Andrew Pacholyk MS L.Ac
Fall is the season when certain disorders are more prevalent than at other times of the year. Asthma, allergies and skin disorders can affect almost any one susceptible to them. Prevention is key. The lung and large intestine are the internal organs related to Fall.
These organs are associated with the emotion of “taking in” and “letting go.” Taking in through the nose and mouth such as the breathe of life is important as we transition from the hot season of summer to the cool season of Fall. The nose is the opening to the lungs, therefore, colds and flu are easier to catch. Keep your nose and sinuses clean and clear. Using a netti pot with some sea salt and water helps rid the nose of excess mucus.
Constipation is often prevalent in the Fall as the process of “letting go” can be a difficult one. Sleep difficulties are more prominent due to the changing balance of light and dark. The lung and large intestine are associated with Fall and are considered the main organs for detoxing and cleansing the body during this season. Therefore, this is a good time to do a cleansing.
Dryness is a common problem in Autumn. Dryness can manifest as constipation, dry throat, dry skin, dry eyes, dry brittle hair, thirst, and lack of sweat. Most people do not drink enough fluids regularly, let alone in the Autumn. Spicy food can cause or worsen dryness. Be careful not to get stuck in the vicious cycle of craving the same food that makes your symptoms worse!
Using a natural humidifier such as a fountain can do wonders in keeping a dry room moist. You can also try blending up this season simmer:
Used for: scenting the kitchen/any room with aromatherapy, inviting Fall, honoring Halloween, or as a love potion.
-Blend 2-4 cups of apple cider or apple juice with:
-1 apple cut into small pieces
-1 pinch of nutmeg
-1 cinnamon stick
Slowly simmer on the stove. Allow the smell to permeate the room.
Allow this pungent smell to waft throughout your home. Works to clear the lungs and sinus!
Salt is one of the easiest most affective remedies on the planet! Sea salt, a salt obtained by evaporating seawater, is used in cooking and cosmetics. Its mineral content gives it a different taste from table salt, which is usually sodium chloride refined from mined rock salt (halite), or refined from sea salt. Table salt may contain anti- caking agents and additives such as the dietary supplement iodides.
Healing Salt Remedies
Chronic sinusitis refers to inflammation of the sinuses that continues for weeks, months, or even years. Allergies are the most common cause of chronic sinusitis. Chronic sinusitis can persist even after antibiotics are given. It’s the most frequently reported chronic disease.
Acute sinusitis occurs when bacteria invade the sinus cavities and impair proper drainage of mucus from the sinuses to the nose. Chronic inflammation of the nasal passages or rhinitis also can lead to sinusitis. Allergic rhinitis or hay fever is the most common cause of chronic sinusitis and is a frequent cause of acute sinusitis.
The common cold is the most prevalent predisposing factor to sinusitis. Acute sinusitis typically causes symptoms of nasal congestion and a thick yellow or green discharge. Other symptoms include tenderness and pain over the sinuses, frontal headaches, and sometimes chills, fever, and pressure in the area of the sinuses.
Entering bacteria gets trapped and filtered out by mucus and minute nasal hairs called cilia. This air-flow system can sometimes slow down when something impedes the cilia, if a cold clogs the sinus openings, or if an allergen swells the sinus linings. Then air gets trapped, pressure builds, the mucus stagnates, and bacteria breed. Infection sets in and you have sinusitis. When you get clogged up, you may end up with a permanent thickening of the sinus membranes and chronic congestion.
Flush out nasal secretions. Mix 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt or sea salt with 2 cups of warm water and a pinch of baking soda. Pour it into a shot glass, tilt your head back, close one nostril with your thumb, and sniff the solution with the open nostril. Then blow your nose gently. Repeat on the other side.
An Ayurvedic solution, similar to this is done in the same manner with a Neti Pot. It looks similar to a tea pot, but with a longer, narrower spout for the nostrils. These can be found in most health food stores.
A cup or handful of water in your hand or neti pot is a wonderful cleansing therapy. Slowly inhale the salt water into your nose to cleanse your sinus and open up the air passages. Over the counter nasal washes (not nasal sprays) are available. The simplest form is a non iodized salt water spray.
Below are some of the most popular and common herbal remedies for aliments of the lungs:
Coltsfoot Root, (Tussilago farfara) The mucilaginous property of the root makes it useful with lung problems, coughs, and intestinal upset. Coltsfoot is available in tincture, syrup, capsules and tea. The active ingredients are extracted from the dried leaves, root and flowers.
Ginkgo Biloba (Ginkgo Biloba) has been a staple with practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat asthma, allergies, and coughs. Studies have shown that ginkgo can inhibit allergic response and scientists have isolated an active ingredient in ginkgo that has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Horehound, (Marrubium vulgare) can be considered whenever heavy, dry, mucus must be discharged from lungs and respiratory passages. Horehound is the botanical herb of choice due to its long history as a safe, reliable, and effective herbal cough remedy.
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) contains elements helpful for the adrenals and glands, inducing the adrenal cortex to produce more cortisone and aldosterone. It is thought to exhibit a mucosal protectant effect by beneficially interfering with gastric prostanoid synthesis and increasing both mucous production and regional blood flow. Very helpful in treating flu, colds, and lung congestion. It is also found in popular cough remedies. Due to the adverse reaction of licorice, many studies have been performed using the deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) extract, which is free of glycyrrhizin and has had no significant reported adverse effects.
Lobelia, (Lobelia inflata) is used smoking cessation and to treat asthma and depression. The piperidine alkaloids (lobeline) are believed to be responsible for the mechanism of action. In vitro studies show that lobeline crosses the blood-brain barrier and has similar activity to nicotine, and stimulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. At low doses, lobelia has stimulant effects. There are several contraindications with this herb. Lobelia is known to cross into breast milk and should not be consumed by pregnant or nursing mothers. Adverse reactions included nausea, vomiting, sweating, cough, dizziness, bradycardia, hypertension, seizures, respiratory stimulation (low doses) or depression (high doses). Toxicity includes sinus arrhythmia, bundle branch block, diaphoresis, cardiovascular collapse, seizures, coma. Herb-Drug Interactions include nicotine. Lobelia may have additive effects when combined with nicotine-containing products, resulting in toxicity.
Mullein, (Verbascum thapsus)is an antispasmodic, which is rich in mucilage, a substance that soothes the throat. It is a good expectorant and, in the process of clearing out congestion. It also soothes irritation in the throat and bronchial passages. As an antispasmodic, mullein can relieve stomach cramps and help control diarrhea. Mullein is an age old remedy, which is specific for bronchitis with hard cough and soreness. It is also a herb for cold and congestion. The leaves and flowers are used to reduce mucous and stimulate coughing up of phlegm.
Nettle (Urtica dioica)had been known to reduce allergic reactions. Rich in iron, potassium and silicon, nettles combined with comfrey, mullein, or horehound can be used for asthma.