Herbs For Asthma



I received a request from Angela regarding herbs for asthma and those that can help your lungs recover after years of heavy smoking.  This blog is for you Angela. 

First let’s start with the smoking.  I smoked heavily for many years and I have been a non smoker for 22 years and I still get winded if I have to walk too quickly for a sustained period of time.  There is really nothing that is going to bring back the healthy lung capacity of a non smoker.  Having said that the lungs are amazing organs that do, over time, become healthier and healthier.  To help speed this up I would recommend Mullein which is also good for asthma.


Mullein is a specific for tuberculosis.  For the full information on this please see my blog from November 2013 Mullein for Cough and Tuberculosis.  Mullein allows the poisons to be removed by the body and excreted through the bowel and kidneys.  The key to mullein is that you will also need to drink hot water in between too help flush the kidneys and remove the toxins.

Mullein is an expectorant which allows the body to remove phlegm and it is also anti inflammatory and soothing for sore throats and bronchioles.   


Licorice root can be used to sooth the respiratory passages.  It is much sweeter than sugar so it has the added benefit of being tasty.  Tea with liquorice root in it can be used to sooth but there is a very important warning.  Licorice should be avoided by those with high blood pressure.  It can raise the blood pressure to dangerous levels so it should not be used without consulting a naturopath or clinical herbalist. 


Skullcap is very effective in the treatment of asthma.  Along with its calming properties it is also beneficial in reducing inflammation.  According to an article in The Art of Healing online magazine skullcap has demonstrated anti-asthmatic activity by inhibiting histamine release.

Gingko Biloba

The Mayo clinic gives gingko a rating of B for its use in asthma.  This rating means that there is good scientific evidence for this use but more research needs to be done.  This is not an herb to be used without knowledge and I would therefore recommend that other herbs such as mullein be used instead unless you are under the care of a naturopath or clinical herbalist.


Nettles are still being studied as a treatment for asthma.  Although the research is still in early stages it makes sense since nettles are anti-inflammatory and will therefore sooth the inflamed tissues.  Nettles also allow the body to gently remove toxins via the kidneys.  Helping to remove mucus.   

Coffee and Tea

As strange as it may sound the caffeine in coffee and tea acts as bronchodilators.  While not recommended to replace inhalers, in a pinch several cups of coffee can help in easing the symptoms. 

Last but not least I will pass on some healing advice from an old Chinese grandmother that I once lived with.  Lots of clear broth and soup will help with lung problems.  The steam from the hot soup will help clear bronchial passages.  It may only be anecdotal but perhaps that is part of the magic of the chicken soup cure used by mothers world wide.