Note: Pneumonia is a serious disease and should be treated with the help of a holistic health professional. In addition, when treating pneumonia, care must be taken to ensure that complete recovery occurs. Even after symptoms abate, they can flare up again if not properly treated and monitored, so be sure to get adequate amounts of rest and maintain your treatment protocols for at least one to two weeks after your symptoms disappear.
Aromatherapy: Inhaling the steamed vapors of the essential oils of camphor, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, pine, or tea tree can help improve breathing and aid in fighting infection. Massaging the upper chest with niaouli oil can also be helpful, although this should be avoided when fever is present. Add powdered ginger root to fresh squeezed lime juice and a pinch of organic honey, or try applying a heated mustard oil compress to the forehead during outbreaks of fever.
Diet: If you suffer from pneumonia, you need to be screened for food allergies and sensitivities, and then avoid eating those foods that you are allergic or sensitive to. In addition, avoid all sugar and sugar products, including an excess of sweet fruits, wheat and wheat byproducts, soft drinks, commercially processed foods, and all foods containing artificial ingredients, such as additives, colorings, flavorings, and preservatives. Eliminate your intake of all milk and dairy products, as they contribute greatly to mucus in the body. In addition, avoid coffee and all other caffeinated products.
Drink plenty of pure, filtered water – at least eight ounces every two hours; and for best results, add fresh squeezed lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper. (Be sure to brush your teeth or rinse well after citrus foods.) Also enjoy fresh squeezed, organic vegetable juices throughout the day, as well as hot broths, especially miso and other soups. Take in lots of warm liquids. Vegetable juices are an important addition to the diet, and the very best option for providing extra nutritional support, especially while sick. They are best made using primarily green vegetables. Use just enough carrot to make your juices sweet enough to be palatable. Add ginger or garlic if desired for a nice warming effect. Diluted organic pear juice can also be helpful, in order to loosen up lung congestion.
At mealtime, emphasize organic, whole foods, especially plenty of fresh, raw organic vegetables, lightly steamed vegetables and veggie soups, miso soup, preferably soaked nuts and seeds, organic, free-range meats, poultry, and wild-caught fish. Eat small quantities of fresh sweet fruits – limit your selection to plums and pears, all berries, including Goji berries, and other less sweet exotic fruits you may find in the region where you live. Non sweet fruits such as avocado, pepper, tomato and cucumbers can be eaten freely. Garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, chili peppers, and onions should be eaten regularly, due to their powerful health benefits for the lungs and overall respiratory system. Organic, extra virgin olive oil and raw virgin coconut butter/oil can and should be used liberally.
According to leading naturopathic physician and researcher Joseph E. Pizzorno, N.D., President Emeritus of Bastyr University, a vegan diet can significantly improve symptoms of most respiratory conditions, including pneumonia. Such a diet involves eliminating all animal products, as well as fish, eggs, milk, and all other dairy products. Grains should be avoided as well, or eaten in minimal amounts. Dr. Pizzorno also advises limiting your fluid intake to pure, filtered water (avoid chlorinated, fluoridated tap water), and emphasize plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, especially romaine lettuce, carrots, beets, onions, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, beans (except soy and green peas), blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cloudberries, black currants, gooseberries, plums, and pears. Apples and citrus fruits (except lemon) are not recommended, however.
Fasting: Fasting 14 to 48 hours under a doctor’s supervision can often help to speedily resolve any threat of pneumonia, if undertaken at the first sign of symptoms. Fasting is to be avoided however, if the patient is too weak or frail. Seek the help of your health care practitioner in this matter.
Herbs: Boneset tea - to clear congestion and ease accompanying aches and pains
coltsfoot - which can help fight infection and soothe coughs
raw garlic and/or onions - to fight infection and expel mucus and phlegm
fenugreek - to help relieve fever
ginseng - to boost overall immune function; hydrastis, to fight infection
lobelia and sanguinaria - to free to lungs of congestion, mucus, and phlegm
Other useful herbs, especially for pneumonia due to viral infection, include Arctostaphylos, Cephaelis ipecacuanha, juniper (Juniperus communis), Piper cubeba St. John’s wort, and uva ursi.
Homeopathy: Aconite - for pneumonia accompanied by sudden onsets of anxiety and fever
Bryonia - for sharp chest pains that worsen with movement
Phosphorus - for pneumonia accompanied by rust colored phlegm, general weakness, trembling, and a desire for cold drinks
Sanguinaria - for pneumonia that occurs following the flu and when congestion is primarily in the right lung
Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy is the application of water, ice, steam and hot and cold temperatures to maintain and restore health. Treatments include full body immersion, steam baths, saunas, sitz baths, colonic irrigation and the application of hot and/or cold compresses. Hydrotherapy is effective for treating a wide range of conditions and can easily be used in the home as part of a self-care program. Many Naturopathic Physicians, Physical Therapists and Day Spas use Hydrotherapy as part of treatment. We suggest several at-home hydrotherapy treatments. Please seek the advice of your alternative health care practitioner before undergoing these procedures to make sure they are appropriate for you.
Hyperthermia: Hyperthermia involves artificially creating fever in the body for the purpose of boosting immune function. Hyperthermia can be a highly effective method of eliminating toxins and heavy metals, as well as infectious bacteria and viruses that cannot survive in elevated body temperatures. We suggest several at-home hyperthermia treatments. Please seek the advice of your alternative health care practitioner before undergoing these sweat-inducing procedures to make sure they are appropriate for you.
Improving Indoor Air Quality: Improving the quality of your indoor air, both at home and at work, is an essential self-care step for helping to treat and prevent respiratory conditions, including pneumonia. Healthy air is warm, free of pollutants and odors, has a relative humidity of between 35 to 60 percent, and is high in oxygen and negative ions (3,000 to 6,000 negative ions per cubic centimeter). Today’s technology makes it easy to ensure that your indoor air meets the above criteria. A negative ion generator can not only increase the oxygen and negative ion content of indoor air, but can also cleanse it of harmful animal dander, bacteria, dust, mold, pollen, and viruses. Moreover, negative ions help to soothe and repair damaged mucosa of the nasals, lungs, and bronchial pathways. For best results, choose a self-regulating negative ion generator that emits at least one trillion negative ions per second.
You should also use a humidifier to keep your indoor air moist, especially during winter months, when air tends to be drier. Choose a warm mist unit. Adding plants to your home and work environments can help keep air moist. Certain plants, such as chrysanthemums, philodendron, and spider plants, also help to keep your air free of circulating dust and microorganisms, since they act as natural air filters.
Be sure that your home and work environments are properly ventilated, and avoid the use of synthetic materials in your home and workplace, including plastics.
Infraspinatus Respiratory Response (I.R.R.) Therapy: Developed by Harry H. Philibert, M.D., of Metairie, Louisiana, this therapy addresses the Infraspinatus Respiratory Response (I.R.R.), also known as the Infrascapula Respiratory Reflex. I.R.R. is a neuromuscular response directly linked to the sympathetic nervous system. It is involved in the bronchial distress that accompanies pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis. According to Dr. Philibert, who has successfully treated thousands of patients suffering from respiratory disorders, manipulation of the I.R.R. can reverse, and many times completely eliminate pneumonia symptoms.
I.R.R. Therapy involves the use of lidocaine injections into the infraspinatus muscle. Significant results are usually achieved after one to five sessions, although more may be necessary. Dr. Philibert has trained over 3,000 physicians in the I.R.R. Therapy technique. To locate a therapist near you, contact Dr. Philibert at (504) 831-3380.
Juice Therapy: Juice organic carrot, spinach, and parsley juice, along with a clove of garlic. Add a pinch of cumin and drink two 8-ounces glasses during the day. For more suggestions, see Juice Recipes.
Nutritional Supplements: Useful nutrients for treating pneumonia include vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pine tree bark, and zinc, all of which can help improve immune function and fight off infection. Proteolytic enzymes taken between meals, along with acidophilus supplements, can also be helpful, as can thymus gland extract. Other useful supplements include betaine HCL, bee pollen, quercetin, manganese, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and selenium.
If you need to take an antibiotic, which is frequently the case with pneumonia, be sure to supplement during the course of treatment, and also after treatment, with a steady course of probiotics, such as acidophilus. Probiotics should be taken for at least 3 weeks following a course of antibiotics as they will help replace the intestinal flora that is weakened when taking antibiotics.
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