Bronchitis can be painful and difficult to treat. The ginger rhizome is a well-known traditional remedy for coughs, cold and flu, and may help boost your immune system and soothe a sore throat, tight chest and cough, the symptoms common to bronchitis.
Ginger is the rhizome, or root, of the plant Zingiber officinale. It is used in cooking for its sweet, spicy flavor, and has a long history of medicinal use for gastrointestinal upset, cold and flu relief, motion sickness, inflammation and immune support. Ginger tea is used to provide relief to pregnant women experiencing morning sickness and for chemotherapy-related or post-surgery nausea. It is available as the whole fresh root, or in tinctures, extracts and oils. It is also dried and made into capsules for use as a dietary supplement.
Bronchitis refers to a condition in which the lining of the bronchial tubes -- the tubes leading to and from your lungs -- becomes irritated, inflamed or swollen. Its symptoms can include a persistent mucus-producing cough accompanied by chest pain, fatigue, muscle aches, fever and chills. There are two types of bronchitis: chronic and acute. Acute bronchitis can be the result of a viral illness, such as a cold or the flu. If a dry or productive cough persists long after the original virus has passed, you may have chronic bronchitis. Environmental irritants like pollution can also contribute to chronic bronchitis; however, cigarette smoking most commonly causes the condition.
Ginger for Bronchitis
There is no scientific evidence that ginger will cure bronchitis, but its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting action may help with some types of bronchial irritation and bronchitis. More studies on humans are needed to reach any definite conclusions, but one study published in "International Immunopharmacology" in 2008 demonstrated that ginger can suppress allergic reactions and inflammation in mice. It also appears to activate macrophages, the type of white blood cell that triggers immune system reaction, according to a 2008 study in "BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine." Ginger tea can also be a soothing treatment for a painful and irritated throat.
Dosage and Use
The standard dose of ginger supplement for an adult is between 75 and 2,000 mg in divided doses daily. Look for levels of around 4 percent volatile oil or 5 percent pungent compounds. For cold, flu or bronchitis, use fresh ginger. Shred 2 tbsp. of the root, steep in hot water and drink. Another approach is to mix ½ tsp. each of ginger, pepper, cloves and honey. Stir into hot water for tea or simply eat with a spoon. Sprinkle ginger oil in a pan of hot water for chest-clearing aromatherapy.