Pneumonia is an acute infection of the lungs which affects millions of people worldwide. It is the leading cause of death in children younger than five years, but also affects adults and people with a weakened immune system. The infection is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi and results in severe inflammation of the lungs, which manifests in a range of symptoms.

The seriousness of the infection can range from mild to life-threatening and hence shouldn’t be ignored. While conventional treatment focuses on using antibiotics and antiviral drugs to combat the spread of germs, certain natural remedies can come handy in relieving the symptoms. This year, for World Pneumonia Day (November 12), we explore the treasure of Mother Nature to fight the disease naturally.

1. Turmeric
This golden yellow herb has been widely used in treating a range of ailments, from cold to cancer. Botanically called Curcuma longa, it has potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties [2]. The high content of curcumin and volatile oils present in this herb is also observed to have antiseptic and anti-oxidative properties and can thus help in relieving the inflammation associated with pneumonia [3,4]. Mix about 2tsp turmeric in warm milk and have it at night to relieve congestion and sleep better.  (Related article: Turn Up Your Health With Turmeric)

2. Garlic
This natural antibiotic is most appreciated for its selectivity in killing bad germs without harming the good bacteria (gut flora) [5]. Garlic is also a known herbal rubefacient and anti-irritant which can help relieve chest pain associated with pneumonia [6]. Applying a small quantity of garlic paste over the chest daily may be helpful.

3. Ginger
The most sought herbal remedy to treat a variety of respiratory diseases [7], ginger exhibits anti-bacterial activity against Streptococcus pneumoniae [8], according to a study published in 2002 in the East African Journal Medical. Ginger is also believed to provide relief from spasmodic breathing, which is common in pneumonia [7, 9]. Grate some fresh ginger into your tea or soup. Alternatively, mix ground ginger with honey and  eat it. (Read more: Regenerative powers of ginger tea)

4. Holy Basil
This herb helps delay the spread of infection and relieving inflammation through its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties [10]. Holy basil is rich in eugenol, also commonly known as clove oil, which has antiseptic and analgesic properties. This acts in mobilizing the mucus and helps decongest the lungs [11]. Whip up a batch of veggie soup and add some basil leaves to it. Another way to use basil is to make a herbal tea with some basil leaves and raw honey. (Check out our related slideshow: 9 Reasons Basil Is Good For Your Health)

5. Fenugreek
These tan-hued seeds are well known mucolytic agents, which help in loosening the mucus, thereby reducing congestion [13]. They are also known to induce sweating, thus helping in dispelling toxins out of the body. The best way to use them would be adding the seeds to your tea and drinking this decoction daily.

6. Pleurisy root
This root helps in reducing the inflammation of the pleural membranes (protective membranes around the lungs) as well as boosts the immune system [1].  It helps in mitigating the pain associated with pleurisy and overcoming pulmonary catarrh. The powdered root can be made into a warm infusion by adding a teaspoonful of the powder in one cup of boiling water, which you should take every hour.

7. Camphor
It possesses analgesic as well as anti-inflammatory properties, which help in eliminating the mucus from the lungs [17,18]. Mixing camphor with turpentine oil and gently massaging it on the chest helps in relieving congestion and also provides relief from chest pain and discomfort.

8. Licorice
Research suggests that licorice helps relieve coughing episodes as well as sore throat associated with various allergies. It helps in building a protective mucus film, thus preventing any damage to the throat and lungs, and also acts as a potent antibacterial and antiviral agent [14,15,16]. You can chew on a licorice root, although it has a strong taste and may not be very palatable. The best way to use it would be to incorporate it in your herbal tea. (You may also want to read: 6 Ways To Heal Naturally With Licorice Root)

9. Sesame Seeds
These seeds can provide much-needed relief from phlegm induced by chronic cough, a major symptom associated with pneumonia. It also helps in alleviating chest pain and irritation [19]. Boil about 15 grams of sesame seeds with one cup of water. Add some flaxseeds to this and boil for another two minutes. Strain the mixture and add 1tsp of honey and a pinch of salt. Drink this once daily.

10. Honey
Apart from being a natural sweetener, honey  is also known for its antibacterial properties [20]. It helps in soothing nerves and boosting immunity. Honey can help combat the further spread of bacterial pneumonia as well as assist in alleviating the symptoms. It can be used in various ways to help relieve pneumonia symptoms. You can use it to sweeten your herbal teas and soups. Eating a paste of honey and turmeric is also very beneficial.

Note: These herbal remedies do not guarantee a cure to pneumonia. Consult your doctor if symptoms persist.


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