Tea has long been known for its various health benefits, from boosting the immune system to aiding digestion. But did you know that certain types of tea can also provide support for lung health?
With the increasing levels of air pollution and the prevalence of respiratory illnesses, it’s essential to consider ways to keep our lungs healthy.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the best types of tea that can support lung health, including their unique properties and how they may help to alleviate symptoms of respiratory issues.
Whether you’re looking for a preventative measure or a natural remedy to support your respiratory system, there’s likely a tea out there that can help.
Best Types of Tea for Easier Breathing
- Mullein leaf tea
- Eucalyptus tea
- Nettle leaf tea
- Thyme tea
- Peppermint tea
- Green tea
- Ginger tea
- Turmeric tea
- Ginseng tea
- Elderberry tea
- Horehound tea
- Oregano tea
- Licorice tea
- Astragalus tea
- Earl Grey tea
- Rosemary tea
- Lavender tea
- Cardamom tea
- Marshmallow leaf tea
- Schisandra tea
- Yarrow tea
1. Mullein Leaf Tea
Scientific name: Verbascum thapsus
Mullein leaf tea is an herbal tea made from the leaves and flowers of the mullein plant, a biennial plant native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but it has been naturalized in the Americas and other parts of the world.
It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine due to its various health-promoting properties, including some that benefit the lungs and respiratory system.
Mullein is packed with phytochemicals, such as quercetin, that have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. This is why researchers believe it to be beneficial for respiratory pathologies.
To make mullein tea, the leaves and flowers of the mullein plant are harvested, dried, and then steeped in hot water to create a mild, slightly sweet, and earthy-tasting infusion.
Soothe respiratory issues with the expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties of mullein tea.
2. Eucalyptus Tea
Scientific name: Eucalyptus globulus
Eucalyptus tea is a herbal tea made from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, which is native to Australia, but they have been introduced to many other regions worldwide due to their fast growth and adaptability.
Eucalyptus has a variety of therapeutic properties, including being a natural decongestant and expectorant, making it beneficial for promoting respiratory health, clearing mucus, and treating allergic rhinitis symptoms.
To make eucalyptus tea, the leaves of the eucalyptus tree are harvested, dried, and then steeped in hot water to create a fragrant, slightly bitter infusion.
The tea has a distinctive aroma and taste, primarily due to the presence of eucalyptol, a compound known for its medicinal properties.
Breathe easier with eucalyptus tea's refreshing aroma and natural decongestant properties, perfect for clearing congestion and improving overall respiratory health.
3. Nettle Leaf Tea
Scientific name: Urtica dioica
Nettle leaf tea is a herbal tea made from the leaves of the stinging nettle plant, a perennial herbaceous plant native to Europe, Asia, and North America.
It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its various health benefits.
Stinging nettle got its name due to the small, hair-like structures on the leaves and stems that release histamine and other chemicals when touched, causing a stinging or burning sensation on the skin.
However, when properly harvested and processed, stinging nettle can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes.
A study found that this herb may have protective effects against airway inflammation, which is useful in individuals with asthma.
Enjoy nettle's rich nutrient content and potential allergy relief, offering respiratory support and enhanced overall lung health.
4. Thyme Tea
Scientific name: Thymus vulgaris
Thyme is a fragrant herb that is native to the Mediterranean region but is now grown all over the world. It is an evergreen shrub that belongs to the mint family, and it is widely used as a culinary herb and also has medicinal properties.
Thyme leaves are small, oval-shaped, and green-gray in color, with a pungent, herbaceous aroma and a slightly bitter taste. It is commonly used in cooking to flavor meats, soups, stews, and sauces, and it pairs well with other herbs like rosemary, sage, and parsley.
In addition to its culinary uses, thyme is also used in traditional medicine to treat respiratory and digestive issues, as well as sore throat and coughs.
Thyme is also known for its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties and has been used therapeutically to treat individuals with COPD.
Harness the power of thyme's potent antimicrobial properties to boost immunity and fight respiratory infections, supporting a healthy respiratory system.
5. Peppermint Tea
Scientific name: Mentha x piperita
Peppermint tea is a popular herbal tea made from the leaves of the peppermint plant, native to Europe and the Middle East but is now grown in many regions around the world.
Peppermint is a refreshing herb that contains menthol, a natural decongestant that can help to open up the airways and relieve congestion. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which can help to soothe sore throats and reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract.
To make peppermint tea, the leaves of the peppermint plant are harvested, dried, and then steeped in hot water to create a refreshing and invigorating infusion. The tea has a cool, minty flavor and aroma, which is primarily due to its high menthol content.
Relish the invigorating menthol flavor of peppermint tea, known for aiding in decongestion, soothing respiratory discomfort, and promoting improved breathing.
6. Green Tea
Scientific name: Camellia Sinensis
Green tea is a popular beverage that has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including supporting respiratory health.
Some people also enjoy green tea for its caffeine content, which can provide a mild energy boost without the jitters often associated with coffee or other caffeinated beverages.
Green tea contains compounds called catechins, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract.
Green tea can be brewed using loose tea leaves or tea bags and consumed hot or cold. Green tea can also be used as an ingredient in various foods and supplements.
Green tea, packed with catechins and antioxidants, offers several positive health benefits.
7. Ginger Tea
Scientific name: Zingiber officinale
Ginger is a flowering plant that is widely used as a spice and as a natural remedy for various health conditions. It has a spicy and pungent flavor and is often used in cooking and baking, as well as in traditional medicine.
Ginger has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is commonly used to treat nausea, vomiting, and indigestion. In addition, a study confirmed the beneficial effects of ginger on smooth muscle tissues in the airways of the lungs.
Ginger can be used in various forms, including fresh, powdered, or as an oil. It can be added to food or drinks for flavor, brewed into tea, or taken in capsule form.
Savor ginger tea's warming, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties, which are ideal for relieving respiratory discomfort and promoting lung health.
8. Turmeric Tea
Scientific name: Curcuma longa
Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange spice that has been used for centuries in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine as well as in cooking, particularly in Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
The primary active compound in turmeric is curcumin, which has been widely studied for its potential health benefits. In fact, studies found that curcumin can help reduce inflammation in the lungs and improve lung function in people with respiratory conditions.
To make turmeric tea, you can use ground turmeric or fresh turmeric root combined with hot water or milk (dairy or plant-based). You can also add other spices or ingredients to enhance the flavor and health benefits, such as ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, honey, or lemon.
Boost lung health with turmeric tea, featuring potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help improve respiratory function and overall wellness.
9. Ginseng Tea
Scientific name: Panax ginseng
Ginseng is a perennial plant that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. It’s known to have various health benefits, including improving mental and physical performance, boosting the immune system, and reducing stress and fatigue.
It is also used to promote respiratory health and treat conditions such as diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and hypertension. A study found the properties of ginseng effective in treating respiratory tract infections.
Ginseng can be consumed in various forms, including tea, in capsules, or as an ingredient in various foods and supplements.
Fortify your immune system and support respiratory function with the adaptogenic benefits of ginseng tea, which is ideal for overall lung health.
10. Elderberry Tea
Scientific name: Sambucus nigra
Elderberry refers to the fruit of the Sambucus nigra plant, which is a small shrub or tree native to Europe and North America. Elderberry has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.
Elderberry is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. It is commonly used to boost the immune system and to help prevent and treat viral respiratory illnesses.
Elderberry tea is typically made by steeping dried elderberries or elderflowers in hot water, although store-bought tea bags are also available. The resulting infusion has a mild, slightly sweet, and fruity flavor.
Strengthen your immune system and soothe respiratory ailments with the antiviral properties found in elderberry tea, promoting better lung function.
11. Horehound Tea
Scientific name: Marrubium vulgare
Horehound is a plant that is native to Europe, North Africa, and southwestern and central Asia. It has gray-green leaves and produces small white flowers. Horehound has been used for centuries in traditional herbal medicine for its therapeutic properties, including for respiratory health.
It has natural expectorant and cough-suppressant properties, making it beneficial for relieving cough, hoarseness, and other symptoms of bronchitis.
To make horehound tea, the leaves of the white horehound plant are typically dried and steeped in hot water, resulting in a slightly bitter taste with a hint of mint. Horehound is also used in candy and cough drops for soothing a soar throat.
Alleviate coughs and congestion with horehound tea, known for its expectorant and bronchodilator properties that support respiratory health.
12. Oregano Tea
Scientific name: Origanum vulgare
Oregano is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region and western Asia. It is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, and is known for its pungent, spicy flavor and aroma.
Oregano is commonly used as a culinary herb in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine. In addition to its culinary uses, oregano has been used in traditional medicine for its antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties.
It is often used as a natural remedy for respiratory infections, digestive issues, and skin irritations.
Oregano can be used fresh or dried in cooking, adding a savory and slightly spicy flavor to dishes. It is also used in oil form for aromatherapy and in topical applications, and dried leaves may be steeped in hot water to brew tea.
Promote respiratory health with oregano tea's potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which are ideal for fighting infections and soothing inflammation.
13. Licorice Tea
Scientific name: Glycyrrhiza glabra
Licorice is native to southern Europe and Asia, and its roots have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Licorice contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which has natural anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties, which can, directly and indirectly, benefit the respiratory system.
Licorice can be taken in tea or supplement form as a powder, capsule, or tincture. It’s also available as candy or cough drops.
Ease respiratory irritation and inflammation with licorice tea's soothing and anti-inflammatory effects, perfect for overall respiratory health.
14. Astragalus Tea
Scientific name: Astragalus membranaceus
Astragalus is a plant native to Asia that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. The root of the astragalus plant is commonly used for its medicinal properties.
Astragalus is believed to have immune-boosting properties and is often used to prevent and treat colds, flu, and other respiratory infections. It is also used to reduce inflammation and improve the function of the liver, kidneys, and cardiovascular system.
Astragalus can be consumed in various forms, including capsules and liquid extracts. Additionally, the root can be ground into a powder, which can then be used to brew into teas or added as an ingredient in various foods.
Boost immunity and lung function with astragalus tea, rich in adaptogenic and antioxidant properties that enhance overall health and wellness.
15. Earl Grey Tea
Scientific name: Citrus bergamia, Camellia sinensis
Earl Grey tea is a popular and well-known tea blend that is traditionally made from black tea leaves infused with the distinct flavor of bergamot orange, a citrus fruit native to Italy.
The unique and captivating taste of Earl Grey tea can be attributed to the oil extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange. This oil imparts a citrusy, slightly floral aroma that complements the bold flavor of the black tea base.
A study found that bergamot is effective in reducing high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease markers, which can indirectly benefit the respiratory system.
Enjoy the bergamot-infused black tea that promotes relaxation and overall well-being, providing a comforting choice for supporting respiratory health.
16. Rosemary Tea
Scientific name: Salvia rosmarinus
Rosemary is an evergreen herb with needle-like leaves and a woody aroma. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but it is now widely cultivated throughout the world.
Rosemary is commonly used as a culinary herb to flavor various dishes. It is also used as a natural remedy for various health conditions due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
A study found that rosemary extract may be effective in treating pulmonary fibrosis.
Rosemary can be used fresh or dried in cooking, adding a fragrant and savory flavor to dishes. It can also be brewed into tea, used as an essential oil for aromatherapy, or applied topically.
Improve respiratory health with rosemary tea's antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help alleviate inflammation and support lung function.
17. Lavender Tea
Scientific name: Lavandula
Lavender is a flowering plant prized for its beautiful purple-blue flowers and sweet, floral fragrance. It is a popular ornamental plant in gardens and is often used in landscaping and as a decorative element in floral arrangements.
Lavender has also been used for medicinal purposes, such as promoting relaxation and reducing stress and anxiety.
A study found that the inhalation of lavender essential oil suppresses allergic airway inflammation, which indicates its effectiveness in individuals with bronchial asthma.
Lavender can be used in various ways, including as an essential oil for aromatherapy, added to bathwater, or used in skincare products.
To make lavender tea, you can use fresh or dried lavender buds or flowers, which are steeped in hot water for several minutes. The resulting infusion has a delicate, floral taste with a hint of sweetness and a soothing aroma.
Relax and soothe the respiratory system with lavender tea's calming aroma and anti-inflammatory properties, perfect for promoting overall lung health.
18. Cardamom Tea
Scientific name: Elettaria cardamomum
Cardamom is a spice that is native to India, Nepal, and Bhutan and is widely used in traditional medicine and cooking. Cardamom has natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can lower blood pressure, prevent infections, and help with digestion.
A study found that it may also improve breathing by enhancing oxygen uptake and promoting the relaxation of the airways in the lungs.
Cardamom is a versatile spice used for cooking and baking. To make cardamom tea, you can crush or grind the cardamom pods to release their flavor and then steep them in hot water or add them to your preferred tea leaves. It’s also available as a supplement, extract, powder, and essential oil.
Enhance lung health and clear congestion with cardamom tea's expectorant and anti-inflammatory effects, providing a delicious and aromatic option for respiratory support.
19. Marshmallow Leaf Tea
Scientific name: Althaea officinalis
Marshmallow root is a perennial herb that is native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. It has been used for centuries in traditional herbal medicine for its therapeutic properties.
A study found that marshmallow root has anti-inflammatory and protective effects that can benefit individuals with inflamed buccal mucosal membranes. Additionally, it may also be used to treat coughing.
You can brew marshmallow root tea by steeping the roots in hot water for several minutes to soothe irritated respiratory tissues and promote healthy digestion. It also comes as a supplement in powder or capsule form.
Soothe respiratory irritation and inflammation with marshmallow leaf tea's mucilaginous properties, which promote overall respiratory health and comfort.
20. Schisandra Tea
Scientific name: Schisandra chinensis
Schisandra is a fruit-bearing vine native to East Asia. The fruit of the Schisandra plant is sometimes referred to as the “five-flavored berry” because it contains all five basic tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami.
Schisandra has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine as a tonic herb to support overall health and well-being.
Schisandra is believed to have adaptogenic properties, meaning that it may help the body adapt to stress and support healthy adrenal function. It is also thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may support respiratory function and cognitive health.
Schisandra can be consumed as a supplement in capsule or liquid form or brewed into a tea using dried berries.
Support lung function and overall health with Schisandra tea's adaptogenic and antioxidant properties, ideal for a lung detox and cleanse.
21. Yarrow Tea
Scientific name: Achillea millefolium
Yarrow is a flowering plant native to temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. It has feathery, fern-like leaves and clusters of small, white or pink flowers that bloom in the summer months.
Yarrow has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It is often used topically as a poultice or salve to help heal wounds and soothe skin irritations.
Yarrow can be used as a tea, tincture, or in topical applications. To make yarrow tea, steep fresh or dried yarrow leaves and flowers in hot water for a somewhat bitter, aromatic taste with a hint of sweetness.
Relieve respiratory discomfort with yarrow tea's anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and expectorant benefits, making it a valuable choice for promoting lung health.
Incorporating the right tea into your daily routine can significantly improve lung function and overall respiratory health. The teas mentioned in this article possess distinct properties that help cleanse the lungs, reduce inflammation, alleviate congestion, and boost immunity.
While these teas are generally safe for consumption, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Ultimately, enjoying a warm cup of these soothing teas can be both a pleasurable and beneficial experience, enhancing not only your lung health but also your overall well-being.
John Landry, BS, RRT
John Landry is a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, and has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He enjoys using evidence-based research to help others breathe easier and live a healthier life.
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