Emphysema is a progressive lung disease sometimes called Smoker's Disease. It is caused by smoking cigarettes, inhaling secondary smoke, and air pollution. Bad diet, allergies, heavy metal poisoning, and poor circulation are sometimes contributing factors. Symptoms include chronic bronchitis, shortness of breath, post-nasal drip, congestion, frequent colds, coated tongue, blue lips, bad breath, lack of energy, and frequent hacking cough, especially when speaking or exhaling.
Emphysema reduces oxygen intake and can lead to heart failure. The best way to avoid emphysema is to never smoke tobacco. Smokers should quit as soon as possible. It is not easy to get off of tobacco, but it can be done. Emphysema is usually fatal if the patient continues to smoke. If patient stops smoking, the lungs can recover if damage is not too severe. The first step is to want to quit smoking. Many towns have free health clinics that offer tobacco cessation programs. Here in Blairsville, we have Healing Hands Community Clinic. They offer a free smoking cessation program that really helps.
Herbs can help heal, soothe, and protect the lungs. Ginseng, licorice, comfrey, garlic, anise, mullein, and fenugreek are suited for treating emphysema. A combination of wintergreen essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil make a soothing steam bath. Eucalyptus essential oil can often bring temporary relief just by sniffing the vapors. Basil essential oil, hyssop essential oil, and thyme essential oil may also provide good results.
Mullein tincture is a tried and true remedy for colds, coughs, asthma, emphysema, and other lung conditions. Mullein leaves are thick and spongy like lung tissue.
It is easy to make mullein tincture. Harvest healthy, clean mullein leaves. Tear into pieces and put into a quart jar. Do not pack the pieces down too tightly. Next pour vodka over the plant material until completely covered (a few ounces of water may be added if desired). Keep in a dark cabinet and gently shake every day for 2 weeks. Keep the plant material pushed down into the liquid. (If you forget to shake it and mold appears, throw it all away and start over.) After two weeks have passed, strain the liquid into another jar. Add fresh plant material and repeat the process for two more weeks. Strain and pour tincture into a tightly capped container and store in a cool dark place.
This extra -strength mullein tincture will keep for two years in the refrigerator. Mullein tincture may be combined with bee balm tincture and sweetened with honey for use as a soothing cough syrup. An average adult dose is one tablespoon 3 or 4 times a day with a little extra given at bedtime. Vodka tinctures are not recommended for children due to their alcohol content. For individuals with alcohol dependencies, other herbal remedies may be more suitable.
Diet is especially important when treating emphysema and should include sea food, green drinks, and carrot juice. Vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene, B vitamins, and other anti-oxidants are useful supplements. Avoid red meat, caffeine, and dairy products. Exercise can greatly reduce symptoms of emphysema. Swimming or walking can bring good results. Yoga is another option that can teach controlled breathing techniques.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
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