Case Study: Bronchitis

Case study: Bronchitis

(from case files, National College of Naturopathic Medicine)

Patient: Twenty-one year-old female, 5'4", 115 lbs

History: smoker; allergies to pollen; history of chronic bronchitis. Botanical treatment:

Tussilago farfara coltsfoot Equal parts Verbascum thapsus mullein Glycrrhiza glabra licorice

Take 1 Tbls in a cup of warm water four times a day for 5 days.

Other Treatment: hot fomentation to chest

Follow up: three days after initial treatment

The patient has a lot of mucous, difficulty expectorating, and a dry cough.

Botanical treatment:

Tincture Echinacea spp. echinacea

2 parts Eryiodictyon yerba santa
1 part Usnea barbata old man's beard 2 parts Glycyrrhiza glabra licorice 2 parts
25 drops four times a day for two days, then 30 drops a day until gone.
Follow up: six days after initial treatment.

Patient responded well. No return visit scheduled.


It is no small feat to abort a respiratory infection in six days in a patient with a history of chronic bronchitis. The first formula is a combination of plants with expectorant, demulcent, and anti-inflammatory properties. The second formula is more interesting, being tailored exactly to the patient's symptoms. The antibiotic and immune-stimulating herbs (usnea and echinacea) are important as it becomes evident the cough is not clearing up on its own. Yerba santa, a stimulating expectorant, is given for the lack of expectoration (despite plenty of mucous elsewhere), but in a smaller proportion than the other herbs. Stimulating expectorants must be used with caution in a dry cough because they stimulate mucous secretion by irritating the tissues. If the tissues are already irritated, these plants may make the inflammation worse. Thus glycyrrhiza, which is demulcent and anti-inflammatory, is also included, in twice the amount of the yerba santa.

Medical Herbalism.


By Paul Bergner

Share this with your friends