11 herbs, supplements + foods for a respiratory detox

Looking to detox your body and clear your respiratory system? These 11+ natural magicks are they key.

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June 14, 2023


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I was inspired to write about this after— conveniently— being up in New York City right as the smoke-filled streets from the Canadian forest fires filled the air with who-knows-what!

If you’ve been exposed to toxic air quality or are exposed to it at your work (hopefully not!) you might feel like you need to do a little detox in order to get it out. Or, if you’re grappling with any sort of respiratory issue or looking to help support your lungs before a big show, there are definitely ways to support your whole body through Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic and functional medicine protocols like those outlined below!

Our detox protocol

I’m still very much a newbie to finding protocols and natural ways to detox the body; I love sharing what’s working for me, but please continue to do your own research, as difficult as it is to find publications that don’t have a money-making agenda.

Without further ado, here are supplements, herbs, foods, and even a tool or so that we used for our detox from the dirty air (and beyond…).

1. Sea moss gel ?

sea moss gel vitamin rich algae


My friend had used sea moss gel a little bit on her skin and as a gooey supplement, but it wasn’t until I stumbled into a little organic pharmacy on my way to the rehearsal— at the height of the yellowy sky— that I was reminded of it. When sea moss is soaked, it becomes a gel, similar to how Chia seeds can become a pudding-like form when you let it interact with water.

Though sea moss is a species of red algae, it comes in many different colors, from gold to purple to green to pink. It has:

  • Lots of vitamins, like Vitamin C, E, K, A, and B6
  • Amino acids
  • Helps the body expel mucus
  • Reduces inflammation

How I used it

I’ve been taking the recommended dosage of 1-2 tablespoons every day. I was hesitant to try it at first but the subtle addition of honey and a light nip of turmeric added some fun zest. Other than that, It was relatively flavorless!

Tips + resources

2. Golden milk ?

golden milk and benefits


Often found as a powder, golden milk can be added to your preferred milk of choice, with a primary ingredient of turmeric and a blend of anti-inflammatory spices like black pepper, saffron, or cardamon. Golden milk:

How I used it

I grabbed a Forager oat milk (with no tocopherols), boiled it like I would tea, and threw in a serving of golden milk that I got from Whole Foods. I would try to do this every day until I was done with the detox protocol I put upon myself. ?

Tips + resources

3. Black pepper ➿

black pepper dried peppercorn benefits


It took me a while to be able to separate black pepper from just something I add on top of foods. The benefits of black pepper include:

  • Boosts nutrient absorption
  • Is an antioxidant
  • Is an anti-inflammatory
  • Helps with cognitive brain function

How I used it

When I was at Comer Coffee in Comer, Georgia, I ordered a frothy golden milk and saw them throw a little bit of pepper on the top. I loved it so much that I add pepper to almost any golden milk I make (and now, others know my special request, too when making it for me ?).

I didn’t measure it perfectly and am looking to explore the best way to infuse this into my daily diet inside and outside of golden milk.

Tips + resources

4. Nebulizer ?

nebulizer respiration tool and benefits


A nebulizer will help bring the moisture or oils you need directly to your respiratory tract. I used to use it years ago when I was singing, but it wasn’t as intense as the one we have now. You can either use regular filtered water or add essential oils to it. Nebulizers help:

  • Clear out environmental toxins
  • Aerosolizes medicine from liquids and oils to directly heal the tissue

How I used it

This baby just came in the mail, and I’m still doing research to figure out how to best use it for my particular situation. I’ll update once I understand the types of oils needed, the amount, and other protocols so I can use it for clearing out this nasty air. ?

Tips + resources

5. Activated charcoal ?

activated charcoal benefits


The first time I brought activated charcoal into the house was when I was dealing with nausea. While family members were suggesting sugary “electrolytes” like Gatorade, I looked it up and found that activated charcoal was a binder, which literally binds to toxins and helps detox the body without a laxative effect. The “activated” part of the charcoal means it’s heated extremely high and its benefits include:

  • Able to bind to toxins and filter them out
  • Can cure upset stomachs and nausea

How I used it

I purchased activated charcoal and took 2 capsules twice a day. It was tricky because if you take it too close to eating food, you’re stripping the nutrients from your body, so I ended up taking it right in the morning when I knew I wouldn’t eat for a bit and right before bed when I knew I had 8 hours of no food, either.

Tips + resources

6. Dry brushing ⚡️

dry brushing and benefits


Dry brushing helps activate and stimulate the lymphatic system, which supports detox drainage in the body. Think of it like brushing your hair, but on your entire body, or doing gua sha to your entire body with a brush. Benefits include:

  • Stimulates your lymphatic system
  • Exfoliates and rids dead skin cells
  • Increases circulation
  • Invigorates and energizes

How I used it

In the mornings before exercising, I’ll dry brush, always towards the he art, my entire body. I do this before working out so I don’t have a sweaty dry brush, and because doing it in the morning adds energy to your day!

Tips + resources

Herbs, supplements + foods for detox

If you’re looking for more foods and herbs

Dandelion root

A natural diuretic, dandelion root, part of that yellow weed that everyone likes to throw away, is a common detox supplement for detox. It also has potassium and is a natural anti-inflammatory.

Milk thistle

The liver-lovin’ plant, milk thistle aids in detox by protecting the liver from damage. It also promotes a high glutathione level, which is made by the liver and is a huge proponent in helping protect the body from toxins and heavy metals.


This baby also supports the liver, helping cleanse your blood and produce bile which helps with digestion and immune support.

Herbs, supplements + foods for lung and respiratory health

Red clover

Red clover helps thin mucus and helps excrete it, and is often used when dealing with bronchitis and other respiration-related ailments. If you’re dealing with this, explore some supplements in your store or you can brew a medicinally-brewed red clover tea.

Plantain leaf

The leaves from these lesser-common banana-like fruits can help with respiration by moistening the throat. Plantain leaf can also be used for healing burns and rashes and is a blood-purifier, and hence can be used is a detoxifier.


Along with being a relaxing scent to be used in a diffuser or as an antibacterial agent in an all-natural cleaner, eucalyptus also acts as a decongestant by reducing sinus pressure.

What detox protocols have you already done? Which ones do you still have yet to try?

I’m personally looking to spend some more time with the nebulizer, especially as a musician myself. I also dream of getting an in-home sauna so sweat can be another easy element to detox (although South Carolina certainly doesn’t make it difficult!)

Nontoxic Living Aesthetic




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11 herbs, supplements + foods for a respiratory detox


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