Acute bronchitis is swelling of the airways in the lungs (bronchi). In most cases, it is caused by a viral infection that happens during a cold. It results in coughing and problems breathing. It can worsen breathing problems in people with asthma.

The body must fight the virus. Rest and fluids may help, but over-the-counter medications only treat symptoms instead of the virus. Antibiotics may be helpful if there is also a bacterial infection. Some seek alternative treatments to manage symptoms.

Natural Therapies

The following alternative therapy may help in reducing symptoms.

Likely Effective

  • Pelargonium sidoides—Alcohol extract from the root of the plant. It has been shown to reduce symptoms and length of illness. B1, B2, B4-B7

Possibly Effective

The following alternative therapies may be possibly effective in reducing symptoms and length of illness:

  • Essential oil monoterpenes (from eucalyptus, citrus fruit and pine) A1-A7
  • Combination thyme and primrose root extract B3

Possibly Not Effective

The following alternative therapy may not be effective in reducing symptoms of acute bronchitis:

  • Vitamin A is thought to prevent lower respiratory infections. (Note: High vitamin A intake can build up to toxic levels.) C1

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used with Caution

Talk to your doctor about all herbs or supplements you are taking. Some may interact with your treatment plan or health conditions.

  • Vitamin A can build up to toxic levels. It may result in liver injury, bone problems, fatigue, hair loss, headaches, and dry skin. If you have liver disease, diabetes, alcoholism, or are taking blood thinners or isotretinoin, talk to your doctor before taking vitamin A.C1

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