Nasal Breathing for Health

Nasal Breathing is Essential to Good Health

Breathing through the nose is essential to much more than just a sense of smell. The nose is a miraculous filter lined with tiny hairs called cilia. The cilia have many functions: they filter, humidify and warm or cool the air (depending on the temperature) before it enters the lungs. It is estimated that cilia protect our bodies against about 20 billion particles of foreign matter every day!

The mouth is not designed to function in breathing that way. Plus, breathing through your mouth regularly dries out and irritates every membrane in the mouth, throat and lungs. Causing damage to teeth, tongue and gums which are essential for healthy food consumption.

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Many of us feel stressed out, overworked, and overstimulated during our daily lives, which leaves us in a chronic state of fight or flight response. Breathing in and out through the nose helps us take fuller, deeper breaths, which stimulates the lower lung to distribute greater amounts of oxygen throughout the body. Also, the lower lung is rich with the parasympathetic nerve receptors associated with calming the body and mind, whereas the upper lungs, which are stimulated by chest and mouth breathing, prompt us to hyperventilate and trigger sympathetic nerve receptors, which result in the fight or flight reaction. Thus, continuing and compounding the stress reaction.

Here are a few more of the benefits of nasal breathing:

  • The lungs extract oxygen from the air during exhalation, in addition to inhalation. Because the nostrils are smaller than the mouth, air exhaled through the nose creates a back flow of air (and oxygen) into the lungs. And because we exhale more slowly through the nose than we do though the mouth, the lungs have more time to extract oxygen from the air we’ve already taken in.
  • When there is proper oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange during respiration, the blood will maintain a balanced pH. If carbon dioxide is lost too quickly, as in mouth breathing, oxygen absorption is decreased, which can result in dizziness or even fainting.
  • Air that we inhale through the nose passes through the nasal mucosa, which stimulates the reflex nerves that control breathing. Mouth breathing bypasses the nasal mucosa and makes regular breathing difficult, which can lead to snoring, breath irregularities and sleep apnea.
  • Breathing through the nose forces us to slow down until proper breath is trained; therefore, proper nose breathing reduces hypertension and stress.  It also helps prevent us from overexerting ourselves during a workout.
  • Our nostrils and sinuses filter and warm/cool air as it enters our bodies.
  • Our sinuses produce nitric oxide, which, when carried into the body through the breath, combats harmful bacteria and viruses in our bodies, regulates blood pressure and boosts the immune system.
  • Mouth breathing accelerates water loss, contributing to dehydration.
  • Mouth breathing leads to dry mouth which is the leading cause of tooth decay, gingivitis and bone loss in the jaw. Fluoride does not correct these issues.
  • The nose houses olfactory bulbs, which are direct extensions of part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is responsible for many functions in our bodies, particularly those that are automatic, such as heartbeat, blood pressure, thirst, appetite and sleep cycles. The hypothalamus is also responsible for generating chemicals that influence memory and emotion.
  • Research is showing strong links between mouth breathing and asthma. The more you breathe with your mouth open the more inflammation builds in the lungs, causing constriction of the bronchioles. The body is getting too much oxygen and is trying to slow down oxygen intake. It makes the individual feel short of breath until oxygen/carbon dioxide levels are restored in the blood.
  • The increased oxygen we get through nasal breath increases energy and vitality.

Training Yourself to Breathe Through Your Nose

Now that we have learned how bad mouth breathing is for our health in our post on Mouth Breathing, we know that nasal or nostril breathing is essential to develop.

Here are some simple ways to establish nasal breathing:

  1. Begin by clearing your nose by blowing it, getting some steam or with a nasal wash. If you’re a mouth breather clearing out the cobwebs is essential to get the sinuses open and working again.
  2. Then take a few minutes to practice keeping your mouth closed and slowly breathe in and out through your nose. Notice the way the sinuses feel with proper use.
  3. Next, simply remind yourself to close your mouth throughout the day. Set a reminder on your phone or put post-its by mirrors. Anything you will see or hear that will make you think about breathing though your nose.
  4. The more you stick with it, the more it becomes habit, just like any other practice.

There are products and ideas out there online that can help you with your specific situation. Many people find it beneficial to tape their lips shut to assist in the learning process. Either way you will find that you feel calmer and more relaxed even without changing your world completely. Nasal breathing is essential to whole body health and it is too bad many of us have forgotten this.

Blue Tansy

Blue Tansy essential oil (Tanacetum anuum)

Blue Tansy Oil is a luxurious oil that is cherished for its captivating scent and incredible clearing, calming properties. This oil has a rich blue hue and a sweet, fresh scent. Blue Tansy provides unmatched relief for many people who suffer during high-pollen seasons, soothes troubled skin and supports self-esteem, confidence and enthusiasm year-round. However, Blue Tansy Oil is produced from a seasonal crop that requires optimal conditions, and therefore available quantities can be limited.

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The health benefits of Tansy Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic, antiviral, febrifuge, insecticide, hormone stimulant, sedative, and vermifuge substance.

Tansy is a common European herb and the scientific name of Tansy is Tanacetum Vulgare or Tanacetum Annuum. The essential oil of Tansy is extracted by steam distillation of all the plant parts. The chief components that form this essential oil are artemisone, borneol, camphone, camphor, isopinocamphone, piperitone, and thujone.

Major Constituents: Chamazulene, B-Myrcene, Camphor, Sabinene, B-Eudesmol, 3,6-Dihydrochamazulene, B-Pinene, a-Phellandrene [B.M. Lawrence, Progress in Essential Oils. (Perfumer & Flavorist 26 no. 1, 2001), 48-51. Source cited in Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 224.]

Tansy essential oil and blue tansy essential oil are very different in their chemical make-up, and subsequent use, despite the fact that they both belong to the Asteraceae plant family. In addition, blue tansy can also be known by the synonyms Moroccan blue chamomile and Moroccan tansy, adding to further confusion with another essential oil.

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A Few Words of Caution: Tansy oil is a potent poison due to presence of high concentration of thujone and even small doses can be fatal. It can also trigger hallucinations and severe nervous or neurotic disturbances, while having addictive, narcotic effects.

Although this herb is very poisonous, it was still popular among the poor people, villagers, and nomadic groups like Gypsies, since they found some medicinal uses of the plant. Let us explore some of the medicinal properties that gave this plant recognition as a medicinal plant, despite being so poisonous.

Blending: The Essential Oil of Tansy blends well with those of cedar wood, helichrysum, lavender, ravensara, and rosemary.

Blue Tansy Essential Oil Benefits

Prevents Bacterial Infections: It should not be very hard to understand that the essential oil, which is so poisonous and can be fatal to humans, would also be deadly for those tiny bacteria. Although some bacteria can survive unimaginable extremities of temperature and toxins, for most of the bacteria which live in the human body, this oil is lethal. It kills them and inhibits their multiplication. This gives effective protection against bacterial infections, provided that it is used in very, very mild doses.

Protects Against Fungal Infections: There is little doubt that the essential oil, which can kill some very hardy species of bacteria infecting the human body. Fungus cannot stand the toxicity of this oil and are killed when subjected to this oil. Their spores are also destroyed. This makes this oil an efficient protector against fungal infections, which cause skin diseases, running ears, hair problems, and dysentery.

Reduces Inflammation: The Essential Oil of Tansy has been found to be effective in giving relief from inflammation, particularly those pertaining to the skin, and others as well. It also gives relief, to some extent, from inflammation in the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems.

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Controls Allergic Reactions: Histamine in the body is responsible for triggering allergies and the various problems related to allergies, such as rashes, itches, severe coughs, asthma, breathing troubles, continuous sneezes, or hiccups. Allergies can turn seriously fatal if they take over the internal organs, particularly the liver and heart. These attacks of allergies can be countered by lowering the levels of histamine in the body and checking its production. Tansy Essential Oil neutralizes histamine and checks its further production, thereby controlling these allergic reactions.

Protects against Viral Diseases: The components like thujone and camphor, being toxic to living cells, are capable of killing viruses as well. These components rupture the cyst, probe inside, and kill the virus. This stops the growth of the virus and gives immunity against viral diseases like the common cold, mumps, measles, and pox.

Reduces Fevers: Most fevers are actually indications of the ongoing fight between the body’s immune mechanism and infection by bacteria (like typhoid, yellow fever, and black fever), viruses (like influenza), protozoa (like malaria and a few others) and fungi. The more severe our body’s reaction, the higher the body temperature becomes. Therefore, if infections are causes for fevers, then inhibiting these infections would be the way to reduce fevers. The Essential Oil of Tansy, being an antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral substance, all at the same time, assists our body in countering these infections and thereby reduces body temperature. The anti-inflammatory property of this oil adds to this effect, since inflammation can also raise body temperature.

Acts as an Insecticide: Insects like cockroaches, ants, termites, and moths that are very commonly found in our households, and parasitic insects like mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, lice, and bed bugs, prefer to keep a safe distance from this oil as it is poisonous to them and has a pungent aroma that they cannot withstand. Therefore, this oil serves as an effective insect repellent when used in fumigants, vapourizers, and sprays. Even smaller animals like wall lizards and mice avoid this oil.

Stimulates Secretion of Hormones: Tansy Oil stimulates the endocrine glands and increases the secretion of hormones. It was found particularly effective on the thyroid and thymus glands, which directly affect growth and maturity.

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Relieves Nervous Afflictions: This oil acts as a sedative for nerves and emotional impulses. In cases of anxiety, depression, anger, convulsions, nervous afflictions, epilepsy, hysteric attacks, and impulsive behavior, it can be used to pacify them and induce a relaxing effect on the nerves and the brain.

Kills Intestinal Worms: The poisonous effect of this oil kills the intestinal and other parasitic worms in the human body, such as round worms, tape worms, hook worms, and others. It is also used to kill worms that develop in wounds. This helps in the regrowth of healthy cells and quicker healing of wounds.

Other Benefits: It is also used to treat sciatica, dyspepsia, skin infections, and can help prevent miscarriages

References:

  1. https://www.planttherapy.com/blue-tansy-essential-oil
  2. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-tansy-essential-oil.html
  3. https://ncit.nci.nih.gov/ncitbrowser/ConceptReport.jsp?dictionary=NCI_Thesaurus&version=16.11d&ns=NCI_Thesaurus&code=C72202
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21592001
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18283947
  6. https://healthyfocus.org/blue-tansy-essential-oil-benefits/
  7. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-686-tansy.aspx?activeingredientid=686&activeingredientname=tansy
  8. Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young, Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 438-439.
  9. Eden Botanicals website, Blue Tansy, accessed July 27, 2015
  10. Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons
  11. Rose, Jeanne, 1999, 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, US: Frog Ltd. Books
  12. Schnaubelt, Kurt, 1998, Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy, US: Healing Arts Press