Fenugreek and Fennel from Nature's Sunshine
Key System Product - Respiratory System
The respiratory system brings oxygen into the body and expels carbon dioxide. An adult should ideally breathe in and out around 11 times each minute, right into the base of the lungs, but many people breathe more shallowly and more rapidly which leads to too much carbon dioxide and not enough oxygen travelling around in the body. It also creates a more acidic blood picture,
so it’s well worth learning how to breathe properly in order to avoid this. Conditions like asthma, CFS, allergies, anxiety and sinusitis have all been linked to hyperventilation. The respiratory system, from the sinuses, nose, and throat all the way down to the base of the lungs, is all made from the same tissue – known as mucous membranes - and the same type of tissue lines the whole of the respiratory tract.
The left lung has 2 lobes to make room for the heart, and the right lung has 3 lobes. Air enters the mouth and nose and travels down the trachea, or windpipe, into the bronchi which divide into each lung. From there they divide down into ever smaller pathways until they end in little sacs called alveoli, which are the end of the lungs. They’re like balloons made from very thin and delicate material, which allow the gases in and out. They’re quite easily damaged by things like dust and bacteria.
There are tiny hairs lining the mucous membranes called cilia, which catches particles of dust and debris before they get into the lungs, and also move any particles dumped into the lungs from the blood helping to move them up the trachea to the back to the back of the throat.
Oxygen – carbon dioxide exchange is vital for life as oxygen is burnt for fuel in the cells, producing carbon dioxide as a waste gas, which has very detrimental effects if left to build up in the body.
The whole of your respiratory system is lined with a mucous membrane, which creates mucous to catch any dust, dirt, viruses, bacteria etc., from the surrounding environment. When the body starts to create a lot of mucous, as it does when you have a cold, it is in order to flush out irritants or bacteria that are causing problems. If you use decongestant to suppress the mucous you are suppressing the body’s innate immune response and interfering with the body’s ability to flush out the problem. Your nose and throat also warm the air on its way down to stop it shocking your lungs into spasm.
Fenugreek and Fennel is a very old traditional formula used to maintain a healthy respiratory system.
Balancing our energies - In very simple terms, we look at conditions in terms of heat, damp, cold and dry. And when comparing two people who have a cough for example, one may have a cold, damp type of cough with lots of mucous, and the other may have hot dry cough. Each would be treated differently.
When we catch a cold, the respiratory system becomes too cold and damp, and we start to clog up with cold, damp, mucous, in which case we can use herbs with heating and drying properties to counterbalance this effect – like the herbs in Fenugreek and Fennel.
Fenugreek was originally brought into Europe from Asia. It is often used in curries as it is a warming, spicy tasting plant, but it is also full of nutrients much like those we get from Alfalfa and Fish oils. It’s also what we would term mucilaginous, that is, it has slightly slimy effect in the way it works, which may seem odd if you’re using it to help get over a cold, but herbalists often include mucilaginous herbs to help stop the body from over producing mucous.
Fennel juice was traditionally made into a cough syrup. It’s also very commonly found in fish recipes, because it helps the digestive system to break down the slime that you get when you cook fish. This action is called ‘mucolytic’ which literally means it can cut through mucous, making it very useful for coughs and colds and clearing mucous.
In a similar way to Fennel, which helps you to digest fish, Horseradish was eaten with beef to help protect the gut from beef tapeworm. Originally it comes from Scandinavia, where it’s very cold for much of the year and, and where hot, spicy herbs are needed to counterbalance this. In the UK it was traditionally added to mixtures for persistent coughs.
Boneset was known as ‘ague weed’ by some native American tribes, because they used it to treat agues or fevers, and the aches and pains that went with a bout of ‘flu. Herbalists now use it to promote sweating in order to bring the temperature down and support the body’s ability to deal with the virus at the same time. It also helps to reduce mucous.
And Mullein, which is a great herb for nourishing the lungs and is very rich in nutrients. Energetically it’s also heating and drying. Widely used in Ireland where the cold damp weather was blamed for lung problems.
Fenugreek and Fennel is a great combination of herbs for the respiratory system.
Use at the start of the year to help protect from seasonal airborne substances such as pollen.