Smorgasbord Health Column – Family Health – Bronchitis by Sally Cronin

In this series I am covering the most common health conditions that we all might face during our lifetimes. It is easy to dismiss some of these conditions as being isolated to certain parts of the body such as Athlete’s foot or bad breath but in fact they can often be an indication of a more serious health issue. By treating these conditions topically or in isolation, we run the risk of ignoring the body and its call for help.

At the current time any cough should be treated seriously especially if in combination with other recognised symptoms of Covid 19. However sometimes a cough can be associated with another condition such as bronchitis. Even if not accompanied by a high fever, body aches and pains, loss of taste, lack of appetite and extreme fatigue, it is important to have a cough checked out if it goes on for longer than four or five days.


For anyone who suffers repeatedly from the common cold, bronchitis is always a possibility. There are two types of the disease. Acute bronchitis refers to the here and now and will last up to six weeks whereas chronic bronchitis infers long term symptoms that can last up to two years or longer if the infection is topped up from time to time by colds and flu.

bronchitisBronchitis usually follows an upper respiratory infection and is caused by the inflammation of the mucous membranes in the bronchial tubes. The membrane swells, thickens and obviously narrows the already tiny airways throughout the lungs. Our body’s response is to cough continuously to rid us of the infection, which produces the classic symptom of bronchitis. Thick phlegm is produced and there is usually breathlessness, fever and sometimes middle back pain.

Acute bronchitis is nearly always caused by viral infections, and in someone with a robust immune system, bed rest and fluids will result in a full recovery. However, repeated attacks can lead to the chronic condition.

Chronic bronchitis is often caused by environmental pollution. It could be chemicals in the workplace or simply in the air around where a person lives. It is however very closely linked to long term smoking or passive smoking and as many people find it difficult to give up cigarettes the condition is never cured and usually leads to Emphysema.

There are some herbal remedies that may improve the symptoms and help the body rid itself of the infection.

Eucalyptus Oil

You can add 5 – 10 drops to a hot bath and inhale the steam which not only relaxes the body but helps clear the lungs.

You can also put drops into a carrier oil ( I use olive oil) and rub into the chest and back. As you inhale the Eucalyptus the mucus in the lungs should soften and make it easier to cough. The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – #Aromatherapy – #Eucalyptus – Respiratory, Fevers and Pain


There are some old remedies that whilst not scientifically proven have a great deal of folklore attached to them. The old saying ‘An apple a day, keeps the doctor away has actually been verified in a number of studies and you can eat baked apple and honey which combines the benefits of both.. or you can drink apple juice daily. It has been found that people who eat an apple or drink the juice daily rarely suffer from colds and upper respiratory conditions.

Vitamin C is a key ingredient of a healthy immune system and that should be a year long priority and this might help: Vitamin C – Cook from Scratch Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor

Onions and Garlic

I eat onion and garlic daily…cooked I have to say and in fairly moderate amounts as bad breath is not the most attractive quality in any of us. However, as of this moment in time I have not had a cold or flu for over 10 years.  I do draw the line of the old remedy of putting a hot onion poultice on my chest! Smorgasbord Food Therapy – Onions and Garlic


This is another herb that is suitable for children who have bronchitis and is used extensively on the continent to improve the symptoms of chest infections. Drink the tea as hot as possible. You can find out more about this very useful herb here.
Food therapy chamomile

N.B. If you have had a cough that has persisted for longer than a week and it is accompanied by a high temperature, mid-back pain or there is evidence of blood, please see your doctor immediately.

I hope that you have found the post of interest and please feel free to share. Thanks Sally.


©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here::Sally’s books and reviews


Thanks for visiting and I am always delighted to receive your feedback.. stay safe Sally.



The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Chamomile – Herbal remedy and lotion

medicine womanThe botanical name for Chamomile (Camomile) is Anthemis Nobilis and we are more familiar with it in tea form which is usually available on our supermarket shelves.

Chamomile has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy for a number of common ailments including fevers and joint pain and is also very calming for rashes and other skin inflammations.


The use of the herb goes back to ancient Egypt and its use filtered across the world over the next thousand years or so and by the time of the middle ages it was being used by herbalists in Europe. The flowers of the plant were soaked in white wine as a cure for water retention, then knows as dropsy and also for liver conditions such as jaundice. It was also found to have a calming effect on patients, relieved inflammation and could also relieve chest infections and asthma.

And if you were looking to avoid bleach in your hair dye… the women of the past would make a dye from the flowers to lighten their hair naturally.

Research is extensive into this herb and there are a number of varieties that have both a different physical appearance and growth pattern as well as varying health benefits.

Here is just a brief list of the health issues that the oil, tea and lotion can be applied to.

  • If you drink chamomile tea (infusions) regularly then you may find that it ease muscle and rheumatic conditions, skin rashes and help you sleep better at night. It has ananti-spasmodic action that helps digestion and is great to drink after a meal. It may also help alleviate morning sickness when drunk first thing.
  • For anyone who suffers gastrointestinal problems such as diverticulitis, IBS or ulcerative colitis drinking the tea daily may help relieve the symptoms and heal the gut to prevent leaky gut syndrome. There is some research that indicates that it may relieve the inflammation associated with Crohn’s Disease but I do advise that you talk to a herbalist before using.
  • It certainly appears to have a relaxing effect on both adults and young children and is one herb that can be used for babies. But, do always ask the advice of a qualified herbalists before you do so to make sure you are using correct dosages of infusions before using to help with teething problems and stomach upsets in babies. Essential oil should not be used on children under the age of five years.
  • As an anti-spasmodic you can use to ease cramping during a period and to help relieve the symptoms of the menupause.
  • It may relieve hayfever and other allergies particularly when used as a lotion on skin rashes or inflammation. It can also stimulate healing of wounds or burns but again follow directions when used for this purpose. If you use some drops in your bath water it is soothing for a number of skin conditions such as eczema and also act as an anti-bacterial agent to prevent the spread of any infections.
  • Use a drop of oil in some warm water for an effective mouthwash and to help heal soft tissue in the mouth including gum disease.

I tend to use A. Vogel for my herbal remedies and they do a very good lotion.

I use Celestial Seasonings or Numi herbal teas but check out your local health food shop as they usually carry good quality tea and lotions.

Do remember not to discontinue any prescribed medication without first discussing with your doctor.

Contraindications for the use of Chamomile oils and infusions.

  • Because of the anti-spasmodic effect of chamomile and because it could cause contractions, pregnant women should not use the essential oil.
  • Essential oils should not be used on children under the age of five.
  • Both the tea and essential oil can increase the effect of certain prescribed sedatives or anti-depressants.
  • Both the tea and essential oil must not be taken with anti-coagulants such as Warfarin.

I hope you have found this useful. I drink chamomile on a regular basis and find it particularly beneficial last thing at night to help me sleep through.

Thanks for dropping in and you will find a selection of herbal posts in this directory or search Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest.