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All day, every day your respiratory system is hard at work, pumping oxygen into your body. Unfortunately, it’s also an entryway for pollutants, irritants, toxins and during the winter months, contagious respiratory viruses like influenza.

Fortunately, there are a number of herbs that can help break up chest congestion, soothe irritated nasal passages, and fight harmful organisms that can lead to upper respiratory infection. Here are 5 herbs to consider.


Oddly resembling lung tissue, this large, bright green, leaf-like lichen has been used to promote lung and respiratory health and clear congestion as far back as the 1600s. According to the USDA, it is also used to treat lung ailments such as tuberculosis and asthma.


Containing a soothing ingredient known as menthol, peppermint oil has been known to both relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote easy breathing. Paired with the antihistamine effect of peppermint, menthol is also an effective decongestant.


Thanks to its carvacrol and rosmarinic acid properties, this immune system booster works as a natural decongestant and histamine reducer that has direct, positive benefits on the respiratory tract and nasal passages.

study conducted by the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center, found that oregano oil contains “safe agents” needed “to prevent and overcome severe bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.

Based on our previous experience and that of others, we postulated that herbal essential oils, such as those of origanum (oregano oil) offer such possibilities.”

Osha Root

Native to the Rocky Mountains osha root has been used by Native Americans for lung support. Containing camphor — used in products such as Vicks VapoRub — increases circulation in the lungs and calms respiratory irritation.


Believe it or not, this leafy green isn’t just for Koala bears! Experts rave over its

refreshing aroma and cineole properties, which promote respiratory health and soothe throat irritation.

Considering cineole’s numerous benefits including acting as an expectorant, easing a cough, fighting congestion, and soothing irritated sinus passages, it’s no surprise that it’s found in many over-the-counter lozenges and syrups.

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