Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs, and it can stem from a variety of different viruses, bacteria, and other causes. While medical oversight and treatment are highly recommended for someone who has contracted pneumonia, there are natural means by which to treat and perhaps lessen the symptoms of pneumonia.
What Is Pneumonia?
Per mayoclinic.com, pneumonia is an infection, which, once it has occupied one or both lungs, inflames the air sacs within the affected lungs. This inflammation prompts the air sacs to fill with pus and then leads to a variety of symptoms: coughing, fever, chest pain, difficulty breathing, fatigue, nausea & vomiting, and others.
Pneumonia is uncomfortable at the very least, and fatal at worst. The severity of the infection depends on the age and overall health of the individual, as well as the type of germ that has caused it. It is most damaging to children, seniors over 65, and those with other health or immune issues.
Pneumonia can be caused by many things, usually through airborne viruses or bacteria, per mayoclinic.com. The most common cause of bacterial pneumonia (one type of pneumonia) is streptococcus pneumonia. Other causes and types of pneumonia include fungi, viruses such as the flu, and bacteria-like organisms. Contraction can occur in the community, as well as in a hospital or healthcare facility.
Per mayoclinic.com, you should see a doctor if you have difficulty breathing, a persistent fever over 102 F, chest pain, or persistent coughing, especially if pus is being produced. A doctor might suspect pneumonia due to certain signs gleaned from using a stethoscope, and may diagnose pneumonia using X-ray to view your lungs, per drweil.com.
Depending on the cause and severity of the infection, treatment can range from the use of antibiotics, to bed rest and fluids, diet control, and even to supplemental oxygen and the use of a ventilator, per drweil.com. If you experience symptoms suggesting pneumonia, it is highly important that you see your doctor to get a diagnosis and decide how to proceed.
Home Remedies for Pneumonia Symptoms
If you or someone you know battles pneumonia, then you may take solace knowing that there are home remedies and supplements that may be able to lessen the severity of some symptoms. These are not a cure for pneumonia. Using these does not replace the counsel and treatment of a doctor, and none of these are scientifically proven to be 100 percent effective against the symptoms of pneumonia.
Peppermint tea or other herbal tea may help soothe a scratchy throat, and may even have the potential to break down mucus in the throat, per medicalnewstoday.com. Drinking an herbal tea may help relieve the throat pain associated with pneumonia, and even decrease inflammation. One study in particular showed that fenugreek tea can help break down mucus and has the potential to ease persistent coughing.
Garlic has a variety of health benefits, one of them being as a potential reliever of chest pain due to pneumonia, per zliving.com. It is considered an “anti-irritant,” and garlic paste may be effective when it is rubbed in small quantities on the chest daily. Garlic is also a worthwhile contributor to overall immune health when consumed regularly.
Caffeine, in small amounts, might be helpful in opening up the airways of the lungs, per medicalnewstoday.com. Caffeine is found in small, manageable amounts in some types of green and black tea. We do not recommend consuming large amounts of caffeine while sick, as this will likely just induce further discomfort.
Turmeric/turmeric tea can be made at home using turmeric powder and boiling water, and has anti-inflammatory properties which may provide some pain relief, per healthline.com. While the research on its efficacy centers on other forms of pain relief, it is thought that turmeric tea may be useful for relieving chest pain related to pneumonia.
Elecampane is an “antiseptic expectorant” that has been useful in treating other forms of lung irritation such as bronchitis, and may be effective in relieving pneumonia symptoms as well, per healthfully.com. As an expectorant, elecampane may be useful to pneumonia patients in getting rid of the excess mucus present in their lungs.
Licorice root can be useful in relieving persistent coughing and pain from a sore throat, per zliving.com. As a result, it may be helpful in preventing damage to the lungs and throat. Licorice also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
A saltwater gargle is a surprisingly simple way to help relieve irritation in the throat and mouth and may help get rid of excess mucus, per healthline.com. A quarter-teaspoon of salt mixed with warm water should do the trick.