A Lot of Hot Air
One of the best remedies for bronchitis is also one of the easiest—inhaling steam. All you need is some hot water and an essential oil, like eucalyptus, or a few bags of chamomile tea. Pour the water into a large bowl, then add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil or two bags of chamomile tea. (Either one increases the effectiveness of the steam. If you happen to have some eucalyptus tea on hand, it will work just as well as the oil. You can also just use plain water if you don’t have anything on hand!) Then place your head over the bowl and cover your head with a towel. The warm vapors will loosen chest congestion, making your coughs more productive and easing your symptoms.
Here’s another simple remedy using just water, salt, and baking soda. In a small saucepan, combine a half cup of water with an eighth of a teaspoon each salt and baking soda. Boil for several minutes and then let the water come to room temperature. Then rinse each nostril with a neti pot. It will help reduce inflammation and congestion.
Some Like It Hot
Attention chili-heads! It should come as no surprise to you that hot peppers can help with bronchitis symptoms. Load up on some extra-picante salsa, or add some chopped jalapeños to your food. Your nose will soon be running, and your chest congestion will improve before you can say olé!
Natural Native American Remedy
Osha root is a mountain herb that’s been used for generations by Native Americans for various respiratory conditions. Because of its mucus-clearing and expectorant qualities, it’s a great choice for bronchitis because it has a bronchodilating effect. Take in lieu of a cough syrup, several times a day, following the package directions. If you buy a tincture, place 8-10 drops in a cup of water, and drink this mixture a few times a day for its amazing lung benefits.
Admittedly, this remedy might only appeal to hardcore home-remedy hounds, but boy, it sure works! (It’s also great for vanquishing vampires.) First chop up a few tablespoons garlic and onions, and tie it up in a cheesecloth—just like you would with herbs in a soup or stew. Place a kitchen towel on your chest and the little bundle on top of that. Then put a hot water bottle or hot pad on top of everything. The fragrant alliums will start to break up chest congestion right away.
Thyme is well known for its antibacterial qualities. In fact, many natural disinfecting cleaning products on the market contain thymol oil, an antimicrobial agent found in oil of thyme. Thyme is also a bronchodilator, so when you’re coping with bronchitis or a cold, add some of the fresh herbs to your cooking. It’s a tasty addition to meats, stews, soups, and more!
Bundle Up for Bronchitis
If you’re suffering from bronchitis in the winter, make sure you cover your mouth with a scarf or shawl before going outside. (Mom was right!) Just as with asthma, the frigid dry air can cause shortness of breath and coughing in people with bronchitis. By covering up, you’ll breathe in warm, humid air instead, which will be much easier on your lungs. You might also consider using a humidifier indoors, too!