Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes that transport air to and from the lungs. Because of this inflammation, bronchitis patients tend to cough up thickened and discolored mucus. Patients might also experience congestion, headaches, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue. It can be chronic or acute.
But despite the pain and discomfort it brings, bronchitis is simple enough to treat and manage. From utilizing quick and simple remedies like steam to establishing healthier habits for the long-term, there’s hope for bronchitis patients sick of hacking coughs and breathing difficulties.
Remedies that use steam
Steam inhalation is one of the most recommended remedies for easing congestion, sore throat and coughs due to bronchitis. There are a number of methods of doing this, such as:
- Hot shower – Step into a hot shower and take deep lungfuls of steam.
- Hot bath – Prepare a hot bath and add a few drops of essential oils before dipping in. Some good essential oils for bronchitis include pine, which helps bring up phlegm, and peppermint, which helps soothe irritated throats.
- Bowl and towel – This method involves leaning over a bowl filled with hot water and inhaling the steam. Drape a towel over your head to keep the steam from escaping.
- Humidifier – Run a humidifier in the bedroom while sleeping to moisten the air and ease breathing. But take care not to overdo it to avoid exacerbating bronchitis.
Tips for thinning mucus
If steam inhalation fails to make a difference, supplement it using remedies designed to thin out mucus from the inside. (Related: Natural treatments for bronchitis may be found in Kampo medicine.)
- Drink fluids – Staying hydrated helps to thin out mucus, making it easier to expel. While it’s best to drink more water, warm liquids like herbal teas and chicken soup are more soothing. Limit or cut back on alcohol and coffee because these fluids can deplete water levels fast.
- Eat chili peppers – Capsaicin, the organic compound in hot chili peppers responsible for their spiciness, can help thin out mucus. Condiments like hot mustard, horseradish and wasabi can also help loosen up bronchial secretions.
- Cut back on milk and milk products – Lactalbumin, an ingredient in cow’s milk, can further stimulate the production of mucus in the nose, mouth, sinuses, throat and lungs.
- Take homemade cough medicine – Homemade cough medicines are ideal for hacking coughs and tough phlegm. One recipe involves mixing and boiling together red onions, fresh lemon juice and organic honey. These ingredients have natural antibiotic, antioxidant and immune-boosting properties.
- Quit smoking – Cigarette smoking has been linked to the excess production of mucus found in chronic bronchitis patients, according to research from 2011. In particular, cigarette smoke suppresses a protein that causes the natural death of excess mucus-producing cells.
Herbs and supplements for bronchitis
Natural health practitioners might also recommend taking certain herbs and supplements for the long-term management of chronic bronchitis in some patients.
These herbs and supplements are also ideal for minimizing the risk of other chronic ailments like asthma and pneumonia.
- Vitamin C – This essential micronutrient can increase the lungs’ resistance to pathogens that cause infections.
- Echinacea – Echinacea is a medicinal herb that has natural antimicrobial properties. It is often consumed as an herbal tea to treat and reduce the risk of colds, flu, pneumonia and bronchitis.
- Astragalus – This medicinal herb also helps strengthen immune health against infection and disease. It can be taken as a supplement or consumed as an herbal tea.
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – NAC is the supplement form of the amino acid cysteine. It can be taken to mitigate damage and ease inflammation of lung tissue in bronchitis patients. NAC can also improve overall lung function.
- R-lipoic acid – R-lipoic acid is the most active form of alpha-lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant that our bodies produce. This organic compound can ease inflammation in the lungs and strengthen lung tissues.
Bronchitis can cause great discomfort and breathing difficulties, but it is possible to treat it at home using natural remedies.
Read more articles about treating and managing bronchitis at Healing.news.