Natural Health Remedies for You

Natural Bronchitis Home Remedies

This page looks at some effective bronchitis home remedies, including the use of herbs, homeopathy, nutritional supplements, and aromatherapy. It also looks at the causes and symptoms of bronchitis.


Bronchitis is a condition in which the lining of your bronchial tubes becomes inflammed (the bronchial tubes carry air to and from your lungs). Bronchitis may be either acute or chronic.

Acute bronchitis is usually due to an infection (such as a cold, the flu, or other respiratory infection) that starts in your nose or sinuses and spreads to the airways. Acute bronchitis usually improves within a few days, although sometimes the cough may last for up to two weeks.

Chronic bronchitis is more serious and requires medical attention. It usually develops in the continual presence of irritants, such as cigarette smoke and environmental allergens. Chronic bronchitis usually starts off as a case of acute bronchitis but which returns every few months. If the irritants are not removed, it will develop into a constant wet cough, accompanied by breathlessness and sometimes wheezing. The mucus produced by the inflamed airways eventually causes scar tissue to form in the lungs, making breathing difficult. The weakened condition of the lungs also makes it easier for the body to succumb to infections such as pneumonia and emphysema.

Syptoms of Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis:
  • Cough that may start out dry but that turns deep and produces thick clear, yellow, or green mucus
  • Discomfort in the chest (a burning sensation)
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Low-grade fever and chills
  • Fatigue
Chronic bronchitis:
  • Chronic productive cough that is worse in the mornings and in damp weather
  • Wheezing, breathlessness
  • Blue-tinged lips
  • Frequent bouts of respiratory infections (such as colds or the flu) with a worsening productive cough


Causes of Bronchitis

Acute bronchitis is usually caused by the same viruses that cause colds. But noninfectious bronchitis can also develop as a result of smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke or pollution. Sometimes a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also cause acute bronchitis.

The main causes of chronic bronchitis are smoking, or prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke, air pollution, dust, or toxic gases in the environment or workplace.


Natural Bronchitis Home Remedies

Acute bronchitis usually clears up in a few days. The best treatment is to have plenty of rest and use natural remedies to strengthen the body's immune system, as well as to alleviate the symptoms, such as calming the cough and removing the mucus.

For chronic bronchitis, you should seek medical assistance and work with your doctor to identify the underlying causes or irritants that have brought on the problem. Natural remedies can also be used to relieve symptoms and strengthen the immune system. If you are taking any medication prescribed by your doctor, however, be sure to consult with him if you also intend to use natural bronchitis home remedies.

Natural Bronchitis Home Remedies - Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional supplements that are effective bronchitis home remedies include:
  • N-acetylecysteine (NAC): NAC is a modified form of a dietary amino acid that works as an antioxidant in the body. It is useful for both acute and chronic bronchitis in that it reduces the viscosity of phlegm which makes it easier to expectorate. Recommended dosage is 300 to 500 two times daily.
  • Vitamin C: This antioxidant vitamin can enhance the immune system and is useful for both acute and chronic bronchitis (especially for smokers). Recommended dosage is 500 to 1000 mg three times a day. Reduce dosage if diarrhea occurs.


Natural Bronchitis Home Remedies - Herbs

Herbs make effective natural bronchitis home remedies. Herbs can be used to enhance immune functions and to alleviate symptoms such as coughing.

Herbs to Enhance Immune System

  • Echinacea and Goldenseal: Both of these two herbs can boost the immune system, and goldenseal has the added effect of drying up mucus. Taken together, they have synergistic effects for acute bronchitis with a wet cough. You can get a combination tincture of these two herbs and take 2 ml four times a day.

    Note: DO NOT use echinacea if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or taking drugs that suppress the immune system (such as corticosteroids or methotrexate).
  • Astragalus: This herb strengthens weak lungs and improves the body's resistance to infections and is effective for both acute and chronic bronchitis. Recommended dosage is 500 mg 2 to 3 times a day.

    Note: DO NOT use astragalus if you have a fever.

Herbs as Expectorants for Cough

  • Mullein: Mullein contains throat-soothing mucilage. It promotes the discharge of mucus and also has anti-inflammatory effects for the respiratory tract. You may want to take the capsule or the tincture of this herb since the herb itself is rather bitter. Recommended dosaged is 500 mg or 2 ml four times daily.
  • Licorice: Licorice soothes mucous membranes, enhances immune functions, and is effective in relieving coughs. If you have a cough, try drinking licorice tea (made with one teaspoon of dried root per cup of boiling water). Licorice and its extracts are safe for normal use in moderate amounts (up to about three cups of tea a day.) However, if you have high blood pressure, do not use this herb.
  • Slippery elm: The bark of slippery elm contains large quantities of a mucilage that acts as an effective throat soother and cough suppressant. You can use the dried herb to make a tea.
  • Marshmallow: Marshmallow roots contain mucilage, and are useful for relieving cough (especially dry cough) and sore throat. You can make a tea with two teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water.


Natural Bronchitis Home Remedies - Aromatherapy

Essential oils also make very effective natural bronchitis home remedies. There are quite a few essential oils that you can use to combat bronchitis, such as:

  • Eucalyptus radiata
  • Eucalyptus peppermint
  • Red thyme
  • Ginger
  • Marjoram
  • Benzoin
  • Frankincense

Add any or a combination of the above oils to a hot bath or a steam inhalation to drain congestion. You can also dilute any of these oild in a carrier oil and rub it directly onto your chest.


Natural Bronchitis Home Remedies - Homeopathy

Homeopathic remedies can be used to alleviate cough caused by bronchitis. There are quite a few remedies available for cough, depending on the symptoms and type of cough. Please visit our page on Natural Cough Remedies for more information. If you are unsure about choosing an appropriate remedy, consult with a holistic practitioner.

Natural Bronchitis Home Remedies - Diet

If you have bronchitis, eat foods that can thin mucus secretions, for example, homemade chicken soup, or barley soup. Add lots of garlic or ginger to the soups for immune support. Onions are anti-inflammatory, so add onions to your food as well.

Cut out all foods that encourage mucus production, such as dairy products, chocolate, white flour products, sugars, and fried foods.

Related Topics

Natural Cough Remedies
Natural Laryngitis Treatment
Home Remedies for Colds
Natural Flu Remedies


Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004)
V.A. Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, (New World Library, 1991) (

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