Q. Dear Terry, “I have family who live in Canada and have been impacted by the wildfires, but luckily they are safe. They’ve been experiencing a lot of congestion, coughing, and chest irritation. What can help them?” – Tarah M, Meridian, ID
A. Dear Tarah, Wildfire smoke is full of particulate matter that can be very irritating to the sinuses and lungs. There are a few natural ingredients that can be helpful for the irritation your family is experiencing.
One of my favorite ingredients for overall respiratory tract health is boswellia. Boswellia helps to decrease respiratory inflammation resulting from the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) pathway. Research has shown boswellia can be helpful for a wide variety of respiratory concerns, including: asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and more. When choosing a boswellia extract, I believe an extract standardized for AKBA content is essential. This is one of boswellia’s most powerful components, which is why it is so often the focus of research. The boswellia extract I recommend is standardized to high levels of AKBA and virtually free of beta-boswellic acid (BBA).
There are a few other natural compounds that work synergistically with boswellia to help with respiratory conditions. Thyme helps stop the spasmodic coughing and “tickling” in the throat, relaxes the airways in the lungs, and strengthens the activity of cilia to help loosen phlegm and keep mucus moving so you don’t feel clogged up. Ravintsara reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, which can benefit any type of respiratory disease or condition. Myrtle is excellent for treating bronchial and lung infections because it is a strong antioxidant, antiseptic, and antibacterial agent.
I would take 375 mg of boswellia, thyme, ravintsara, and myrtle two or three times per day.
For the sinuses, I recommend a combination of plant oils from eucalyptus and myrtle. Eucalyptus is one of the most well-known plant oils for clearing the sinuses. The essential oil of eucalyptus helps to thin mucus so it can drain more easily. Myrtle is also a great anti-inflammatory and mucus eliminator. Myrtle helps stimulate the tiny, fluttering projections in our sinus cavities, called cilia, which help move mucus along more quickly.
Make sure to choose concentrated plant oils that are approved for internal use. Unlike essential oils used for massage and aromatherapy, these plant oils are tested using techniques that verify the specific molecular makeup, species, marker compounds, purity, and safety for internal medicinal use. The extraordinary potency of these tested plant oils allows for relatively low doses, but very powerful health benefits. I recommend taking 320 mg of these ingredients up to three times daily.
The last two ingredients I recommend are thyme and climbing ivy. They are both great at thinning or dissolving mucus and opening up the air passageways so you can breathe easier. Thyme is also a great antispasmodic, meaning it reduces muscle spasms that can trigger coughing. I recommend taking 250 mg of these ingredients three times per day.
Terry . . . Naturally