The term bronchitis can refer to both acute or chronic bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is generally due to a viral infection. It is considered a self-limiting condition affecting large and midsized airways, and presents with a cough. Chronic bronchitis is more often associated with an underlying condition such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and is more serious in nature.
|Causes||Dietary Factors, Smoking, Stress, Infections, Environmental Toxins|
|See Also||Respiratory Conditions, Pneumonia, Influenza (Flu), Upper Respiratory Infection (Common Cold), Asthma|
|Books||Books on Respiratory Conditions|
|Articles||Articles on Respiratory Conditions|
- 1 Naturopathic Assessment
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Naturopathic Treatment
- 4 References
|Check out this book||Asthma and Bronchitis (By Appointment Only)|
In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. The risk of bronchitis depends on two factors: personal susceptibility and exposure to a pathogen or toxins. The naturopathic assessment looks at both aspects. The stronger a person's vitality the less likely they will be affected by exposure to viruses and environmental toxins. The factors that are associated with increased susceptibility to bronchitis include:
- Viral infections are the primary cause of acute bronchitis.
- The long-term exposure to inhaled bronchial irritants can lead to the development of chrinic bronchitis, and can increase a person's susceptibility to acute bronchitis.
- Chronic tobacco or environmental insult exposure, predisposes individuals to exacerbations of bronchitis as they cause chronic inflammation and impaired innate immune defences.
- Smoking is a primary factor that contributes to the development of both acute and chronic bronchitis.
- Dampness and Mold
- Prescription Medications
Bronchitis is the top differential diagnosis in an individual with respiratory symptoms and cough as the primary complaint. The main diagnostic concern in cases of bronchitis is ruling out pneumonia, asthma, and COPD. A thorough patient history, including environmental exposure and recent illness as well as a focused physical exam are important in evaluating respiratory illness. The following diagnostic testing may be utilized to confirm a diagnosis and assess the severity of disease:
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Diagnostic imaging including chest radiography and computed tomography are useful to rule out pneumonia and evaluate for other more serious, chronic respiratory diseases.
- Pulmonary Function Tests
- Pulmonary function tests including spirometry are used to evaluate the severity and progression of respiratory illnesses.
Related Symptoms and Conditions
Conditions related to bronchitis include:
Acute Bronchitis is a generally brief, self-limited, inflammatory process affecting large and mid-sized airways. Chronic Bronchitis is defined as an ongoing productive cough for 3 months in each of the 2 successive years, with all other possible causes of cough excluded.
Common symptoms associated with bronchitis include:
It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.
Home Care strategies include:
- Bed rest, adequate hydration, and avoiding damp and cold weather are recommended in individuals with bronchitis. Cough suppressants should also be avoided as congestive mucous should be coughed up. Of course smoking cessation should be encouraged.
Lifestyle recommendations include:
- Adequate hydration is important in cases of bronchitis. Individuals are encouraged to consume water, or broths to maintain adequate hydration.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation involving exercise conditioning is important in cases of chronic bronchitis and COPD. Exercise may include light resistance training.
- Maintaining proper posture, especially of the upper torso, allows for optimal lung function and can be an important part of bronchitis treatment.
- As cigarette smoking is the most important factor in the development of bronchitis and in acute exacerbations, it is recommended that smoking cessation be a primary goal in bronchitis treatment.
- Ensuring adequate sleep is important, especially in the treatment of acute bronchitis.
- Minimal activity and bed rest are recommended for individuals with bronchitis, especially when acute.
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.
Naturopathic Therapies for bronchitis include:
|Article||Pelargonium Sidoides for Pediatric Bronchitis, NMJ, , 2012 September|
- Herbs such as: Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), Golden Rod (Solidago virgaurea), Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Thuja (Thuja occidentalis), Baptisia (Baptisia tinctoria), Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Elecampane (Inula helenium), Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum), Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa), Old Man's Beard (Usnea barbata), Eyebright (Euphrasia species), Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis), Oregano (Origanum vulgare), Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra), White Horehound (Marrubium vulgare), Withania or Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera).
- Mustard poultices on the chest may be helpful.
- Gemmotherapies such as Alnus glutinosa, Betula alba/pubescens, Juglans regia, Ligustrum vulgare, Populus nigra, Rosa canina, Rubus fructicosus, Sambucus nigra
- Studies have demonstrated the traditional chinese medicine and acupuncture may be effective in the treatment of bronchitis. Specifically, acupuncture of back shu points and cupping.
- Controlled coughing, a technique where individuals inspire deeply, hold their breath, and produce an effective mucous dispelling cough, is helpful in individuals with COPD and bronchitis.
- The use of electromechanical percussor, or the cup-hand technique may be used by caregivers to help individuals with bronchitis and COPD to expel mucous.
- Chest diathermy may be helpful.
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
- Walsh EE (2009) Mandell: Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases 7th ed Chap 61 Acute Bronchitis Churchill Livingstone
- Prousky Jonathan (2008) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition CCNM Press.
- Reed M (2008) Association Found Between Cured Meat and Increased Risk of COPD Veg J 27(4) 21-21
- Tiollier E et al. (2005) Intense training: mucosal immunity and incidence of respiratory infections Eur J of App Phys 93(4):421-8
- Hoffman D (2003) Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine Healing Arts Press
- Shapiro SD, Reilly JJ, Rennard SI (2010) Mason: Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine 5th ed Chap 39 Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema Saunders
- Fisk WJ, Eliseeva EA, Mendell MJ (Nov 2010) Association of residential dampness and mold with respiratory tract infections and bronchitis: a meta-analysis. Environ Health;15;9:72. PMID: 21078183.
- Budev MM, Wiedemann HP (2010) Cleveland Clinic: Current Clinical Medicine, 2nd ed Section 12 Pulmonary-Bronchitis Saunders
- Godfrey Anthony, Saunders Paul Richard, Barlow Kerry, Gilbert Cyndi, Gowan Matthew, Smith Fraser (2010) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine, Vol 1: Botanical Medicine Monographs, CCNM Press, Toronto
- Xu, Zhang, et al. (2009) Clinical observation on treatment of acute bronchitis primarily by pricking-cupping on back-shu points Oriental Med J 17(5)24-27