Lungwort (pulmonaria officinalis) is an evergreen perennial plant from the genus of the flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae, known as the borage or forget-me-not family. The takes its name from the Latin root Pulmoa, meaning lung, and was first used by Leonhart Fuchs (1501 – 1566), a German physician and one of the three founding fathers of botany. Lungwort is so named due to its origins in the ancient Signature Doctrine, in terms of its appearance reflecting its use as a healing herb.
The white spots of lungwort correspond with the spots one might find on a sick lung. In Hildegard of Bingen’s time, lungwort was commonly used to help in treating minor lung conditions, such as pulmonary emphysema, bronchial coughs, and asthma.
Due to persistent seasonal exposure to cold and flu viruses, bronchitis and its accompanying mucus can result in a bloating of the lungs. In this context, Hildegard medicine would have us drink a warm cup of lungwort tea, made with a tablespoon of dried lungwort herb, combined with 8 ounces (250 ml) of boiling water, and allowed to steep for 10 minutes. This warm drink should be consumed three times per day.
Hildegard’s “lungwort wine” remedy, derived from Hildegard medicine, is used to address minor symptoms related to pulmonary edema. When distinguishing between pulmonary emphysema and pulmonary edema, the rule of thumb is that the latter often manifests with coughing and shortness of breath arising during the day as well as during the night.
To prepare lungwort wine, combine 3 tablespoons of lungwort with one liter of table wine and boil for 3 minutes. Pass the combination through a sieve and drink 1 cup, 3 times per day, preferably before meals.