Q. Dear Terry, “My husband and I have been dealing with a lot of smoke from the surrounding forest fires. My sinuses are really irritated and so are my lungs. What are some things I could take to help reduce the irritation?”– Karen P., Sacramento, CA
A. Dear Karen, Wildfire smoke is full of particulate matter that can be very irritating to the sinuses and lungs. There are a few natural ingredients that can be helpful for the irritation you are experiencing.
For your sinuses, I recommend a combination of plant oils from eucalyptus and myrtle. Eucalyptus is one of the most well-known plant oils for clearing the sinuses. The essential oil of eucalyptus helps to thin mucus so it can drain more easily. Myrtle is also a great anti-inflammatory and mucus eliminator. Myrtle helps stimulate the tiny, fluttering projections in our sinus cavities, called cilia, which help move mucus along more quickly. I would take these ingredients twice per day.
Make sure to choose concentrated plant oils that are approved for internal use. Unlike essential oils used for massage and aromatherapy, these plant oils are tested using techniques that verify the specific molecular makeup, species, marker compounds, purity, and safety for internal medicinal use. The extraordinary potency of these tested plant oils allows for relatively low doses, but very powerful health benefits.
I highly recommend boswellia because it helps to decrease respiratory inflammation resulting from the 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LOX) pathway. When choosing a boswellia extract, I believe an extract standardized for AKBA content is essential. This is one of boswellia’s most powerful components, which is why it is so often the focus of research. However, there is another compound in boswellia that is actually pro-inflammatory, which is called beta-boswellic acid (BBA). The boswellia extract I recommend is standardized to high levels of AKBA and virtually free of BBA.
The last two ingredients I recommend are thyme and climbing ivy. They are both great at thinning or dissolving mucus and opening up the air passageways so you can breathe easier. Thyme is also a great antispasmodic, meaning it reduces muscle spasms that can trigger coughing. I would take these ingredients two or three times per day.
Terry . . . Naturally
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