Air pollution and toxins affect your lungsConstant exposure to air pollution and toxins leads to oxidation and free radical damage to tissues. This adversely affects your health through reduced lung function, inflammation of the respiratory tract and uncomfortable respiratory symptoms such as:
- burning or discomfort in the chest
- throat irritation
- chest tightness
- wheezing or shortness of breath
Oxidation and free radicalsAlthough oxidation is a natural chemical reaction that takes place in your body, chronic exposure to air pollution and toxins can dramatically increase your level of oxidation and the production of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that gain stability by ‘stealing’ electrons from other molecules such as your proteins, DNA or cell membranes via the oxidation process. When oxidation occurs, important elements of cells are damaged and lose their ability to function normally and may eventually lead to cell death.
Antioxidants combat oxidation and free radicalsAntioxidants donate molecules to stabilise free radicals and reduce oxidative damage so help to protect your lungs and respiratory tract from exposure to air pollution and toxins. Many antioxidants can be recycled back into their antioxidant form after they have been used to stabilise free radicals.
Top 5 herbs for antioxidant and lung detox support:
- Grape seed provides a rich source of powerful antioxidant compounds known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) with antioxidant power 20 times greater than vitamin E and 50 times greater than vitamin C. OPCs are very effective at counteracting the negative effects of oxidation and free radical damage
- Thyme is a potent antioxidant, traditionally used as an expectorant to relieve catarrh (inflammation with excessive mucus) of the upper respiratory tract and to relieve coughs. Thyme also provides anti-inflammatory activity and is a strong antimicrobial that helps to reduce the risk of infection by bacteria, viruses or fungi.
- Albizia is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for respiratory complaints and to help clear, remove and detoxify toxins in the respiratory system. The stem bark is renowned for strengthening and clearing mucus congestion from the lungs and detoxifying poisons. Albizia is one of the principal antiallergy herbs that helps relieve respiratory allergies such as hayfever, allergic rhinitis and allergic cough. People exposed to air pollution are more likely to react to allergens such as grass pollens and house dust mites than those who are not exposed.
- White horehound is traditionally used to relieve disorders of the respiratory tract, to loosen and clear mucus from the lungs and relieve mucus congestion. White horehound helps relieve catarrh of the respiratory tract and non-productive, dry coughs.
- Ivy leaf helps to thin down and liquefy thick mucus promoting the removal of excessive mucus from the respiratory tract.