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Breathing difficulties

General characteristics

General characteristics

Breathing difficulties (dyspnea) can occur for a variety of reasons. For example from an emotional shock or trauma with hyperventilation, due to blocked nasal passages during a cold or infection, as a result of exercise, in response to exposure to allergens, due to nerve damage, after a chest trauma, as a side effect of an existing lung or heart condition or as a side effect of obesity.
Complications of breathing difficulty can include low oxygen levels and high carbon dioxide levels in the body. It is therefore very important to find the reason behind the breathing difficulty and treat the cause to eliminate the symptom.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Adopt a diet based on fresh vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts and seeds.

Include plenty of garlic, onions, leeks, ginger, cayenne and black pepper in your cooking.

Eat plenty of fibrous foods in the form of raw and lightly cooked fruit, vegetables and grains. Constipation will worsen and even cause chronic breathing difficulties.

Avoid or limit intake of mucous forming foods such as dairy foods, processed foods, refined sugars and wheat.

Avoid smoking, household chemical inhalation and use and other polluted environments if at all possible.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

A mixture of equal parts of tinctures of lobelia and crampbark will help relax and dilate any air passages in constriction and spasm arising from asthma or allergies for example. Take 20 drops in water every 5 minutes until relief is obtained.
For breathing difficulties resulting from panic attacks carry a mix of motherwort, valerian, crampbark and hawthorn berry tinctures with a few drops of cayenne tincture added. Use equal quantities of tinctures and put 25 ml in a 50ml bottle, topping up with water so it is ready to use whilst out and about. Use dropperfuls when needed.
These herbs are used to strengthen and vitalise the lungs and include elecampagne root, red clover, mullein leaves, white horehound, plantain, hyssop, damiana, ginkgo and violet leaves. Make a tea using equal proportions of the herbs and take a tea 2-3 times daily using a heaped teaspoon for each cup.
If stress and tension are an issue then consider the following formula using chamomile, skullcap, siberian ginseng, valerian, liqourice and vervain. Use in tincture form, 3 equal parts of all herbs except for 1 part liqourice.Take a teaspoon in water 3 times daily.
For breathing difficulties due to allergies use a tea of equal parts nettle, elderflowers, plantain, yarrow and chamomile. Use a heaped teaspoon per cup 3 times daily.
If infection is present take a tea of thyme several times a day.
A cup of comfrey leaf tea each day for a few weeks will greatly help to heal and strengthen weak or poorly functioning lungs and help with spitting or coughing blood. Use 1 teaspoon of dried comfrey leaves for each cup.
For breathlessness from heart weakness and lung congestion, you could try some astragalus root.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Laughter is great exercise for the lungs.
Deep breathing exercises will help strengthen and tonify the lungs. Relax the body and breathe in deeply through the nose for a count of 4 while filling the upper chest and stomach area with air. Breathe out slowly through the mouth, watching the stomach and chest deflate to a count of 7. Practice this for 5-10 minutes each morning and before bed to strengthen the lungs, oxygenate the blood and relax the body.
Whilst in the shower, finish with a jet of alternating hot and cold water over the chest area (front and back) to increase circulation to and from the lungs. Start with hot for a few seconds then switch to cold for a few more seconds then repeat the sequence a few more times.
Carry a paper bag with you at all times if you are prone to panic attacks and hyperventilation. Breathe gently and slowly into the bag until you regain calm control over your breathing.
Exercise is obviously good for working out the lungs so adopt a moderate and regular exercise routine, preferably in fresh air.
Mustard powder poultices are an excellent way to increase circulation to the lungs, help fight infection, through off mucous congestion and widen the air passages. They can be used to give a tonic boost to the entire respiratory system. Mix a teaspoon of English mustard powder with 2 tablespoons of flour and enough warm water to make a thick paste. Spread this on a clean cloth, fold the cloth in half to contain the mustard then apply to the chest (front, back or both) for 10- 15 minutes. The mustard mix should not be touching the skin. You can place a hot water bottle over the poultice to increase heat but be careful not to burn the skin. If the skin feels irritated then remove the poultice and cool with tepid water.
Use steam inhalations to clear congestion, fight infection and dilate the airways. Into a bowl of boiling water add a few drops each of peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils. Cover your head with a towel and leaning over the bowl breathe in the steamy aroma for 10 minutes, keeping your eyes closed.
A gypsy recipe for clearing congestion from the lungs or head involves crushing a tablespoon of mustard seeds and adding them to a large bowl of 2 pints of boiling water. When the water is cool enough place both feet in the liquid for as long as it remains warm.

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