Oftentimes after the cold and flu symptoms of fever, runny nose, fatigue, headache are gone, congestion lingers in the chest. I have heard of respiratory congestion lasting up to 3 months after a cold or the flu and even after a round or two of anti-biotics. Mucous in the lungs and sinuses can become very thick and infected which make it difficult to expectorate. Along with nasal and lung congestion comes cough and difficulty with oxygen exchange. Sometimes, the more common herbs used to address this are not effective so a more complex approach to the problem must be looked at. During an herbal conference long ago Dr. Bill Mitchell, one of the co-founders of Bastyr Naturopathc college who has now passed, gave us a recipe to address lingering respiratory symptoms, poor oxygen exchange in the lower lobes of the lung, thick mucous, COPD and even emphysema. It consists of goldenseal leaf and root, an herb that is anti-microbial and helps to liquefy mucous. Licorice root, an herb that has steroid-like compounds, expectorates by liquefying mucous and is anti-inflammatory. Grindelia which is anti-spasmodic. Colstfoot helps to reduces coughing and can sooth irritated tissues through its demulcent action. Lomatium is an anti-viral herb. Elder berry and flowers are antiviral (berry) and help to reduce fever and open sinuses (flower). Mullein helps restore lung health by soothing irritated tissues and tonifying the lungs. Blood root is the herb in this recipe that makes it more effective in helping with oxygen exchange through the blood that nourishes the outside tissues of the lungs so that when oxygen exchange is compromised because of spastic muscles or flaccid aveoli, as in the case of COPD and emphysema, the ability to exchange oxygen without the need to increase lung capacity is enhanced. I find that this is a great addition to any protocol addressing COPD, emphysema or lingering respiratory ailments.
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