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Bronchitis can stem from an infection or the inhalation of irritants, which can irritate the bronchial lining and cause it to produce more mucus than usual. Coughing is your body’s way to rid the respiratory tract of this excessive mucus.
Moreover, the resultant swelling causes the air passages to become constricted, making it difficult to breathe.
Natural Treatment Options for Bronchitis
Here are some home remedies for bronchitis.
1. Add ginger to your diet
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. (1)
A 2012 study published in Phytotherapy Research suggests that distinct ginger compounds could be used as anti-inflammatory drugs for managing respiratory infections. (2)
How to use:
- Add ½ teaspoon each of ground ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in 1 cup of hot water. Stir well and drink the mixture for a few days to get relief.
- You can make a herbal tea by adding 1 teaspoon each of ginger powder and black pepper to 1 cup of boiling water. Let it steep for a few minutes, and then add some honey. Drink this tea twice a day.
- You can also combine 1 teaspoon each of ginger powder, pepper, and cloves. Take this three times a day with honey or milk.
2. Drink a glass of garlic milk
Due to its antibiotic and antiviral properties, garlic is highly beneficial for the treatment of bronchitis, especially acute bronchitis.
A 2016 study reports that garlic effectively inhibited the growth of infectious bronchitis virus. The research suggests that garlic can be used as a natural remedy for bronchitis. (3)
How to use:
- Peel three garlic cloves and chop them.
- Put them in 1 glass of milk and boil.
- Drink this milk at night before going to bed.
3. Drink turmeric milk
Follow this remedy to expectorate the excess mucus and get speedy relief from bronchitis-related congestion.
How to use:
- Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to 1 glass of milk.
- Boil it.
- Drink this milk two or three times a day. For faster results, take the milk on an empty stomach.
Note: This remedy is not suitable for people who have gallbladder stones, hyperacidity, stomach ulcers, or obstructive jaundice.
4. Steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil
Steam therapy is a very effective remedy for bronchitis. (6) Using eucalyptus oil in steam therapy will soften the mucus in the obstructed airways, and its antibacterial properties will help in the healing process.
How to use:
- Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to boiling water. Cover your head with a towel and 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.
5. Gargle with salt water
Gargling with salt water several times a day is a great way to treat various symptoms of bronchitis. Simply add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 glass of warm water and gargle with it. (7)
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 second, it will cut through some of the mucus that’s irritating the throat.
6. Trust the healing potential of honey
Honey is a natural way to deal with a cough brought on by a case of bronchitis. A single dose of honey reduces mucus secretion and cough episodes, especially in children. (8)
The antiviral and antibacterial properties present in honey help soothe the throat. Additionally, honey boosts your immune system. (9)
How to use:
- Adding 1 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.
Note: Honey should not be given to babies under 1 year of age as it may cause infantile botulism.
7. Expel the mucus with onions
The expectorant effect of onions helps dissolve thick mucus, thereby providing relief from bronchitis. (10)
Furthermore, onion juice prevents further mucus buildup.
- Simply consume 1 teaspoon of raw onion juice every morning on an empty stomach.
- Also, add raw onions in your salad or use onions while cooking.
Note: Consuming large quantities of onion can lead to stomach distress and gastrointestinal irritation that may result in nausea and diarrhea. It may also cause thirst, amnesia, and condensate sputum. Lemons can help diminish the onion-induced foul breath to a significant degree.
8. Relieve the congestion with sesame seeds
Sesame seeds have medicinal properties that may reduce allergic bronchial responses. (11)
- Combine 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon of linseed or flaxseed, a pinch of common salt, and 1 teaspoon of honey. Take this mixture daily before going to bed.
- You can also mix a ½ teaspoon of dry sesame seed powder and 2 tablespoons of water, and take this mixture twice daily.
9. Drink plenty of water
When suffering from bronchitis, it is recommended to keep your body well hydrated and to maintain a productive cough by drinking water and clear liquids.
So, drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. You can also drink fruit juices and vegetable juices. In the morning, you can have a glass of water mixed with the juice squeezed from half a lemon and a little honey.
Do not drink caffeine or alcohol, which can lead to loss of extra fluid, making the mucus tougher to dislodge. If your symptoms get worse, in spite of trying these remedies, visit a doctor without delay.
Prevention of Bronchitis
- Quitting smoking is imperative if you want to avoid damaging the integrity of your respiratory system.
- Make a habit of washing your hands as often as possible to minimize your chances of picking up this infection from a contaminated source.
- A surgical face mask can go a long way in shielding you from harmful environmental irritants and airborne pathogens when venturing out for work, being among crowds, or traveling.
- To avoid contracting bronchitis from a flu virus, make sure you get the annual flu shot.
- Consider getting vaccinated against some types of pneumonia also.
- Make sure that you are not running behind your pertussis vaccine schedule.
At the outset, bronchitis can often be mistaken for a garden-variety viral infection such as the cold or the flu.
However, if your cough shows no sign of subsiding or the symptoms are more debilitating than a regular case of sniffles and cold, you’re probably in the throes of a bronchitis infection.
Managing bronchitis generally hinges on adequate self-care, which entails giving your body a break, through optimum rest, taking plenty of fluids, and a course of anti-inflammatory medication.