Though herbs and supplements can't cure COPD, studies show some may offer relief. Of course, you’ll want to check with your doctor before you take any of these.
NAC is an antioxidant supplement with mixed reviews in studies.
Some research says NAC can help your lungs work better. It might also:
- Thin mucus
- Give you less phlegm
- Ease your cough
Other studies say that NAC has little effect on those things. Research found that NAC didn't stop flare-ups of COPD from happening. But it does suggest NAC may help you have fewer flare-ups.
This popular herb has thousands of years of medical use behind it. Studies have found that ginseng has some promise in treating COPD symptoms. People who took it were able to breathe and exercise more easily.
Other research found that people with COPD who took ginseng were able to breathe easier and their lungs worked better than those who had no treatment.
Doctors aren't sure if higher levels of vitamin D bring fewer flare-ups and help your lungs work better. In some studies it does. In others, it doesn't.
Your doctor will probably want to check your vitamin D levels. They may suggest supplements if yours are below normal.
Also called red sage, Salvia miltiorrhiza is an herb long used in Chinese medicine. Some research says salvia may help protect your lungs during flare-ups.
Some people take this as a supplement to help ward off or ease cold symptoms. Research shows that taking it once you have a cold won’t do much to shorten it. But taking echinacea while you’re well may help keep you from getting sick.
If you have COPD, you may have trouble sleeping. There's mixed research on whether melatonin can help. Some studies say it helps make it easier to breathe, so it's easier to sleep.