Our hearts go out to all those who’ve been affected in some way by the latest wildfires that have rapidly spread through parts of California recently. Not only are homes damaged or completely gone, but lives have been lost and many people and animals are suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.
Smoke inhalation is a serious health concern as it can cause irritation, inflammation, and reduced oxygen exchange in the lungs and potentially lead to respiratory failure and even death (Santos-Longhurst, n.d.). While rescue workers strive day and night to try to contain the fires in California, the effects of the resulting smoke may be harder to contain than the fire itself.
When it comes to using herbs to support the body after smoke inhalation, there are several approaches one can take. One of the simplest is to use herbs to support the respiratory and nervous systems by drinking a delicious, soothing herbal tea.
We asked for some suggestions from the Herbal Academy staff herbalists as we discussed the perfect tea blend to support fire victims, and here is what they suggest.
“Wildfire smoke is so drying, and we found this last summer with the fires near us that it really affects the nervous system – my family felt moody and just run down. So it seems like a blend of marshmallow and licorice (for those who do not have issues with high blood pressure) to moisturize and support the lungs along with a nervine such as linden, chamomile, or lemon balm would be simple and helpful. This could be made into either a tea or syrup for easy consumption.” – Angela Justis
“How about a combo of chamomile and lemon balm for nervous system support, mullein and nettle for respiratory support, marshmallow and violet leaf for demulcency? So nourishing, nervine, tissue soothing, respiratory tonic.” – Jane Metzger
With these thoughts in mind, we pulled together the perfect recipe to share with you. In fact, this recipe comes from our Respiratory Health Unit in our Intermediate Herbal Course! This unit features information about the respiratory system, how to keep it healthy, and how herbs can offer support and balance when needed.
Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide by Rosemary Gladstar (Gladstar, 2012).
Mullein has long been used to help with coughs and other respiratory issues because of its anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and expectorant properties. The addition of antispasmodic chamomile, demulcent marshmallow, and honey to this tea makes it very helpful for soothing irritated throats and dry coughs.
3 g (0.1 oz) chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) flower
1 g (0.05 oz) marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) leaf and/or flower
1 g (0.05 oz) mullein (Verbascum thapsus) leaf
- Use approximately 5 g (0.2 oz) herb blend per 355 mL (12 fl oz) hot water. Steep in a covered container for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth or a tea strainer to remove hairs from the mullein leaf. Add plenty of soothing honey and sip while hot.
A Generous Offer For California Fire Victims
Sometimes, in especially difficult times like these, it’s hard to know how to help. Unfortunately, we can not make the situation go away or make it right in any way. In fact, we can scarcely imagine the devastation that these fires have had on the lives of those affected – so many losing everything they owned as they escaped. The process of rebuilding whole communities and individual lives will not be without further challenges.
For those of you devastated by the fires, it’s during these high-stress times that it can be easy to ignore your health as you become preoccupied with all that there is to do, but just a few simple steps can help restore balance and protect your health. The Herbal Academy together with Mountain Rose Herbs would like to offer some herbal support.
Mountain Rose Herbs is offering Herbal Academy readers and community that are California fire victims a 10% discount on the herbs suggested in the recipe above along with any herbs and supplies needed from their website. This coupon extends 10% off of the entire Mountain Rose Herbs site store, so do consider ordering any of the other herbs mentioned in the recommendations above if you wish to try other teas or herbal formulations to address your specific needs. We also welcome any questions you may have concerning the use of herbs. We hope to be a small beacon of hope and support during this most difficult time – we are here for all of you.
Simply fill out this form providing your email address and home address.
Please note that this is an honor system. We ask that you only fill out this form if you are a California resident in need!
Our thoughts are with you during your time of need!
Santos-Longhurst, A. (n.d.). What to do when you or someone you know may have breathed in too much smoke. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/smoke-inhalation