The lungs are incredible organs that are constantly working for us. We need to take care of them, so finding the best Ayurvedic medicine for the lungs is key! They are our lifeline. The exchange zone between the air and prana from the outside world and our inside world. They hug the heart, and fill up most of the upper chest using the rib cage as protection. They make sure our red blood cells are oxygenated, keep our pH levels in check. The list goes on and on.
In Ayurveda, the lungs are a seat of kapha dosha, but vata has a lot of work to do here too. Vata is always driving the car when things get displaced (none of the other doshas have a licence) so behind any movement, you find vata. This means we need to keep an eye on both kapha and vata when treating the lungs.
What are the lung’s weak points?
The respiratory system is susceptible to excess phlegm, ama and cold dampness lurking in hidden corners. Wherever there’s space in the body, there is vulnerability, and the lungs are essentially big air-sacks.
The lungs and gut are linked in Ayurveda, meaning the lungs are risk taking on the ama that has not been properly digested in the gut. Once this ama is circulating, it looks for spaces within which it can hide: the channels of the body, and the lungs are prime candidates.
Ama circulating is a sign of weak agni, so the herbs chosen want to spark the digestive fire, burn off the ama, and strengthen the lungs.
Do emotions have anything to do with the lungs?
In both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, the lungs and gut are associated with grief, sadness and worry. When we cannot properly assimilate these emotions, these organs take the hit.
What is the best Ayurvedic medicine for the lungs?
Some tips for keeping the lungs strong:
- Fresh ginger water: to keep the digestive fire properly stoked, ginger is great at this. Boil some washed, chopped up organic fresh ginger in water, for 15-20 minutes (checking you don’t evaporate the water completely).
- Dry ginger powder in hot water has a different form of potency to fresh ginger, and is a great digestif. So take 1/3 tsp and put it in a cup of boiling water let it cool til it is a drinkable temperature and sip before your meal.
- Trikatu, meaning ‘three pungents’ is a great agni-fueller, that can be used in the same way as the above dry ginger, it contains long pepper or pippali as well as black pepper, which are great for the lungs.
- Cardamom also has an infinity for the lungs, so you can take 2-3 pods, crush it (always use fresh pods and crush them yourself as potency is quickly lost once they are out of their shells and powdered), and boil it in your tea with some other warming herbs such as a clove and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon powder (this will be delicious and warming).
- Chyawanprash is an elixir for the lungs, and whole body. It contains a potent combination of herbs and highly available vitamin C, so I would recommend taking a spoonful of this on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, before sipping on some warm water.
- Pranayama breathing exercises are the best for keeping the lungs strong, I would highly recommend Kapal Bhati which has the capacity to get rid of stagnant pockets of air trapped deep in the lungs, as well as waking up the abdomen area (amongst other things), so is a bit of a gut / respiratory work out in one.
- Work our ways of digesting and assimilating the undercurrents of grief and sadness that might be living in your lungs, acupuncture is a great means to doing this, as well as Vipassana meditation if you fancy going in…
- In Panca Karma, you get rid of excess phlegm and kapha is through vamana or upwards purgation treatment. So if you want to get really hardcore, find a practitioner and undergo this ultimate up-and-out cleanse.
By Selina Van Orden