Lung Health: Which Herbs May Help?

Lung Health: Which Herbs May Help?

Responsible for ensuring the steady supply of blood-enriching oxygen to the body and mind, Traditional Chinese Medicine posits that the Lung also controls qi, our vital life force (among many, many other things). 

The Lung is part of the 'Zang-fu' organ system, a framework that describes the organs in our body as having both physical and spiritual characteristics. When functioning harmoniously, this organ system ensures transportation of vital body fluids.

A dysfunctional Zang-fu system spells trouble for overall health, and issues with the lungs might stem from that. TCM proposes treating these issues through consumption of specific herbal combinations; it just so happens we have a few suggestions. But first...

What's a Zang organ, and what's a Fu organ? 

Zang Fu Organ System Diagram

Deviating from traditional anatomical and physiological classifications, Zang-fu Organ Theory describes our eleven organs as belonging to two distinct spiritual systems. Zang organs belong to 'yin', and Fu organs represent 'yang'. 

Zang organs comprise the Heart, Lung, Kidney, Liver and Spleen, while the Large Intestine, Small Intestine, Gall Bladder, Stomach, Urinary Bladder and the Triple Burner are all Fu organs.

Each organ bar the Triple Burner has a counterpart, and successful communication between those two entities is essential for a healthy body and mind. If an organ displays dysfunction, its worth figuring out whether or not the corresponding Zang or Fu counterpart is responsible. 

How can this be used to treat Lung issues?

While breathing difficulties could certainly be linked to a problem with the Large Intestine, the Lung's 'yang' counterpart, healthy Lung qi relies on every single one of the Zang-fu organs operating as intended.

In essence, this means that treating imbalance in multiple areas can also be effective. That's why we've corralled a bunch of stellar supplements that attempt to bolster the qi of multiple different organs, entering through a number of different meridians. 

Mai Wei Di Huang Wan 麦味地黄丸 (Rehmannia & Chinese Yam)

Image of Mai Wei Di Huang Wan supplements in bottle

Targets: Kidney qi 

Enters through: Kidney & Lung meridians

Mai Wei Di Huang Wan is a sterling mix of authentic Chinese herbs, specifically designed to target dry skin and internal health. It’s the latter aim we’re more interested in, as strengthening the Kidney qi could promote a more regular breathing pattern.

TCM has explored the synergistic relationship between the Kidney and Lung. The Kidney aids the Lung in maintaining healthy respiration by sending the qi in a downward motion. A robust Kidney qi is associated with calm, regular breathing, and a weak Kidney qi signals problematic respiration. 

Upon entering through the Kidney and Lung meridians, Mai Wei Di Huang Wan attempts to bolster the Kidney and thus improve nourishment of the Lung. 

Mai Men Dong Tang 麦门冬汤 (Lily-Turf & Pinellia Rhizome)

 Image of Mai Men Dong Tang supplement within bottle

Targets: Stomach & Lung qi

Enters through: Stomach & Lung meridians

Laboured breathing is primarily an issue with the lungs, but it’s a problem that affects the balance of your entire body. It becomes harder to move, it becomes harder to think, and leaving it untreated is a sure route to a miserable couple of weeks.

Targeting Stomach qi makes a lot of sense when attempting to battle Lung abnormalities. Working in tandem with the Spleen, the Stomach is responsible for digestion, a crucial part of the body's physical cycle. 

Digestion is reliant on strong Stomach qi, and so its absence spells trouble for the intended function of each and every Zang-fu organ. Strengthening it might not just help with Lung qi; it could enhance other, vital areas of the body too. 

Bi Yan Pian 鼻炎片 (Xanthium & Magnolia)

Bi Yan Pian supplement in a bottle

Targets: Lung qi

Enters through: Lung meridian

Because allergies occur so regularly for so many people, their effect on daily life can be overlooked. Make no mistake – the presence of allergic symptoms can have a drastic impact on overall wellbeing. It’s a struggle to maintain Lung qi when proper respiration is stymied by an overactive immune system.

Entering through the Lung meridian, Bi Yan Pian aims to battle the symptoms of seasonal flu and/or allergic reactions. By attempting to improve Lung qi, it could help with nasal blockages and overabundant nasal fluids, thereby allowing everything to flow a little better. 

Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San 藿香正气散 (Patchouli & Liquorice Root) 

Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Tang supplement in a bottle

Targets: Stomach & Lung qi

Enters through: Stomach & Lung meridians

One of the most debilitating aspects of poor lung health is the reduction in energy levels that comes with it. Suddenly everything becomes a slog – staying productive through the workday, getting on with the demands of the home later on, and even getting a good night’s sleep. 

If you have low energy and respiration-bothering issues like a full chest, there could be excess dampness in your body. By targeting the Stomach, Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San seeks to restore equilibrium to the middle, dispelling dampness in the process. 

This should lead to an overall better flow of qi which in theory could give a boost in overall energy levels. Higher energy levels signal a body in an improved qi state, and as a result you’ll be able to tackle previously laborious tasks with increased positivity and hope.

Xiao Chai Hu Tang 小柴胡汤 (Thorowax Root & Panax Ginseng)

Xiao Chai Hu Tang supplement in a bottle

Targets: Stomach & Spleen qi

Enters through: Lung meridian

It’s said that the Lung contains the spiritual aspect of Po within it. Regarded as the corporeal soul, it’s linked to the metal element and has the strongest connection of all the spiritual aspects to the body. Sadness and worry can harm Po, leading to a stagnation of qi. 

Xiao Chai Hu Tang is a multi-purpose wonder formulation designed to target internal balance, digestive issues, mental positivity and blood circulation. While not directly seeking to address Lung qi, its intended effects could have a positive effect on mood, minimising the risk of damaged Po.

Entering through the Lung meridian, its herbal ingredients aim to locate and then disperse certain pathogens, and the various symptoms associated with them. If you are facing issues of stagnant Xue, Xiao Chai Hu Tang could offer a boost in circulation, lubricating the journey of blood throughout the body.

Your 'take a breath' summary

As we've learned, treating poor lung health might not just involve attempting to fix the lungs themselves. By targeting specific areas of the Zang-fu organ system, we aim to indirectly coax our crucial breathing apparatus into better condition. 

That in turn promotes a more positive qi, which subsequently promotes more robust health. It's a circular, flowing system that offers great potential benefit if you give it that one, non-negotiable thing it needs: balance. 

Woman breathing contentedly in an outdoor setting

This hand-picked selection of herbs were picked for their potential Lung qi boosting properties; we have multiple formulations that can help other health goals

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