Respiratory System – Sinus and Lungs

General.  It is difficult to separate the lung function from that of the large intestine.  They are on the same circuit in Traditional Chinese Medicine thus dysfunction in one is often indicative of dysfunction in the other.  Both these organs interface with the outer world and are mucus makers.
The respiratory system interacts with all the other systems of the body.  A sluggish respiratory system is energized by the liver and then the respiratory will energize the circulation with oxygen.  When functioning well, it aides the urinary function in the removal of acids via deep breathing (and sneezing).  Those with weak lung (or large intestinal function) tend to crave pungent and spicy foods like Mexican or Chinese.

Body Indicators.  Some external indicators of weak lung function include blueness of the sclera (white part of the eyes), blueness of the nails, tip of the nose or tongue; and clubbed nails – that curve downward over the finger tips.  Shoulder and rib problems point to the lung.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Indicators.  The quality of the skin is an indicator of lung and large intestine function and health.  The skin and mucosa are fortified by well working lung and large intestine…or not.  Nose issues are indicators of poor lung and large intestine function (polyps, sores, itching, chronic issues with the skin around the nose, etc.) as are anomalies on the ring finger only (crooked, painful, swelling), and metallic or fishy odors in the mouth or in the perspiration.   The lung and large intestines are damaged by grief and rebalanced by ‘letting it go‘.  Lung and large intestine people’s decisions are governed by the thought: Why won’t my dream come true?  Those given to having their way (dream come true) can balance these organs by the regular practice of letting it go.
Lung and large intestine people don’t like to lay down for long periods of time – like children that won’t nap or take very short naps.

German New Medicine Indicators.  The damaging issue according to German New Medicine is a ‘morsel conflict’.  The ‘morsel’ conflicts basically characterize how we handle what life throws at us, that is, situations, accidents, bills, deadlines, moves, severed relationships that are usually an unexpected BIG deal.  Examples would be a sudden change at work or home that you are not sure how to handle.  So when a life situation (morsel) comes at us, can we ‘digest/absorb/process’ it (stomach, intestines), and ‘let it go’ (large intestine/rectum).  Our language often betrays what our ‘morsel’ is when we say things like, “I can’t get over it”, “..handle it”, “…let it go”, “…get past it”, etc.  The ‘it’ is your morsel, and, where you are stuck in your processing of that ‘it’ helps determine where your tissues are being affected.  There is usually anger associated with this inability which Dr Hamer calls indigestible anger.  The remedy that GNM offers is life counseling to help you to come to peaceful terms with your ‘it’ so you can let it go.


The Lung/Sinus Mucus and ‘Plan B

Many manifestations in the respiratory system are a result of inflammation due to excess cellular debris from the lymph that are stagnated in the lymphatic system not being removed via those exits (Plan A) and the body is resorting to Plan B.  Mucus is produced to flush them away. Good right?  Thus inflammation stimulates the production your anti-inflammatory mucus.   From there we deal with mucus management – but mucus is NOT an underlying cause.   Inflammation is due mostly to stressed tissue damage (see above for emotional causes) but can also be introduced by eating inflammatory foods.  A brief trial abstention (2 weeks) from these foods will provide insight as to whether they are contributing.  To access and help clogged lymph, Electro Medicine is very helpful.

In essence, mucus is your intelligent body’s anti-inflammatory soap suds designed to keep the respiratory tract (AND the intestinal tract) clean, free of irritants, lubricated and functioning properly.  So does it make sense to stop or ‘dry up’ a mucus flow?   The herbs listed in this document will help return the respiratory tissue to healthy function and aide in mucus management.  See Kid Remedies for help with the ‘little people’ with these problems.

If you are suffering from ‘shortness of breath’ the solutions are in the Blood Supply Issues.  To address this issue, you must open the pipes (blood vessels) and thin the blood.


Too Much Mucus

1. LOTS of mucus that is NOT moving a.k.a. ‘congestion’

For excessive mucus that is stagnant and needs to drain, clear the head with Fenugreek and Thyme (# 885-1) 4 every 3 hours until clear. These are actually digestive aides (spices) but you will find that this combo helps thin mucosal fluids and stimulates expectoration, relaxes muscle spasms to reduce coughing, fights infection, lowers fever and also helps clear the ears to boot.  If primarily a sinus/ear condition, take Fenugreek and Thyme.

If the lung is also or often involved, take ALJ (#774-3)  4 of either every 3-4 hours til symptoms abate.  If in the early stages or if mild conditions, try eating onions and spicy foods containing Horseradish, Garlic, Capsicum, and Ginger.   See my What was I supposed to do when I think I’m getting sick? page and other sinus aides like the TeiFu wick that are powerful adjuncts.  If this is a long standing problem that doesn’t yield on the above remedies, energize the liver with liquid Oregon Grape (#3395-9) to aide in breaking it up – 1 tsp every 4 hours.

2. LOTS of mucus flowing freely  a.k.a. ‘faucet nose’

White or clear mucus that is flowing freely or is watery is actually good and easy to remedy.  DO NOT try to ‘dry it up’!!!  See if drinking regular black tea will calm it. Many people start in on vitamin C here.  It will make it worse.

This is often a sign of tissue acidity due to clogged lymphatic pathways and the mucus is trying to flush it off the lining.  If the nose itches use RoseHips (#580-1), 5B, 5D because it is an alkalizing and cooling sour, astringes and repairs damage done by too much ascorbic acid or synthetic vitamin C.

Another reason for excess watery mucus is too much salt in the diet.  Lifestyle Compensations addresses how to address salt cravings.


Not Enough Mucus

The dry hacking cough, or just occasional dry cough

This is a mucus insufficiency which could be associated with many things.  Inability to make mucus endangers your respiratory tract.  Never dry up a mucus flow, or else whatever the body is trying to rid itself of, you will stagnate – right on the mucosa, causing deterioration thereof and increasing inflammation and inviting purposeful infection.  Opposing your body’s intelligence will always shorten your life and make you look dumb – both bad outcomes.

Common scenario:  My client will come to me after many rounds of antibiotics spanning many months complaining of a dry cough that won’t quit and a prescription for steroids which they have either done or don’t want to have filled/refilled.  Remember this saying?

When all you own is a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail.

Your problem is NOT a nail and you have figured that out.  Well, the doc/nurse practitioner has antibiotics and steroids – their 2 hammers for any common respiratory complaint.  These can wreck the gut, and suppress your immune system.  Great hammers, huh?  If you have gone this route, then add Chinese VS-C (#937-7) 4B, 4D in the likely event your the steroids have prevented your immune system from addressing it.  Then do Marshmallow (#440-0) 5B, 5D which soothes the mucosa and encourages rebuilding of the mucus producing cells.  You have heard of praying for rain?  You need to pray for mucus – nice moistening, soothing, healing, irritant-flushing, respiratory-lining-repairing mucus!! (and promise you will stop drying up a mucus flow – it is an uninspired solution)

If you have a chronic dry cough and have not done the standard medical protocol (and have checked your meds for ‘dry cough’ as a side-effect), do the Marshmallow as above and add Chinese Lung Support (#1887-6) 3B, 3D to see if you can get a nice loose cough to come up.

Chinese Lung Support (#1887-6) is also good for wheezing, and is the best choice especially for the elderly.  It clears lungs & bronchioles, relieves discomfort of emphysema, (helps with negativity too), soothes inflammation of & chronic weakness of the respiratory system.  Helps with chronic bronchitis, asthma, wheezing, constipation (no really), chest tightness, fevers, debility, pneumonia, chronic coughs.  If the digestion is weak, as is the case with most elderly, use the Concentrated Chinese Lung Support (#1004-3) 2B, 2D.  This has less cellulose, so it will not irritate the digestion.  After 1 bottle, reduce dosage to 1B, 1D.  Keep taking this until lung symptoms are gone.  You also may want to add GC-X to improve circulation as sometimes these problems don’t get automatically resolved because of impaired blood flow.  I have also had amazing results from PLS II 5B, 5D for respiratory derrangements.

Finally, sometimes a dry cough is caused by a medication.  And sometimes a dry cough is your body’s attempt to stimulate the heart, or push a full hard abdomen down away from the heart.  You can tell if this is the case by massaging below the sternum and ribs looking for tightness, or, lack of softness.   If the above remedies do not resolve the imbalance, arrange a consult.


For constricted airways/chest tightness – Asthma

My clients resolve their asthma with one or a combination of the following approaches.

  1. First and most popular among former asthmatics is adrenal type formulas, and this is always the case with exercise induced asthma.  Your adrenals help you adapt, and if they are deficient, you do not handle change very well.  If steroids help you then you know your adrenals are exhausted, because they make your own steroids in the right amount, at the right time.  A general formula for this would be HY-A (#950-0) 3B, 3b.  More discussion of the adrenals in the Endocrines document.
  2. Second in popularity seems to be Magnesium.  This is especially true with children and people who tend to be constipated.  Establishing child dosage is discussed under ‘bowels’ in Kid Remedies, and dosage for adults, in the Magnesium Bowel Cleanse.  (With magnesium also try introducing more sours (like lemon juice and apple cider vinegar into their foods.)
  3. Third in popularity are formulas that reduce tissue stiffness.  These would primarily be kidney formulas but on occasion the liver formulas prove useful.  A general formula for reducing stiffness would be Juniper Berries (#400-4) 3B.  Also consult the Lymph doc for important remedies and techniques.
  4. Fourth would be nerve formulas.  A simple nerve relaxer is Timed Release Valerian (#721-1) 1B, 1b.  If this works then address the stress.  It may be cheaper.
  5. If you have a nebulizer you can put 1 teaspoon of Silver Sol (#4274-1) in the medicine cup for a breathing treatment that will reduce inflammation on the mucosal lining. Because many kinds of things create an inflamed mucosa, the frequency is best determined by the symptoms, but I’d begin the first week doing 1 treatment/day, then reduce with symptoms.

Hold this hand posture until synchronous pulses are felt where the thumb touches the ring nail bed (no pressure) to open the lung.

Another help for asthma is liquid Lobelia Essence (#1765-8). This liquid form can be rubbed on the chest to alleviate tightness and spasticity.  And I would encourage holding the hand posture shown in the picture – it’s cheap and it works to open tight lungs.  Many have reported to me that the simple ancient finger hold of placing the thumb pad over the nail bed of the ring finger on both hands has helped to ‘open the lungs’.  This is especially useful with asthma or any chest tightness.  Just hold that posture until you feel a pulse develop under your thumb.  It’s cheap.  Why not try it…often?


For the Smoker

There is a program in Lifestyle Compensations that describes how to quit smoking.



  • The first thing these folks need is energy for the fight.  To this end begin with Chinese Concentrated Nature’s Chi (#836-8) 2B, 2D.  It is not an upper but will supply energy to the body and is easy on the digestion.  Reversing this takes lots of energy.  So follow the fatigue doc recommendations.
  • Do recommendation #5 above with the nebulizer or atomizer.
  • To build up and clean the lungs use the Concentrated Chinese Lung Support (#1004-3) 3B, 3D.
  • To stimulate circulation in the lungs essential oils are great.  Here I would choose Breathe Free (#3919-1).  Put 2 teaspoons of olive oil into a small bowl and add 7 drops of Breathe Free essential oil.  Apply liberally to the chest and the feet 3X/day, reducing with symptoms.  Just these four things will make a BIG difference.  Remember, encourage the body to heal itself.
  • Heat.  Apply a heating pad to the back until you sweat.  Your immune system works better when your temp is raised (aka fever) but sometimes there is not enough energy to do so, or you have done something to lower the body temp.  Working in opposition to the body can shorten life and make you look dumb, remember?  Both bad outcomes.

Sinus Pain

Various aides for the sinuses like Snuff and the ‘Tei-Fu wick’ may be found in that document.  Most clients report that this pain is associated with pressure so I would think any of the etiologies of pain could apply here.   If it is type 1 pain, the Lymphatic Drainage points should work – they have for me.  Focus not only on the ones associated with the sinuses but also any points that occur in the upper chest, arm and shoulder area that are tender to touch. However, if the lymph is thick, these may not be as effective, so follow recommendations there for thick lymph.  Chinese Red Yeast Rice (#558-3) 3B, 3D reducing to 2B, 2D also helps here to improve circulation to and drainage from the sinus area.    Meanwhile, make sure your anti-inflammatory production is up to ‘snuff’.  :~)


Pharmaceutical Phactoids – In the unlikely event that your doc failed to warn you that…

Tendon Rupture, a Little-Known Side Effect of Antibiotics

Here’s one more for the long list of tales about how the drugs we take to heal us can end up causing harm: The FDA has announced that it will now require a boxed warning (its strongest warning on a label) about the risk of tendonitis and tendon rupture associated with use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics — such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro) — along with mandated distribution of a newly detailed medication guide to be dispensed by pharmacies with the drug.

Fluoroquinolones such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro and Proquin XR), gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin), and ofloxacin (Floxin) are commonly prescribed for upper respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tract infections (UTIs).

FDA-approved labeling for these drugs mention the risk of tendonitis, but clearly public awareness is not widespread as the FDA continues to receive reports of tendon-related adverse events related to them. The FDA has received more than 400 reports of tendon rupture plus more than 1,200 of tendon problems, and, it’s possible this represents only the tip of the iceberg since it’s suspected that just a small fraction of cases are reported to the FDA.

Although anyone who takes fluoroquinolone drugs is at risk, the likelihood of having tendon problems is higher if you are over 60, taking  steroids (corticosteroids), or are a kidney, heart or lung transplant recipient.

Symptoms of tendonitis include pain, swelling, inflammation and tearing, all found most commonly in the Achilles tendon, shoulder or hand. Ruptures can occur without warning (some patients report feeling a snap or pop soon after starting treatment), but more typically patients feel pain or inflammation for days or weeks before the tendon actually ruptures. Another symptom is easy bruising right after an injury in a tendon area. These problems can occur during or after taking fluoroquinolones — even months later, according to the FDA.

If you develop tenderness or other such problems, avoid exercising or overuse of the area. Any such symptoms should be immediately reported to your doctor in conjunction with your request to be switched to another antibiotic of a different class. Most serious problems may be avoided if you pay attention to the first signs of trouble.

Source(s):  Sidney Wolfe, MD, Director of The Health Research Group at Public Citizen and editor of, in Washington, DC.


©Pat Block ND 2007



6 Responses to Respiratory System – Sinus and Lungs

  1. Jenny says:

    Is there something fast acting (to replace inhaler use) that can be used to open up lungs while working toward prevention of asthma related issues triggered by exercise and allergies?

  2. Steve says:

    Hi Pat,

    Another valuable post.
    I can see you mention ascorbic acid or synthetic vitamin C. I have read somewhere that taking ascorbic acid is in fact bad, because you flood the vitamin C cell receptors with a synthetic version of the vitamin, which provides no benefit, and the receptors cannot absorb the real vitamin C from food. On the other hand, I ‘ve read that ascorbic acid provides many benefits, almost identical to those of real vitamin C (e.g. antioxidant support, immune system boost, even treatment of infections).
    I am currently taking 2g of buffered ascorbate powder daily. What are your thoughts on taking absorbic acid daily? Is this something you would recommend over not supplementing with vitamin C at all? I am asking because supplements with real, food-sourced vitamin C (which, of course, should be preferred) are very rare, even from companies supposedly providing natural supplements. Not to mention the fact that their content in vitamin C is much less that the synthetic ones.

    • PatBlockND says:

      Hey Steve,
      Ascorbic acid is not a whole food, so over time it will create imbalance in the body. It is a nice acidifier for the stomach but other real foods would be a better choice. Taking it can also mask symptoms and the underlying cause indicating some imbalance of the body. So my question would be: What would happen if you stopped taking it?
      Rosehips is a whole food, so I would gently titer down of ascorbates and introduce Rosehips.

  3. Natalie says:

    My daughter is almost 16 and has had chronic asthma since she was 18 mos. old. She has been on daily medication (presently Advair and a daily allergy med.) most of her life and has had many rounds of steroids (along with albuterol treatments as needed). We would like to see Katie asthma-free and off all medications. What should be our first step? Should we try the protocols above for asthma, or perhaps do some sort of cleanse or detox first? She does struggle with being overweight, and I am learning that can be a result of toxicity – as she eats pretty well (healthy) and is probably the most active of our family of six (yet is the only of us that is overweight). Also, at what point do we try to wean off of the daily medication? Thank you so much for your help. Katie and I did come to see you a couple of times in 2012.

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