According to a research conducted by W.H.O., every year, around the world, over a million children below five years of age die from pneumonia. This number is far more than those who die from Malaria, AIDS or tuberculosis. So, what exactly is this black monster that takes with it so many innocent lives? Pneumonia is an acute form of respiratory infection in the lungs caused by viruses, fungi and bacteria. When a normal person breathes in air, the air fills the small sacs in the lungs. However, when a person suffering from pneumonia breathes in air, fluids and pus fill the sacs and make it difficult for the patient to breathe.
Some major symptoms of pneumonia include fever, cough, diarrhea, vomiting, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, tiredness and chills. One can cure pneumonia at home in 2 to 3 weeks. However, patients who suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma and heart disease should consult their doctors at the first sign of pneumonia.
Pneumonia can affect any one at any time, but is more common in children and the elderly. The latter are prone to suffering from healthcare-associated pneumonia, which spreads as a result of being in a hospital or another health care facility for a long period. Community-acquired pneumonia is common in children, as they go to school or other social places. It is always advisable to seek medical advice, though it can also be treated at home. Listed below are a few home remedies to prevent pneumonia.
Home Remedies for Pneumonia
1. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper helps the body release mucus from the respiratory tract, which makes it easier for the patient to breathe. Fill a jug with 250ml of water, add 1 tsp of lemon juice and sprinkle a little cayenne pepper. Drink the water, at least, 4 to 5 times every day.
2. Carrot Juice
In a juicer, make some carrot juice of about 3-4 carrots. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper.
3. Fenugreek Tea
Fenugreek helps remove toxins from the body through perspiration. It also helps clear any congestion in the chest. Take 500ml of water in a pan and combine one teaspoon full of fenugreek seeds. Bring it to a boil and strain. Add about one teaspoon of lemon juice and drink minimum four cups in a day.
Garlic is very hot for the body and, therefore, helps reduce the body temperature. Whilst it may leave you with a bad breath, it will help clear the chest and lungs.
- Make a paste of a few cloves of garlic and rub it on your feet before going to bed. Put on your socks and go to sleep.
- Blend milk and water in the ratio 1:4 and blend 1½ teaspoons of garlic paste. Boil till it reduces to ¼. Have this drink 3 times a day; continue consuming it till you feel better.
- You can also have it in the form of sweet and sour chutney. Crush some cloves of garlic, and mix 1 teaspoon of lemon and 1 teaspoon of honey to it, then stir well. Have a teaspoon, at least, 4 times every day.
5. Steam Bath
Take a steam bath. Fill a bucket of water with some hot water and put in a few drops of any essential oil that you may have around the house such as tea tree, lavender, camphor or eucalyptus. Close the bathroom door and inhale the vapors or the steam, by covering your head with a towel, as you sit near the bucket of water with your head leant about it.
6. Sesame Seeds
This kitchen essential can work miracles. Put in a tablespoon of sesame seeds to a cup of boiling water. Once they are soft, add one tablespoon of flax seeds and boil for another 5 minutes or so. Strain the water. Combine a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of honey, for better taste. Drink this every morning, on an empty stomach.
7. Salt Water
Gargle with salt water, at least, 3 times a day. It will help clear the respiratory tract and clear your chest off any cough.
8. Vegetable Juice
Vegetables such as cucumbers, beets, carrots and spinach help boost the immune system and are good detoxification agents.
- Mix up together in the ratio 1:1:3 cucumber juice, beet juice and carrot juice. Drink this daily on an empty stomach.
- Mix spinach juice with carrot juice as per the taste you prefer and have this mixture several times a day to clear the bronchial system.
9. Black Tea
Make a cup of black tea, combine in 3 teaspoons of fenugreek seed powder and 1 teaspoon of honey or sugar as per your taste. Mix well and drink this tea once in a day.
Grate a piece of ginger and extract its juice. Blend 1 teaspoon of honey and a few drops of lemon juice in it. Have this every day before going to bed.
11. Turpentine and Camphor Massage
Mix turpentine oil and camphor in a bowl and apply it on your chest. Gently massage the oil on the skin. Put on a sweater.
12. Potassium Broth
Potassium is good for people suffering from pneumonia, as it helps repairing the lungs tissues. One must have as much potassium as possible during the entire spell of pneumonia.
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 radish
- 2 large carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- Parsley as per your desired taste
- 500ml water
In a pot, combine all the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes. Strain the juice. Have the broth along with your lunch.
Note- People who suffer from a heart illness should avoid potassium, as high levels of potassium in their bodies can lead to other complications.
13. Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Oil Chest Rub and Heat Pack
Mix 20 drops of either Eucalyptus or tea tree oil with 1 tablespoon of any carrier oil. Rub it on your chest at night before going to sleep. You can adjust the quantity of the oils, if you want to make more quantities of the chest rub.
- To make a heat pack, heat an oven at low temperature. Moisten a cotton cloth with any carrier oil and place it in the oven to warm it up. Once it is warm enough remove from oven and pour on the cloth a few drops of either eucalyptus or tea tree oil. With gentle hands, rub the cloth, so the oils are distributed equally on the entire cloth. Now place the cloth on your chest as you lie down flat on your back. Put a hot water bag on top of the cloth and stay in this position for a minimum of half an hour. Repeat 2-3 times in a day for better results.
14. Baking Soda
Baking soda helps remove toxins from the body. Mix ¼ tsp of baking soda to 300ml of warm water and drink two times in a day.
15. Parsnip Juice
Parsnips contain many vitamins and are high in potassium, which is ideal for treating pneumonia. Drink a glass of freshly made parsnip juice every day.
16. Lemon Juice
Lemons are known for their antibacterial properties, as they are rich in Vitamin C. They help reduce the body temperature and boost the immune system. Get juice of half a lemon and mix it in a glass of warm water. Sprinkle a pinch of rock salt and drink this juice every day.
Herbal Remedies to Cure Pneumonia
17. Herbal Tea
Take 1½ cups of water and mix it with one teaspoon each of ginger and fenugreek seeds, one clove of garlic and a dash of cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and strain in a cup. Blend juice of half a lemon and ½ teaspoon honey to improve the flavor. Drink this herbal tea 3 times in a day, and then drink less as you feel better.
18. Pumpkin Leaf
Fry some pumpkin leaf stalks in olive oil. Allow them to cool and then make a paste. Massage the paste over your ribs to get relief from the pain caused by pneumonia.
19. Basil Leaves and Black Pepper
Using a mortar and pestle, crush some basil leaves to extract the juice (you may use a few drops of water) and keep aside. In the same mortar, grind some pepper corns to make a rough powder. Mix the ground pepper to the basil and eat it in intervals of 6 to 7 hours.
Turmeric is the best known medical herb. It works as an anti-fungal, antiseptic, anti-viral as well as anti-bacterial treatment. Turmeric is an extremely powerful herb which can cure pneumonia easily.
- Mix a teaspoon of turmeric with a glass of warm milk or water, and add a pinch of salt. Drink this every day before going to bed at night. If you opt for milk, do not drink water for minimum half an hour.
- Warm some water and blend ¼ teaspoon of black pepper powder and 1½ teaspoon of turmeric. Have this once a day till you recover.
21. Huang qi (Astragalus Herb)
The Chinese have used astragalus herb as part of their traditional medicine for years, as it helps boost the immune system. However, before you try this herb, consult your doctor, as it may react with other prescribed medications.
- In a pan, soak some shredded Astragalus roots, a few cloves and a cinnamon stick in water and leave over night. Next morning, put the pan on the gas and simmer for half an hour. Take two tablespoons of this liquid everyday in the morning.
22. Oregano Oil
Oregano is an antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial herb that is ideal for fighting germs which cause pneumonia.
- Before you hit the sack, put a few drops of the oil on a handkerchief or on your pillow. The vapors will help clear the congestion in your chest. You can use eucalyptus oil the same way.
- Or else, you can combine a few drops of oregano oil to your daily juice or water.
23. Homemade Cough Syrup for Pneumonia
- Honey- 120 ml
- Cayenne pepper- a pinch
- Water- 120 ml
- Cinnamon powder- 2 tsp
- Ginger powder- 2 tsp
- Dried rosemary leaves- 2 tsp
- Dried mullein leaves- 2 tsp
- Dried horehound herb- 2 tsp
Get some water in a saucepan, followed by all the other ingredients. Boil the water and then simmer until it becomes half of the original measure. Remove it from the gas and strain the liquid. Allow it to cool and then place in the refrigerator. Take half a teaspoon at two-hour intervals.
24. Echinacea Tea
- Hot water- 2 cups
- Spearmint leaves- to taste
- Lemon grass- ¼ tsp
- Honey- to taste
- Echinacea herb- 1 tsp
Place all ingredients except honey in a jar. Pour the hot water on the herbs and steep for minimum 5-6 minutes. Use honey as a sweetener. Drink this tea twice a day on alternate days, for three weeks or until you recover.
25. Coltsfoot Tea
Place dried coltsfoot flowers in a jar and pour the hot water over it. Keep it aside for 10 minutes and then strain the liquid. Have one or two cups a day and avoid having it for more than four weeks in a year.
Note: Do not give this tea to children and people who suffer from high blood pressure.
26. Mustard Pack
Mustard is an anti-oxidant and can help open up the pores of the skin. To make a mustard pack, mix equal quantities of wheat flour and mustard seed powder. Now blend it with one egg and a bit of water. Apply this paste on your chest and leave it on for 20 minutes. Use the pack two times in a week.
27. Mullein Infusion
Mullein is a soothing herb that helps combat infections in the lungs. To make a mullein infusion for cough you will need the following ingredients. When using mullein leaves, be careful to filter the tea, as the hair in the mullein leaves can cause irritation to sensitive skin.
- Boiling water
- 1 cup dried mullein herb
- Honey (optional)- 1-2 teaspoons
Place the herb in a jar. Pour boiling water over it and cover the jar. Leave it for 4 hours or overnight. Sweeten it with honey. Depending on the severity of the ailment, consume 1-4 cups of this infusion every day. You can store this infusion in the refrigerator for 5-6 days.
- Don’t use mullein leaves while preparing this infusion, as they comprise of rotenone which may be harmful when taken for a longer time.
- People suffering from liver or kidney disorders, young kids, and pregnant women should not use mullein.
28. Elecampane Decoction
Elecampane is an expectorant herb with anti-bacterial qualities, which help clear the respiratory system. It is ideal for curing illnesses such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, bronchitis and cough. To prepare a decoction, you will need the roots and some water. You can use either fresh or dry root. Mix approximately 3 tablespoon with 400ml of warm water. Drink ½ a teaspoon, 5 times a day.
29. Pleurisy Root Tea
Pleurisy helps reduce inflammation in the lungs. One must have a cup of pleurisy root tea every hour. Simply add 1 teaspoon of pleurisy root powder to a cup of boiling water and steep for a minimum of 15 minutes. Sip this tea three times a day.
Note- Avoid excessive intake of this herb, as it may cause irregular heartbeat, stomach ache, vomiting and nausea. Breast feeding mother, pregnant women and people with heart disorders must not take pleurisy root herb.
30. Goldenseal Tea
Goldenseal helps the body boost its immune system, by clearing away any infections in the body. It also assists in killing any bad bacteria, which ultimately improves the digestive system. You can easily find goldenseal tea bags at herbal shops. To prepare the tea, dip a bag in a cup of water and allow it to steep for about 7 minutes. Remove the bag and add milk, honey or sugar, as per your taste. Drink a cup of goldenseal tea three times in a day.
Note- If you are pregnant or are nursing a child, it is advisable to consult your doctor before you have this tea.
31. Elder Flower Tea
Elderflower is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and antiviral herb that is rich in vitamin A and C. Boil 150ml of water and add 4 grams of dry elderflower. Let the mixture steep for 20 minutes and drink ½ a cup once in a week.
32. Plantain Tea
Plantain is known as the mother of all herbs. Its leaves have purifying properties that help clear the infection in the lungs. To make a cup of plantain tea, use equal portions of plantain herb and thyme herb and combine it with 150ml of boiling water. Let the mixture steep for a few minutes, before you drink it. Have 5 cups in a day.
- Rest as much as possible.
- Drink plenty of water and juices to keep your body hydrated.
- Increase your intake of Vitamin A and C.
- Wash your hands to prevent germs from spreading.
- Always cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing.
- Avoid taking any cough syrup, as this will suppress the cough. Instead, you should cough loudly, so that, the cough comes out and your chest gets cleared. Parents should avoid giving medicines for cough and colds, when their children are suffering from Pneumonia, because those tablets are not safe, (unless prescribed by a pediatrician.)
- Patients who suffer from pneumonia should quit smoking.