Home Remedies For Bronchitis

Medically reviewed by Dr. Millie Lytle, ND, MPH Dr. Millie Lytle Dr. Millie LytleND, MPH facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by Atulya Satishkumar Experience: 4 years
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Bronchitis is a common respiratory disease. It is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs.

People with bronchitis usually cough up a lot of phlegm that can be discolored. It can make breathing difficult and be more difficult to deal with than flu. Hence, it is important to treat the symptoms as soon as possible to ensure a faster recovery.

Acute bronchitis is usually self-treatable, and home remedies may help in alleviating the symptoms. However, if you have chronic bronchitis, it is important to seek medical advice immediately. Let us understand this condition and how you may use natural remedies to ease the symptoms.

What Causes Bronchitis?

In most cases, bronchitis is caused by viruses that cause cold and flu. It can also be caused by bacteria. In both these cases, your immune system tries to combat the viral or bacterial infection, and this might lead to an inflammation in the bronchial tubes. This also leads to the production of more mucus in the respiratory tract. This, in turn, can make it harder to breathe.

Here are a few factors that can make you susceptible to bronchitis:

  • A bacterial or viral infection can easily compromise a weak immune system.
  • Smoking or passive smoking regularly.
  • Exposure to dust, chemical fumes, pollutants, etc.

There are two types of bronchitis. Read on to learn more about each type.

What Are Acute And Chronic Bronchitis?

  • Acute Bronchitis: This type of bronchitis develops from a common cold, flu, or other respiratory tract infections. It is a common form of bronchitis and can last for a week or two. The cough associated with acute bronchitis can last longer.
  • Chronic Bronchitis: This is a more severe condition that is caused by continuous inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes. This often shows up as a result of smoking. Chronic bronchitis is recurrent and does not go away at all. It is one of the contributing factors to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Chronic bronchitis demands immediate medical attention.

Let’s now understand the signs and symptoms of bronchitis.

Symptoms Of Bronchitis

  • Constant cough
  • Presence of sputum in the nasal cavity that may be discolored or have blood spots.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Fever
  • Chest pain

If you have acute bronchitis, these symptoms may be accompanied by mild headaches and other symptoms of the common cold. These will disappear in a week or two.

Chronic bronchitis is recurrent and is characterized by cough that lasts longer than 90 days. These bouts may occur over at least two years in a row.

In the next section, we have put together a list of home remedies that can help treat and manage the symptoms of acute bronchitis.

Home Remedies For Bronchitis

1. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil has a therapeutic effect in treating acute bronchitis. The main constituent of eucalyptus oil, cineole, has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties that ameliorate the inflammation and clear the airways in patients (1).

You Will Need
  • 2-3 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • A few drops of carrier oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix a few drops of eucalyptus oil with the carrier oil.
  2. Apply this oil blend to your chest, throat, and back and massage gently.
  3. Leave it on overnight.
  4. You can also add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to boiling water and inhale the steam.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do every night until you feel the congestion clearing up.

2. Herbal Tea

Quercetin is a naturally occurring flavonol found in tea leaves. This bioactive compound was found to exhibit bronchodilatory properties, thereby helping in easing chest congestion (2), (3).

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon tea leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ginger powder
  • A cup of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Boil a cup of water and add a teaspoon of tea leaves to it.
  2. Let it steep for 2 minutes.
  3. Add half a teaspoon of ginger powder and mix well.
  4. Strain and consume the tea while it is warm.
How Often You Should Do This

Have this tea once every day.

3. Ginger

Ginger is rich in bioactive compounds that exhibit bronchorelaxant properties (4). These properties can help clear the bronchial tubes, thereby soothing the symptoms of bronchitis.

You Will Need
  • Honey
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger juice
  • A cup of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Crush ginger to extract a tablespoon of its juice.
  2. Add this to a cup of boiling water.
  3. You may add a teaspoon of honey if you want.
  4. Consume this mixture while it is warm.
  5. You may also take ginger supplements after consulting your doctor.
How Often Should You Do This

Do this two times daily for a couple of weeks.

Note: Consuming ginger in food amounts is safe. However, do not opt for supplements if you have diabetes, heart issues, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric
Image: Shutterstock

The bioactive compound in turmeric, called curcumin, was found to be effective and safe as an add-on therapy for treating bronchial asthma (5). Its anti-inflammatory effects can help reduce inflammation in the bronchial tubes and ease congestion.

You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • A glass of warm almond milk
What You Have To Do
  1. Boil a cup of almond milk and add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to it.
  2. Consume while it is warm.
How Often Should You Do This

You may drink this two times daily for a couple of weeks.

Note: Consuming turmeric in food amounts is generally safe. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have iron deficiency, blood disorders, hormone-related conditions, or stomach or gallbladder issues, do not opt for this remedy.

5. Thyme

A combination of thyme and primrose extracts was found to help in treating acute bronchitis (6). Thyme contains thymol, which imparts anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties to it (7). Hence, thyme may help reduce the inflammation and severity of the infection.

You Will Need
  • A teaspoon of thyme
  • Warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Take a teaspoon of thyme and add it to a cup of boiling water.
  2. Steep for about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Strain the decoction and consume it while it is warm.
How Often You Should Do This

Consume thyme tea two to three times daily.

6. Echinacea 

Echinacea is an herb that is being increasingly used to treat respiratory disorders. It has bioactive compounds that exhibit antiviral properties that can combat the viral infection that causes bronchial and chest congestion (8).

You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of dried echinacea leaves
  • A cup of boiling water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of echinacea leaves to a cup of boiling water.
  2. Steep the leaves for about 5 minutes and strain the decoction.
  3. Consume while it is warm.
How Often You Should Do This

Consume this decoction two times daily until the congestion clears up.

Note: If you are pregnant or nursing, do not use echinacea without consulting your doctor.

7. Onion

Onion
Image: Shutterstock

Quercetin is a flavonol found in onion. This bioactive compound can induce relaxation of the tracheal muscles, thereby reducing the symptoms associated with bronchitis (9).

You Will Need
  • 2 onions
  • A clean washcloth
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Chop the onions and add the chopped pieces to a bowl of boiling water.
  2. Strain the water and place the onion in a washcloth.
  3. Place the washcloth on your chest for about 10 minutes.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this for a couple of weeks until you feel the congestion clearing.

8. Mullein Tea

Common mullein has been traditionally used to treat pulmonary problems, asthma, and inflammatory diseases (10). Hence, it may help in easing congestion and reducing inflammation of the bronchial tubes.

You Will Need
  • A cup of boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons of mullein flowers
  • A teaspoon of honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Steep two teaspoons of mullein flowers in a cup of boiling water.
  2. Strain the decoction and consume it while it is warm.
How Often You Should Do This

You can have this decoction once a day.

9. Garlic

Garlic was found to exhibit inhibitory effects on infectious bronchitis virus (11). It also exhibits anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects (12). This may help in alleviating bronchitis.

You Will Need
  • A clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Chop the garlic clove finely.
  2. Add a teaspoon of honey to this and swallow this mixture.
  3. You can also have garlic supplements after consulting your doctor.
How Often You Should Do This

Repeat this two times a day for 7-10 days.

Note: In case you have bleeding disorders, please avoid garlic supplements as they interact with blood clotting medication.

10. Oregano

Oregano
Image: Shutterstock

Oregano exhibits antibacterial properties (13). These properties may help in alleviating infection and easing the symptoms of bronchitis.

You Will Need
  • 7-8 drops of oregano oil
  • A glass of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a few drops of oregano oil in water and mix well.
  2. Drink this water.
How Often You Should Do This

Drink it two times a day until the symptoms subside.

Note: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not opt for this remedy.

In addition to trying out these remedies, following a healthy lifestyle can aid faster recovery. Here are a few tips to help you manage the symptoms of bronchitis.

Lifestyle Changes

  1. Do light exercises that do not exert you too much and make you short of breath. They can help in increasing the intake of fresh air.
  2. Get adequate rest.
  3. Do not consume milk products that can increase the risk of aggravating the infection.
  4. Staying hydrated is the key to keeping infections at bay.
  5. Quit smoking as it leads to increased congestion in your lungs.

Despite following the remedies and tips discussed above, if you do not see any improvement in your condition, you must consult your doctor.

When To See A Doctor

You will need to consult a doctor if:

  • Your cough persists longer than 3 weeks.
  • You keep coughing all night.
  • You have high fever.
  • Your cough is accompanied by discolored mucus and has blood.
  • You are short of breath.

The symptoms of acute bronchitis usually ease within a couple of weeks with the help of natural treatments. Follow the remedies listed and incorporate the lifestyle changes to speed up your recovery from the condition. However, if your symptoms do not improve or you develop further issues, please contact your doctor immediately.

Did you find this post informative? If yes, let us know in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I stop coughing at night with bronchitis?

You can stop the cough by elevating your head, trying an over-the-counter medication, and gargling with salt water before sleeping at night.

How long should you rest with bronchitis?

A person with acute bronchitis should rest for a week to 10 days. There is a chance that the cough will last for more than a week.

How long are you contagious with bronchitis?

In most cases, depending on the virus that has caused the infection, you will be contagious for a couple of days.

References

Articles on thebridalbox are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Efficacy of cineole in patients suffering from acute bronchitis: a placebo-controlled double-blind trial, Cough, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3842692/
  2. Can We Find Better Bronchodilators to Relieve Asthma Symptoms? Journal of Allergy, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3467860/
  3. Quercetin acutely relaxes airway smooth muscle and potentiates β-agonist-induced relaxation via dual phosphodiesterase inhibition of PLCβ and PDE4, American Journal of Physiology- Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3763034/
  4. Effects of Ginger and Its Constituents on Airway Smooth Muscle Relaxation and Calcium Regulation, American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3604064/
  5. Evaluation of Efficacy of Curcumin as an Add-on therapy in Patients of Bronchial Asthma, Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
  6. Evaluation of efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of dry extracts of thyme herb and primrose root in adults suffering from acute bronchitis with productive cough. A prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled multicentre clinical trial. Arzneimittelforschung, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17063641
  7. Treatment of cough in respiratory tract infections – the effect of combining the natural active compounds with thymol, Wiadomości Lekarskie, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28214817
  8. Applications of the Phytomedicine Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) in Infectious Diseases, Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3205674/
  9. The Effect of Allium cepa Extract on Lung Oxidant, Antioxidant, and Immunological Biomarkers in Ovalbumin-Sensitized Rats, Medical Principles and Practice, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5968249/
  10. Common mullein (Verbascum thapsus L.): recent advances in research. Phytotherapy Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16222647
  11. The effect of Allium sativum (Garlic) extract on infectious bronchitis virus in specific pathogen free embryonic egg. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27516987
  12. Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds, Journal of Immunology Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4417560/
  13. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils of cultivated oregano (Origanum vulgare), sage (Salvia officinalis), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) against clinical isolates of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella oxytoca, and Klebsiella pneumoniae, Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4400296/
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Dr. Millie Lytle

Dr. Millie LytleND, MPH

Dr. Millie Lytle has 8 years of experience in naturopathic medicine, is a member of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians (NYANP), and sits on the Medical Advisory Board for the School of Applied Functional Medicine. She is the founder of Nat Med Coach, offering a weekly Virtual Health Club, as well as concierge programs with integrative teams of...read full bio

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