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The Lungs and Nervous System in Sensory Herbalism

Taken from The Sensory Herbal Handbook – Seed Sistas

The quick wit, changeability and intangibility of air is expressed beautifully through the nervous system and the lungs. The nervous system perfectly represents the element of air through its ethereal quickness and its ability to inform our communications. Often if we are nervous or depleted we literally look like we contain air by shaking or showing tremors.

Vital life force (known as ‘Qi’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine and ‘Prana’ in Ayurveda) fills the lungs and breathes new life into our physicality. The breath represents life force. We inhale on entry to the world at birth and release a final exhalation at death.

Keeping the lungs clear, the membranes healthy and protected and ensuring there is enough relaxation in the lungs for deep, full breaths is important is paramount for optimum health

Common symptoms of an imbalance of the respiratory system

  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain on inhalation
  • Fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis (acute)
  • Cough
  • Chest infection

How to support the respiratory system


  • Thyme is a wonderful antimicrobial that is perfect for respiratory infections as it had an expectorant action to aid expulsion of mucous from the lungs.
  • Daisy with her saponins is a gentle lung herb, super useful with children and the elderly.
  • Elecampane is a faithful anti-infective, nourishing and strengthening plant, extremely useful in respiratory issues.
  • Horseradish is very clearing and provides excellent breathing support, especially where there is sinus infection.

Herb recommendation:

Breathe easy

This lovely decoction in combination with our Lung Tonic tincture has supported many people with their asthmatic conditions

Lung supportive, expectorant, demulcent

Examples of herbs: marshmallow root, licorice root, elecampane root

Tincture Mix

Lung tonic

A deliciously smooth mix to soften and protect the tissues of the lungs.

This combination of soothing and expectorant (bringing up mucous), herbs means that this is ideal for both chesty and tight coughs. It will help to soothe and bring down inflammation of the irritated linings of the lungs.

The herbs will relax the bronchi (tubes to the lungs) whilst encouraging an easier cough to bring up any mucous. This perfect combination can also be useful in respiratory conditions.

Elecampane Coltsfoot Liquorice Thyme Marshmallow Leaf Mullein Plantain


  • Cutting out mucous-forming foods such as dairy products, refined carbohydrates and sugars is particularly helpful for the respiratory system.
  • Maintaining nutrient intake with lots of fruit and vegetables, improves immune system and lymphatic function


  • Exercise
  • Steam inhalations with essential oils and herb teas
  • Pranayama (yogic breathing exercises)
  • Stretches and yoga that will create more space around the chest area
  • Massage
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