What can you take to clean your lungs?

Updated April 17, 2017

Whether you are suffering from an illness, have just quit smoking or are on a quest for total body health, there are herbs you can take to clean out your lungs. The herbs mullein, anise and cardamom are all very effective lung cleansers.


Mullein is a traditional herbal expectorant. Mullein contains two constituents, mucilage and saponin, that soothe your mucous membranes and promote mucous discharge and removal. You can buy dried mullein tea leaves from health food stores and online retailers.

You can make a mullein tea by steeping 1 or 2 tsps. of dried mullein leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Drink the tea while it is still warm. Mullein tea can be consumed three to four times daily.


The herb anise, a common lozenge and cough medicine ingredient, is an effective lung expectorant. Anise contains alpha-pinene and creosol, two elements that loosen phlegm, stimulate lung secretions and clear out congestion. Anise seeds, which are considered the most potent part of the herb, can be found at health food stores, through online retailers and in the spice aisle at many larger food stores.

To make anise tea, you must first crush 1 to 2 tsps. of anise seeds with either the back of a spoon or a mortar and pestle. Then pour 1 cup of boiling water over the crushed seeds and steep the mixture for at least 10 minutes. Allow the tea to slightly cool before drinking. Drink this lung-cleansing remedy once in the morning and once before you go to bed.


Cardamom, an ancient Chinese and Indian medicinal herb, is a powerful lung cleanser. Cardamom contains the phytochemical cineole, which breaks up lung congestion while boosting your central nervous system. Cardamom can be bought in Indian and Chinese spice shops, in health food stores or from online retailers.

You can make a cardamom expectorant tea by steeping 1 tsp of powdered cardamom into 1 cup of boiling water. You can also make a stronger cardamom decoction by adding 15 cardamom pods and 15 clove buds to 10 cups of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes then transfer the mixture to a Thermos. Drink the warm mixture throughout the day.

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