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Pneumonia

The areas of the lungs formed of minute sacs where gaseous exchange occurs between the exhaled carbon dioxide-CO2 and oxygen-O2 are known as alveoli, whenever these tiny sacs or alveoli become inflamed due to bacterial infection they cause a condition called pneumonia in the affected individual. An intensely painful dry cough, the sudden tendency to severe fatigue and the occurrence of a high fever in the person signal the symptoms of classical pneumonia. These symptoms rapidly propel the person and make him or her extremely ill and exhausted. The rate of breathing becomes shallow and takes a lot of effort, as it is painful for the person to breathe normally. Rust colored mucus is exuded in the cough as the infection progresses; the cough brings out all the mucus accumulating in the lungs.

Some milder forms of pneumonia exist among all the various kinds and symptoms of the disease that may infect a person. Where there is no fever and if the onset of the disease is a gradual process, the disorder of pneumonia can sometimes escape detection for entire weeks at a time. Examining the body using X-rays is usually necessitated in order to confirm pneumonia because many other conditions can cause cough and breathlessness in a person. It is important that the progress of the disease undergoes careful examination by an expert as unchecked and uncontrolled pneumonia can and does cause a loss of life.

The pneumococcal bacteria is responsible for the most common form of pneumonia, it is also called lobar pneumonia traditionally, this bacterium infects the lungs by passing through the airways usually coming entering the body by being inhaled, the pneumococcus bacteria causes an infection to develop in one of the five lobes in the lungs and hence the term lobar pneumonia. The onset of an infection due to the condition of bronchitis, affecting the bronchi in the lungs is more commonly known bronchopneumonia, the causative agents for this form of the disease are several types of bacteria and viruses that are also responsible for colds and flus in people. A virally caused form of pneumonia called an interstitial pneumonia is very hard to detect as it produces very little symptoms and can thus be considered very dangerous indeed. It is surprising that the bacteria or viruses that cause pneumonia do not affect more people than they do, as the pathogens are transmitted form one person to another by accidental inhalation of infected droplets from the cough of an infected person, thus the disease is a very infectious type of disorder, but most people seem to escape any form of the disease. Simply being infected by the bacterium is not necessarily a reason for pneumonia as the pneumococcal bacteria can reside in the lungs of some people for months and years without producing any problems for the person. The most vulnerable people for infection and particularly those individuals with weakened respiratory systems which are poorly supplied with fresh air and blood tend to be the ones that pneumonia can affect readily as immune system function is poor in such individuals.

The highest vulnerability to pneumonia is displayed by individuals bedridden and already suffering some illness and weakness. People with HIV or full blown AIDS and those who indulge in the regular and heavy use of alcohol or even those people under strong medications are the demography that is vulnerable to being infected by the bacterium as resistance to infection is very weak in such people. Susceptibility to the disease is also high as far as the aged and newborn infants are concerned. The presence of asthma, respiratory illnesses like emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and other types of long term pulmonary problems in a person including habits such as chain smoking appreciably increases the chances of the occurrence of infection and pneumonia. The inflammation of the lungs and acute pulmonary distress can also result from chlorine and other irritants in the water or air. Pneumonia can also be brought on in the individual by the occurrence of an embolism in the pulmonary system and or because of the presence of a tumor in the lungs of the afflicted individual.

Supplements and herbs

Infectious and severe forms of pneumonia can be combated successfully through the utilization of vitamin C combines with natural plant based substances which help the body absorb bioflavonoids as supplements, this combination supplement is of the highest effectiveness in combating pneumonia in the body. As long as the bowels can endure it, vitamin C may be used in large doses to effectively fight against pneumonia. Because of its ability to minimize the recovery time and speed the healing process, and for its ability to promote the restoration of pulmonary tissue use of the vitamin A as a further supplement is advised in patients with pneumonia. Further supplementation can also be made with the potent antioxidant vitamin E, which has an ability to prevent disruption due to free radicals at the cellular level; this vitamin is almost always depleted in the bodies of people with pneumonia.

Supplementation should also include the addition of a B complex vitamin, as a deficiency of this vital vitamin is almost always present in people with pneumonia. A supplement of a combination of the acidophilus and other combination of bacteria must be consumed to reestablish the populations of healthy intestinal bacteria, since this can be depleted by the use of antibiotics during treatment for pneumonia. Health in general and a normal balance of intestinal flora are promoted by the utilization of these natural intestinal bacteria as supplements. Because levels of the vitamin E, which has antioxidant properties, does not remain constant in the body, the use of the mineral zinc which strengthens the immune system should be undertaken as it enables the body to maintain levels of the vitamin E at optimal amounts within the body.

The strengthening of the immune system, and the elimination of toxic substances from the body are some of the ways in which the herbal remedies given blow can fight against incidences of pneumonia.

To bring on intense perspiration at the outset of an attack of pneumonia, an herbal tea made from the elderflower can be drunk as a supplement; this tea increases the rate of perspiration and raises the temperature of the body. To prepare the herbal tea, use a mixture of a tsp. of elderflower and a tsp. of the linden flower steeped in a cup of boiling water for about ten minutes and drink 1-2 cups of this tea thrice a day during the attack of pneumonia. Rest immediately after having drunk this tea and do this after having taken a hot shower. Mixing 10 drops of the extract of the Echinacea herb in a suitable liquid and drinking this mixture about thrice a day will strengthen the immune system and boost the body's capacity to allay the symptoms of pneumonia. A combination of the syrup made from the horseradish with a tsp. of honey for every half a cup of horseradish juice can be used as an antibiotic against the infection. The medicinal power of any herbal preparation is augmented when honey is used in the mixture. To any combination of herbal teas that are made, the addition of a bit of honey boiled with water and strained can boost its healing power. The ability to reduce temperature and an antibiotic action characterize the nasturtium herb. Whenever a salad is consumed mix in several petals of the plant in salad as a supplement. The fresh or dried leaves of the plantain and thyme can be combined in equal parts. Mix a slice of lemon and a tsp. of demerrara sugar; boil this mixture in a cup of water. Add the herbal mixture of the plantain and the thyme to this liquid after it has been boiled. Let the herbs steep into the liquid for thirty seconds, the liquid can be drunk as a hot tea after it has been strained. This tea can be drunk every hour during the acute phase of pneumonia, for relief from symptoms. Another effective and useful combination of herbs to combat pneumonia is the utilization of equal parts of the lungwort, the plantain and the marsh mallow herbs. An herbal tea can be made from this combination by steeping the herbs in a cup of boiling water; the resulting liquid can then be strained strain and drunk thrice a day to fight pneumonia. These herbal combination teas must be drunk as fresh as possible and must be prepared anew for every session. Pulmonary tissue can be restored and strengthened be the use of the horsetail herb, which has a high content of silica. Used thrice a day, about 3-4 capsules of the extract of aqueous vegetal silica or if preferred 15-25 drops of a tincture made from the horsetail herb can be administered for the effective treatment of damaged tissues in the lungs. Healing and soothing steam for the lungs can be inhaled and prepared by mixing the eucalyptus, the chamomile herb or the peppermint in boiling water. Fifteen minutes of inhalation will provide the best results and also mix 10 drops of the tincture made form each constituent in a bowl of hot steaming water as a quick way of preparation.

Additional things you may do

Simple steps such as keeping the patient warm in a bed and allowing air to circulate in the patient's bedroom can be taken for optimal treatment of the pneumonia. The use of a humidifier or a water filled container exposed to the radiator or the heat vents in the room can be employed to allow the maximum amount of moisture in the air. Clad in warm clothes the patient must be allowed whenever feasible sufficient quantities of time out in the fresh air to refresh himself or herself. Vinegar made from apple cider can be employed as a liquid to wash the body using a terry cloth. The incidence of high fever can be alleviated by employing cold compresses on the region of the chest of the patient. Place hot moist towels on the chest of the patient and keep them covered with a dried towel and ultimately with a woolen shawl if the patient shows no sign of a fever in his or her body. To prevent the incidence of thrombosis use a gentle massage on the extremities of the body of the patient.

Usual dosage

  • Vitamin A, 25,000 IU (warning: avoid during pregnancy)
  • Vitamin B complex, 100 mg
  • Vitamin C (with bioflavonoids) 1,000 mg every couple hours
  • Vitamin E, with tocopherols, 400-800 IU two times a day
  • Acidophilus combination, three capsules or one tea spoon
  • Zinc, 30 mg, with 3 mg of copper

For kids

See age-appropriate dosages of herbal remedies

Incidences of the flu and other infections of the upper respiratory tract are often the precursors of a virally caused pneumonia. The incidence of a low-grade fever, and other symptoms such as a cough, and the feeling of mild fatigue, can often accompany the gradual or sudden progression of the viral form of pneumonia, other symptoms such as a high fever, extremely severe cough, and even feelings of lethargy and tiredness may accompany it in some cases. Till the illness has progressed to full maturity the cough that comes along with the infection is usually not productive. Another symptoms could be the presence of a stomachache. Since a secondary infection, this time from bacterial pathogens can occur in the lungs as a result of untreated viral pneumonia, the immediate treatment of the infection is called for, the virus may induce very fertile grounds for bacterial growth by weakening the immune system.

The sudden appearance of bacterially caused pneumonia is commonly the result of complications due to another disease that has infected the body. The main bacterial culprits in this regard are bacteria of the pneumococci, staphylococci, and chlamydia species. Respiratory distress is the usual concomitant of bacterial pneumonia, children sicken, there is an incidence of high fever, the patient may become lethargic, a cough may develop as a result of difficulty in breathing, and the child may also experience pain in the region of the chest when respiring. In the more severe forms of the attack the nails on the fingers may become blue in coloration and the person is likely to be pale and given to profuse perspiration. The incidence of this type of pneumonia brings on a variety of symptoms and when compared to pneumonia caused by either viral or mycoplasmal agents, the bacterial form of pneumonia is considered the most severe and dangerous. The good news is that the transmission of the bacterial form of pneumonia from one person to the other is lower in incidence than the viral or mycoplasmal forms of pneumonia.

The complete removal of the symptoms of pneumonia takes a long time, even after the disappearance of the infection, the complete restoration of health in all forms of pneumonia can carry on for several weeks at a time, with up to two months passing from the incidence of the first signs of a cough to its disappearance.

After concluding treatment of the pneumonia in children, and according to the form and severity of the pneumonia in the child, during the recuperative phase a variety of herbs can be utilized along with the conventional treatment or alternately once treatment is over, the herbs can be administered concurrent with the recovery stage. The best and optimal utilization of the properties of these herbs can come about by their use in alternating or rotating doses, with two weeks of time as the interval; a particular herb can be alternated with another herb every two weeks during the treatment. In lieu of this method of treatment, a combination tea of all the herbs can be utilized during treatment. A single herb, a combination of herbs or all the herbs given below can be administered to the child in a single dose, thrice a day for dosage duration of two weeks during the treatment period, the herbs are:

Circulation can be improved by the use of tea made from the ginger; this tea can also eliminate excess mucus that has formed in the body. Using warm ginger compresses on the chest region as many sessions as necessary during the course of a day can also alleviate respiratory distress and problems with breathing. Another good supplement for treatment is the antiviral Chinese herb Isatis. Where the cause of the pneumonia is viral or mycoplasmal in origin this herb is especially effective in children. Sensitivity to the herb because of a sensitive stomach may hinder the effectiveness of the herb in the child. The symptoms of coughing can be allayed and removed and the distress in the pulmonary tissues can be relieved through the use of the root of the licorice herb.
For your attention: the incidence of a high blood pressure is one of the results of prolonged utilization of the herb, and thus long term use of this herb has to be avoided in all cases. Rotating the use of licorice for two to three days followed by the utilization of another herb is the most efficient method of administering licorice in a long drawn out disease like pneumonia, the body also become better attuned to the active substance in this way. The lungs can be soothed and relieved through the use of a demulcent substance like the root of the marshmallow. The circulation and the flow of lymphatic fluid in the region of the chest and the neck is promoted and activated by herbs like mullein. Mucus is eliminated through the use of the nettle, an herb that is also very rich in its content of essential minerals and chlorophyll.
For your attention: the stomachs of certain children may react strongly to the use of this herb and thus the herb must not be administered and stopped at once if it provokes strong reactions in a child. The same restrictions apply for children under four years of age, who cannot be administered the herb in any form. A calming effect can be engendered in the child through the use of oat as an herbal supplement. A reduction in inflammation and the strengthening of pulmonary tissues can be achieved through the utilization of osha root. A mixture of a teaspoon each of licorice, the roots of the osha herb, slippery elm, and the root of the marshmallow, added to a quarter of a teaspoon of the bark of the wild cherry, simmered in a quart of water can be strained and used as a combination herbal tea. Steep the herbs in the liquid for fifteen minutes to have the herbs thoroughly mixed into the water. To improve on taste the tea can be sweetened using honey for administration to a child over one year of age.
For your attention: pregnant women and children under the age of four cannot be given the bark of the wild cherry in any form. The bark of the wild cherry can be removed from the mixture forming the combination herbal tea if your child is under four years of age. Children with high blood pressures or symptoms of hypertension cannot be prescribed the use of licorice. As a topical treatment option to relax the child and to improve circulation in the chest area, a few drops of thyme juice, the oil of the peppermint, or if unavailable the oil of the eucalyptus can be mixed with a quarter cup of the oils of either the almond or the sesame, this mixture may be rubbed or massaged on the back and chest regions of the child.
For your attention: an hour's break should be taken if the external topical treatment is in addition to the administration of an internal homeopathic remedy. The effectiveness of the homeopathic remedy may be blunted by the strong smell of the herbs if this break is not taken within the two different regimens.

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