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  • Writer's pictureTeam Serenity

Protecting Your Lungs from Canadian Wildfire Air Pollution in Chicago

Naturopathic and Traditional Chinese Medicine-Based Respiratory Support Approaches for Those Impacted by Poor Air Quality

Herbalist in a white coat hands a patient traditional botanical medicines to support respiratory health

As the impacts of climate change become

increasingly evident, we are witnessing more frequent and severe wildfires across the globe. While these natural disasters cause devastation in their immediate vicinity, their effects can also be felt hundreds of miles away. Recently, the Chicagoland area has experienced episodes of very poor air quality due to the transportation of smoke and pollutants from Canadian wildfires. We put together a quick list of actionable steps you can take today to reduce the effects of low air quality for yourselves and loved ones. Skip to the end for specific lung support supplements from our online dispensary, Fullscript, to aid in maintaining your respiratory health.

Botanical Medicine: Botanical medicine offers a holistic approach to lung health by utilizing the therapeutic properties of plants. Some herbs have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which can help reduce lung inflammation and oxidative stress caused by air pollution. As always, consult with an herbalist to determine which herbs are safe and most beneficial for you. Here are a few botanical remedies worth considering:

  • Mullein (Verbascum thapsus): Known for its expectorant properties, mullein leaf can help alleviate respiratory congestion and soothe irritated airways. It is available in various forms, including teas, tinctures, and capsules.

  • Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Licorice root has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to support respiratory health. It possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that may help reduce bronchial inflammation and soothe irritated lungs.

  • Marshmallow Root (Althea officinalis): This herb contains mucilage, a substance that forms a protective layer on the respiratory tract, helping to alleviate irritation and promote healthy lung function.

up-close view of mullein's broad, soft leaves
Mullein Leaf

Acupuncture: Acupuncture, an ancient practice originating from traditional Chinese medicine, can be beneficial for individuals seeking respiratory support. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, this technique aims to restore balance in the body, improve circulation, and strengthen the immune system. Acupuncture may help reduce inflammation in the respiratory system, alleviate symptoms such as coughing or wheezing, and enhance overall lung function.

  • Cupping therapy is also helpful for respiratory symptoms and relieving tight and sore muscles after coughing.

Air Purifiers: Close your windows and turn on air filtration to limit exposure. Investing in a high-quality air purifier can significantly improve the air quality in your home and minimize the harmful effects of outdoor pollution. Look for air purifiers with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, as they are capable of capturing tiny airborne particles, including smoke and pollutants. Consider placing air purifiers in commonly used areas of your home, such as bedrooms and living rooms, to ensure cleaner air throughout the day. When you leave the house, consider a high quality mask, such as an N95. Free masks are available at the Oak Park Village Hall 9am-5pm.

  • Remember to change the filters in your HVAC and air purifiers!

Quality Lung Support recommendations from Dr. Cass:

Dr. Cass, naturopathic doctor and chiropractic physician, offers a range of lung support supplements that can aid in maintaining respiratory health through our online dispensary. Fullscript is a reputable online platform for professional-grade healthcare supplements and wellness products and ensures authenticity, note that unfortunately counterfeit supplements of physician-quality supplements are sold on amazon and other major retailers and we have no way to ensure their content. Some in-stock, helpful products include:

  • Emphaplex by Standard Process: This respiratory blend helps to maintain a healthy respiratory system by maintaining healthy mucous membranes, supporting cellular energy, and supporting central nervous system function and is an excellent source of Vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins B6 and D.

  • ResCo Phytosynergist by MediHerb: This tincture contains herbs traditionally used to support the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. With Mullein leaf, Licorice, Elecampane, Euphorbia, Grindelia, Ginger and Fennel essential oil. These herbs are used in herbal preparations to: support healthy mucous membranes within the respiratory tract, encourage healthy removal of mucus, support the body’s normal cough reflex, encourage normal secretion removal from the respiratory system.

  • Organic Throat Smoothie Tea by Earth Mama Organics: An herbal tea blend safe for pregnant people and kids with botanicals like marshmallow root and ginger to soothe sore throats and support mucus membrane health.

  • Kan Herb Company- Windbreaker Liquid: Great for kids and adults alike, this formula can be used both as a preventative measure or to address disruptive wind in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  • N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine by Klaire Labs: Non-botanical bonus! NAC: We are superfans of N-acetyl cysteine over at Serenity Holistic Health. This essential amino acid is used by the body to make glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. NAC is also mucolytic meaning it helps to thin mucus and make it easier to expel. It is often used to help manage cystic fibrosis, COPD, and bronchitis due to its effects on the respiratory system.

  • The Salt Air Inhaler: This drug-free, porcelain salt inhalation device allows you to easily experience the benefits of salt cave therapy at home. Salt inhalation helps to ease breathing, clean the respiratory system, and alleviate symptoms of allergies, asthma, respiratory tract infection, smoking, and other respiratory associated issues.

Protecting your lungs from Canadian wildfire air pollution requires a multifaceted approach, and we are here to help. Incorporating botanical medicine, acupuncture, and utilizing air purifiers are a few quick ways you can help reduce your exposure to harmful pollutants and promote respiratory health. By taking proactive steps to protect your lungs, you can ensure a healthier and more vibrant life, even in the face of ongoing and often unpredictable environmental challenges. If you need additional support you can contact our team or book an appointment online anytime. To your health!

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