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I have been struggling with pneumonia for the past couple months.

Q. Dear Terry, “I have been struggling with pneumonia for the past couple months. I’ve been prescribed multiple antibiotics, but still have a nagging cough and lots of mucus. Is there something natural I can try?” — Lois M., Grand Rapids, MI

A. Dear Lois, Recovering from pneumonia can take several weeks, or even months. I have found that supporting our body’s natural defenses and using botanicals to help alleviate some of the symptoms can be very useful.

My favorite botanical for respiratory issues is boswellia. Boswellia works on a specific inflammatory pathway in the body called 5-LOX, which has a major role in lung conditions and diseases.  When there is excessive inflammation in the lungs, then more mucus is produced and the possibility of infections, like pneumonia, is greatly increased. Fortunately, boswellia is able to open the airways, reduce bronchial and sinus swelling, and help you to breathe easier. Look for a boswellia that is standardized to at least 10% AKBA, a very important anti-inflammatory substance in boswellia. You also want a boswellia that has low levels of beta boswellic acid, which is actually pro-inflammatory. Choose a boswellia with greater than 10% AKBA and less than 5% beta boswellic acid.

In addition to boswellia, there are a few herbs that can work synergistically with boswellia to alleviate some of your symptoms.

Thyme stops spasmodic coughing, relaxes the airways, and strengthens the activity of the cilia (tiny, fluttering projections in the sinus cavities and respiratory system). Cilia are very important in the fight against mucus because they help loosen phlegm and keep mucus moving out of the body. Ravintsara is a strong antibacterial and helps to relieve inflammation and oxidative stress. Myrtle is an antiseptic and antibacterial shrub that is excellent for treating bronchial and lung infections. It also helps to stimulate the cilia to more effectively clear mucus from the lungs.

I would take a combination of boswellia, ravintsara, myrtle, and thyme two to three times per day.

For additional respiratory support, you may also want to consider a combination of thyme and climbing ivy. These botanicals function as expectorants (helps cough out phlegm) and mucolytics (breaks up congestion). When used together they make a very excellent combination, helping to keep the lungs clear. Both herbs have been extensively researched in Germany and other European countries for use with many respiratory conditions. I suggest taking these ingredients three times a day.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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