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Bronchitis

General characteristics

General characteristics

Bronchitis is inflammation and swelling of any of the tubular air passageways within the lungs. It can be acute (come on suddenly due to infection for example) or a chronic, long term condition resulting from a deeper problem.
Acute bronchitis is common after a cold or other infection and is usually resolved with care and treatment in a few weeks. Acute bronchitis usually presents with a cough and bringing up phlegm and symptoms of a cold or infection such as fever and generally feeling unwell. Once the symptoms of infection have gone the cough may still persist for several weeks so the body should be constantly aided with herbs and natural healing to ensure the lungs are clean and properly functioning.
Chronic bronchitis tends to appear gradually over longer periods and can prove very difficult to treat. It is very common in middle aged smokers and those with regular exposure to inhaled pollutants or poor air quality and is a leading cause of death in the developed world. In chronic bronchitis the cells lining the airways become ineffective at bringing up mucous so that waste phlegm and mucous build up in the lungs. The body regularly attempts to cough up the mucous resulting in a sometimes dramatic body racking cough that may or may not contain mucous and the lung function is weakened. Often there is wheezing in the chest and general difficulty in breathing. If left untreated it can cause impairment of the lungs and lead to more serious conditions such as emphysema.
Herbs and natural healing aim to raise the general immunity and vitality, kill off any infection, alleviate inflammation, dilate the airways and encourage mucous to be expelled.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Limit the amount of mucous forming foods you eat like sugar, refined wheat and grains, cow based dairy foods and all processed foods as they offer little nutritional benefit. If the intake of mucous forming foods exceeds the body's needs then the secreting membranes lining the lungs will produce an  excess of mucous in an attempt to get rid of it leading to congestion throughout the body.

Increase your intake of plant based fibre to increase bowel activity and help increase the absorption of nutrients consumed in your diet. See 'fibre' in the 'natural healing' section of this site for ideas on fibrous foods.

Eat plenty of onions, garlic, leeks, chives etc and any other onion type foods which help to thin mucous and therefore make it easier to cough it up.

Use warming spices like ginger, cayenne, cardamon pods, coriander seeds, black pepper and cinnamon in your cooking. You can also make a delicious warming tea using a teaspoon per cup of the combined ingredients.

Drink the juice of a fresh lemon (or any combination of citrus fruits) in some water each morning on an empty stomach.

Drink plenty of liquids in the form of water, freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juices, watery soups full of herbs and warming spices and herb teas.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

A useful formula for both acute and chronic bronchitis could contain elecampagne root, thyme, hyssop, angelica root, mullein, aniseed, white horehound and fenugreek seed. Use equal quantities of all the dried herbs and use a heaped teaspoon per cup. Add a pinch of cayenne or ginger powder to each cup and a pinch of goldenseal powder (if you do not have high blood pressure). Take 3 cups daily until you see a real improvement. In acute bronchitis add colstfoot leaves to the above mix.
In chronic bronchitis in the frail or elderly it would be wise to include an additional formula to support the heart, kidneys and digestive system and to provide extra energy too. This could include dandelion root, hawthorn berries, celery seeds, gentian, irish moss (or alternatively iceland moss), yarrow, chickweed and nettle. Use equal quantities of the herbs and put 4 heaped teaspoons in a pan. Pour on a pint or so of water and bring to the boil then turn off the heat. Strain off and drink the liquid throughout the day, adding a pinch of cayenne to each cup.
If you have access to fresh comfrey leaves nibble on a small piece (the size of a teabag for instance) each day. This a very old tried and tested remedy for all lung complaints and for increasing bodily strength and vitality. You could use a teaspoon of dried leaves as a tea instead.
Boneset tea has strengthening, toning and decongesting actions on the respiratory passages.
Take 4 teaspoons daily of echinacea tincture in acute bronchitis or add to general formulas for chronic bronchitis.
Black cohosh tincture can be added to formulas for its antispasmodic and expectorant actions.
 
Ground ivy is a specific old time remedy for chronic bronchitis and can be added to any other formulas.

Natural healing

Natural healing

In both chronic and acute bronchitis you should avoid smoking and being in smokey atmospheres.

Take hot baths to which a few drops each of thyme, peppermint or eucalyptus oils have been added.

Make a nutritious and therapeutic syrup by placing a chopped strong white onion and 2 cloves of crushed garlic in a bowl and adding 3 tablespoons of good quality honey (runny or set). Cover and place to one side for several hours or overnight. Take 2 teaspoons of the liquid every couple of hours for acute bronchitis or every day for chronic bronchitis. It tastes very pleasant and helps to liquefy and expel mucous from the lungs.

Do not use cough suppressant medicines as these will keep the sticky mucous in the lungs and greatly delay healing.


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