Bronchitis

 

Bronchitis is an inflammation and narrowing of the lining of your bronchial tubes that can cause coughing spells, thick phlegm and breathlessness. It can be acute, developing after a cold or other respiratory infection. However, bronchitis can also be chronic. When this occurs, the bronchial tubes suffer from constant inflammation.

Diet

A healthy diet will help to strengthen the body’s natural resistance. According to a 2007 study published in the journal Chest, increasing your intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables may lead to fewer bronchitis symptoms. Aim to incorporate five to nine servings of a wide variety of colorful produce into your meals and snacks routinely. Some suggestions include berries, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, tomatoes, leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.

Lifestyle

One of the most common triggers of chronic bronchitis is smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke. But quitting, and avoiding environments where tobacco smoke is present, can prevent further damage to the bronchial tubes. If it’s not possible to avoid these areas, air filters may help. It’s also important to practice good hygiene, washing hands frequently to kill respiratory viruses. If you suffer from an abundance of mucous, there is some evidence that using a humidifier and boosting your intake of water may help ease congestion.

Supplements

Eucalyptus Oil: has been used for hundreds of years to clear congested nasal and bronchial passages. But inhaling this pungent essential oil may do more than simply soothe bronchial tubes. A recent review in Alternative Medicine Review provides evidence that eucalyptus oil is effective against a variety of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that can trigger or contribute to upper respiratory infections. Eucalyptus oil is also an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that enhances immunity. But a word of warning: Eucalyptus oil should not be taken orally. Instead, simply apply a few drops of the essential oil to a tissue or add it to a humidifier, steam pot, or shower floor during a warm shower to help clear bronchial passages.

Marshmallow: is a soothing herb that eases the cough and irritation common in those suffering from bronchitis. The key to its effectiveness is mucilage, a substance in the herb that becomes gel-like when ingested calming inflamed bronchial tubes. Typical dosage: Add 1 teaspoon of liquid marshmallow extract to 8 ounces of very warm water three times a day.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC): is a powerful antioxidant that protects against toxins, including acrolein, which is found in cigarette smoke. It can also help enhance immunity, which may be beneficial for those suffering from recurring bouts of viral bronchitis. Studies also suggest that NAC effectively breaks down mucous. One clinical trial of 144 patients in Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology found that 76 percent of those taking NAC had less sputum, which translated to less coughing. Typical dosage: 1,200 mg per day.

Resveratrol: is a polyphenol found in red wine and grapes that may help prevent the inflammation that can worsen bronchial symptoms. Studies conducted at the University of Cologne in Germany suggest that resveratrol may be more effective than corticosteroid drugs to reduce the inflammation that accompanies upper respiratory conditions like chronic bronchitis. Earlier research found that resveratrol also neutralized free radicals by increasing levels of an extremely powerful antioxidant known as glutathione. Typical dosage: 40 mg a day of a resveratrol supplement containing trans-resveratrol, the most biologically available form of the nutrients.