Managing bronchitis without antibiotics

Despite official guideline which state specifically that antibiotics should NOT be the first line treatment for bronchitis*, 2014 statistics from the Medical Journal of Australia show that 90% of the time, doctors prescribe antibiotics for new cases of acute bronchitis in adults.

If antibiotics don’t help, what DO you do?

First of all, if your GP reaches for the prescription book ask for the basis on which antibiotics are being prescribed.

Then take care of the basics – rest and fluids.  What your doctor may be able to add is a medical certificate so you can take some rest.  Fluids are up to you, however I would be recommending an appropriate herbal tea as a first step (for example, licorice tea).

Then, look at the different ways you can boost your immune system – this is where you can consider remedies with a long history of use such as (quality) echinacea, astragalus, reishi or horehound.  Supplements such as Vitamin C can also be a great help.

Herbs deliver their best results when they’re specifically matched to your specific constitution and state of health, so get advice from an experienced naturopath on what will best help you.

Underlying factors

Bronchitis is a combination of inflammation and infection and stress of some kind is usually a contributing factor – food stressors (allergies), grief, work problems and gut health can all combine to trigger its symptoms.

It’s complex, so taking a look at the whole picture is particularly important.


* national Committee for Quality Assurance, HEDIS 2012 measures.  www.ncqa.org/HEDISQualityMeasurement/HEDISmEASURES/hedis2012.aspx

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