Pneumonia is an infectious disease which lies deep in the lungs, as in contrast with bronchitis, which is an infection in the gateway to the lungs, or the bronchial tubes. Among the noted infectious diseases in the US, pneumonia is currently the nation’s leading killer and the nation’s fifth leading cause of death overall, claiming more lives annually than AIDS.
According to health experts, most of those deaths come from two sources; first is influenza, which may progress to pneumonia, particularly in the elderly, and hospital-acquired infections in those who are ill from other causes but develop pneumonia because they have weakened immune systems.
The bacteria that causes this infectious disease are so abundant in hospitals that according to a US health care report, an estimated 4 percent of all patients develop the infection, most likely as a direct result of their hospital stay.
The Social Costs of Pneumonia
It is estimated that around 40,000 elderly Americans die of pneumonia each year, so it’s not an ordinary disease to simply shrug off. Other individuals at risk include those with alcoholism, cancer, cirrhosis, heart or kidney failure, sickle-cell disease, spleen, disorders or recent organ transplant patients.
This infectious disease may be caused by bacteria, fungi, protozoa or viruses, therefore it would be wrong to self-diagnose, much less self-medicate. The diseases’ symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing, difficulty breathing, as well as fevers and chills with shaking. For individuals who develop pneumonia-like symptoms, it would be best to promptly consult with your doctor.
Helpful Herbal Treatments For This Disease
Aside from regularly taking the medications your doctor prescribes, you may also try some herbal and nutritional alternatives that have been noted to possess anti-pneumonia fighting qualities. However, you need to first consult with your doctor before using any of these herbs.
– Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
A large number of clinical trials have analyzed and demonstrated dandelion’s potency against pneumonia, bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. In preparing a solution, it is suggested to cook the greens and roots. Afterwards, drink the juice that remains after the greens are cooked. You can also drink tea made from the dried herb, or you can also take this in capsule form.
Antibiotics may be indicated in treating bacterial pneumonia, however in any type of infectious pneumonia, which could either be bacterial, viral or fungal, herbalists recommend herbs that enhance the immune system, and among the herbs they recommend is Echinacea. Many scientific studies indicate that this herb aids the body in warding off all sorts of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
– Baikal skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis).
Scientific data from China indicates that the root of this plant, which is closely related to skullcap, has potent, broad-spectrum antimicrobial effects. This herb helps inhibit flu viruses and several pneumonia-causing fungi, and in some cases, Chinese physicians sometimes inject a solution of Baikal skullcap, goldthread and amur cork tree extracts to alleviate or treat pneumonia, flu and other respiratory infections.
In lieu, of injections, it is also suggested that a patient take a mixture of Baikal skullcap and either of these herbs: barberry, goldthread, goldenseal, Oregon grape and/or yellowroot. Baikal skullcap may be quite hard to find in most herbal health shops and tores, however it’s readily available in most Chinese herb stores.
– Astragalus (Astragalus, various species)
This herb, which is also called huang qi, astragalus is a potent immune booster and traditional Asian medicine’s answer to our own echinacea.
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