Due to bushfires in Australia, I’ve been breathing heavily smoky air for more than a month. It’s been very frustrating to experience how the toxic air significantly affected my breathing.
My nose feels blocked. My throat feels dry. I can’t do a sensory evaluation of teas. Then, I decided to get some help from my beloved friend, tea.
Medical Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician with any questions that you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read in this article.
Teas for Breathing, Lung Cleanse, and Your Overall Respiratory System
Tea comes from a plant called Camellia Sinensis. Depends on how tea leaves are processed, the result becomes one of the six tea categories.
All tea contains caffeine that acts as a bronchodilator. A bronchodilator is a substance that dilates the passages that air travels through. A bronchodilator helps respiratory muscles to relax, creates less resistance in the airways, therefore, increases airflow to and from the lungs.
Although all tea contains similar chemical compounds such as caffeine, catechins, theanine, polyphenol, and so on, you can find more medical studies related to green and black tea due to its popularity.
White tea is made from the youngest, tender baby tea leaves in spring. White tea undergoes the least processing, yet still complex to make, and contains characteristics of delicacy, flowery, mild, and spring. When I drink white tea, orchids generally pop up in my mind.
Why green tea and black tea look so different when they come from the same plant? That’s because of a different oxidation level. Green tea is unoxidized, black tea is fully oxidized. It’s so hard to generalize a tea because there are different types of tea within each tea category. However, green tea generally contains characteristics of raw, grassy, savory / umami. Premium green tea tastes sweeter and more floral.
Yellow tea is very rare and hard to produce. It provides all the health benefits of green tea, yet tastes milder and sweeter.
Oolong is a semi-oxidized tea in between 8-75% oxidation level and contains characteristics of fruity, floral, or smoky when the oxidation level is high.
Black tea is fully-oxidized and contains characteristics of malty, sweet, and robust.
Dark tea undergoes microbial fermentation and is a fermented tea. The most famous fermented tea is pu-erh.
Caffeine and anti-inflammatory
You will breathe better when caffeine is consumed in moderate depends on your health condition. However, when you consume too much caffeine, it can cause trouble to breathe. For example, my heart pumps too fast and I feel uncomfortable to breathe when I drink a coffee (generally 1 cup of coffee contains caffeine equals to 3~7 cups of tea)
The most concentrated source of plant citral (>90%). Citral contains powerful antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which are even superior to those of terpene hydrocarbons found in the renowned tea tree oil. This herb has stronger lemon scents than lemon but tastes delightful without acidity or sourness. It’s also nice for steam therapy.
Menthol, the main chemical component of peppermint, is an effective decongestant. Decongestants shrink the swollen membranes in the nose, making it easier to breathe. Menthol is also an expectorant. Expectorants loosen and bring up mucus from the lungs.
Eucalyptus leaves are rich in antioxidants and decrease mucus and expand the bronchi and bronchioles of your lungs.
One 12-week study gave 32 people with bronchial asthma either 600 mg of eucalyptol or a placebo per day. Those in the eucalyptol group required 36% less medication to control their asthma symptoms, compared with those in the control group, who needed 7% less
Licorice is recommended to treat respiratory problems. Taking licorice as an oral supplement can help the body produce healthy mucus. Increasing phlegm production may seem counterintuitive to a healthy bronchial system. However, the opposite is true. The production of clean, healthy phlegm keeps the respiratory system functioning without old, sticky mucus clogging it.
Butterfly Pea Flower
Butterfly Pea acts as an expectorant and has shown to reduce the irritation of respiratory organs, useful in treating colds, coughs, and even asthma.
Ginger helps to break down mucus, making it easier for your body to expel air. It also helps improve circulation to the lungs and reduces inflammation. One way to ingest ginger is to boil chopped ginger in water, strain the ginger out, add honey and drink it as a tea.