Tyra Burgess, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM)

Ughhhh, our air! This summer has been an interesting one as far as our lungs are concerned. With our record high temperatures, the valley being saturated in smoke from fires as close as the East end, and as far away as Lowman, our lungs have been hit hard.

“At the physical level, boundary, breath and renewal are expressed as the lungs, the skin and the colon. The Lung refers to the whole respiratory system and includes the nose and sinuses. Across the boundary of the lungs oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide waste is excreted. Since most human energy is derived from air, the Lung is primarily responsible for physical vitality and is said to govern Qi in the body.” (http://www.meridianpress.net/articles/thelung-chinesemedicine.html)  
This summer here at Pulse, we have treated a large amount of what Chinese medicine terms Lung Wind, Lung Yin deficiency, and what Western medicine would call Pnuemonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, and Pertussis. Patients affected by the smoke, have snotty noses, itchy and burning tongues, strange hives, a dry barky cough that gets worse at night.  Our lungs are creating more mucus in our mouths and noses, to trap the pollution, before it enters the lungs and to move it out.
“The Lung’s paired Organ, the Colon, is concerned with release and elimination. The Lung and Colon together are related to immunity, the strength of the protective boundary. Pathogens most easily enter through the respiratory and digestive systems and the Lung and Colon are responsible for maintaining the integrity of these systems so that they are not penetrated by invaders. According to Chinese medicine, the body’s defensive energy is directly dependent on the strength of the Lung and Colon.” (http://www.meridianpress.net/articles/thelung-chinesemedicine.html)
The emotion of the Lung is grief, sadness and despair. Emotionally the Lung is nourished by respect. Learning to value who we are and what we do will attract respect from those around us. Deeply exploring what we value, and finding ways to express those values in the world, help open us to the energy of the Lung.

In the outer world we can give value to our environment, attend to cleaning out stale corners of our house, or of our life. Clearing up our environment can be a way that we externally support the Lung function and may well bring more clarity into our emotional and mental life. A person’s aesthetic life is an outer manifestation of the Lung and attending to beauty and order, making art both of daily environment and of life, will also support and nourish the Lung.

Finally, the Lung’s role as boundary-keeper may be metaphorically extended to the boundaries we keep in our own home. Well-maintained fences, sensible security, clean windows and a well-kept exterior are domestic expressions of Lung energy.” (http://www.meridianpress.net/articles/thelung-chinesemedicine.html)

Our air quality has been very poor, and has affected our Lungs.  Treating Lung conditions of this nature is not a normal pattern. As we are currently entering late summer, we are moving from the element of Fire, into the element of Earth.  This is important, because, Fall is when we move into the element of Metal and the season of the lung and colon. When we see a pattern enter so early, we here at Pulse start to prepare!

 How do we prepare our Lungs–I am sure you are dying to know! We start to nourish our Lungs when they are dry from the season of Fire, we nourish our Lungs with the following;

Clear Food–Traditional Chinese medicine uses white or “clear” foods to nourish and moisten the lungs. Radish, mushroom, Asian pears, and white fish (like cod, haddock, halibut and flounder) are great.

Sprouted Grains and Seeds–Sprouting, or letting the grain grow roots, boosts the nitrogen content of grains and seeds, which helps make oxygen more bio-available to you.

Marshmallow and Mullein Teas–Medicinal herb teas can strengthen your lungs, too. Marshmallow (yes, marshmallows were originally made from this plant) moistens the lungs and soothes inflammation. It’s a laxative too, so don’t overdo it!

Mullein–a Native American medicinal herb, also calms inflammation and loosens phlegm, making it a go-to remedy for persistent coughs. You can easily find these herbal teas at your grocery store, drugstore or health food store.

Avoid Dairy–Dairy products can actually cause lung congestion. In Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, dairy is known as a food that promotes phlegm or mucus, so steer clear of dairy to help clear up your lungs. Dairy is only indicated in dry lungs.

Pungents–like onions, ginger, turmeric, peppercorns, ginger, garlic, cloves, asafoetida, cayenne, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, thyme, sage, turmeric, wasabi, horseradish, mustard seeds and greens, and radish.

” The Lung governs Qi, so a Lung-nourishing approach to food will include many foods known as ‘Qi tonics’ and fresh foods alive with Qi. A diet high in fresh organic vegetables with some sprouted seeds and grains is helpful. The Lung also needs protein, and a craving for protein often indicates Lung Qi Deficiency. However, the best protein for the Lung is generally low fat such as tofu, beans and white meat. When tolerated, dairy produce is strengthening for the Lung but in many cases causes congestion and the build-up of Phlegm. If this is the case, use goat or sheep products, or minimise dairy. Some pungent-flavoured foods are helpful to open the lungs and stimulate Lung function. Foods to keep in check are all those which cause congestion, i.e., rich fatty foods and any food which is processed or denatured. Lastly, white and light-coloured foods resonate with the Lung, so foods such as radish, white meats and white mushrooms tend to have some benefit.” (http://www.meridianpress.net/articles/thelung-chinesemedicine.)

Here at Pulse we always have lung tonics and herbs available. We carry;

  • Lung and Throat drops
  • Pnuemoplex
  • for Lung Qi deficiency, we have a wonderful formula by Health Concerns called Astra 8, with Astragalus, Ginseng, and licorice root.
  • Clear Air, a formula for bronchitis, asthma and chronic phlegm
  • Phlogeticlean is a tincture to resolve and move phlegm out of the body
  • Lily Bulb to strengthen the lung, Nourish Lung yin and stops a cough
  • Bee propolis for infection
  • Elderberry syrup for infection
  • Turmeric for pungents, reduces inflammation and increases circulation.

If you lungs have been struggling the last few weeks, if you have more snot than normal or have allergy like symptoms, now is the time to nourish and build your lungs. By building up the lungs before we enter Fall and cold/flu season, you can ensure a healthy body going into the cold months. If you have suffered from any condition of the Lungs this summer, come see your Practitioner here at Pulse to make a health plan to prevent illnesses going into the summer.