Acute bronchitis is when the mucus membranes in your bronchial tubes get inflamed, making it difficult for air to travel from your trachea to your lungs.
A constant cough identifies its primary symptom with or without the production of mucus.
Ordinarily, bronchitis is a secondary result of a respiratory viral infection, such as the flu or the common cold. These viruses are the culprit of nearly 95% of bronchitis cases.
Many doctors routinely prescribe antibiotics for bronchitis, although it is well established that they do not work against viruses.
They also prescribe them because a patient may insist and is misconceived that antibiotics are necessary for their ailment.
The unnecessary and overuse of antibiotics has been the reason behind antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Also, their overuse can lead to the overgrowth of Candida albicans in your gut, a fungal infection that can cause a multitude of medical issues.
Avoid antibiotics for acute bronchitis. They do not work against viruses.
Fortunately, there are proven natural ways to fight it. Below will be a list of natural compounds to help you shorten the symptoms or avoid them altogether.
Note: There are two types of bronchitis; acute and chronic.
- Chronic bronchitis falls in the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) category and is characterized by a repeated mucus-producing cough that lasts for three or more months and reappears year after year.
- Acute bronchitis is short term inflammation from a cold or flu that spread to your chest. This article will concentrate on this particular type. However, the natural remedies described below may be used to combat chronic bronchitis also.
Symptoms Of Acute Bronchitis
Coughing episodes ordinarily last between ten and twenty days, or even up to four weeks.
You can also notice some of the following symptoms:
- Production of mucus (phlegm), either clear, yellowish, or green, depending on how nasty the infection is – green being the worst.
- Chest pain.
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Fever and chills.
- Runny nose.
- Sore throat.
- Nasal congestion.
- Muscle aches.
Three-Step Approach To Fighting Acute Bronchitis
Three steps must be taken to fight bronchitis:
- Stimulating the bronchial tubes to help them sweep out excess mucus. This is called expectoration.
- Thinning or breaking down the mucus to help in the expectoration process.
- Strengthening the immune system to help heal the after-effects of the infection.
Below you will be provided with natural compounds to assist you in all three steps.
Elecampane (Inula Helenium L.)
Elecampane is a medicinal plant from Bulgaria, but it is presently also grown in the United States.
One study concluded that the compounds found in Inula helium have an anti-inflammatory effect against the inflammation produced during acute bronchitis.
In a 2017 research report, it confirmed the expectorant abilities of elecampane. The information also announced that this herb contains numerous potent antioxidants, with the majority being “quercetin, kaempferol and myricetin.”
There is a multitude of studies showing how potent and beneficial these three antioxidants are.
More interesting, a study published in July 2020 mentions quercetin and myricetin as potential natural antiviral agents for human coronaviruses.
Human coronaviruses can cause acute bronchitis and affect the lungs. So, this is another plus for using elecampane.
White Horehound (Marrubium Vulgare)
White horehound is an indigenous medicinal plant found in Europe, Asia, and also the United States.
It has an extensive history of fighting coughs, colds, bronchitis, and many other ailments. For example, in 1927, scientists announced that white horehound was used in pulmonary (lung) disorders.
In 1941, it was reported that it was the traditional herbal pectoral (chest) remedies used as a bitter tonic, expectorant, and diuretic. It exceedingly offered beneficial results in coughs, colds, and pulmonary problems (Source, page 430)
Mullein (Verbascum Thapsus)
Mullein is a herb that is native to Europe and Asia, but it is also found in the United States-
Mullein contains potent expectorant properties that can expel phlegm and mucus from the lungs considerably.
It has a long history as an expectorant for bronchitis, lung congestion, asthma, and other respiratory ailments. Its compounds called saponins are responsible for the expectorant effect of this plant.
There is scientific evidence that it works as an expectorant. The following report had this to say about mullein:
- “Verbascum thapsus (mullein) is bitter, astringent, sweet, pungent, and cooling. Main therapeutic effects of this plant include expectorant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. Mucilage is an important constituent of Verbascum thapsus, known to reduce coughing and tightness in the respiratory system; and is generally regarded as safe.”
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has an extensive history of use as a mucus thinner to treat acute and chronic lung problems.
One review explained that NAC attacks the proteins found in the mucus reducing its thickness. As a result, bronchial and lung function is improved, coughing fits are reduced, and oxygen saturation in the blood is enhanced.
As a vital add-on, NAC is a precursor to glutathione.
Glutathione is considered the master antioxidant of your body. It is found in every cell and is essential for life and health.
Ordinarily, you cannot get enough glutathione from supplements or foods. Your body must make this antioxidant. NAC supplements help to make glutathione. a significant antioxidant for the entire respiratory tract.
Glutathione is a potent anti-inflammatory and immune system booster and significantly protects the lungs from virus infections.
NAC is the most listed supplement for mucus thinning purposes worldwide and has been used for many years on people with respiratory issues. (Source, at page 1186)
The recommended dosage for NAC is 200 mg three times per day.
Cineole is a natural compound found in numerous plants but is mainly extracted from the eucalyptus plant. It is also known as 1,8 cineole or eucalyptol.
Cineole has been proven to be mucolytic (mucus thinner) and spasmolytic (relieves spasms) in the respiratory tract and also has an effect against inflammation created in the airway passages caused by respiratory diseases.
One study conducted on 242 people suffering from acute bronchitis showed clear evidence that cineole works fast at treating bronchitis.
The study was to last for ten days. Each patient was given 200 mg of Cineole three times per day.
The cineole was so effective that within four days, the patients began to recover. The study concluded that cineole is undoubtedly useful in treating acute bronchitis.
Bromelain is an enzyme obtained from the pineapple fruit and its stem.
This enzyme works as an anti-inflammatory instead of being specific to a particular disease. And it has been useful for many medical problems.
If you take bromelain together with NAC, it becomes an even more potent and effective mucolytic (mucus thinner).
Immune System Enhancers For Bronchitis
Bidens Pilosa (Asteraceae)
Bidens pilosa is a ubiquitous plant found worldwide. I included it as an immune system enhancer to be used after a bout of bronchitis because it is a potent immuno-enhancer and lung protector.
Research has shown that it contains:
- “Major chemical constituents (including 301 compounds) belonging to polyacetylenes, polyacetylene glycosides, flavonoids, flavone glycosides, aurones, chalcones, okanin glycosides, phenolic acids, terpenes, pheophytins, fatty acids, and phytosterols have been identified or isolated from the different parts of this plant.”
All of these chemical names are beneficial compounds and antioxidants notably essential for human health.
The herb and its compounds possess the following health benefits:
- smooth muscle relaxant
A Brazilian study announced, among other health benefits, that it is anti-bronchitis.
In part, a study on Bidens pilosa by the University of Iowa showed that this herb is essential to asthma and other respiratory problems.
In a book entitled “Herbal Antivirals,” on page 53, it states that if a microbe has infected the mucous membranes of the lungs and you start to get well, relapse, begin to get well again, then relapse once again, Bidens pilosa is the herb to use.
In other words, if you take Bidens after you successfully fought off acute bronchitis, then you will strengthen the immune system to keep reinfection from resurfacing.
Acute bronchitis has a history of resurfacing if your immune system is weakened for some reason or the mucus lining in your lungs is damaged.
This is why it is imperative to treat it at every stage correctly.
Chronic bronchitis can result from a series of acute bronchitis attacks or may unfold steadily. Do not let acute bronchitis turn into life-limiting chronic bronchitis.
Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum)
The reishi mushroom ( Ganoderma lucidum ), known as Ling Zhi in China, is one of the most treasured herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Its medicinal benefits are nothing new.
It is called the “Miraculous King of Herbs” and was listed as a supreme herb in Sheng Nong” s Pharmacopeia, an ancient Chinese herbal book older than 2,000 years.
Reishi is an adaptogen, and it is a prized fungus for regulating and strengthening the immune system.
A well-functioning immune system is the most dependable foundation for preventing viral respiratory infections and, thus, acute bronchitis.
It has a strengthening and restoring effect on the respiratory tract and especially on the bronchial mucosa. (The lining of the bronchial tubes)
Due to its potent anti-inflammatory abilities, Reishi can resolve acute and chronic inflammation sources.
Reishi has been scientifically proven to have the following health benefits:
- chronic hepatitis
- gastric ulcers
Studies show that it contains over 400 bioactive compounds essential to human health and can regulate both the respiratory and immune systems.
Reishi also contains the following nutrients vital for maximum health:
- Proteins and polypeptides
- Amino acids – 18 different kinds
- Vitamins – Vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, D, E, and Beta-carotene
- Minerals – Calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, carbon, magnesium, zinc, chromium, arsenic, copper, manganese, silicon, aluminum, cobalt, molybdenum, nickel, and lead
As can be seen, Reishi is a powerhouse of beneficial nutrients that are advantageous for both the immune system and respiratory tract.
Boswellia (Indian Frankincense)
Boswellia is a gum resin obtained from the Boswellia serrata tree’s trunk after the gum becomes dry and hard.
Boswellia serrata trees are found in India’s mountains but also grow in African and Saudi Arabian deserts.
The Health Benefits of Frankincense
Today’s primary use of the Boswellia extract is as an anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic, due to the presence of boswellin, the active compound extracted from the resin.
A recent study published on June 16, 2020, investigated if Boswellia had potential immunomodulatory and antioxidant activities. The study concluded that Boswellia can regulate the immune system and can scavenge and destroy free radicals in your body.
The Food and Drug Administration has officially acknowledged its medicinal properties.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Boswellia has been used for the following:
- fevers (antipyretic)
- skin and blood diseases
- cardiovascular diseases
- mouth sores
- bad throat
- vaginal discharges
- syphilitic diseases
- stimulation of liver
Studies show that Boswellia can inhibit explicitly human leukocyte elastase (HLE). (HLE is an enzyme that causes an overproduction of mucus and causes direct damage to the airway epithelium, “the out layer of the inside of the airway pipes”).
By decreasing the impact and action of HLE, Boswellia can lessen bronchial inflammation, open the bronchial tubes, and keep them open.
As can be shown, Boswellia not only can regulate the immune system but can also inhibit HLE from damaging your lungs and airways during a bronchitis bout.
Many people assume that a common cold or the flu is a harmless ailment. However, if not careful, it can turn to acute bronchitis. And if the acute bronchitis is not treated correctly, it can damage and weaken your lungs.
Numerous bouts can turn to chronic bronchitis, and this will negatively affect your life forever.
If you are prone to catching bronchitis every time you get a cold or the flu, then you should at least try one of the suggestions for each of the three steps described here.
Each of the herbs or supplements is supported by scientific evidence; they are natural and mostly safe.
All of these substances can be purchased on Amazon. Follow the instructions on their package.
Please consult a doctor before using any of the substances mentioned here to determine if you may have an ailment that may cause complications.