Garlic is a member of the allium family, and is a close relative of onions and shallots. It’s been used for medicinal and cooking purposes for thousands of years and was a favorite in various other cultures like Ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks and Chinese. Garlic has a very wide range of medicinal properties that make it an effective treatment for bronchitis, as well as cold and flu.
There are several active amino acids and Sulphur-containing compounds in garlic, but the primary compound is alliin. When alliin breaks down, it becomes allicin, which is also the compound that gives garlic that strong, distinctive smell. Garlic is highly nutritious with very little calories. It’s rich in vitamins C and B6, as well as manganese, calcium, selenium and phosphorus, which are all very important nutrients to good health.
A 12 week study that focused on preventing common colds with garlic supplements found that when comparing two groups, the group that had been given allicin-containing garlic supplements had significantly fewer colds than the second group, who had been given a placebo. Members of the first group were also found to be less likely to get a cold, and recover faster if they did.
As allicin enters the body through the digestive tract, garlic is best when eaten fresh and raw to ensure the full amount of health benefits are received. It’s antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal, and can be ingested every day to fight parasites and infections, and the antioxidizing properties help the body fight off harmful free radicals.
Turmeric has been used in India for over 1000 years as a cooking spice and for medicinal purposes. Rumored to be the most effective nutritional supplement ever, this strong-tasting yellow powder contains curcuminoid compounds, the most important one being curcumin.
Curcumin is the main ingredient of turmeric and has incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Though the content of curcumin in turmeric is not overly high at 3%, it effectively targets the inflammation process. Inflammation is important because it helps the body fight off foreign germs and bodies and helps repair any damage caused, when inflammation becomes chronic it can lead to a whole new wealth of issues. In fact, inflammation is believed to have a key role in many chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric is an effective home remedy for bronchitis due to its ability to fight the inflammation process. It dramatically increases the bodies antioxidant capabilities while neutralizing any free radicals that may be causing harm. Turmeric speeds up wound healing and builds resistance to infection, though it only stays in our system for 6-8 hours.
It contains anti-phlegmatic properties and in Ayurveda it is even referred to as Kaphahara, which means removing phlegm. To help sore throat and bronchitis, add a teaspoon of turmeric to warm water and gargle, or mix it n with warm milk and drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Side effects can occur, though you need to ingest a large amount for this to happen, and they can include dizziness, nausea, indigestion and diarrhea.
4. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is taken from fresh leaves of the Evergreen eucalyptus tree, a tree native to Australia. There are over 700 types of eucalyptus trees, and they have been used in Australian history for thousands of years. Aboriginals used to infuse tea leaves in hot water to treat a variety of symptoms such as sinus congestion, colds and fever.
The colorless oil has a very distinct taste and smell, and has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic and antibacterial properties, as well as being a decongestant and deodorant. It’s antimicrobial, so it protects open wounds and sores, and it’s also an effective salve for insect bites.
It contains eucalyptol, a compound found in popular rubs, inhalers and mouthwash, and it’s this compound that makes eucalyptus oil an effective treatment for respiratory issues like bronchitis, nasal congestion, sore throat, asthma and sinusitis. Eucalyptus oil also contains an active ingredient called cineole, which is an expectorant. This means it promotes secretion of sputum (a mixture of saliva and mucus) in the airways, which helps to relieve coughs.
To treat bronchitis, create your own rubbing oil by blending eucalyptus oil with a carrier like coconut oil and rub onto the chest and back for congestion relief. Or add 10 drops of oil to a bowl of boiling hot water and inhale for 5-10 minutes with a towel placed over your head for an at-home steam.
5. Salt Water
Salt water has been used to soothe inflammation and fight infection for many years. Salt is essential to our good health, as the right amount helps to balance blood sugar, keeps bones strong, regulates metabolism and boosts immune system. Though we only require 6 grams (or 1 teaspoon) per day, our bodies can’t function without it.
When treating bronchitis, salt water helps in a few different ways. Gargling with warm salty water helps draw out moisture from the bacteria that can collect in the throat and upper palate, fighting the sore throat and congestion common to bronchitis.
Salt water also relieves irritation and reduces build-up of mucus by breaking it up and making it easier for the body to expel. In this way, salt water helps the body detoxify itself from the disease. Water also adds some much-needed hydration, as when we are sick with a condition like bronchitis, it’s easy to grow dehydrated.
Add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and stir until all the salt is completely dissolved, then gargle for at least 30 seconds. Do this as many times as necessary. But, it’s important to remember to use natural salt, as refined table salt isn’t as rich in nutrients and minerals.
Honey is thick, golden liquid made from honeybees, and while one might not think it’d be useful in relieving conditions like bronchitis, it’s actually a very effective treatment. Honey is the result of an intricate process that occurs when bees ingest the nectar of flowering plants. The nectar mixes with enzymes in the bees extra stomach, or ‘crop’, and then is regurgitated back into the hive. There, it’s fanned by more bees, and slowly evaporates into the honeycomb where it hardens to become honey as we know it.
Honey is full of nutrition, and has been used in various cultures for over two thousand years. It contains important nutrients like riboflavin, vitamin C and vitamin B6, as well as minerals like manganese, copper and iron.
Honey possesses antimicrobial properties that make it an effective remedy for many symptoms of bronchitis, colds and flu. It speeds up the healing of wounds, and has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Though honey can’t cure bronchitis, it’s very effective in providing relief. It alleviates congestion, coughing and eases inflammation of the throat. Extremely easy to ingest, as eating a teaspoon of it is enough to feel benefits. Or simply mix it into some warm water with lemon for a soothing tea.
Onion is likely one of the most popular vegetables throughout the world. Used in almost every cuisine, it’s a very high source of many nutrients and vitamins, sulphuric compounds, flavonoids, and phytochemicals. Phytochemicals and phytonutrients are naturally occurring compounds of fruits and vegetables that trigger healthy reactions in the human body, and onions are full of them.
Onions are antimicrobial and antioxidants which is likely due to the large amounts of sulfurs they contain. They’re full of vitamins C and B6, magnesium, iron, calcium and folate, and as they contain very little calories and sodium, they’re an extremely healthy vegetable.
Onions are effective in soothing bronchitis symptoms as they’re an expectorant, so they help the body liquefy phlegm and prevent formation of more.
Take one teaspoon of onion juice in the morning to aid bronchitis, but if that’s a bit too harsh for your palate, just add it to some boiling water. Allow to cool, then add in some honey, and enjoy. As a large majority of the flavonoids and other healthy ingredients are found in the outer skin, be sure to ingest as much as possible through a healthy diet as well.
8. Epsom Salt
Despite the name, Epsom salt is not salt. They’re a naturally occurring mineral compound named after a saline spring found in Epsom, England. Consisting mostly of magnesium and sulfate, they’re readily absorbed through the skin and as such, are very easy to get into our system.
There are many health benefits to using Epsom salts. The large amounts of magnesium are thought to promote relaxation and reduce irritability, as well as aiding in sleep by lowering effects of adrenaline.
Epsom salts have also been shown to reduce inflammation and muscle pain, supports proper nerve function, relaxes the nervous system, soothes aches, promotes wound healing, draws toxins from the body and aids in relief from congestion.
This makes it beneficial in treating bronchial issues, and simply adding a cup to your bath is enough to gain benefits. Rest in the water for at least 20 minutes each night while you are suffering from bronchitis. Alternatively, you can mix Epsom salts with hot water until it forms a paste, then apply on your chest and back for soothing comfort.
9. Sesame Seeds
These tiny, nondescript little seeds don’t seem like they’d pack such a powerhouse punch of health benefits, but they do. Taken from the extremely resilient plants of the Sesasum genus, studies have shown that they can prevent diabetes, lower blood pressure, build strong bones, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, boost respiratory health, detoxify the body, and much more.
Different cultures have been using sesame seeds for almost 4000 years, both medicinally and in food. They’re high in nutritional content and are full of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, zinc, fiber, folate, protein, and tryptophan among others.
Sesame seeds are believed to be antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and they aid in metabolic function as well as promote skin, hair and oral health. The distinct, nutty flavor makes sesame seeds relatively tasty to ingest, and you can do so by simply eating a mixture of one teaspoon of sesame seeds with one teaspoon of honey and a sprinkling of salt. Alternatively, grind them up into a powder and mix with water for a nightly drink.
Though they’re technically a seed, they can still cause an allergic reaction among those with nut allergies, so be wary. Too much can irritate the stomach and colon, but the right amount can aid in bronchitis relief.
Water makes up 50-80% of our body weight, but an inadequate amount of fluids can negatively affect our bodily functions and daily performance. Bronchitis and other conditions can cause us to become dehydrated much quicker than usual, so when we find we’re unwell, it’s important to keep our fluid intake up.
Thirst is a symptom of dehydration, so by the time you feel parched you are likely to already be dehydrated. Other symptoms can include infrequent urination, dark urine, fatigue, dizziness and confusion.
Staying properly hydrated helps loosen congestion by thinning out the mucus that creates it. Drinking warm water encourages healing, soothes irritation, and helps break up and expel sputum.
Remember to have a drink every one to two hours. Refrain from drinking anything containing alcohol or caffeine, as this will only dehydrate you further.
When dealing with bronchitis, it’s important to get as much rest as possible. Overexertion can worsen your condition and if bronchitis remains untreated, it can develop into pneumonia. If your symptoms last longer than three weeks, you begin coughing up blood or grow feverish, make sure you consult with your doctor or a licensed physician.