herbalist. This article is for educational purposes only and not meant or implied to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent any illness. Please be sure to seek medical advice before using herbs or essential oils, especially if you’re taking prescription medications, are pregnant, or nursing.