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This one is about: Acute Bronchitis - Natural Approaches

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Note: This is shared advice from an email discussion. You may want to discuss alternative ideas with your doctor. Wide Smiles does not give medical advice.

Here is some information on natural treatments for acute bronchitis from _The American Journal of Natural Medicine: The physician's guide to clinical research_, just to give you some more ideas, and a perspective on how things would be handled in another system of medicine. This is part of an editorial entitled _The Emerging Problems of Antibiotics Overuse_, by Michael T. Murray, ND. If anyone else is interested in the sections on children's ear infections, and sinusitis, and some simple (but clinically founded) natural approaches to them both (or the entire article, which also covers Crohns disease, bladder infections, and acne), or the rather lengthy footnotes, just let me know. There are some surprising stats in there.


"The Natural Approach to Upper Respiratory Tract Infections Here are some alternatives to antibiotics in the treatment of upper respiratory infections followed by a discussion of bromelain and postural drainage:

Dietary and Lifestyle Guidelines:
-Avoid cigarette smoke and other respiratory irritants
-Drink at least 48 ounces of water daily.
-Avoid sugar and dairy products

The supplemental protocol for acute treatment of upper respiratory infection is Thymus extract -- 750 mg of the crude polypeptide fraction once or twice daily. Vitamin C -- 500 to 1000 mg every waking hour or to bowel tolerance. Goldenseal root extract (8% to 10% berberine content) and bromelain at a dosage of 400 mg each three times daily on an empty stomach.

Bromelain is the protein-digesting enzyme complex from pineapple. It has shown good results in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. For example, in the treatment of chronic bronchitis, bromelain was shown to have an antitussive effect (suppression of cough) and to reduce the viscosity of sputum (mucolytic activity). Examination of patients with a specialized apparatus for determining respiratory function (a spirometer) before and after treatment indicted increased lung capacity and function. These favorable effects were believed to be the result of enhanced resolution of respiratory congestion, due to bromelain's ability to fluidify and decrease bronchial secretions. It appears that bromelain's mucolytic activity is responsible for its particular effectiveness in respiratory tract diseases. (24)

Acute sinusitis has also responded to bromelain therapy. Good-to-excellent results were obtained in 87% of bromelain-treated patients, compared with 68% of the placebo group. (25)

One of the main treatment goals in bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia is to help the lungs and air passages get rid of the excessive mucus. In an effort to assist this process, I often recommend patients perform the following twice daily: Apply a heating pad, hot water bottle, or a mustard poultice to the chest for up to twenty minutes. A mustard poultice is made by mixing one part dry mustard with three parts flour and adding enough water to make a paste. The paste is then spread on thin cotton (an old pillowcase works well) or cheesecloth, folded, and then placed on the chest. Check often, as the mustard causes blisters if left on too long. After the hot pack, perform postural drainage by lying with the top half of the body off the bed using the forearms as support. The position should be assumed for a five to 15 minute period while trying to cough or expectorate into a basin or newspaper on the floor."

Michael T. Murray, ND, is a leading researcher and author in the field of natural medicine. He is co-author of _A Textbook of Natural Medicine_, the definitive textbook on naturopathic medicine for physicians, and sole author of several books, including _Natural Alternatives to Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drugs_, _The Healing Power of Herbs_, _Natural Alternatives to Prozac_, and his newest, _The Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements_. Dr. Murray serves on several editorial boards and advisory panels.  As well as maintaining a private medical practice, Dr. Murray is an accomplished educator and lecturer.

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