It has been a very distressing, sad and traumatic time here on the South Coast as the fires have affected each of us in a myriad of different ways. Heightened feelings of anxiousness, worry and grief are the norm amongst everyone I have spoken with.

The smoke we have inhaled each day has been adding a layer of physical symptoms to the already present emotional symptoms we have been feeling. Complaints of sore throats, irritating coughs, and heavy sensations in the chest area in normally healthy people have been common. The lungs and heart are also the organs associated with strong feelings of grief and loss.

Here I offer you some suggestions for physically soothing and protecting your lungs and throat which may have flared up from the recent exposure to the smoke and emotion of the time. 

Thankfully, the current season is offering us a plentiful and affordable bounty of fresh fruit with blueberries, strawberries, cherries, mangoes, peaches, and nectarines presenting an abundance of protective nutrients to our lungs and immune systems. High in vitamin C and other antioxidants, these fruits will offer protection against the toxic, heavy air. Taking daily vitamin C and zinc supplements may also be necessary if you are consistently getting sore throats after exposure to the smoke or your exposure is particularly high.

Garlic (as a raw food or as a capsule) acts like a herbal antibiotic and can help combat respiratory infections in the throat and lungs and assist breaking up excess mucous. 

Herbal teas containing licorice, ginger, thyme, and marshmallow root can also soothe and loosen up tight lungs and airways. Add some lemon (vitamin C) and organic raw honey (antimicrobial) for extra benefit.

Avoid strenuous and intense exercise outdoors for lengthy periods of time, especially in the morning when the air is still.

If you have asthma or other pulmonary illness and you feel it has worsened, please see your regular healthcare professional to reassess your treatment plan during this more challenging time to your airways. 

Finally, please offer radical loving kindness to yourselves. You need the space, kindness and freedom to allow the regeneration that always occurs after a fire to to ourselves, our community and our world. 

In health, Steph 

Stephanie Donougher – Naturopath – Nutritionist