Bronchitis is a respiratory disease in which the mucus membrane in the lungs' bronchial passages becomes inflamed. As the irritated membrane swells and grows thicker, it narrows or shuts off the tiny airways in the lungs, resulting in coughing spells that may be accompanied by phlegm and breathlessness. The disease comes in two forms: acute (lasting from one to three weeks) and chronic (lasting at least 3 months of the year for two years in a row). Acute bronchitis may be responsible for the hacking cough and phlegm production that sometime accompany an upper respiratory infection. In most cases, the infection is viral in origin, but sometimes it's caused by bacteria. Chronic bronchitis is a serious long-term disorder that often requires regular medical treatment.
People with asthma may also have asthmatic bronchitis, inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes.
The symptoms of acute bronchitis may include:
Clear, yellow, white, or green phlegm
Soreness in the chest
The symptoms of chronic bronchitis may include:
Persistent cough that produces clear, yellow, white, or green phlegm (for at least three months of the year, and for more than two consecutive years)
Sometimes wheezing, sometimes breathlessness
In acute cases of bronchitis, the patient should fast on orange juice and water till the symptoms subside. The procedure is to take the juice of an orange in a glass of warm water every two hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. During this period, the bowels should be cleansed daily with a warm water enema. After the juice fast, the patient should adopt an all-fruit diet for two or three days.
In case of chronic bronchitis, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for five to seven days in the beginning of the treatment. In this regimen, he should have three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits such as apples, pears, grapes, grapefruits, oranges, pineapples, peaches and melons. Bananas and dried or stewed or tined fruits should not be taken. For drinks, unsweetened lemon water or cold or hot plain water may be taken.
Patients should follow a well-balanced diet based on the three basic good groups, namely, seeds, nuts and grains, vegetables and fruits. The patient should avoid meats, sugar, tea, coffee, condiments, pickles, refined and processed foods, soft drinks, candies, ice cream and products made from sugar and white flour.
Certain vegetable juices have been found valuable in the treatment of bronchitis. The combined juice of carrot and spinach is especially beneficial. Formula proportions considered helpful in this combination are carrot 10 ounces and spinach 6 ounces to prepare 16 ounces or 1 pint of juice.
A hot Epsom salt bath every night or every other night will be highly beneficial during the acute stages of the attacks. The patient should remain immersed in the bath for about 20 minutes. In case of chronic bronchitis, this bath may be taken twice a week. Hot towels wrung out and applied over the upper chest are also helpful. Fresh air and outdoor exercises are also essential to the treatment of bronchitis and the patient should take a long walk every day.
Tulsi leaves are to be chewed along with some black pepper. Honey can be added to it in moderate quantity. This makes it easy to extract phlegm, thus making Basil as good expectorant herb. 5 to 10 ml of the juice of Basil leaves, mixed with a little honey may be taken twice a day to relieve cough and related symptoms of bronchitis. Basil tea supplemented with a pinch of ground cloves, pepper and cinnamon is also beneficial.
Prevention of bronchitis is benefited by a daily intake of garlic