In general, bronchitis produced by viral infection causes bronchial inflammation, which sets the stage for bronchitis and secondary bacterial infection. Chronic bronchitis is a long-term condition of excessive bronchial mucus with a productive cough. Chronic bronchitis is also known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cigarette smoking (active and passive exposure) is the chief cause of this disease. Factors that make it worse include air pollution, infection, familial factors, and allergies. The severity of the disease is related to the amount and duration of smoking. Chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma as a group are the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States. The incidence is two out of 100 people.
Treatment of chronic bronchitis differs according to the stage 1) Active bronchitis is treated with anti-viral and anti-bacterial herbs that inhibit secretion of gland and goblet cells; 2) The symptomatic stage is treated by boosting immune system function and preventing cold, allergy and infection, treating the roots of the triggering factors and promoting healing of damaged bronchial membranes.
Antibiotics only work on bacteria, not a virus infection, so when you have a virus an alternative is Chinese medicine. When you have a secondary bacterial infection you should choose antibiotics.
Passively treating a secondary bacterial infection is not the treating the root of the illness. When patients suffer bronchitis relapse, it can aggravate to chronic bronchitis, emphysema and possibly heart failure. In Chinese natural medicine, the key point is to stop the development of illness and cure it. We cant change factors that trigger bronchitis, but we may help improve immune system function and help heal damaged membranes with natural medicine.
Whether natural medicine can help bronchitis or not depends on the severity of the patients condition.