6 Ways Turmeric Benefits In Bronchitis (Science Backed)

We have already discussed the benefits of turmeric for respiratory disorders in some of our other articles.

In this one, we will discuss bronchitis. Incidences of bronchitis are on a rise across the world because of smoking and increased pollution. Let’s first understand what bronchitis is actually.

Bronchitis is a respiratory illness which occurs when the air passages of the lungs get inflamed. Acute bronchitis is a viral infection that starts with a cold and spreads to the sinuses and airways.

It usually lasts for a few days with a cough that may continue for longer periods. Chronic bronchitis is a persistent wet cough that occurs in those who smoke.

Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, sore throat, mucus buildup, fever, tightness in back and chest and fatigue.

Apart from viruses, bronchitis can also be caused by bacterial infections, pollution, cigarette smoke or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Chronic bronchitis can be prevented by stopping smoking and avoiding air pollutants. According to stats more than 15% smokers in western countries suffer from chronic bronchitis and around 6% non-smokers.

To prevent acute bronchitis take similar steps as you would when avoiding all infections – wash hands, get a flu shot, avoid infected people, cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.

Medicines, bronchodilators, steam inhalation, nutritional supplements, aromatherapy, homeopathy, herbal and alternative therapies are some ways to treat bronchitis depending on the severity.

Turmeric or Curcuma longa is a herb which has been used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for its healing properties.

Turmeric and its active pigment, curcumin, have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetic properties, to count a few.

Read: 100 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric 

Research has stated several advantages of curcumin in treating respiratory infections and pulmonary diseases. Thus, its features can be utilised for the treatment and management of bronchitis.

Let us know about the many benefits of turmeric in bronchitis.

Turmeric Benefits For Bronchitis

Turmeric can benefit Bronchitis patients in several ways. Turmeric is one of the best natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant agent and help in combating inflammation of bronchial tubes. It helps to fight microbial infections associated with Bronchitis and help develop immunity against it. Turmeric can help with several common symptoms of Bronchitis such as fever, shortness of breath, etc. lastly, turmeric help negating the ill effects of Bronchitis medications.

Benefits of Turmeric for Bronchitis patients

These benefits are discussed in detail below.

 

1. Turmeric can reduce inflammation of the bronchial tubes

Inflammation occurs when the immune system tries to protect the body cells from damage by harmful antigens and microbes that may enter from outside. The immune cells are directed towards the site of infection, and this results in swelling and redness.

During bronchitis, viruses, bacteria or other irritants may enter the respiratory tract through the nasal or oral passages. These agents may cause infection or injury to the bronchial tubes. As a result, the process of inflammation is mediated.

Curcumin present in turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent which has been proven to be effective against various inflammatory disorders. [1]

Bronchitis is can be caused by the influenza virus. [2] [3] [4] [5]

Studies have shown that curcumin can alleviate the inflammation of the respiratory tract caused due to infection by influenza virus.

It suppresses the activation of macrophages (cells involved the immune response) and inhibiting the NF-kB (Nuclear Factor-kappa B) signalling pathway which is responsible for bringing about inflammation. [6]

Polysaccharides from turmeric can control the secretion of interleukins and prostaglandins which are vital components of an inflammatory process. [7]

Curcumin reduces inflammation by many other pathways also. It can inhibit bradykinin, another inflammatory mediator, which directs the secretion of interleukins and causes inflammation to occur. [8]

What does this mean?

Curcumin can inhibit the various pathways and agents that cause the inflammation of the bronchial tubes.

2. Turmeric is an excellent antioxidant

Viruses, bacteria, pollutants, lung irritants and smoke from cigarettes are the primary causes of bronchitis. These agents cause the bronchial tubes to inflame and may also lead to the development of oxidative stress in the respiratory tract. [9] [10] [11] [12]

Oxidative stress develops as a result of a surge in the number of toxins in the form of free radicals or reactive oxygen species. These toxins could cause injury and damage to cells and DNA.

Anti-oxidants can fight off or neutralise these toxins and prevent this damage. While some antioxidants are present in the body, more is required from outside to balance the increased number of toxins generated by infections and infestations by harmful chemicals.

Curcumin found in turmeric is a potent antioxidative agent and thus could be helpful in protecting the cells from the body from damage in bronchitis. It can scavenge the free radicals and neutralise them to protect the body cells. [13] [14]

What does this mean?

Antioxidants in turmeric can protect the cells of the respiratory tract from damage by toxins, microbes and harmful chemicals.

3. Turmeric can fight off the microbial infections in bronchitis

Bronchitis is known to be caused by the same virus that causes influenza and flu. This includes the influenza virus, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and rhinoviruses. [15]

Curcumin, present in turmeric has an anti-viral effect on the influenza virus. It could assist in the treatment of the infection and reduce the severity of the diseases. It mediates immune response towards the virus, inhibits its replication and protects against the injury caused by the viral infection. [16] [17] [18]

Curcumin also shows an inhibitory action against the respiratory syncytial virus. It suppresses the replication and multiplication of the virus without having toxic effects on the cells. Thus, it could have therapeutic applications in treating respiratory diseases like bronchitis. [19]

Bronchitis may sometimes also be caused by bacterial infection by bacteria like C. pneumoniae, M. pneumoniae, S. pneumonia, K. pneumonia and H. influenzae. The bacterial infection is more common in severe and chronic incidences of bronchitis. [20] [21] [22]

Anti-microbial agents are thus required to treat the infections. Antibiotics may be prescribed, but they can have certain side effects, and the risk of developing antibiotic resistance is always involved. [23] [24]

Curcumin depicts anti-bacterial activity against a wide variety of bacterial strains, including those causing infections in bronchitis cases. [25] [26] [27]

Thus, curcumin could be beneficial in dealing with both viral and bacterial infections in bronchitis.

What does this mean?

Turmeric has potential to inhibit the activity of several viruses and bacteria known to cause bronchitis infections.

4. Turmeric improves immunity

The immune system protects the body from infections and other harmful substances. An active and adequately working immune system ensures the prevention of many diseases and the smooth functioning of body parts.

Persons, whose immune system is comprised, are at an increased risk of developing infections like bronchitis. Thus, stimulating the immune system could result in the prevention of bronchitis.

Various components of turmeric including polysaccharides and curcuminoids have been shown to have immunomodulatory activities. [28]

Curcumin, an active ingredient of turmeric can increase the production of several immune cells and components and thus, stimulate the immune system. [29]

It can mediate the secretion of antibodies, T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, dendritic cells and natural killer cells. These cells are required for killing microbes and other harmful substances in the body. [30]

What does this mean?

Turmeric and its constituents can stimulate the immune system which results in better immune response and protection from diseases.

5. Turmeric can relieve several symptoms of bronchitis

Cough and cold: Turmeric has been used for centuries for treatment for a cough and common cold. [31] [32]

Studies have shown that inhaling the vapours of turmeric oil, which is volatile in nature, can relieve a cough and sputum, thereby assisting in the treatment of respiratory diseases. [33]

Body aches: People suffering from bronchitis often experience a sore throat, headache and body ache. To ease the pain, they are commonly prescribed various painkillers, which may have side effects.

Curcumin has analgesic properties, which could be used to provide symptomatic relief in bronchitis patients. [34]

It could be as effective as other anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving drugs like ibuprofen. [35]

Fever: Studies have hinted at the fact that curcumin present in turmeric could have anti-pyretic effects and could be used for relief from fever. [36]

Scientists are of the opinion that inhibiting of the inflammatory responses by activation of the Nuclear Factor-Kappa B (NF-KB) may be a useful strategy in dealing with a fever. [37]

We have already seen that curcumin can suppress the inflammation signalling pathway mediated by NF-kB. [38] Thus, it may be used for the management of fever.

Shortness of breath: Bronchitis may cause breathing problems, particularly in those affected by chronic bronchitis caused by cigarette smoking.

Oral intake of curcumin has been found to alleviate emphysema (shortness of breath) caused by inflammation in the respiratory system. [39]

What does this mean?

Bronchitis symptoms like cough, cold, fever, body aches and breathing problems can be reduced to a significant degree by turmeric and its compounds.

6. Turmeric can alleviate the side effect of some drugs used in bronchitis

Acetaminophen is often prescribed to bronchitis patients for relieving fever and inflammation.  It may have side effects which could damage the liver and the kidneys.

Curcumin, from turmeric, has the potential to reduce the toxic effects of acetaminophen and protect the kidneys and liver from damage. It could be used in combination with this drug, which could subsequently reduce the dosage and lower the risk of toxicity. [40]

What does this mean?

Turmeric has been found to protect the body against the toxicity caused by acetaminophen, which is used to treat inflammation and fever in bronchitis.

Dosage of Turmeric for Bronchitis

There is no specific dosage of turmeric for bronchitis. Dietary intake of turmeric can benefit in treatment and prevention of bronchitis.

However, turmeric and curcumin are not appropriately absorbed by the body. (Read How to improve the bioavailability of Turmeric?)

Golden paste incorporates turmeric and black pepper along with healthy fats to enhance its absorption by the body. Here is the recipe for Golden Paste made from turmeric powder. Find the method for making a golden paste using fresh turmeric roots here.

Initially, small doses of ¼ – ½ tsp a day should be taken for a week.

If no gastric side effects are seen, the dose can be increased gradually by ¼ – ½ tsp per week.

Turmeric should be avoided on an empty stomach. Large doses should also be avoided at the same time as taking medicines and a gap of 3-4 hours should be maintained between intakes of the two.

(Read: Black Pepper in GP: Does it cause drug interaction?)

The ideal dosage differs from person to person depending on the tolerability of one’s stomach. Some may require less while others may need more.

Always consult a medical practitioner before taking supplements.

Turmeric can be included in regular cooking and diet. Turmeric milk and turmeric tea are delicious ways to take turmeric.

Precautions to be taken

It is safe to take turmeric when included in the diet. However, if taking turmeric supplements, certain precautions need to be considered.

(Read Possible Side Effects of Turmeric)

Persons suffering from gallbladder obstruction, bleeding disorders, pregnant and lactating women and people who are going to undergo surgery should avoid supplemental dosage of turmeric.

Individuals suffering from gout and who are at an increased risk of developing kidney stones should limit their intake of turmeric.

(Read: Is turmeric safe in gout?)

(Read: Does turmeric cause kidney stones?)

Turmeric should not be consumed on an empty stomach to avoid acid reflux symptoms.

Turmeric can interact with the working of certain drugs such as anti-depressants, blood sugar reducing medicines, stomach acid reducing medications, etc.

Curcumin found in turmeric interferes with the metabolism of drugs and thus, curcumin supplements should not be taken along with other medicines at the same time.

Bottomline

Turmeric and its various components are incredibly beneficial for health and respiratory diseases like bronchitis. They possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which can reduce inflammation, infection and toxicity in the bronchial tubes.

They can stimulate the immune system to fight against the microbes and prevent further damage. Turmeric can ease many other symptoms of bronchitis including fever, cough, cold, body aches and shortness of breath.

It could also attenuate the side effects of certain drugs used for symptomatic relief of bronchitis.

About the Author

Shruti (BE Biotech. & PGD Clinical Research)

Turmeric for Health's writer team consists of passionate writers from the fields of biotechnology, pharmacy, nutrition, Ayurveda & microbiology.Our writers are highly qualified with many having Ph.D., M.Tech & MSc degrees while others having B.Tech, BSc, B.Pharm. Our differentiation lies in researching and presenting ONLY FACTUAL SCIENTIFIC information. We spend 10s of hours to write a single article. Info of our articles is sourced from reliable scientific sources which are also provided as a link alongside for readers to refer if they want. You can read more about our team in the " About us" section.

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21 Comments

    1. I make a drink from turmerick called Haldi Doodh. Its an Indian drink used in India. Its simple to make and delicious.
      1 cup whole milk
      3/4 turmerick
      1 teaspoon of honey. I use raw honey with cinnamon
      1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper.

      Mix all ingredients in pan, bring to boil. Simmer a minute or so an turn off.

      I strain mine and add 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. You can also add ginger

  1. My 2yrs baby boy having cronic bronchitis last 2mnths. Can u plz tell me how much quantity of turmeric should i give him….

    1. I too have bronchiectasis. I contracted two major bacteria’s I’m being treated for. I use turmeric with ginger and drink the turmeric milk. I also drink a lot of pineapple juice that really helps because of the bromelain in it.

  2. Wonderful there! I am happy you are sharing your knowledge for the benefit of mankind. Cheers there !
    But I have One small lingering doubt, Why are you proscribing Turmeric for Diabetics? I Think the strong metabolic activity Turmeric induces can help people with pre-diabetes and even Diabetics?
    Also, Turmeric has strong effects on cleansing the Liver, gall bladder too? Do you think Turmeric can worsen Gall bladder stones? If so, Please elaborate for the benefit of everyone here.

    Cheers Again!

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. The precaution is for taking “turmeric supplements” and not for turmeric in general. Hope that clarifies your doubt.

  3. Hello Keshav, I’m Alex in the U.S. And three days ago I was diagnosed with Bronchitis and an antibiotic was prescribed to me. Since the antibiotic will interact with another medication I’m taking I decided to research for a more natural approach. Thank you for your research, knowledge and this report. I already have tumeric in my kitchen cupboard!

    1. That’s awesome. How are you taking it? Turmeric milk is mt fav. way ! If you are taking supplements please do not take an overdose. Keep us posted on how t turned out to be ..

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