Natural Remedies for Bronchitis

Katie Wells Avatar

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This post contains affiliate links.

Read my affiliate policy.

Natural remedies for bronchitis
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » Natural Remedies for Bronchitis

You probably already know that there are many natural remedies for colds and flu. One hundred years ago, families wouldn’t have made the trek to the doctor for something so easily managed at home.

There’s a misconception that bronchitis is a very serious illness that always needs a trip to the doctor and a prescription. Though bronchitis can be serious, it almost always clears up on its own, although it may take a while. In the meantime, there are some natural remedies for bronchitis that can help speed healing and offer symptom relief.

What is Bronchitis?

Bronchitis causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs. This and the excess mucus produced cause a cough and make it harder to breathe.

Bronchitis most often occurs from a virus (like a cold or flu) but occasionally it’s caused by bacteria. In fact, 95 percent of acute bronchitis cases (bronchitis that doesn’t recur) are caused by viruses, not bacteria, meaning antibiotics are almost never needed.

Most cases of bronchitis are acute (about a 5-10 day flare-up). Chronic bronchitis is bronchitis that happens persistently, usually caused by environmental factors like cigarette smoke or excessive pollution.

Signs and Symptoms of Bronchitis: What to Look For

Since bronchitis most often occurs after a viral illness, many of the symptoms of bronchitis are similar to a cold or flu. The main symptom of bronchitis is a cough that is persistent and productive (brings up phlegm).

  • mucousy cough
  • wheezing
  • low fever and chills
  • chest tightening
  • sore throat
  • body aches
  • breathlessness
  • headaches
  • stuffy nose and sinuses

To know when a cold is turning into bronchitis, pay attention to the symptoms. If a cough becomes more productive or if you feel like you have a “chest cold,” you may have bronchitis.

As always this is the advice of a mom and not a doctor, so check with one if you have any concern about your symptoms. Some troubling signs might be if you have a cough for more than two weeks, a fever, produce bloody or colored mucus, or have any wheezing or other difficulty breathing.

Bronchitis Treatments

Conventional treatment for bronchitis may include bronchodilators, OTC pain relievers, and cough medicines, which all have side effects. Bronchodilators are prescription medications that help relax the bronchial muscle to make breathing easier. Common side effects include:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • stomach upset
  • flu-like symptoms
  • cold symptoms
  • ear infections
  • bronchitis
  • cough

Uh… these side effects sound very similar to the original illness! This is the main reason I prefer to use natural remedies for bronchitis and colds instead.

OTC pain relievers like Tylenol can be harmful (and overdosing is common) especially in children whose livers aren’t as good at processing toxins. It also makes sense to avoid putting toxins into a body that is already burdened by fighting an illness.

As far as cold medicines, there’s no hard evidence for or against taking them for bronchitis, so I wouldn’t risk the side effects or the burden on the body. In my view, a good dose of elderberry syrup will do more to fix the problem and heal faster than cold medicines do.

Though medications have their place, my first choice is always a more natural approach to avoid side effects and risks.

Natural Remedies for Bronchitis

Bronchitis can bring on miserable symptoms, but conventional treatments come with some hefty side effects. These are some of my favorite natural remedies for bronchitis.

Remove Irritants

If bronchitis is brought on by cigarette smoke or other environmental irritants, the first thing to do would be to remove those irritants. An air filter or purifier is helpful in removing irritants that are causing respiratory problems.


Sleep affects almost every aspect of health, so getting enough sleep and rest are really great starting points to fight illness. For those who have trouble sleeping on a regular basis, getting good sleep regularly can help keep the body at optimal germ-fighting ability.

Healthy Diet

It’s always a good idea to eat healthy food, but during an illness it’s especially important. Since bronchitis is often preceded by a cold or flu, boosting the body’s ability to fight illness is important.

  • Eliminate white foods. This includes grains, sugars, milk, cheese, dairy, sweeteners, soda, etc. These foods suppress immune function and slow the body’s ability to heal.
  • Eat homemade chicken soup. Chicken soup contains cysteine, a natural amino acid, which helps loosen mucus so it can be expelled more easily.
  • Focus on high nutrient, anti-inflammatory foods when hungry, but don’t force eating. The body doesn’t need to eat much while sick and fasting allows the the body to focus on healing rather than digestion.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is incredibly important for optimal health but is especially crucial during illness. If fighting a fever too, the body needs even more water than usual to avoid dehydration. Herbal teas and water are the best choices to keep hydration levels up. Getting enough fluids also helps loosen mucus and moisturizes the throat.


A humidifier in the bedroom at night or throughout the house in the day can make a huge difference in breathing. Moist air soothes and relaxes the bronchial tubes making breathing easier. More moisture also helps cut down on nosebleeds and other chronic ailments that come with dry, irritated nasal passages.


Honey is one of my favorite home remedies since it’s powerful and yummy — even kids love it. It soothes irritated mucous membranes and is effective against upper respiratory infection in children. Swallow a spoonful of honey (let it sit at the throat if possible) as needed.


Herbs are a great way to deal with ailments naturally and are backed by science.

  • Echinacea – This herb has been used for centuries by Native American tribes to treat colds, flus, and similar illnesses. A 2011 study showed that echinacea has potent antiviral properties. All strains of human and avian influenza viruses tested (including a Tamiflu-resistant strain) were very sensitive to a standard echinacea preparation. Other illnesses that echinacea were found to be useful for are herpes simplex virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and rhinoviruses.
  • Astragalus – This herb that can boost the immune system. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, astragalus has specific action on the lungs. According to the University Maryland Medical Center, astragalus can help prevent upper respiratory infections. Another study shows that astragalus is helpful in reducing inflammation.
  • Ginseng – Well known even in mainstream health, ginseng is a potent herbal remedy. Ginseng has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties which help boost immune function.


Because our food is so depleted of important nutrients (even the healthy stuff!), supplements can be very helpful to give the body what it needs to function properly and heal.

  • Glutathione – Glutathione is the most important molecule for optimal health (as mentioned by Dr. Mark Hyman in this post) and is necessary to help the body fight infection and illness. Try 1 sublingual tablet daily for general immune support.
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – A study published in the European Respiratory Review shows that this amino acid derivative can be useful for treating chronic bronchitis as this supplement increases glutathione in the body. I use this one.
  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C is one of the most common remedies for colds and flu, but vitamin C can also be beneficial in treating bronchitis. Studies show vitamin C to be a useful tool against viral and bacterial infections by preventing, shortening, and alleviating infections (including respiratory). In one study, mega doses of vitamin C (3000 mg daily in 3 doses) relieved and prevented symptoms of cold and flu. This is the best supplement I’ve found.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be incredibly potent natural remedies when used safely. For respiratory illness, steam inhalation or diffusing are the best ways to use essential oils.

  • Eucalyptus – A 2009 study published in Respiratory Research shows that eucalyptus oil can reduce airway inflammation and improve lung function.
  • Oregano and Thyme – A study published in Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease found that oregano and thyme essential oils have potent antibacterial action. (It is not safe for children or pregnant women, and possibly breastfeeding women as well).
  • According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), other essential oils for bronchitis treatment are spike lavender and rosemary (both unsafe for children under 6 years old), and tea tree oil for steam inhalation.

The Bottom Line on Beating Bronchitis

The best way to avoid illness is to eat a healthy diet, and live a healthy lifestyle every day. But illness is still going to happen occasionally. When bronchitis strikes, natural remedies are the best first line of defense that may also improve overall health.

This article was medically reviewed by Madiha Saeed, MD, a board certified family physician. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Have you treated bronchitis naturally in your home? What was your experience?

  1. Smith SM, Schroeder K, Fahey T. Over-the-counter (OTC) medications for acute cough in children and adults in community settings. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(11):CD001831.
  2. MSc, I. M. (2007, December 01). Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and No Treatment on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children and Their Parents.
  3. Hudson, J., & Vimalanathan, S. (2011, July). Echinacea—A Source of Potent Antivirals for Respiratory Virus Infections.
  4. Huang, L. F. (n.d.). The effect of Astragaloside IV on immune function of regulatory T cell mediated by high mobility group box 1 protein in vitro. Retrieved from
  5. Shergis, J. L. Therapeutic potential of Panax ginseng and ginsenosides in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Retrieved from
  6. Hemila, H. Vitamin C and Infections. Retrieved from
  7. Gorton, H. C. (1999). The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections. Retrieved from
  8. Worth, H. (2009). Concomitant therapy with Cineole (Eucalyptole) reduces exacerbations in COPD: A placebo-controlled double-blind trial. Retrieved from
  9. Formonitti, M. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils of cultivated oregano (Origanum vulgare), sage (Salvia officinalis), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris) against clinical isolates of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella oxytoca, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Retrieved from
  10. Fulchur, L. Essential Oils for Acute Bronchitis. Retrieved from
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


36 responses to “Natural Remedies for Bronchitis”

  1. Shalariel Avatar

    Herbal health remedies is the best medication of all for COPD, but you’ll get more help from their cold cannabin oil and a mucous relief herbal cough medicine than without it. The herbal guaifenesin cough medicine will clear out your congestion so well.

  2. Catherine Anastasia Nelson Avatar
    Catherine Anastasia Nelson

    I’d love you to do a post on surviving being sick with young ones. I have a 2-yr-old, and while I’m starting to feel sick I want to treat and prevent infecting my child – plus just, how can you be a mom when ur deflated but she’s still a ball of energy!!! Tips would be great!

  3. lisa Avatar

    I was diagnosed of ALS disease (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2016 and have tried all i can to get cured but all to no avail, MY life was gradually coming to an end, until I saw a post in a health forum about a herbal doctor from West Africa. He prepared an ALS herbal cure for me and gave me step by step instructions on how to apply it, After 5 weeks of using this cure my life was back to normal, i regained strength in my bones and i was able to talk properly.

  4. Ele Avatar

    Cut Ginger in small pieces (about the size of a pinch). Add rock salt and lime juice to it. Mix well and sun dry it. Once dried, keep it with you in a pouch or a small potable container. Keep few pieces in both throughout the day. Do not chew, just keep sucking on it all day. You may not have to deal with withdrawals at all. I tried this and it works.

  5. Rosemary Avatar

    After having bronchitis, I could not get rid of the cough. In researching herbs, I found that catnip helps calm the bronchial tubes. I started taking 2 capsules 3x a day and it helped. The following year, as soon as it got cold again, the cough returned. Once again I started taking the catnip and it hasn’t ever returned.

  6. Roy Parker Avatar
    Roy Parker

    Excellent information. It will be great if these remedies work, but is case the problem is more serious, can you tell me more about Bronchitis and its most common drug list in detail.

  7. Rosie Avatar

    Hi, I am in recovery from another bout of bronchitis. I suffer from COPD. However this time, I recovered naturally without the use of any antibiotics, which is a major miracle feat for me. I had recently changed my diet to plant-based foods, which I think has helped. But I also upped my dose of Vitamin D, drank Mullein Tea (which soothed the pain in my chest immediately), and used oregano oil. My sinus, infection which had triggered bronchitis has disappeared, completely. The bronchitis is much better, but I will need more time to get my lung function back to where I was. All in all, I’m really happy with the results, as I didn’t need to go down the antibiotic trail.

  8. Ashley G Avatar
    Ashley G

    One thing I have never heard is about the coughing.
    What goes up must come down.
    I cured myself but using a roll of tissue.
    But it on my chest. Leaned on a corner and kept coughing.

    Not to hard but a few times just to cough up that stuff
    And now I can breathe
    No more Rumble or coughing

  9. OMAR Avatar

    ACV mixed with a teaspoon of manuka honey two times a day. Ginger tea all day every day. No lemon because if it’s laryngitis it can worsen it. 1 NAC capsule daily. Colloidal Silver. Inhaling water vapors technique mixed with a few drops of eucalyptus/peppermint oil.

    Milissa’s recipe looks solid, I’m going to try it the next me or anyone I know gets some type bronchial sickness.

  10. Roy Parker Avatar
    Roy Parker

    As per NCBI, About 5% of adults self-report an episode of acute bronchitis each year, and up to 90% of them seek medical advice. Viruses appear to be mainly responsible, causing up to 95% of cases of acute bronchitis in otherwise healthy adults. The viruses are the same as those that cause the common cold.

    1. Sammy Avatar

      Hi there thanks for all the info. I’m definitely needing a humidifier and wondering if you have any tips on choosing one? I noticed the one you linked is no longer available, and I’m worried about keeping them clean. Thank you!

  11. pam byrd Avatar
    pam byrd

    I read that adding 1 cup of peroxide per gallon of water in a cool mist humidifier is a good remedy.

  12. Jocelyn Avatar

    What would you recommend for a 15 month old? We already do the elderberry and breast milk, but she’s had a cough with chest congestion for a month now.

    1. Lucy Avatar

      What’s your recommendation for bacterial bronchitis? Went to the doctors because I am coughing up brown phlegm, fever and all the other symptoms that come with bronchitis. Doctor gave me antibiotics and a steroid to help my breathing. I really hate taking antibiotics. Been taking high dose of vitamin c, honey, garlic, oil of oregano, and elderberry and it’s been 2 weeks and not getting better but worse .

  13. Milissa Avatar

    I tend to get bronchitis 1-2 times per year and usually relied on prescription remedies. About 6 years ago, I discovered/created this remedy: I bring a cup of water, 1/4 cup raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, a one inch piece of fresh ginger and turmeric root (I grate some, leave the rest whole), one clove raw garlic, sliced, a 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, a pinch of pink Himalayan salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper to a boil, then steep for 30 minutes. I let it cool a bit then strain a little into a cup and add raw honey. I let the rest cool then refrigerate in a glass jar. I warm and sip small amounts every few hours. Within 24 hours, my symptoms are usually gone. It’s miraculous!

  14. Mia Avatar

    I would definitely add raw apple cider vinegar to this list! My 3 year old daughter tends to get bronchitis following a common cold and I give her raw ACV 2-3 times a day. It helps her loosen her cough and expel the mucus

  15. Karen Avatar

    I have had great success with mixing 6 oz of warm water with juice of 1 lemon, 2 -3 teaspoons Braggs Apple Cider vinegar , 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayeene pepper. All of the ingredients boost your immune and I always sip every hour on this.

    I will also take both collidal silver and oil of oregano separately every hour.

    This is our go to for all viruses. Sometimes we blend fresh ginger in it. Make sure to not heat it up or microwave it because it will destroy the healing properties in it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *