The Fundamentals

Bronchitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchial airways. It is caused by viral infections such as influenza, or pyogenic organisms such as streptococcus, pneumococcus, or staphylococcus. It is often preceded by a common cold. Acute bronchial irritation may also be caused by various physical and chemical agents such as dust and fumes. Allergic factors should be considered as well. Predisposing factors are exposure, chilling, fatigue, and malnutrition. The pathway of air to the bronchi and lungs is still capable of warming inspired cold air, but there are limits. Because of this, it is inadvisable to sleep in extreme cold or to vigorously exercise in extremely cold air without wearing a face mask, so that the heat produced from exhalation will be available to the inspired air.

Helpful Links:

American Lung Assoc.
Chronic Bronchitis

he most obvious symptom of bronchitis is coughing. The bronchi (the main branching passageways of the lungs) become inflamed. The cough associated with bronchitis usually starts off dry and hacking, then becomes rattling. It generally produces grayish or yellow mucous, and is often accompanied by wheezing or mild shortness of breath.
Bronchitis has two main varieties: acute (sudden) and chronic (continuing). Acute bronchitis is usually a complication of a viral infection. With acute bronchitis, the cough may linger three or more weeks, and in most cases, eventually goes away on its own. Chronic bronchitis, however, usually lasts at least three months and produces the mucousy cough. Symptoms intensify over time and include breathlessness and wheezing. While there are many conventional and alternative treatments for chronic bronchitis, the best treatments are to quit smoking and to avoid air pollutants. Herbal supplements, while not a cure, have proven helpful in relieving some of the symptoms of bronchitis. The most effective herb is Licorice. As an expectorant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral, it soothes the mucous membranes and stimulates cells to produce interferon. Interferon is the body's own antiviral compound. Mullein assists in the expulsion of mucous, if the cough is wet. If it is a dry cough, Mullein relieves the pain from hacking. Garlic has been used for many years to fight bacteria and some of the viruses that cause colds and flu. When eaten, the oils from Garlic are excreted through the lungs, killing microrganisms and helping to expel mucous. Wild Cherry Bark has been shown to inhibit the cough reflex, but should be used only for dry, hacking coughs. Wild Cherry Bark is safe for short-term use, but is not recommended for long-term use. Echinacea is perhaps the most popular and well-known herbal remedy on the market. Used to alleviate symptoms of bronchitis, this herb stimulates white blood cell activity and, like Licorice, increases the body's production of interferon. It helps the immune cells destroy invading microbes and fights some of the viruses that are known to cause bronchitis.
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Note: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the use of a qualified health care professional. We strongly recommend the use of a physician for the diagnostic phase of any treatment. With an accurate diagnosis in hand, we believe the consumer, at that point, has a basic, unalienable right to seek out factual information on all therapeutic approaches, both orthodox and alternative, and choose those approach(es) that are right for them. Nonetheless, a "good doctor" should be considered a requisite starting point.

To U.S. Users: None of the products mentioned on this page have been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration; therefore, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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