How to Detox Your Lungs Naturally

Five Parts:Improving Your Overall HealthMinimizing Environmental RisksBreathing Your BestExploring Alternative Healing MethodsUnderstanding Hazards that Affect Healthy Lungs

Protecting your lungs is a vital step in preserving your long-term health. Over time, toxins from mold and bacteria can destroy the health of your lungs and even lead to fatal conditions, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Fortunately, there are many natural measures you can take to help keep your lungs healthy so you can breathe easy.

Part 1
Improving Your Overall Health

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    Consume antioxidant-rich foods. Eating a healthy diet in general can improve the strength of your lungs, and foods that are high in antioxidants are especially beneficial. Antioxidants have been shown to enhance lung capacity and improve the quality of breathing in patients.[1]
    • Blueberries, broccoli, spinach, grapes, sweet potatoes, green tea, and fish in particularly are high in anti-oxidants.[2]
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    Exercise. Regular exercise will help keep your lungs working to their strongest capacity. You should aim for either;
    • At least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (like walking, swimming or golf), 4-5 times a week. OR
    • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (like jogging/running, biking or playing basketball) at least 3 days per week.[3]
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    Stop smoking. Smoking tobacco is one of the leading causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking can also cause emphysema and lung cancer. The toxins from cigarettes can cause damaging inflammation in the bronchus, making it difficult to breathe.[4]
    • To protect your lungs, do not use smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco or snuff. These increase your risk of mouth cancer, as well as gum disease, tooth decay, and pancreatic cancer.[5]
    • E-cigarettes may also be dangerous to your lung health [6] New studies have found that some companies use a flavouring in e-cigarettes which comes from a toxic chemical called Diacetyl. This chemical has been linked to constrictive bronchiolitis, a rare and life-threatening form of non-reversible obstructive lung disease in which the bronchioles are compressed and narrowed by scar tissue and/or inflammation.[7]
    • To detox your lungs, don't use any kind of smoking or tobacco product.

Part 2
Minimizing Environmental Risks

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    Stay in well ventilated areas. Make sure that the environments you are in most frequently -- such as your work place and home -- are well ventilated. When working with with hazardous materials, such as paint fumes, dust at construction sites, or chemicals from hair dyes and treatments, be sure that you have proper ventilation or proper respiratory protection equipment such as a dust mask or personal respirator.
    • Make sure that you have open vents and windows to keep fresh air circulating.
    • Consider wearing a respirator when working in a small space.
    • If you are cleaning with strong chemicals such as bleach, be sure that you have open windows in the room, and that you have the opportunity to leave the space and give your lungs a break.
      • Do not mix bleach with ammonia. Together they generate a toxic chloramine vapor which damages the mucous membranes of the lungs.
    • Avoid using fireplaces and wood-burning stoves indoors as these can also put harmful toxins in your lungs.
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    Be aware of your sensitivity to plants. Some plants emit spores, pollen, and other potential irritants into the air. Make sure that household plants are not aggravating your lungs.
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    Use a HEPA air filter. Choosing a HEPA filter that can remove small particles of debris and allergens from the air can help your lungs stay healthy.[8]
    • Ozone air purifiers are not as effective at reducing allergens and other particles in the environment, and may even irritate the lungs.[9]

Part 3
Breathing Your Best

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    Learn to breath efficiently. One of the best ways to naturally strengthen your lungs is to breathe properly. Inhale from your diaphragm, expanding and pushing out the muscles in your lower belly. As you exhale, your muscles should retract back inward.[10]
    • Breathing from your diaphragm, as opposed to breathing from your throat, will help expand the capacity of your lungs and make them stronger.
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    Measure your breath. Inhale and then exhale. As you do both, count the seconds it takes to breathe. Try to gradually extend the time it takes to breathe by one or two counts.
    • Be sure not to strain yourself or hold your breath for too long. This could cause you to deprive oxygen to the brain, which could cause dizziness, or fainting
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    Improve your posture. Sitting and standing up straight can help you breathe so your lungs gain strength.
    • An exercise to help expand the capacity of your lung, is to sit on a chair with your back straight, and lift your arms above your head while breathing deeply.[11]

Part 4
Exploring Alternative Healing Methods

Keep an open mind. Some of the following tips are not based in scientific testing, or they have only been tested in limited studies. Always consult your physician before trying alternative medicine as some herbs and minerals have harmful interactions with commonly prescribed medicines.

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    Incorporate more oregano into your diet. Oregano's primary benefits are due to its carvacrol and rosmarinic acid content. Both compounds are natural decongestants and histamine reducers that have shown to be of benefit to the respiratory tract and nasal passage airflow.[12]
    • The volatile oils in oregano, thymol and carvacol, have been shown to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria like staphylococcus aureus and pseudomonas aeruginosa.
    • Oregano can be consume in fresh or dried forms, and 2-3 drops of oregano oil can be added to milk or juice daily.
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    Steam treat yourself with eucalyptus to take advantage of its expectorant properties. Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in cough lozenges and syrups, It owes it's effectiveness to an expectorant compound called cineole, which can ease a cough, fight congestion, and soothe irritated sinus passages.
    • To use as a steam inhalation, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to hot water and inhale steam for up to 15 minutes.[13]
    • Be aware: Eucalyptus oil may decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking eucalyptus oil along with some medications can increase their effects and side effects. Before using eucalyptus oil, talk to your healthcare provider to determine if you take any medications that may be effected,
      • Medications such as Voltaren, Ibuprofen, Motrin, Celebrex, Warfarin, Allegra, and others.
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    Take hot showers to clear your lungs. A sauna or hot water shower increases the secretion of sweat, and helps the lungs rid themselves of toxic substances.
    • Be sure to drink water after you take a long shower or spend time in a sauna because you do not want to risk becoming dehydrated.
    • Ensure any hot tubs are properly cleaned to avoid any infections. High heat encourages bacterial growth, and although the water or surroundings may smell strongly of chlorine, it is hard to maintain bactericidal levels of dissolved chlorine gas in hot water. On testing, the bath may be found to contain high levels of chlorine, but most of it may be in a form that has little effect on contaminating organisms.
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    Use peppermint to soothe your respiratory muscles. Peppermint and peppermint oil contain menthol, a soothing ingredient known to relax the smooth muscles of the respiratory tract and promote free breathing.
    • Paired with the antihistamine effect of peppermint, menthol is a fantastic decongestant. Consider chewing 2-3 peppermint leaves (as opposed to candied versions) in order to get the most immediate benefits. [14]
    • Many find relief using therapeutic chest balms and other inhalants that contain menthol to help break up congestion.
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    Drink mullein tea. The mullein plant has been known to clear mucus and cleanse the bronchial tubes. Both the flowers and the leaves of the mullein plant are used to make an herbal extract that may help to strengthen the lungs.
    • Mullein is used by herbal practitioners to clear excess mucus from the lungs, cleanse the bronchial tubes, and reduce inflammation present in the respiratory tract.
    • You can make a tea can from one teaspoon of the dried herb and one cup of boiled water.[15]
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    Look into licorice. If you are congested, you might find licorice root tea to be particularly soothing. Licorice is thought to decrease swelling, thin mucus secretions, and decrease coughing. [16]
    • Licorice may help to thin the phlegm in the respiratory tract, aiding in the expulsion of mucus.
    • It is also thought to have antibacterial and antiviral effects which may help fight off viral and bacterial infections.
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    Ginger is a powerful tool for detoxification of the lungs. It is currently being studied for its possible role in the prevention of some cancers, including lung cancer, as it has been shown to inhibit the growth of certain non-small cancer cells.[17]
    • Consuming ginger root tea mixed with lemon can facilitate less laborious breathing.
    • Raw or cooked ginger can also improve digestion.

Part 5
Understanding Hazards that Affect Healthy Lungs

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    Spot the symptoms. If you have a cough or cough that persists for more than a month, or that causes difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, you should consult your physician promptly.[18]
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    Learn about COPD. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease describes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, most people with COPD have a combination of both conditions. This disease is generally progressive, meaning it develops over a period of time. COPD is the fourth highest cause of death in the United States.[19]
    • COPD effects the lungs, specifically the alveoli, which are small air sacs that facilitate the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
      • Emphysema is a condition where the bronchi and bronchioles are inflamed and continually swollen and clogged. This causes the alveoli to swell. These fragile air sacs burst and merge together. This damage to the alveoli makes it more difficult for the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide to take place.
      • Chronic bronchitis causes the lungs produce more mucus, which then clogs airways and coats the alveoli, making it difficult to breath.[20]
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    Know the vulnerable populations. Although anyone can develop COPD, there are a few demographics that are more likely to suffer from it. COPD tends to affect adults, especially those over 40, more regularly than children.
    • Men and women develop it in equal numbers, but cigarette smokers have an especially high risk for developing COPD.[21]


  • Advocate for better environmental air quality. Many areas in the United States have very poor air quality due to pollution. While you may feel like this is a condition you can't change, look into local legislation on environmental measures to see if your elected officials are working to improve the air quality.[22]
    • You can also look into joining environmental advocacy groups in your local community. If you suffer from asthma, consider finding other people with this condition and share tips for living under poor air quality.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Breathing and Meditation