– by Kirsten Hartvig

Bronchitis is inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes in the lungs. The acute form of bronchitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection and often follows a bout of cold or influenza. The symptoms are cough (initially harsh and dry, later with yellow or green sputum), shortness of breath and fever.
Chronic bronchitis causes persistent or recurrent cough and breathing difficulties and is most common in people with lowered immune function, particularly smokers, drug and alcohol abusers, patients taking immuno-suppressive drugs and those suffering immunodeficiency disorders and cancer. Chronic bronchitis goes hand in hand with structural damage within the lungs called emphysema, which decreases the amount of lung tissue available to absorb oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide and other waste products. The lungs also develop a rough, thickened lining making breathing very difficult.

How to prevent bronchitis?
The most important step you can take to avoid chronic bronchitis is to quit smoking – or not start in the first place!
Keep your weight within optimum limits and eat plenty of foods rich in vitamins A and C, and bioflavonoids and zinc to enhance your immune function. Avoid noxious fumes and immunosuppressive drugs wherever possible, and breathe fresh air every day. Avoid eating dairy products, which encourage the production of excess mucus.

mustard seeds

Black Mustard Seeds

What to do
Drink large amounts of fluid (water, herbal tea, juice, soup), and drink juices rich in vitamin C – the immune system needs a lot of this nutrient when fighting infection. Garlic, onion and leek have natural antibacterial properties and help avoid the development of complications such as pneumonia.
Limit your sugar consumption, particularly added sugar, sweets, fizzy drinks and concentrated fruit juices, and cut out dairy products altogether. Try to avoid suppressing the cough. Herbal expectorants make the cough more ‘productive’ and make it easier to get rid of excess mucus from the airways.  Rest is important but avoid lying flat in bed, which may make breathing more difficult and exacerbate the cough. Use extra pillows or a bolster to prop up your head and upper body.

Cough Mixture
1 tsp sweet violet; 1⁄2 tsp borage; 1⁄2 tsp liquorice root; 1⁄2 tsp thyme; 1⁄2 tsp wild marjoram; 200ml boiling water; 1 tsp honey; Squeeze of lemon juice
Place the herbs in a warmed teapot. Add the boiling water, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Pour into a mug, add honey and lemon juice, and serve.

Add 1 tablespoon each of chamomile, thyme, eucalyptus and wild marjoram to 600ml boiling water and infuse for 5 minutes, covered. Wrap a blanket around you and put a big towel over your head. Take the lid off the infusion and gently inhale the steam for about ten minutes. Splash your face with cool water.

Mustard poultice
Mix 5 teaspoons of crushed black mustard seeds with a large portion of hot oatmeal (porridge). Wrap the mixture in a tea towel and place this on the chest for 20 minutes; make sure it is not so hot as to cause discomfort, and check from time to time that the mustard is not causing skin irritation.


Kirsten Hartvig
Eat to Boost Your Immunity
ISBN: 9781848990029

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