This week’s topic is based on the most rudimentary of actions – breathing! Defined simply as a process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through the nose or mouth. We share some tips to keep the lungs happy using home remedies such as steam therapy, breathing exercises etc.
How Breathing Works:
When we breathe in or inhale, the diaphragm contracts and moves downward. This increases the space in our chest cavity and our lungs expand into it. The muscles between the ribs also help enlarge the chest cavity. They contract to pull the rib cage both upward and outward when we inhale. Pretty straightforward so far.
However, before the air reaches the lungs, it has to pass through a series of air passages called bronchial tubes. If blocked for any reason, the air will not reach the lungs. This will hinder the oxygen in the air from reaching the blood through which it is transported to the body tissues.
Bronchitis & Asthma:
Bronchitis and asthma are two inflammatory airway conditions. Acute bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the airways. It may be caused by viral or bacterial infections. Long time exposure to environment irritants like tobacco, smoke or chemicals may cause Chronic Bronchitis.
Asthma is a condition caused by the tightening and swelling of the muscles around the airways , thus causing the airways to narrow.
When asthma and acute bronchitis occur together, the condition is called asthmatic bronchitis.
- Tobacco smoke, including E cigarettes – cigarette smoking is the cause of death for one in every five people in the US
- Pollution – according to WHO, exposure to air pollution results in 4.2 million deaths worldwide each year
- Allergens like mold, pollen, dust etc.
- Weather changes
- Viral or bacterial infections
Lungs & Covid19: Covid19 is a respiratory disease which affects our lungs, throat and nose. Since the air ways of an asthmatic patient are already narrow, with Covid19 infection, they would have serious trouble in breathing, leading to an asthma attack, pneumonia or other serious lung related issues.
Breathe Easy with these Alternatives:
Let’s not think of medicines and treatments. Simple home remedies and therapies are all you need to keep the air we breathe safe and healthy.
10 best indoor plants that are a boon for the lungs: Aloe Vera, Snake Plant (also called Mother in laws tongue), Ferns, Bamboo Palm, Peace Lily, Spider Plant, Flamingo Lily, Ficus, Chrysanthemums, Devils ivy
Clear the lungs, clear the mucus: Steam therapy or steam inhalation that soothes and relieves distresses lung function. Hot, humid air acts as a natural expectorant (natural medicine). Steam inhalation prevents the mucous membrane from drying and causes mucosal secretions. Reduced inflammation and congestion makes respiration process smooth and easy.
Breathing Exercises: remember that regularity is very essential in order to get any results.
- Breathing exercises or pranayam give long term relief to people with respiratory problems. But they should be done cautiously and preferably under the guidance of an expert.
- Anulom Vilom – alternating breaths between nostrils
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Chanting of OM (AUM) etc.
Practice Percussion: Chest percussion is a technique that helps drain fluid from the lungs. It involves lying with your head down, and tapping lightly on your back…from top to bottom. This makes it easier for the accumulated fluid to drain out of the lungs.
Home remedies: Half cup of ginger tea mixed with 2-3 crushed garlic cloves. Boil a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger in a glass of milk and add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Mix and drink.
Licorice or mulethi is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. Add half a teaspoon of licorice powder to your cup of hot steaming tea.
Sip hot water the whole day . Add a 2inch stem of Giloy plant to it or some leaves of holy Basil for more effectivity.