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Pneumonia

General characteristics

General characteristics

Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition that affects the delicate air sacs (alveoli) and/or the smaller passageways (the bronchioles) in the lungs, causing them to become swollen, irritated and filled with fluid.

Pneumonia is more likely to be contracted during the cold winter months but many cases arise from communal places such as hospitals, nursing homes, places of work or just from the local community.

There are numerous causes of the condition such as bacteria (e.g. streptococcus strains), viruses (e.g.cold and influenza), fungi, parasites, inhaled irritants (food, liquids, gases etc) or can sometimes (though rarely) result from infection elsewhere in the body. The condition can vary from mild with few if any symptoms to life threatening and deadly, especially in children, the elderly or those who are already ill when they develop pneumonia. This depends often on the type of pneumonia contracted and the health of the individual affected. Often just one lung is affected, when both lungs are involved it is known as double pneumonia. Symptoms vary slightly, depending on the cause of the infection but include shortness of breath or rapid and shallow breathing, chest pain, fever and chills, dry or mucous cough (often with bloody streaks or brown discolouration), weakness and tiredness and blueness around the lips or fingernails in more serious cases.

Pneumonia is often treated with antibiotics but herbs, diet and bed rest will help raise immunity and increase overall strength and health.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Avoid all processed and refined foods immediately.

Avoid anything containing white sugar and refined carbohydrates as these encourage mucous production and lowered vitality.

Eat plenty of fresh vegetable homemade soups and similar containing as much onion, leek, garlic, root vegetables and fresh herbs as you can.

Take frequent drinks of fresh lemon and other citrus juice mixed with hot water. The vitamin C content can greatly speed up healing.

Use the warming spices such as garlic, ginger, cayenne, mustard, horseradish and black pepper liberally in your cooking.

Vitamin D helps recovery from pneumonia. Apart from sunlight on bare skin, wild salmon is an excellent source.

Avoid eating cold and frozen foods.

Make sure you get plenty of fluids in the form of warming herbal teas and citrus juices diluted with water.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Elderflower and peppermint tea should be taken three times daily. Use one teaspoon of each herb per cup and drink hot. Add a pinch of ginger (powder or freshly grated) and turmeric powder to each cup for their additional benefits of warming and soothing inflammation.

Ginger tea (using fresh ginger if possible) can be taken every few hours. Use about a fingernail sized piece of ginger per cup.

Chilli/cayenne can also help by greatly improving blood flow to the area.

Angelica root can provide a warming and clearing action in the lungs and the entire body, very useful as part of a formula.

Sage, pleurisy root, comfrey leaf, liqourice root and mullein leaf tea can be taken three times daily to help to dry and clear mucous and fluids from the lungs.

Adaptogenic herbs such as siberian ginseng, rhodiola, schisandra and reishi mushroom can help to raise the vitality of the body and speed recovery from pneumonia. Use in tincture or capsule form, singly or in combination.


Natural healing

Natural healing

Make onion and garlic syrup by roughly chopping a large white onion and several cloves of garlic. Put in a bowl, cover with good quality honey, put a plate over the bowl and leave aside for several hours. The honey will suck all the goodness out of the onions and garlic, turning the honey very liquid. Take two spoonfuls of the liquid every hour or so. Make a fresh batch daily. You could add a touch of cayenne to increase warmth and circulation in the whole body. Both onions and garlic are strongly antibiotic and mucous reducing.

Probiotic formulas and anything that enhances beneficial bowel flora (such as cider vinegar, live yoghurt or chamomile tea) will prevent constipation and raise the immunity.

Get plenty of bed rest, stay warm, avoid getting chilly but try to have a source of fresh air in your room.

Applying warm compresses to the chest and back can help to clear congestion and give a sense of relieve.

Essential oils such as eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme and similar can be sprinkled around the bed or diluted in oil and rubbed over the chest and back.


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