If you live in the United States then there is a good chance that you suffer from some sort of respiratory problem. Approximately 36.6 million people are diagnosed with a respiratory disease in the United States, with another 13 million estimated to be suffering while undiagnosed. These diseases can seriously interfere with someone’s lung health and their quality of life in general.
How These Diseases Affect Lung Health
The most common respiratory diseases in the United States are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Asthma is a chronic disorder that is characterized by reversible moments of breathing difficulty due to the narrowing and obstruction of the airway. This narrowing of the airway is caused by inflammation and can be reversed and treated using preventative measures, including breathing exercises or the use of an inhaler. These episodes of breathing problems can range from mildly dangerous to deadly if left untreated.
COPD is a preventable disease characterized by limiting airflow and causing symptoms that cannot be fully reversed, unlike asthma. This limitation of airflow usually increases as the disease progresses, and is associated with an inflammatory response to outside particles or gases (cigarette smoke, exhaust, noxious vapors).
Although asthma and COPD are said to both be effected by environmental and genetic factors, researchers generally believe that the cause of asthma is primarily genetic while COPD is caused by lung exposure to harmful particles (8 out of 10 cases of COPD is caused by exposure to cigarette smoke).
Even though the underlying causes of the diseases are different, the symptoms that they are both known for are caused by inflammation. This is what causes the obstruction of the airway and results in difficult breathing.
Symptoms of Respiratory Diseases
Both asthma and COPD result in similar symptoms, the main result of these symptoms being difficulty breathing and a lack of oxygen throughout the body. Some of them include:
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart beat
- Lips and fingernails turning blue or grey
In serious cases some people can die due to suffocation that is brought on my asthma attacks.
Herbs That Promote Lung Health
As was mentioned previously, the symptoms caused by these respiratory diseases are usually due to the inflammation that occurs because of them. Therefor, in order to treat these diseases, you would have to find a way to reduce this inflammation. Thankfully, there are many household herbs that can help you with this.
Rosmarinic acid is a flavonoid that can be found in many common herbs, including:
Rosmarinic acid can help treat respiratory diseases because it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can sooth inflamed airways, allowing air to travel through them with ease.
One study found that an oral supplementation of rosmarinic acid was able to reduce lung injury caused by the inhalation of diesel exhaust particles. The study was conducted on mice who were experiencing lung damage due to inhaling these diesel exhaust particles. The researchers found that the rosemary acid was able to reduce damage caused to the lungs by inhibiting the inflammatory response to inhaling the diesel exhaust particles.
This shows that rosmarinic acid can help reduce symptoms and lung damage that is caused by inflammation of the airways, making it an effective treatment for most respiratory diseases.
Luckily, since rosmarinic acid is found in so many common herbs, you can get your dosage simply by drinking herbal tea. This tea can be made by adding two teaspoons of rosemary (or any of the other herbs previously mentioned) to hot water and letting it steep for 10 to 15 minutes.