Enlargement of the air spaces distal to terminal non-respiratory bronchioles, accompanied by destructive changes of the alveolar walls.
Emphysema, which often accompanies chronic bronchitis, is damage to the elastic walls of the sac-like alveoli in the lungs. This is caused by constant coughing to try to dislodge the bacteria and mucus blocking the swollen bronchi. Microscopic hairs called cilia which line the airways act as a respiratory `escalator’ pushing out particles of dust, soot, and bacteria. In chronic bronchitis the cilia become paralyzed due to the constant secretion of viscid mucus. Smoking and to a lesser degree alcohol exacerbate this state.
Actions Indicated for the Processes Behind this Disease
Pulmonary tonics are important in long term strengthening of the lungs, but will do little in short term relief of an attack.
Expectorant remedies will be essential to ensure that there is the minimum of build up of sputum in the lungs. Stimulant expectorants are necessary because of the lessening of tone in the alveoli walls.
Demulcents will be soothing and support the relaxing expectorants.
Anti-spasmodic plants will ease the spasm response in the muscles of the lungs.
Anti-microbial support is called for if there is potential for secondary infection, which is too be guarded against at all costs.
Anti-catarrhals will aid the body in dealing with any over production of sputum in lungs or sinuses.
Cardio-Tonic herbs will support the heart in the face of lung congestion or strain.
Nervine support is always appropriate either because stress is a trigger in some form or because the asthma becomes a source of stress and concern which then in turn triggers attacks.
There are no specific herbs as such, but the anti-asthmatic remedies all help.
One possible prescription for Emphysema
Inula helenium — — — equal parts of tincture to 5ml. taken three times a day.
This combination supplies the following actions
Pulmonaries (Inula helenium, Lobelia inflata)
Expectorant (Sanguinaria canadensis, Inula helenium, Grindelia camporum, Euphorbia pilulifera, Lobeliainflata, Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Demulcent (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Anti-spasmodic (Inula helenium, Sanguinaria canadensis, Grindelia camporum, Euphorbia pilulifera, Lobelia inflata, Prunus serotina, Glycyrrhizaglabra, Pimpinella anisum, Ephedra sinica)
Anti-microbial (Inula helenium, Sanguinaria canadensis, Pimpinella anisum)
Anti-inflammatories (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Pimpinellaanisum)
Anti-catarrhals (Inula helenium, Pimpinella anisum, Ephedra sinica)
Cardio-Tonic (Leonurus cardiaca)
Nervine (Lobelia inflata, Leonurus cardiaca)
Broader Context of Treatment
Great care must be taken with general health and well-being as any health problem will aggravate this condition. Thus anything and everything must be addressed!