The Crestone Eagle • July, 2020

There’s No Such Thing As A Weed: Protecting our lungs

by Dorje Root, RH (AHG)

We all know people who had to move to a lower altitude because they had difficulty breathing at 8000’ as they got older.  Living at this altitude is not for the faint of heart.  And during “fire season” with smoke in the air, even if it blew in from many miles away, it’s just that much harder.  Then throw in the COVID virus which enters through the lungs, and being able to take in a good deep breath is not as easy as it once was.

The lungs, along with the colon, are associated with grief in Chinese medicine. On a larger scale, the Amazon rain forest, the “lungs of the earth” is being destroyed at an alarming rate.  Who of us does not feel grief at that?  Now breathing becomes a much larger issue.

Now this may be a no-brainer for some, helpful information for others.  Smoking and vaping are seriously not helpful for lung function.  Drinking ½ gallon per day of good clean water keeps the mucus thin and functional, helping to clear out pathogens naturally (one might want to try this before taking mucus-thinning drugs).  Stuffing emotions, especially grief in this case, is seriously harmful to the lungs. There are many fabulous healers in this community who can help with this.   

Here in Crestone/Baca we have several local herbs that can benefit the lungs, and also several that can help us process grief.  I’ve spoken at length about mullein, that fabulous invasive species, which is everywhere when we need it!  Although all parts of this plant can be used, the leaf is the part most useful for the lungs. As a respiratory tonic, it can be used frequently and safely.  (A note of caution—pour the infusion through a coffee filter to avoid the little leaf hairs.)

Other helpful locals—horsetail, grindelia, and osha.  Horsetail contains a significant amount of silica, and helps maintain the elasticity of certain tissues, such as the alveoli sacs in the lungs, where oxygen is transferred to the blood. Harvest before mid-July.

Grindelia, with its resinous flowers, is useful for the end stage of a cold or flu where the mucous is thick and difficult to expel from the lungs.  Flowers and upper leaves are used.

And osha is used as a bronchial dilator and is anti-bacterial and anti-viral.  A small piece of the root can be kept on hand to chew on when needed.  Osha is overharvested in many places, so please harvest mindfully if at all.

For grief, consider rose, wild or domestic, lemon balm, and hawthorn.  It would certainly be beneficial to include these herbs in any respiratory formula.

And on a final note, let’s remember to thank our lungs every day for the incredible job they do for us!

Just breathe . . .

Dorje Root, RH (AHG) is an herbalist and natural healer, also working with Plant Spirit Medicine, Intuitive Energy Healing and ‘The Journey’ cellular healing.  For an appointment call 719-937-7786 or visit