Acute bronchitis is the deep, wet, or dry cough that comes on and lingers after an infection, such as a cold, sinusitis, or the flu. The cough, which may start out dry and then turn productive, is the body's way of expelling infected mucus (phlegm) from the lungs. An episode of bronchitis may last for one to two weeks, and because a virus usually causes it, antibiotics may not be helpful. The best treatment is usually rest, combined with immune-enhancing natural therapies, as well as a symptomatic therapy to calm the cough and promote the removal of the mucus.
Chronic bronchitis develops in the continual presence of irritants, usually tobacco smoke, but also environmental allergies and damp, foggy weather; it sometimes results from food allergies. It often begins as a protracted case of acute bronchitis that returns every few months and, if the irritants are not removed, will develop into a constant cough, often accompanied by breathlessness and sometimes wheezing. The weakened condition of the lungs leaves the body vulnerable to infections like acute bronchitis, pneumonia, and emphysema. In its advanced stage, even minor colds can grow into deadly diseases. The best treatment is to eliminate the irritants that caused the condition. This is accomplished by identifying the offending allergens and removing them or reducing your body's sensitivity to them.
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; the level of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when taking any and all supplements.
The top 7 vitamins and supplements have shown to help Bronchitis:
Prescription for Natural
Cures by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.M.D.
Super Prescription #1 NAC - N-acetyl-L-Cysteine – LifeSource ProductNAC reduces the viscosity of phlegm so that it is easier to expectorate. It's useful for acute and chronic bronchitis (especially for smokers and people with asthma or emphysema). Take 600 daily.
Super Prescription #2 Vitamin C - LifeSource Products - See All of our Vitamin C Products.Take 500 to 1,000 mg three times daily. It enhances immune function for acute bronchitis and has anti-allergy benefits for chronic bronchitis. Vitamin C is particularly important for smokers.
Super Prescription #3 Echinacea and Goldenseal - LifeSource Products - See All of our Echinacea/Goldenseal Products. Take this combination 2 to 4 times daily for acute bronchitis with a wet cough. Both herbs enhance immune function, and goldenseal works to dry up mucus. Take as directed on the container.
Super Prescription #5 Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Take 500 mg of the capsule or 2 ml of the tincture four times daily. This herb promotes this discharge of mucus and has soothing/anti-inflammatory effects for the respiratory tract.
Super Prescription #6 Astragalus - LifeSource Product Astragalus is an excellent treatment for chronic, as well as acute, bronchitis. It strengthens weak lungs and increases the body's general resistance to infection. Take 500 to 1,000 mg or 3.5 ml of a tincture two or three times daily. Do not take astragalus if you have a fever.
Super Prescription #7 Colloidal silver
Take one-half to 1 teaspoon, or as directed on the container, three times daily for five days. It has an antimicrobial effect, especially for bacteria.
See All LifeSource Vitamins Bronchitis
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- A cough that may start out dry but that turns deep and productive, with thick clear or yellow mucus
- Usually follows a viral infection
- Long bouts of acute bronchitis that recur frequently
- A persistent, constant cough that's worse upon waking
- Food or environmental allergens, causing excess mucus in the lungs
- Viral infection
- Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke
- Food allergies
- Environmental irritants (especially dust, pollen, animal dander, or mold)
- Cold, damp, foggy weather
To thin mucus secretions, drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours.
Homemade chicken soup also thins mucus. Add garlic or ginger for flavor and immune support.
To reduce phlegm, have some hot barley soup.
Onions are an old folk remedy and have anti-inflammatory properties, so eat them often.
If you have bacterial bronchitis and are taking antibiotics, consume nondairy sour products, such as kefir or sauerkraut, daily to replenish disease-fighting bacteria.
Foods to Avoid
Eliminate foods that encourage mucus production: dairy products, chocolate, and bananas, as well as processed, refined, fried, and junk foods. Avoid simple sugars, as they suppress immune function.
Fast on water, soup, juice, and herbal tea for a few days to let your body turn its full attention to fighting the infection. Fasting will also speed the elimination of mucus, especially when expectorant herbal teas are part of the regimen.
- Rest, preferably in bed, while the illness is at it's worst. When you feel better, move around to keep the infection from settling into your lungs, but continue to rest after periods of activity.
- Don't take a cough suppressant. The lungs need to expel phlegm to get healthy, and suppressants keep them from doing so. Consistent use of suppressants can lead to worse cases of acute bronchitis or even to chronic bronchitis or pneumonia.
- Encourage expectoration by applying warm compresses to your chest.
- Don't smoke or expose yourself to secondhand smoke.
- If you have chronic bronchitis and live in a damp, cold climate, you may have to move to another location that's dry and warm. You should have your doctor consider mold allergies as a possible cause of chronic bronchitis.
- People with chronic bronchitis need to keep their lungs as elastic and as strong as possible. Exercise, breath deeply, and, if you enjoy music, take up a wind instrument.