Bronchitis is a condition in which the bronchial tubes are inflamed. These tubes carry air to the lungs. When the tubes become inflamed or infected, they produce a lot of mucus, which is a slimy substance made by the bronchial tubes. The main symptom of bronchitis is persistent coughing – the body’s attempt to get rid of excess mucus. Forceful coughing can be painful, and excess mucus can make it difficult to breathe. Other bronchitis symptoms include a low-grade fever, shortness of breath and wheezing.
There are two types of bronchitis: acute (short term) and chronic (long term). In both types, irritated membranes swell and grow thicker. This swelling shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs. Acute bronchitis is often the result of infections or exposure to irritants. Cigarette smoking is the main cause of chronic bronchitis, which is sometimes called a “smoker’s cough.”
A single acute episode is not a cause for concern. However, repeated episodes may lead to chronic bronchitis. A person with chronic bronchitis has scarred lungs, and this scarring cannot be reversed. Lung damage makes it difficult to breath and increases the risk for infections. Elderly and those with weakened immune systems have the greatest risk for developing bronchitis.
Signs and Symptoms of Acute Bronchitis
- Approximately 90 percent of cases are caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold and the flu. The main symptom is a persistent cough, which often makes it difficult to sleep.
- Lung irritants can also cause acute bronchitis. Common lung irritants include tobacco smoke, air pollution, dust and fumes.
- Most cases improve within 10 days, but coughing may linger for several weeks.
- Acute bronchitis is contagious.
Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis
- Chronic bronchitis doesn’t appear suddenly. It usually begins with a simple cough. Over time, symptoms worsen until the person has difficulty breathing.
- Airways are constantly inflamed and irritated.
- Excess mucus is produced constantly. A person may cough up more than an ounce of mucus each day.
- The cough is often worse in the morning and in damp, cold weather. Persistent coughing makes it difficult to sleep.
- Left untreated, chronic bronchitis can be life-threatening.
- Chronic bronchitis is not contagious.
Due to its antibiotic and anti-viral properties, garlic is highly beneficial for treating bronchitis, especially acute bronchitis.
- Take three garlic cloves.
- Peel and chop them.
- Put them in a glass of milk and boil.
- Drink it at night before going to bed..
Ginger, often used for treating the common cold, can also help with bronchitis. The anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties present in ginger help relieve irritated, inflamed or swollen bronchial tubes.
- Add half a teaspoon each of ground ginger, cinnamon and cloves in a cup of hot water. Stir well and drink the mixture for a few days to get relief.
- You can make an herbal tea by adding one teaspoon each of ginger powder and black pepper to a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for a few minutes, then add some honey. Drink it twice a day.
- You can also combine one teaspoon each of ginger powder, pepper, and cloves. Take it three times a day with honey or milk.
3. Eucalyptus Oil
Steam therapy is very effective when suffering from bronchitis. Adding eucalyptus oil will soften the mucus in the obstructed airways and its antibacterial properties will help in the healing process.
- Simply add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to boiling water and cover your head with a towel so that you can inhale the steam. If eucalyptus oil is not available, you can use pine oil or tea tree oil.
- Eucalyptus oil can also be applied externally on the chest. This will help you expel the mucus and improve the functioning of the respiratory system.
The anti-inflammatory property of turmeric is good for treating the cough associated with bronchitis. Follow this remedy to expectorate the excess mucus and soon you will get relief.
- Add one teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of milk.
- Boil it.
- Drink it two or three times a day. For faster results, do this on an empty stomach.
Notice: This remedy is not suitable for people who have gallbladder stones, hyperacidity, stomach ulcers or obstructive jaundice.
Honey is a natural way to deal with the cough that occurs with bronchitis. The antiviral and antibacterial properties present in honey will be soothing for the throat. At the same time, honey will boost your immune system.
- Adding one teaspoon of honey to your regular cup of tea will help a lot when suffering from bronchitis.
- You can also add honey to warm lemon water to treat congestion and throat inflammation that often accompanies bronchitis.
6. Salt Water
Gargling with salt water several times a day is a great way to treat various symptoms of bronchitis. Simply add one teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle with it.
Be sure to use the exact amount of salt, as too much salt can cause a burning sensation in the throat and too little will not be as effective. You can gargle with salt water as often as you need.
There are two benefits of this remedy. First, it will soothe the inflammation in the throat, and secondly, it will cut through some of the mucus causing irritation to the throat.
7. Epsom Salt
An Epsom salt bath can give relief from bronchitis symptoms, especially when suffering from acute bronchitis.
- To prepare the bath, add two to three pounds (one to one and a half kg) of Epsom salt to warm bath water.
- When the Epsom salt is fully dissolved, immerse yourself in the bath for about a half an hour.
- If you have chronic bronchitis, do this twice a week. For acute bronchitis, do this every night or every other night.
The expectorant effect of onions helps dissolve mucus and phlegm, thereby providing relief from bronchitis. At the same time, onion juice will prevent further buildup.
- Simply eat one teaspoon of raw onion juice every morning on an empty stomach.
- Also add raw onions in your salad or use onions while cooking.
When suffering from bronchitis, it is recommended to keep your body well-hydrated and help maintain a productive cough by drinking water and clear liquids.
So, drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water daily. You can drink fruit juices and vegetable juices as well. In the morning, you can have a glass of water mixed with the juice squeezed from half a lime and a little honey.
10. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds have medicinal properties that can treat bronchitis and help relieve chest pain associated with it.
- Combine one teaspoon of sesame seeds, one teaspoon of linseed or flaxseed, a pinch of common salt and one teaspoon of honey. Take this mixture daily before going to bed.
- You can also mix one-half teaspoon of dry sesame seed powder and two tablespoons of water and take it twice daily.
Do not drink caffeine or alcohol, which can lead to loss of extra fluid and thereby make the mucus tougher to dislodge.
Try some of these natural remedies to treat the problem of bronchitis. But if your symptoms get worse, see a doctor.