Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi due to an infection or irritation that may occur as primary disorder, or as part of another pulmonary disease such as emphysema or tuberculosis. Bronchitis can be acute or chronic.
Acute bronchitis follows respiratory tract infections such as influenza and it often leads to pneumonia. Acute bronchitis is common in a viral infection and is rarely serious in adults, but in infants, small children, weak persons, and in people with chronic pulmonary disease, it may be very sever and life threatening.
Acute bronchitis occurs mostly in winter as part of an acute upper respiratory tract infection. It may develop following a cold or influenza as mentioned above, but exposure to air pollutants, fatigue, possible chilling, and malnutrition are often predisposing factors. Other predisposing factors are poor diet, frequent colds, improper treatment of the common cold or flu, chest weakness, allergies, smoking, and poor digestive functions.
Chronic bronchitis is not an infection, and it is the result from frequent irritation of the lungs. It is characterized by a chronic and productive cough of a long duration, without a clear predisposition to a acute upper respiratory infection.
Often allergies as well as cigarette smoking may be the cause of chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is a common coexisting factor of bronchitis caused by cigarette smoking. The clinical features of chronic bronchitis are wheezing and progressive dyspnoea and recurrent exacerbations with acute bronchitis.
Factors that may be the cause of chronic bronchitis are:
- improper treatment of the common cold or flu
- diet, especially high in dairy
- poor digestive function
- lowered resistance, chest weakness, and frequent colds
The first step is to eliminate the intake of impurities in the diet, since the diet plays an important role in respiratory health. Dairy and refined products should be reduced or preferably eliminated. Processed sugar and flour may increase the mucus.
Aromatherapy may combat infection, reduce the fever, ease the cough and expel mucus. In cases where the bronchitis is caused by bacteria or virus, the inhalation of highly antimicrobial essential oils may help combat the infection.
There are lots of essential oils to choose among as usual. I have had great success in treating my dog's respiratory congestion by following Gary Young's advise, so I decided to take a look in his book, "Essential Oils Intergrative Medical Guide", and see what oils he recommends for bronchitis.
Young recommends the following single oils:
Rosemary cineol ( Rosmarinus officinalis CT 1,8)
Eucalyptus radiata or Eucalyptus citridora
Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Wintergreen or birch (Gaultheria procumbens, or Betula alleghaniensis)
Spruce (Picea mariana)
Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum)
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
Myrtle (Myrtus communis)
Balsam fir (Abies balsamera)
Young's bronchitis blend:
2 drops of sage
4 drops of myrrh
5 drops of clove
6 drops of ravensara
15 drops of frankincense
He also recommends the following blend. This blend is very similar to the blend that has provided so much relief for my dog when she has suffered from respiratory problems.
30 drops ravensara
25 drops Eucalyptus radiata
20 drops Eucalyptus australiana
18 drops ponderosa pine
16 drops myrtle
10 drops cypress 5 drops peppermint
A brief description why each individual oil was picked for this blend:
Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica) is antiseptic, anti-infectious, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. It is also an expectorant and supporting of the nerves as well. It may help the respiratory system and it has been shown to help with flu, bronchitis, herpes, sinusitis, infectious mononucleosis, and rhinophyrangitis. It is referred to by the people of Madascar as the oil that heals.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) may have profound antiviral effect upon the respiratory system. It may also help reduce the inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata var. australiana) is antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal.
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) opens and disinfects the respiratory system, particularly the bronchial tract according to Young. It has been used since the times of Hippocrates to support respiratory function and fight infection. According to Daniel P'enoel, MD, pine is one of the best oils for bronchitis and pneumonia.
Myrtle (Myrtus communis) may help normalize hormonal imbalances of the thyroid and ovaries. It may help the respiratory system with chronic coughs and tuberculosis. According to Young, myrtle is suitable to use for coughs and chest complaints with children, and may support immune function in fighting cold, flu, and infectious disease.
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) promotes blood circulation and lymph flow according to Young. It is anti-infectious, antibacterial, antimicrobial, mucolytic, antiseptic, refreshing, and relaxing.
Peppermint ( Mentha piperita) has historically been useful for many kinds of respiratory conditions, including bronchitis, and pneumonia.
As always, this information is for educational purposes only, and is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffer from a medical condition, consult with your health care practitioner prior to using essential oils.
Before you leave:
I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil.
Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. Also, Read this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.
Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:
- Topical Application
- Inhaling Essential Oils
- Are You Diffusing the Oils Correctly?
- How to Dilute Essential Oils
- Vita Flex Technique
If you're new to essential oils you might want to check out my Getting Started Guide.