Common Breathing Problems: Holistic Treatments

| Modified on Oct 07, 2023

Common Breathing Issues

Breathing difficulty or problem is a relatively broad term used to refer to any number of issues with breathing. Typically such breathing difficulties are characterized by discomfort when breathing and the general feeling of not being able to intake a complete breath. Individuals experiencing breathing problems often feel as if they cannot take in enough air.

Common breathing problems include asthma, the inflammation and narrowing the airways; pneumonia, obstruction of the air passageways caused by infection; and croup, a respiratory issue initiated by viral infection and characterized by its recognizable “barking” cough. Additional breathing problems include pulmonary embolism, a blockage in one of the main arteries headed to the lungs; pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure that disturbs the natural processing of the lungs; epiglottitis, selling in the windpipe; and hiatal hernia, a protrusion of the stomach affecting the diaphragm and chest.

A number of different factors contribute to the onset and proliferation of breathing difficulties. The cause of many breathing difficulties can be categorized into two different types – environmental and health related. Typically these include allergies to irritants such as dust or pollen, stress and anxiety, a stuffy nose or throat phlegm, and increased altitude.

Natural Treatments for Common Breathing Problems

The exact treatment necessary is largely dependent on the cause of the breathing issue; however, many natural methods help facilitate better breathing no matter the cause of obstruction. Two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in water taken daily balances the pH level and improves breathing. Hydrogen peroxide and raw honey are also effective treatment for breathing issues of any type. Taking additional supplements including vitamin C, niacin, lecithin, MSM, and vitamin B12 also improves breathing.

Additional Pages of Interest on Earth Clinic:
Lung Issues

Africa Red Palm Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Pavel (Sydney) on 11/10/2022

Good Morning, Africa Red Palm Oil has high vitamin E I had shortness of breath. in Africa, I meet Africa Lady on the train she told me about Red Palm Oil. I surf the WEB on red palm oil high vitamin E Canadian Doctor Shult on Vitamin E and your Heart his book in 1950.

Apple Cider Vinegar

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Everson11 (Mt) on 12/06/2015

I was curious about ACV for my lungs, as I have been drinking it in water for 4 days because my gut was rocking and rolling more than normal...

The side effect was I was breathing better... That caused me to look it up, and I think I'll binge reading this site!!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Nancy (Shreveport, LA) on 03/23/2009

I started using acv 2 tsp w/16oz of water sipping throughout the day. I gradually increased to 2 tblsp in 16 oz of water over a period of two weeks. The results have been interesting. I used to yawn a lot, especially while riding in the car. I had a shallow breathing problem. Now, I don't yawn unless I'm sleepy. I also have increased energy and no more acide reflux. I hadn't seen a post about the breathing before so I thought I would share. Great remedy. Balancing the PH in the body makes such good sense. Thanks for the good work EC!

Replied by Don
(Akron, Ohio)

To Nancy from Shreveport,

I too have had problems with supposed acid reflux. I've tried prescription strength proton pump inhibitors. The problem most people will fall into is that they have so little stomach acid that the capsules won't even dissolve completely because of the coating. Super generic uncoated tablets off the shelf work best, but ACV is probably the best bet if done in moderation. I'm not quite sure what the residule effects on the lining of the esophagus would be, but I have used it as well and yes I do notice the difference in breathing. I have read about a baterium called Heliobactor or H. Pylori. It is a bacteria, from what I read, that most everyone has in there stomach. Appearently it can get out of control and actually cause inflammation of the stomach lining and also lesson the amount of stomach acid that is produced. They have medications for this, but I also have read about mastic gum, which supposedly is very effective on this bacteria. I'm thinking about giving it a try.

Replied by Jt Hawke
(Iola, Wi)

Try damping your finger and touching some cayene pepper. Put it on your tongue and washing off with water right away. It has worked every time for me for acid reflux.

Replied by Samir Pokharel

Hi I gave try with ACV but it doesn't improve my GERD and breathing problems. Is there any alternative for this?

Replied by Rosalie
(Huntingdon Valley Pa)

Consider going to a chiropractor. You may have a hiatal hernia and with adjustment it may cure your reflux. Also DGL before meals is very helpful. You can get chewable type in health food store


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Rowen (Nevada, US) on 09/27/2014

The part of NV I live in has been plagued by smoke from the CA fires for the last two weeks or so. As a result, the smoke gets into my sinuses and chest, and I'm having a hard time breathing. I've used cayenne for a while now, but never thought to drink it in hot water. So I tried it a few minutes ago; I've been spitting up mucus and blowing my nose, but at least now, I can kind of breathe through my nose. Cayenne isn't helping my chest pain- I've walked in the smoke because I live within walking distance of the majority of stores in my area.

Diaphragm Paralysis

Posted by Gean (Salina, Ks) on 08/04/2009

A friend just found out he has 50% diaphragm paralysis post op (struggles for every breath, only 40 years old). Any ideas on how this can be helped?

EC: More about Diaphragm Paralysis here:

Hydrogen Peroxide

Posted by Norma (Illinois, US) on 03/09/2015

I have shortness of breath and have tried hydrogen peroxide in a nasal spray and so far have not noticed any difference but has just been a few days, I have read where mucolyxir is doing wonders for shortness of breath and so is salmon-dna. Can a person use both of these products or just one and has anyone have any comments on these 2 remedies, I would appreciate any feedback I could get. thank you.

Replied by Dave
(Fountain Inn, Sc)


Shortness of breath issue...

A number of possibilities.

If you are a little older like me (65) it is necessary to use anaerobic exercise (sprints) to expand the lungs to ward off gradual atrophy of the lungs. This is called the HIIT approach to lung/heart and leg function. As we age, the lungs begin atrophying...less and less capacity. One way to reverse that or keep it from happening is by using an approach that forces the lunges to be used. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) uses this idea. Suppose you are using an elliptical devise for aerobic exercise. That means you are peddling at a rate that lets you go at a pace that does not "wind" you. That is good but not "anaerobic" which is a sprint and does make you get out of breath in a matter of 20 to 30 seconds. I do three 30 second sprints inside my aerobic workout...two times a week at least. An older person should start gradually; maybe the sprint only last 10 seconds before becoming winded. Fine. Do what you can do. You'll likely find that you can increase your sprint time for a few weeks.

That technique alone can help with shortness of breath if the underlying problem is lung capacity related.

However, it might be more than lung capacity.

There might be a heart issue involved and I am presuming that you have checked out heart blockage issues and that obvious possibility is not the source.

But lack of natural (not synthetic) vitamin E can lead to shortness of breath. E is an oxygenator.

Vitamin E deliver oxygen to muscles...and the heart is a muscle. Also E can reduce plaque formation. I take 800 IUs daily of E. Use only natural E...D Alpha Tocopherol...not DL which is synthetic. The "L" means it is synthetic. Drug stores always sell the synthetic.

I also take magnesium, 500 mg daily and zinc and selenium. The amino acid Arginine is also a help. I take that in crystal form and dissolve in nitric oxide to the system. Arginine like E has dozens on benefits. Hawthorne is an herb known to help the heart.

I do the entire program...sprints plus nutritional. I think it is all quite important.

Oh, one last thing. If I find myself overweight by too much...then the excess weight can also cause shortness of breath.

Hydrogen Peroxide, Raw Honey

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Dex-el (Seattle, Wa) on 02/22/2011

If you are a smoker and are now worried about inhaling HydrogenPeroxide... Um... Maybe you should have acted that way with cigs, lol. What's the difference now?

All I know is that after first sprays in throat, and inhaling 50/50water puddle drips off hand through nose and spitting out.. My breathing has never been better. I sensed I could smell more as well.

I will try drinking. What about pouring in vicks inhaler and inhaling the evaporated steam?

Another thing I noticed on how I reached this website, I recently started eating a lot of raw honey. By the spoonful, I was experimenting with heavy breathing and coughing out tar and crap. After my first week of eating honey. I woke up one morning, way early then before, and all of a sudden I wanted to go running. I have been a cig and mj smoker for a good 7 years. I hate running, but I got up and ran 2 miles. It was the best feeling ever.

I then read on here that when honey touches the skin it creates hydrogen peroxide. So eating it must be very beneficial ~ since it made me, a smoker, want to run. Yes, I coughed up nastyness and it felt good. It felt good I was motivated to do this.

Living in Seattle, WA.. I believe this technique also battles depression, because I feel great.. And I know for a fact I was depressed, but did not want to take any medication. Honey and Hydrogen Peroxide have been the best to restore health.

Replied by Henry

Sorry, but could you explain in detail how you used the hydrogen peroxide to improve your breathing....thank you and how is your breathing now.

EC: Sounds like the poster from 2011 used the hydrogen peroxide inhalation method. You can learn more about on our page here.

Replied by Sandy

You did not mentioned how did you use h202? Please explain

EC: She is referring to Bill Munro's H2O2 Inhalation Method here:

Multiple Supplements

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Maresha (Rocky Corners, USA) on 06/05/2009


I have had severe problems with w/ breathing problems for years. Very deep drops in my peak flows - quite often at 100 or lower. I have now been on a regiman of supplements for about two months now. The results have been encouraging - instead of being on a coaster like the American Eagle it is more like being on a baby coaster. Still ups and down but not nearly as severe. I have been able to decrease my dose of theophylline from 800 mg per day to 600 per day by taking the following combination:

1 packet vitamin c powder - 1000 mg
500 mg niacin (flushing type so it doesn't compound in your system and actually flushes out of your system as too much niacin can have dangerous side effects)
600 mh n- acetyl cystiene
1000 mg lecithin
1 tsp msm powder added to vitamin c powder drinl
1 tbsp ACV in with the vitamin c drink mix
b-12 supplementation to counteract the depletion of b-12 caused by theophylline use

This regiman has increased my ability to exercise and I have having deep REM sleep, which had been a problem in the past with the 800 mg of theophylline and its stimulant effect.

I also use either albuterol in the nebulizer yet, but at night I actually use basil water hydrosol in the nebulizer, or in the daytime rosemary water hydrosol for less severe attacks. (the basil component is a sleep aid also - the rosemary is not depressive, so both must be used with caution. I have had no problems with either, and both have a expectorant effect in breaking up the phlegm that causes much of the breathing problem.)

At this point, skipping the theophylline has not been an option to me, but I thankfully am not having to take any steroids for treatment, either by pill of by inhalation.

Ph Balancing and Chinese Parsley

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Muni (Rowland Heights, CA) on 03/03/2007


Replied by Ted
(Bangkok, Thailand)
391 posts

Candida, yeast and hyperventilation tends to occur when your body is acid and heavy metals in the body is high. When in an emergency, I would take 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Three times a day. Hyperventilation is a sign that the body's capillaries is constricting and alkalizing will help that. The other issue is heavy metals which can be helped by taking chinese parsley about half a hand full for about 5 days, then stop for about 5 days, alternatively. There is a more refined formula that requires 1 teaspoon of baking soda and about 1/8 teaspoon of potassium bicarbonate, then mixed in water. This should work a bit better.

Replied by Anne

For others having this issue:

Look into chlorine dioxide and also drink 8 x 8oz glasses of water per say minimum, take a few crystals of salt on your tongue to dissolve before you have the water.

Second Hand Smoke Issue

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by AVis (Houston, Texas) on 03/10/2007

Second Hand Smoke/Bronchitis: Desperately, I am going to try the ACV to prevent bronchitis/sore throat/phlegm. Just one whiff walking by a smoker on the sidewalk gives me bronchitis 100% . Anyone on this site have this problem/cure

Replied by Andrea C
(Cardiff, Wales)

Hi I now this is an old post, but a friend of mine had the same problem and was told he has allergig to smoke. personally, i belive it's to do with inflamation of the air way's which can be caused my many thing, s, but the obivious thing is to get alksline as possible, and hoover your bed, and check underneath to make sure its well hoovered, as dust mite's are a well known trigger in most folk. you could also try neblizing collodial silver, or h202, and drinking bicarbonate of soda twice a day , am and pm. best of luck. love andrea c

Replied by Evie
(West Monroe, Louisiana)

What does it mean to hoover your bed?

Replied by Wendy
(Columbus, Oh)

Hoover =vacuum. In other words, use your vacuum to suck up all the dust mites/dust/dirt on your mattress, under the bed, all around the bed, and the entire bedroom. Then empty the bag into a plastic bag outside to prevent anything leaking back into your home, and throw the filled plastic bag away.

Replied by Evie
(West Monroe, La)

Thanks for the information.

Replied by Anne

Yes, I have this issue. Last time I went to a house with a smoker about 2 week's ago, I am still.suffering chronic mucus in the lungs. I have heard about chlorine dioxide, so I will try that also. Will have a look at ACV also. Hope you are better

Shortness of Breath

Posted by Norma (Illinois, US) on 08/14/2014

I have shortness of breath when I walk a short distance (but not laying down) and have tried "Jacks Tea" and also Bill Munroes inhalation, this is my 4th day on both of these and I cannot tell any difference, does it take longer than this to notice a difference or is it just not working for me? The only thing I did different was on the Tea I could not find any Mullein plant but did get Mullein leaves from a herbal store, please can someone give me some advice. Thank you very much.

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Norma,

Mullein leaf should work well. We use it for lung issues with success.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Sandy
(Il Usa)

Hello Mama to Many,

Where can I buy Mullein leaf and how to use it? Thanks

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Sandy,

I get my Mullein Leaf by the pound from Mountain Rose Herbs. Many health food store or natural grocery stores may carry it as well. (In a tea bag.)

Here is how to make a good tea from the Mullein Leaf:

How to brew the perfect cup of tea

When I am making an herbal tea to help with a health issue, I take 2-3 cups of it a day. Start with a just a cup or less at first to make sure it suits you. I add peppermint to my mullein tea, since I like mint. But plain Mullein does not have an unpleasant taste. I like to sweeten it with honey.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Sandy
(Naperville, Il)

Dear Mama to Many,

You are a blessing to this site. I always get good advise from you. My only problem is I do not know how to come back to my posts to see if any body has answered my querry. Some time by luck I find it.

Whenever there is high humidity I feel breathless at any time of the day. in winter as well as summer. What is the remedy.

During winter, whenever I am exposed to cold and wind, I feel feverish the next day. What do I do for this. I like to go for walks but even slightest part of my body is exposed, I feel feverish. Please help

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Sandy,

The breathless feeling and feverishness after cold exposure sound discouraging!

Do you have any other health issues? Cold sensitivity can be a symptoms of low thyroid.

Sometimes cold intolerance can be caused by a diet that is too low in fat. If you eat a very low fat diet, adding in some extra virgin coconut oil to your diet may help. (It may help even if you are on a regular fat diet! )

Have you tried cayenne pepper to warm you up when you go out in the cold? Before or after you are out in the cold you could try the following:

  • 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (or a splash of Tabasco sauce)
  • 6 ounces hot water

I love this drink to warm me up and help circulation. And it is a lovely warm tonic for every day in the winter, as far as I am concerned.

Have you tried Bill Munroe's hydrogen peroxide inhalation method for your shortness of breath? It is the first thing I would consider for myself.

Finally, when in doubt, a daily serving of kefir and nettle tea are two broad spectrum remedies that can be of help to a variety of general health difficulties.

I hope you feel better soon!

~Mama to Many~


Thank you so much. I will try.