Herbal Education At The Academy: The Respiratory System

Herbal Education At The Academy: The Respiratory System | Growing Up Herbal | Interested in going to herbal school? Here's a sneak peek at the Herbal Academy's Intermediate herbal course!

Seeing how fall is upon us and cold and flu season will be here before you know it, I think this month’s Herbal Education post is very appropriate seeing how it’s focused on the respiratory system.

Did you know that the majority of viruses are transmitted and contracted through the respiratory system? It’s true, and so today, I’m going to share a bit about what the Herbal Academy is teaching on this particular body system in their Online Intermediate Herbal Course. My hope is that it helps you to not only get an inside glimpse into what the Intermediate Herbal course is like, but that it helps you stay a bit healthier this cold and flu season as well.

Like always I’ll be sharing an overview of what’s taught in this unit as well as 3 key take-aways and my own herbal formula for a sinus rinse that works wonders when I’m trying to keep from getting a sinus infection! Plus, I’m sharing a little something extra this month… an essential oil blend from HA that can be diffused or used in a chest compress when you get a cold!

The Respiratory System

What I Studied

The eighth unit of The Online Intermediate Herbal Course is all about the respiratory system, and it covers some of the following topics.

  • anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system
  • healthy breathing
  • TCM view of breath and “life force”
  • health benefits of deep breathing and rhythmic breathing
  • herbal lung tonics
  • lung imbalances: cold, flu, sinusitis, lower respiratory infections, asthma, etc.
  • energetics of respiratory imbalances and how to find the right remedy
  • air quality and purity
  • aromatherapy for the respiratory system

Interesting Things I Learned

Below you’ll find 3 things that stood out to me most about this unit of study in HA’s Intermediate Herbal Course.

  1. Deep breathing is an important part of being healthy. Not only do the lungs work closely with the heart by oxygenating the blood and tissues, but it helps us emotionally as well. Deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system via the vagus nerve which puts us in a “rest and digest” mode. This allows us to relax, stay calm, have a healthy blood pressure, have balanced hormones, digest our food, and be nourished. Deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve and works to shift the body from a sympathetic state to a parasympathetic state. For optimal health we want to be in a parasympathetic mode as often as we can. (CLICK HERE to learn more about the nervous system and how herbs can aid it.)
  2. To prevent lung infections its wise to take herbal lung tonics daily through out the colder months when lungs are more susceptible to infection and irritation. Reishi mushrooms are a great lung tonic. Not only do they help with allergies, but they stimulate an immune response, tone lung tissues, and help the liver process toxins too! You can eat reishi mushrooms in your food, take them powdered in capsules, or make a tincture out of them. Astragalus root is another great lung tonic herb as well!
  3. Inhaling essential oils (either through diffusion or topical use with a carrier oil) can decrease the chance of sickness in the body. According to Dr. Linda Page in her book, Healthy Healing, essential oils (like plants) carry a bio-electrical frequency expressed as “hertz” just like our bodies do. Different essential oils, herbs, and healthy body systems all have different frequencies. A higher frequency rate (like those of certain essential oils) can destroy entities with lower frequencies (like certain viruses). Therefore, using certain essential oils with high frequency rates can create an environment that disease, bacteria, viruses, and fungus cannot live in.

A Recipe To Share

The following is a formula I use anytime I am congested and feel like I may be getting a sinus infection. I use this recipe in my neti pot or sinus rinse system to help clear my sinus passages and move everything back into a state of balance.

Herbal Sinus Rinse



  1. Pour 8 oz. of boiled water over 1 TBSP. of herbal sinus rinse mix and let steep 20 minutes.
  2. Double strain herbs using a muslin bag and then a coffee filter. Compost herbs.
  3. Mix herbal sinus rinse tea with an appropriate sea salt for sinus rinses (usually 1 tsp. for 8 oz. of water) and put in neti pot or sinus rinse bottle.
  4. Rinse sinuses well 2-3 times a day to loosen mucous, relieve pressure, and discourage bacterial growth.

Next up is an essential oil blend that you can mix up and use in your diffuser (or inhale from the bottle) as a way to prevent colds or to encourage the body to fight off a cold faster.

Essential Oil Blend For Colds
Used with permission from the Herbal Academy. Not for use on children under 6 years old.


  • 2 drops Pine (Pinus sylvestris – 20%)
  • 2 drops Spruce (Tsuga canadensis – 20%)
  • 2 drops Therebentine (Pinus pinaster – 20%)
  • 2 drops Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus – 20%)
  • 2 drops Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia – 20%)


  1. Drop oils into an ultrasonic diffuser (10 drops) and diffuse in the home 1-2 times a day.
  2. Combine larger portions of oils and store in a glass bottle, labeled, for use in a diffuser, inhaling throughout the day, in a chest compress, or diluting in a carrier oil and applying during the day.

So there you go! This is what is covered in the eighth unit of The Online Intermediate Herbal Course from the Herbal Academy. Be sure you checkout HA’s online herbal programs, introductory, intermediate, and advanced (coming the fall), if you’re interested in getting an herbal education that is convenient, affordable, scientific based, and will meet you wherever you’re at!

Do you have any questions about the programs at The Herbal Academy? Ask away in the comment section below, and I’ll answer them in next months Herbal Education post!


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