The goal of this article is to offer some simple suggestions to help the lungs recover after smoke inhalation. These are meant to be options that you can do at home to help yourself. If your medical issues are more severe, please contact your medical provider.
A humidifier is a great way to add moisture back into the air with purified water and essential oils. Smoke and pollution dry the lungs, making it difficult to breath. If you do not have a humidifier at home, here is an easy substitute:
Use a large stockpot to simmer filtered water on the stove on low heat. Add a few drops of essential oil, such as eucalyptus and breath in through your nose and mouth. You can leave this simmering and replenish water and oil as needed. You can also use a slow cooker or steamer. Some other essential oils that are beneficial for lungs are: Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme & Peppermint, Geranium, Frankincense, and Sandalwood.
Drinking an herbal tea (yes, even in this heat) with Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, and/or Thyme can also add the lungs in recovering from smoke inhalation.
Cubeb Berry has been used to treat asthma for hundreds of years and can aid the lungs during this time as well. Cubeb Berry can be found in capsule form.
Pear has been shown to be restorative for the lungs. Pears create moisture and nourishment for lung tissue. You can eat the fruit, the syrup, or the juice.
Honey is another really good option to repair the lungs (you can have some in your herbal tea). Local is best, however any good quality honey is anti-microbial and has been shown to be beneficial for the upper respiratory tract.
Our local Nugget Market carries a wide variety of natural and homeopathic remedies which can be quite effective. Here are some homeopathic options and their descriptions:
Arsenicum Album: For smoke exposure with anxiety. Eyes burn and stream. Nose burns and streams. Cough is dry and worse at night. Tremendous anxiety especially about what is going to happen, Restlessness.
Euphrasia: For simple smoke exposure with irritation to eyes and possibly nose and no other symptoms. Eyes stream and burn - lids are red and swollen and sensitive. Nose streams but does not burn. There may be a mild daytime cough with mucus. The eyes stream on coughing.
Calcera carbonica . Tickling cough, troublesome at night. Painless hoarseness, worse in the morning. Suffocating spells. Tightness, burning and soreness in chest. Chest sensitive to touch or pressure. Longing for fresh air
Kali bichromicum: For more serious smoke exposure with irritated sinuses and/or lungs. Nose is blocked - nasal discharge is dry or comes out in sticky or stringy 'plugs'. Sinuses are sore, raw, irritated, and painful. Cough is painful. Chest is sore. Mucus coughed up with difficulty and is scanty and sticky or stingy.
Natrum arsenicosum: Great sensitivity to smoke. Eyes dry and painful and stream. Sinuses feel blocked and painful. Rattling cough. Lungs feel full of smoke. Headache from the smoke.
Bryonia. For soreness in larynx and trachea. Hoarseness, worse in open air. Dry, hacking cough from irritation in upper trachea, must sit up. Cough is worse after eating, drinking, or going into a warm room. Frequent desire to take long breath. Must expand lungs. Difficult, quick respiration.
Causticum. Hoarseness with pain in chest. Larynx sore. Cough with raw soreness of chest. Cough with pain in hip. Better drinking cold water. Pain in chest with palpitation. Cannot lie down at night.
Eucalyptus. For people who do not breathe well for any cause. Individuals who almost drown and people who suffer from smoke inhalation in a fire. Eucalyptus oxygenates the system and improves the lungs.
Carbo Vegetabilis. Wheezing cough with burning in chest. Short of breath. Oxygen-starvation, must be fanned. Hoarseness, cough with itching in larynx. Sore and raw chest, rattling of mucus in chest. Exhausted, weak. Cold clammy skin, cold breath. Better from cool air. Worse in the evenings, open air, warm damp weather.
Euphorbium officinarium - Breathing oppressed, as if chest were not wide enough. Spasmodic dry cough, day and night, with asthma. Violent, fluent coryza, with burning cough. Constant cough, with stitching pain from pit of stomach to sides of chest. Warm sensation in chest.
Silica. To help the body eject inhaled particles (from a smoke of fire). Nose dry and blocked, no sense of smell or taste; sinuses stuffed up; cough is dry and irritating from inhaled particles. Mucus is lumpy and yellow.
Remember to keep hydrated. Filtered water, especially with a slice or two of organic lemon or lime is another easy way to keep hydration and electrolyte balance in check.
If you find your nasal passage still on the dry side despite using the humidifier, a few drops of oil with a dropper of good quality olive or sesame oil up each nostril will help. For outstanding results, look for Nasya Oil from your health food store or online. I like John Douillard’s, but there are many good brands.
While it is important to take care of our own lungs, we cannot forget about our furry family members. During the last fires, my elderly cat developed a wheeze. We took her to UC Davis Veterinary Hospital and after several tests, they could not find anything wrong. Watch and wait…something I have never been very good at doing. I took out my stethoscope and listen to her lungs, no issues. Then I put my ear down by her nasal passages, wheezing. It was her sinuses, not her lungs. We put her on HomeoPet Nose Relief and her wheezing cleared up in two days. Of course, it is always a good idea to run any medication, even herbal by your veterinarian; however, I highly recommend this product if your pets are having sinus and nasal issues.
There are many ways that you can assist your respiratory system to rebound after damage. You can pick one or do several in combination depending upon your needs. Relax and have some herbal tea…don’t forget the honey.
And the final legal bit:
All information, content, and material of this site is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.