The right herbs for bronchitis depend upon the type of bronchitis your are suffering from.
There are 2 types of bronchitis – acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis usually starts from a viral infection in the upper respiratory tract. Chronic bronchitis is more often caused from repeated exposure to an irritant, such as smoking, pollution, environmental toxins.
Acute Bronchitis is most successfully treated with herbs that are antitussive (quiets the cough reflex), expectorant (removes mucus from bronchial passages), and antimicrobial (helps eliminate bacteria, viruses, other pathogenic influences).
Add adaptogens (to build lung function), antioxidants (to reduce free radical tissue damage), demulcents (soothing to irritated and inflammed tissue), and oxygenating herbs, to the list. There may not be an active infection with chronic bronchitis, so antimicrobial herbs may not be necessary.
Below is a list of herbs that may have great usefulness for bronchitis, both chronic and acute. The herbs can be taken as teas, capsules, tinctures, or even syrups (Note – many of the herbs listed below are inappropriate during pregnancy – consult a holistic health care professional before using herbs if you are pregnant).
The following herbs are antimicrobial infection fighters. Many are also expectorant.
Garlic and Onion – these common kitchen herbs make an excellent syrup, with honey and fresh lemon.
Licorice, Elecampane, Horehound, Hyssop, Osha, Yerba Santa, Pleurisy Root, Thyme, Coltsfoot, Balsam Poplar buds – all nice herbs for making syrup.
Angelica root, Fenugreek, Violet leaf, Ginger root, Andrographis, Goldenseal, Barberry, Oregano, Olive leaf, Usnea.
Try some of our house formulas – Deep Cough Relief Tea (also available in capsules and tinctures), Breathing Easy Tea, Hyssop and Horehound Capsules, Children’s Cough Remedy Syrup.
Antitussive Wild Cherry Bark helps calm the cough reflex, as does Valerian (good for coughing that keeps you awake) and Coltsfoot. Try soothing and tissue-healing demulcent herbs like Irish Moss, Plantain, Slippery Elm, Marshmallow root, Fenugreek, and Comfrey. These herbs make a soothing tea, very good after a bout of irritated coughing, or when a sore throat accompanies coughing.
For Acute Bronchitis
Sip on herbal teas frequently throughout the day. Take tinctures and capsules every 3 – 4 hours. For chronic bronchitis (like for most chronic issues), take herbs 3 times per day – morning, noon, and evening, on an empty stomach, if possible. We’ll give specific examples of each in a moment.
Aromatherapy For Bronchitis
Many essential oils make wonderful home treatments. Essential oils useful for bronchitis include:
Anise*, Cypress*, Eucalyptus*, Pine*, Peppermint*, Rosemary*, Frankincense*, Lavender*, Tea Tree*, Thyme*, Spruce*. Try adding a drop of Eucalyptus essential oil to a bowl of hot water, make a tent with a towel over your head and the bowl of water, and breathe in the fragrant steam.
Or, add 1 – 3 drops Anise essential oil to 1 teaspoon carrier oil (almond, jojoba, etc.) and massage the
chest and throat. A warm towel can be placed over the area after applying the oil.
Home Remedies for Children with Asthma and Bronchitis
It is a frightening experience when a child has trouble breathing, or coughs without ceasing. These remedies have been used by many generations of worried parents and caretakers (Note – these home remedies are not intended to replace professional medical care).
Make an onion poultice – chop an onion and sauté in olive oil until transparent. Let cool for a few minutes. Place onion in several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Apply onion-filled cheesecloth cloth to chest, then cover that with a warm towel. Leave on at least one hour.
Try giving a few sips of hot black coffee at the onset of an asthma attack.
Make an aromatic steam by placing kitchen herbs and spices, singly or in combination, in a bowl of hot water. Have child inhale the steam vapors. If the child is over 3, make a tent with a towel over head and the bowl of water.
Essential oils can be too strong for young children when used this way; aromatic herbs work just fine. Try using Peppermint, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Fennel, Anise, Cinnamon, Basil, Clove; you can even use Herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning!
Make a foot bath with any of the herbs listed above; soak the feet 10 – 15 minutes; cover the head with a woolen hat or stocking cap when doing a footbath.