Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, can make it difficult to breathe. Symptoms include coughing fits, shortness of breath and fatigue. And while there is no cure, treatment of symptoms can include medication, pulmonary rehabilitation or oxygen therapy. Some natural treatments for COPD, however, can also help provide relief on a day-to-day basis. Here, we present five COPD natural treatments you can try at home. Always remember to check with a doctor before taking any supplements, making dietary changes or incorporating physical activity.
Natural treatments that can help relieve the symptoms of COPD
- Vitamins – Several vitamins may help those with COPD better manage their symptoms, calm inflammation and prevent severe damage. The best source of vitamins is often food, so make sure you’re incorporating some natural sources of the following vitamins before choosing a supplement:
- Vitamin D: Many people — especially those with COPD — are deficient in vitamin D. Some evidence shows that it can reduce exacerbation of the illness. Vitamin D is naturally found in egg yolks, yogurt, milk and cheese.
- Vitamin C: You can get a good dose of this inflammation-blasting vitamin from oranges and other citrus; dark, leafy green vegetables like kale; broccoli; berries; and tomatoes.
- Vitamin A: A great driver of a healthy immune system, vitamin A is naturally found in salmon and other fatty fish, dairy, mangoes, cantaloupe, carrots, squash, broccoli and leafy greens.
- Vitamin E: This immune system booster can also help protect against cell damage, and can be found in vegetable oils, cereals, meat, poultry, eggs, fruit and vegetables.
- Antioxidants – Antioxidants help protect the body’s cells from free radicals, which are highly reactive compounds that can cause damage. The effects of oxidants can include lung inflammation, which can make it tough for somebody with COPD to breathe without trouble. Lots of foods include antioxidants, such as certain beans, apples and berries; plums; artichoke hearts; olive oil; green tea; cherries; carrots; prunes; ginger; and fish.
- Herbal remedies – Certain people have found relief from COPD symptoms from the following herbal remedies:
- Eucalyptus: Reduces congestion and helps loosen mucus.
- Ginger: Breaks down mucus, improves lung circulation and decreases inflammation.
- Oregano: Contains natural antihistamines and decongestants.
- Peppermint: Contains menthol, which helps relax respiratory muscles.
- Ginseng: May help improve breathing.
- Turmeric: Has been shown to include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- Melatonin: May reduce oxidative stress in those with COPD.
- Red sage: May be an antioxidant and help protect blood vessels from damage caused by low blood oxygen levels.
- Physical activity – While it can be difficult for somebody who is having trouble breathing with COPD to exert themselves physically, gentle exercises like tai chi and even water-based exercises like aqua-walking and light swimming can help increase oxygen levels, increase lung function and generally improve the patient’s overall sense well-being.
- Breathing exercises – Certain breathing exercises can help reduce breathlessness and improve energy levels for those with COPD. Pulmonary rehabilitation will often teach patients how to incorporate simple breathing techniques and exercises into their day-to-day lives.
Cellular therapy can also provide relief from COPD
While natural remedies can help treat the symptoms of COPD, cellular therapy uses the patient’s own cells to encourage the growth of new, healthy lung tissue. This can help reduce the damage caused by chronic lung disease and treat the underlying cause of your symptoms. For information on whether cellular therapy may be an option for you, contact a patient coordinator today.