Oct 17, 2012

Bronchitis Bronchitis

       Bronchitis Bronchitis is defined as an acute (intense and sudden) or chronic (longstanding) inflammation of the mucous lining of the bronchial tubes, the main airway to the lungs. Acute bronchitis often develops after an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or the flu. The resulting cough is at first very dry but it becomes less painful and rasping as the lungs produce mucus, which lubricates the bronchi. In some cases, bronchitis may be followed by pneumonia.

      If a fever persists for more than a few days, complications are likely. Statistics show that smokers are more likely to die from chronic bronchitis than from lung cancer, so for smokers, the best strategy is to quit. Foods such as wheat (especially white flour), refined carbohydrates, sugar and dairy products often exacerbate chronic bronchitis. By experimenting with diet, eliminating processed foods, dairy products and wheat while increasing the consumption of raw foods, many have reduced or eliminated their bronchitis symptoms. Garlic is often recommended as a food supplement, along with vitamins, minerals and "green" foods such as wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina or chlorella.

       Expectorant herbs are important for relief of the exhausting cough that comes with bronchitis, but the type of herb depends on the type of cough. For relief from a dry, hacking, irritating cough, use a relaxing expectorant such as coltsfoot or lobelia; for a wet cough, use a stimulating expectorant like horehound or elecampane.

        The Austrian herbalist Maria Treben recommended breathing the steam from coltsfoot flowers and leaves to relieve bronchitis. Pour boiling water over fresh or dried coltsfoot, then drape a towel over your head and the bowl to retain the resulting steam. Treben also recommended taking coltsfoot syrup (see recipe on page 64) and bathing the feet in warm coltsfoot tea. See page 64 for information on the safety of coltsfoot. In An Elder's Herbal, David Hoffmann recommended osha (Ligusticum porterii), a plant native to the American Southwest, as "an excellent specific in cases of tracheobronchitis." Osha root, which has a sharp and pungent taste, can be chewed for relief from coughs and sore throats.

     For all bronchitis symptoms, Hoffmann recommended a tea made of equal parts mullein, coltsfoot, marshmallow and aniseed; pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons dried herbs and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Drink several cups daily.

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