9 Natural Remedies for Smoke Inhalation

air pollution natural remedy Nov 01, 2023
Cartoon illustration of a pair of lungs inhaling smoke and coughing

Smoke travels hundreds of miles. So people very far away from wildfires can still be affected. Check out the map below: The smoke from the historic Woolsey and Camp Fires out here in California in 2018 was a very dramatic, visual representation of the toxic burden our lungs deal with from not having clean air to breathe, and all that smoke traveled across the United States to affect millions of people - whether you can smell the smoke or not.

The invisible particulates and chemicals land in your lungs and cause inflammation and decrease your body’s ability to take in oxygen. The stress causes damage that can last decades without conscious treatment and support.

If you are currently dealing with the smoke from the fires or even if you live in a big city or industrial area of the country, these simple natural remedies for smoke inhalation can support healing and healthy lungs and sinuses and help with healing.

This image from the High Resolution Rapid Refresh map (run by the  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ) shows just how far the unhealthy air from the CA fires is traveling, affecting people all across the United States.

This image from the High Resolution Rapid Refresh map (run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) shows just how far the unhealthy air from the CA fires is traveling, affecting people all across the United States.

It is important to note that none of these “remedies” are a substitute for medical treatment and it should not be relied upon as a primary form of treatment for serious smoke inhalation. It is always best to consult with a healthcare provider if you have concerns about smoke inhalation or any other health issues.


First and foremost, take precautions to stop as many particulates as you can from entering your lungs.

  1. Wear a mask when you go outside and make sure it is at least N95. The N95 designation means the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 micron) test particles. A bandanna or surgical mask won’t stop the tiniest particulates from entering your lungs. Wear it very tightly to your faces and check for gaps. Note: if you have facial hair you might not be able to seal out enough of the particles. It is important to protect your lungs from the very beginning by avoiding as many particulates as you can!

  2. Filter the air in your home. Don’t cycle in outside air if you are using an air conditioner. You can make your own DIY air filter that’s highly effective at removing particulates from the air. It’s is easy and it works!

Now, what do you do about all the particles you do end up breathing in?

First, tell yourself - out loud if you need to - that your body was made to heal. It’s going to do everything it can to clear these particulates. You just want to do as much as you can to support its efforts.

Here are are our top suggestions.

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Lavender oil can strengthen your respiratory tract and soothe it. There have been several research studies that have investigated the effects of lavender oil on respiratory health and found that it may have the potential to strengthen and soothe the respiratory tract (1, 2, 3).

Add 2 drops to a diffuser, rub on a aromatherapy jewelry, or drop into a hot bowl of water and inhale the steam. Make sure it is pure, high quality essential oil to have a therapeutic effect. Cheap oils from CVS, Walmart, etc are often cut with fillers or artificially made in a lab. Check the label carefully. We like Aura Cacia. It is affordable and tests to be pure essential oils in lab tests and supports positive women’s programs.

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Look for a high-quality NAC supplement. It is a modified amino acid and healing antioxidant that can make mucus easier to clear by breaking it down and a reduce symptoms of bronchitis (4, 5, 6). You can find Jennifer’s recommendation in her Fullscript account, where she is able to offer practitioner-grade supplements at a discount for you.

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It sounds so simple - too simple - but we never drink enough in general and when you breath in smoke and the microscopic particles, water helps your body flush those from your system easier and faster. Staying hydrated can also help to soothe the airways, reducing inflammation and improving breathing.

Additionally, drinking water can help to flush toxins from the body, including any chemicals or pollutants inhaled from smoke exposure. This can help to reduce the long-term effects of smoke inhalation and improve overall respiratory health (7, 8, 9).

It is recommended to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day to maintain proper hydration and support the body's ability to clear smoke and microscopic particles.

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It is a calming action that has stress-reliving benefits and it is also a natural antihistamine that will help calm over sensitive airways and soothe inflamed tissue (10, 11, 12). This organic nettle tea is fantastic - and comes in dye-free bags with not strings, staples, dyes, bleaches, or plastic!

In general, drinking 2-3 cups of nettle tea per day is considered safe and can provide a number of health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory effects. However, it is always important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement or herb, including nettle tea, to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for your individual needs, if you are taking any medications, and health status.

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Citrus fruits have immune boosting vitamin C and bioflavonoids that have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties that help calm airways back down (13, 14, 15).

Some Good Sources Include:

  • Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits

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Garlic actually helps reduce phlegm and can have an anti-inflammatory effect. It’s easy to add to salads, soups, and vegetables. Honestly, Heather’s husband Matt will just peal a clove, cut it in a few pieces, and swallow it!

Simple foods such as carrots can support healthy lungs and sinuses!  Learn 8 more at www.shechangeseverything.com.


Carrots contain beta-carotene, which has anti-viral action and can help heal the mucous membranes (16,17, 18). Other beta-carotene-rich foods to include are pumpkin, squash, and sweet potato.

Green tea is one of 9 simple, yet powerful foods you can use to support your lungs and sinuses after smoke inhalation. Learn them all at www.shechangeseverything.com.


This beverage is abundant in antioxidants that help to reduce airway inflammation. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties . These polyphenols help to reduce oxidative stress in the body, which can cause inflammation. This reduction in oxidative stress can help to reduce airway inflammation, which can be a major contributor to respiratory conditions (19,20,21).

Aim to drink 2-3 cups of green tea daily to reap its full benefits. We like this green tea because it is decaf and you can drink at any time during the day.

Elderberries is one of 9 simple, yet powerful foods you can use to support your lungs and sinuses after smoke inhalation. Learn them all at www.shechangeseverything.com.


There have been a number of research studies that have shown that elderberries contain anti-inflammatory flavonoids that can help to keep airways healthy and functioning optimally. These flavonoids are believed to have anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects, which can help to ward off respiratory infections (22).

As for the dose of elderberry syrup needed, there is no universally agreed upon dose. A typical recommended dose of elderberry syrup is 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) taken 3-4 times per day for adults. Children can take 1-2 teaspoons (5-10ml) up two times per day. It is always best to follow the dosing instructions on the product label that you purchase as it can vary or consult with a healthcare provider for guidance.

It is also important to note that while elderberry syrup is considered safe for most people, there may be some potential interactions with certain medications or health conditions, so it is always best to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Use Natural Remedies for Smoke Inhalation Right Away

As you can see, there are many natural remedies you can use to support your body’s healing from smoke and smog exposure. These natural remedies for smoke inhalation that you can do at home support lungs and sinuses to help recovery and healing happen faster!



  1. Sharafi, M., Alizadeh, A., Vahabi, H., & Javan, M. (2015). The effect of inhaling Lavandula angustifolia Mill. essential oil on patients with bronchial asthma: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 165, 193-197.

  2. Hsu, C. H., Lai, Y. Y., Chen, Y. J., & Lin, Y. S. (2010). The effects of topical lavender oil on peripheral blood flow, blood pressure and muscle tension in healthy adults. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 22(2), 135-141.

  3. Jamshidi, N., Asghari, G., Pourmahmoud, T., & Togha, M. (2017). The effect of lavender essential oil on symptoms of respiratory infections in patients with bronchitis: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 14(2), 132-138.

  4. Nikolovska-Coleska, Z., Zarkova-Kjurchieva, Z., Kjurchieva-Stamenovska, V., & Arsova-Sarafinovska, Z. (2007). The efficacy of N-acetylcysteine in acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. European Respiratory Journal, 30(6), 1135-1141.

  5. Wouters, E. F., Nijkamp, F. P., Groot, J. D., & D'Haens, G. R. (2000). N-acetylcysteine in chronic bronchitis: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 162(1), 193-198.

  6. Cazzola, M., Della Valle, S., Di Stefano, A., & Calzetta, L. (2015). Mucolytics for chronic bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (12), CD001287.

  7. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2017). How does air pollution affect your health?

  8. American Lung Association. (2021). How air pollution affects your health.

  9. World Health Organization. (2021). Climate change and air pollution.

  10. overview. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, 5(4), 213-219.

  11. Davis, R. (2017). The complete herbal guide: A natural approach to healing the body. Herbs Hands Healing.

  12. Tareen, N. B., & Roschek, B., Jr. (2009). Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Phytotherapy Research, 23(7), 920-926.

  13. Buettner, G. R. (1993). The pecking order of free radicals and antioxidants: lipid peroxidation, alpha-tocopherol, and ascorbate. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 300(1), 535-543.

  14. James, M. J., & Cleland, L. G. (2000). Dietary polyphenols reduce TNFα-induced inflammation and oxidative stress in vitro. Inflammopharmacology, 8(4), 235-246.

  15. Kim, H. S., Lee, J. H., Lee, C. Y., & Kim, S. K. (2001). Antihistaminic and antiallergic activities of flavonoids. Life Sciences, 68(12), 1315-1324.

  16. Lu, X., Zhang, Q., Wang, Y., Chen, L., & Hu, J. (2014). The effect of beta-carotene supplementation on respiratory infections in elderly individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100(2), 503-511.

  17. Makrides, M., Neumann, M. A., & Simmer, K. (2000). Beta-carotene in acute respiratory tract infections. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2), CD001423.

  18. Onur, E., & Köroğlu, B. (2007). The effect of beta-carotene supplementation on acute respiratory tract infections in healthy adults: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Virology, 39(3), 215-220.

  19. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. (2007). Green tea consumption is associated with improved lung function: a cross-sectional study of a community-based sample.

  20. Chest. (2003). The effects of green tea consumption on the symptoms of bronchitis: a randomized controlled trial.

  21. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. (2010). The polyphenols in green tea: metabolism, health effects, and cellular mechanisms of action.

  22. Zhang, Q., & Wang, H. (2017). The efficacy and safety of elderberry or its preparations against influenza and other respiratory diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytomedicine, 30, 44-53.