A cup of tea with lemon juice and honey for bronchitis might be all you need to soothe a sore throat. This natural remedy won't cure bronchitis, but it can make it more bearable and speed up healing. Plus, it's cheap and easily accessible.
Honey may soothe a sore throat and loosen thickened mucus, while lemon juice can boost the immune system. Combining the two may help improve bronchitis symptoms and accelerate recovery.
What Is Bronchitis?
More than 9 million Americans were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis in 2018, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The acute form may result from a common cold or viral infection, causing inflammation of the bronchi — the main airways of your lungs. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, may be due to a weak immune system, smoking, severe heartburn or prolonged exposure to dust and other lung irritants.
Acute bronchitis is quite common and typically subsides within seven to 10 days, according to the Mayo Clinic. Both forms of the disease may cause a wet cough, mild fever, shortness of breath and other respiratory symptoms. A productive cough that lasts longer than three months may indicate chronic bronchitis.
Contrary to popular belief, bronchitis should not be treated with antibiotics. These medications destroy bacteria but are ineffective against viruses. Acute bronchitis is often caused by viral infections, points out the Mayo Clinic. There are cases where antibiotics may help, but your doctor is the only one who can determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend the best course of action.
Lemon and Honey for Bronchitis
Coughing is often the most annoying symptom of bronchitis. Sometimes, cough suppressants may help. You may also try natural remedies, such as lemon juice and honey, for bronchitis symptoms.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, tea with honey may help soothe a sore throat. The benefits are even greater if you add lemon juice to the mix. This combo may help reduce coughing and loosen thickened mucus while boosting your intake of vitamin C.
A December 2014 review published in the journal Canadian Family Physician assessed the effects of honey on the treatment of cough in children. As the researchers note, over-the-counter cough suppressants carry potential side effects and may not work. Honey, on the other hand, may soothe coughs naturally. A single dose (2.5 milliliters) before bedtime may provide relief for children.
Read more: 5 Uncommon Ways to Fend Off Cold and Flu
In clinical trials, subjects who took honey for bronchitis experienced greater relief than those using cough suppressants or no treatment, reports the above review. This natural remedy has been shown to reduce cough severity and frequency while improving sleep.
A study featured in the September-October 2015 issue of Allergologia et Immunopathologia found that 80 percent of the children in the study who drank milk with honey three evenings in a row experienced improvements in their cough symptoms.
Lemons Boost Immune Function
This nutrient may improve immune function and reduce the duration of colds, reports Oregon State University. It appears to be particularly effective for children and individuals undergoing heavy physical stress, such as athletes.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vitamin C may shorten the duration of cold symptoms by one to one-and-a-half days, but it may not work for everyone. Additionally, you'd need large amounts of it to reap the benefits.
All in all, using honey and lemon juice for bronchitis may slightly improve your symptoms. Just make sure the honey is pasteurized. Generally, home remedies for bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory disorders can help up to a point.
If your symptoms are severe or persist for weeks, your best bet is to see a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment may prevent complications and speed up the recovery process.
Is This an Emergency?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Includes: Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema"
- Mayo Clinic: "Bronchitis"
- Mayo Clinic: "Bronchitis Diagnosis and Treatment"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Do Any Bronchitis Home Remedies Actually Work?"
- MediSys Health Network: "7 Home Remedies to Relieve Chest Congestion"
- Canadian Family Physician: "Honey for Treatment of Cough in Children"
- Allergologia et Immunopathologia: "Effect of Multiple Honey Doses on Non-Specific Acute Cough in Children. An Open Randomised Study and Literature Review"
- USDA: "Lemon Juice, Raw"
- Oregon State University: "Immunity in Depth"
- Oregon State University: "Vitamin C"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "How Vitamin C Supports a Healthy Immune System"