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Information on Emphysema

Notes, Nutrients, Herbs/Supplements, and Advice

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A condition of the lungs, in which the small air sacs of the lungs, know as alveoli expand and dilate secondary to numerous causes. As the alveoli expand the ability to add oxygen and remove CO 2 to and from the blood is compromised. Emphysema can be caused by cigarette smoking, inhalation of toxic fumes and some congenital diseases.


  • A lung transplant is only needed for very few people.
  • Emphysema does not have a cure.
  • Magnesium can help older adults with breathing by building up the muscles that control breathing.
  • Oxygen can help with the function of the lungs along with battling erythrocytes and reduces the risk of heart failure.
  • To help with breathing a lung reduction can help.
  • To measure your lung capacity several tests that can be performed are arterial blood gas, pulse goniometry, spiromentry, and X-ray.
Helpful nutrients for this condition.

Importance: Very High
Comments: Promotes clear breathing.

Dimethylglycine (DMG)
Importance: Very High
Comments: Improves endurance. Sublingual form is recommended.

Coenzyme Q10
Importance: High
Comments: Potent antioxidant. Improves oxygen in the lungs.

Free-form amino acid complex
Importance: High
Comments: Helps in reconstruction of lung tissue.

Importance: High
Comments: Boosts immune system. Helps in prevention of pneumonia.

L-Cysteine and L-methionine
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with reconstruction of damaged lung tissue. Keeps lung tissue safe and healthy.

Vitamin A
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with reconstruction of lung tissues. Boosts immune system. When used in high doses, emulsion form is best.

Beta carotene
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with reconstruction of lung tissues. Boosts immune system. When used in high doses, emulsion form is best.

Carotenoid complex (Betatene)
Importance: High
Comments: Helps with reconstruction of lung tissues. Boosts immune system. When used in high doses, emulsion form is best.

Vitamin E
Importance: High
Comments: Powerful antioxidant that transports oxygen. Cell membranes can be damaged by a lack of vitamin E. When used in high doses, emulsion form is best.

Vitamin E
Importance: High
Comments: Powerful antioxidant that transports oxygen. Cell membranes can be damaged by a lack of vitamin E. When used in high doses, emulsion form is best.

Vitamin C
Importance: High
Comments: Boosts immune system. Helps heal inflamed tissues.

Importance: Moderate
Comments: Boosts energy levels. Enhances function of organs. Alcohol-free extract is recommended. Caution: Do not use daily for more than 7 days in a row. Refrain from using if you have high blood pressure.

Lung Complex
Importance: Moderate
Comments: -1

Helpful herbs and supplements for this condition.

Type: Internal
Purposes: The Chinese name for Astragalus is huang qi which means " yellow leader", named for the color of the root. It is thought to be beneficial in promoting better breathing and speeds up healing in the bronchial tubes.

ClearLungs from RidgeCrest Herbals
Type: Internal
Purposes: ClearLungs from RidgeCrest Herbals is an all natural Chinese herbal remedy that combines13 herbal ingredients plus homeopathic extracts. This formula provides temporary relief of bronchial congestion and supports clear breathing. This herb is sold with Ephedra and without. Both are effective.

Type: Internal
Purposes: Cordyceps is a herb used for centuries in China. It stimulates and supports the immune system, enhances the natural antioxidant systems in the body, improves kidney, liver, and lung functioning. Cordyceps improves blood flow to the kidneys, liver and lungs, thus enhancing their activity and opens up the bronchioles producing greater oxygenation for the kidneys.
Cautions: Pregnant and lactating women, as well as children should not use this herb as studies have not been done in this area.

Ephedra (ma huang)
Type: Internal
Purposes: The stems of Ephedra species contain alkaloid ephedrine which is beneficial in treating many respiratory complaints. It has antiviral effects, against shortness of breath, coughing, congestion and bronchitis. Also works well for relieving nasal congestion.
Cautions: This herb should not be used by people who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or suffering from high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, dehydration, anxiety, heart disease, or insomnia.

Type: Internal
Purposes: Thyme is an excellent expectorant that has been used since ancient times to treat upper respiratory and lung disorders. Children with lung disorders can be given thyme.

Type: Internal
Purposes: Glycyrrhizin is one of the active ingredients in licorice, and it has been found to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic properties. Research has shown that the Licorice Root has an effect on the organ system, the endocrine system and liver and increases energy levels. Best to use a alcohol-free extract or Bio Rizin from American Biologics.
Cautions: Licorice is not to be used if you have high blood pressure. Not to be used on a daily basis for more than seven days at a time.

Alfalfa, Fenugreek, Fresh Horseradish, Mullein Tea, and Rosemary
Type: Internal
Purposes: Alfalfa, Fresh Horseradish, and Rosemary have been helpful in treating emphysema. Mullein tea loosens congestion and mucus. Fenugreek has been commonly used to treat bronchitis and breaks ups the mucus flow.


  • A castor oil packet can be helpful in improving breathing. Make the pack by warming (not boiling) castor oil and then dipping a cheesecloth in it. Put the cheesecloth on desired area (back or chest). Put a piece of plastic over the cheesecloth and a water bottle or warm cloth over that. Let sit for half an hour to two hours.
  • Certain foods promote build-up of mucus. Avoid the following: fried and greasy foods, salt, meats, eggs, junk food, tobacco, white flour, processed foods, cheese, and dairy products. Beware of foods with any of these hidden in their list of ingredients.
  • Consider a cleansing fast with carrot, celery, kale, spinach, and other dark green fresh juices.
  • Foods like meat and nuts have to be chewed for a while before swallowing. Consider avoiding these if they cause you to have difficulty breathing. Steamed vegetables are easy to eat.
  • Get plenty of rest. Stay away from stressful situations. Fresh air is beneficial.
  • Half of your diet should be raw foods. Soups, skinless chicken or turkey, brown rice, fish, millet, and whole grain cereals should make up the other half.
  • Hot, humid climates are not beneficial. If you live in these conditions, be sure to stay in air conditioning.
  • In order to remove mucus from your airways, sip hot herbal tea in the mornings. Be sure to consume 8 glasses of water a day. After drinking, it is helpful to use psyllium or another fiber to help cleanse your system.
  • Keep your home humid with a humidifier if possible.
  • Legumes and cabbage promote development of gas and should be avoided.
  • Onions and garlic should be eaten daily.
  • Pets with fur or feathers should not be allowed into your home.
  • Practice deep-breathing techniques to strengthen lungs. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth slowly.
  • Protect yourself against air pollution. Dust, dirt, and other toxins can be harmful to you.
  • Set up an exercise plan. You may need to start slow. This is a good way to boost your endurance and enhance your circulation. Yoga, martial arts, and tai chi are recommended.
  • Stay away from chemicals, fragrances, and scented laundry detergent. Try to incorporate things into your home that will not harbor dust - use natural flooring and decorating, no carpet or draperies. Stay away from plastics, including chairs, dishes, etc. Avoid aerosol products.
  • Stay away from the house while it is being cleaned so the unsettled dust and mold do not irritate your breathing.
  • Stay away from tobacco completely, including the smoke as it can be deadly to someone with emphysema.