Ways of treating acute bronchitis at home include inhaling steam, consuming ginger and turmeric, gargling with salt water, and getting plenty of sleep. Some people, however, may need medical treatment.

You may be able to treat acute bronchitis on your own without medical treatment. It usually improves within 10–20 days, although a cough may take 4 weeks or longer to go away.

Chronic bronchitis is bronchitis that lasts 3 months or longer. It is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic bronchitis will need medical attention, but home remedies may help manage the symptoms.

Here, get some tips on home remedies for bronchitis and why each one works.

Learn more about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Some natural remedies may help soothe the symptoms of bronchitis.

1. Ginger

Some researchers have found evidence that ginger can have an anti-inflammatory effect against respiratory infection.

You can take ginger in several ways:

  • Chew dried, crystallized ginger.
  • Use fresh ginger to make tea.
  • Eat it raw or add it to food.
  • Take it in capsule form as directed.

It’s safest to use ginger in a natural form rather than in capsules or supplements. You may be sensitive to ginger, so take it in small amounts if you’re not used to it. Eating occasional ginger is safe for everyone, but do not take ginger as a supplement or medication if you:

  • are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • have diabetes
  • have heart problems
  • have any type of blood disorder

2. Garlic

Garlic is believed to have a number of healing properties. Results of a 2016 study show that garlic effectively inhibited the growth of infectious bronchitis virus. This finding suggests garlic can be used as a natural remedy for bronchitis.

Fresh garlic is best, but if you dislike the taste, you can get it in capsule form, too.

Use garlic with caution if you have a bleeding disorder. Always take it in small amounts to make sure it doesn’t upset your stomach.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of Curcuma longa.

A 2018 study found that turmeric has a number of properties that could make it useful in fighting bronchitis. Among these are antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Turmeric also increases antioxidant activity, meaning that it may help reduce irritation and boost your immunity.

To take turmeric:

  • Add fresh turmeric to salads or use it to make pickles.
  • Mix 1/2 teaspoon of powdered turmeric with 1 teaspoon of honey to make a paste. Consume the paste 1 to 3 times per day while symptoms last.
  • Take turmeric in capsule form as directed.
  • Use powdered or fresh turmeric to make tea.

Using turmeric as a spice in food is usually safe unless you are sensitive to it. Do not use turmeric as a medication if you have:

If you’re pregnant or nursing, don’t take turmeric in large amounts.

4. Steam

A steam inhalation can help break up mucus so you can expel it more easily.

The easiest way to use steam is in the bath or shower. Make your shower as hot as you can handle, step in, then breathe deeply through your mouth and nose.

The hot water will also help relax muscles that may be tense from coughing. You can also visit a steam room at a gym or spa, if one’s available and you have enough energy. It’s best not to soak in a hot bath if you feel ill or short of breath.

Another steam option involves putting hot water in a bowl, covering your head with a towel, and inhaling the steam. Some people add a mentholated vapor rub to the hot water to help with moving mucus.


Be careful to not make the water too hot when using the bowl and towel method, as the steam may burn your airways.

Do not stay over the hot water for more than 1 or 2 minutes at a time, and don’t continue to heat the water.

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5. Saltwater

Gargling saltwater may help break up mucus and reduce pain in your throat.

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water. Sip small amounts of the salt water and gargle at the back of your throat. Do not swallow the water. Instead, spit it out in the sink. Repeat as often as you like.

Afterward, you may want to rinse your mouth with plain water.

6. Sleep

Getting plenty of sleep will allow your body to rest and recover.

It may be difficult to sleep soundly while fighting a cough, but you can take care to avoid any unnecessary activity.

It is during the deep stages of sleep that you repair and enhance immune function so your body can better fight the inflammation.

7. Lifestyle changes

A healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with the prevention of illnesses. It can help you recover faster when you’re sick, too. A minor illness may even be your body’s way of telling you to slow down and take it easy.

The following changes may help improve your recovery and reduce your risk of getting sick in the future:

8. Honey and lemons

A range of herbal treatments can help soothe dry coughs and sore throats.

Honey and lemon are popular remedies, either alone or in teas. Honey may help reduce the duration of a cough due to its antimicrobial properties. However, more research is needed.

9. Pineapple

Pineapple juice contains bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory properties. The bromelain in pineapple may help break up and expel mucus due to bronchitis and other respiratory infections.

10. Thyme

Thyme is a herb that appears to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties.

In 2021, 730 people joined a study to look at the effect of a preparation containing essences of of thyme and ivy. Of these, 87% of participants experienced clinically significant improvements in their cough symptoms, and 90% saw significant improvements in their quality of life.

You can look for over-the-counter (OTC) syrups containing thyme or use it to make an infusion.

Antibiotics can treat acute bronchitis that stems from a bacterial infection but not a virus.

Some medications can help manage the symptoms, but they won’t speed up the healing process.


You can pair OTC medications with the suggested natural remedies. The following medications may be helpful:

There are two types of over-the-counter cough medications: those that are meant to keep you from coughing (cough suppressants) and those that thin mucus to help you cough out congestion (expectorants).

It is essential to choose the right type of medication for the type of cough you have, as using the wrong one might make symptoms worse.


Antibiotics will only work if the bronchitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses or irritant inflammation, so they’re not usually used to treat bronchitis.

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Many of the therapies and treatments used for bronchitis are designed to help chronic, not acute, bronchitis.

Chronic bronchitis develops over time after long-term exposure to irritants that damage the lining of the bronchial tubes. When this damage occurs, your bronchial tubes become irritated and begin to produce too much mucus in an effort to coat the irritation.

Some therapies that may be used to treat chronic bronchitis include:

Acute bronchitis can clear up on its own once the infection that caused it subsides.

Chronic bronchitis is an ongoing condition, however. It’s a type of COPD and needs long-term medical treatment and monitoring.

If you think you aren’t recovering at a normal rate, visit your doctor.

You may also consider seeing your doctor if you have:

  • coughing that lasts more than a month
  • extremely painful cough
  • high fever
  • difficulty breathing
  • severe headache
  • blood with your cough
  • frequent cases of bronchitis

Acute bronchitis usually resolves within 10–20 days with home treatment, although a cough may persist for 4 weeks or longer.

While waiting for symptoms to improve:

  • Drink plenty of water and warm liquids, and eat healthy foods.
  • Rest as much as possible until you feel completely healthy.
  • Incorporate as many aspects of a healthy lifestyle into your daily routine to maintain your health.

What helps bronchitis go away faster?

If bronchitis results from a bacterial infection, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help cure it. If the cause is viral, however, you will need to wait until your body heals itself. Rest, avoiding smoking, and following a varied and balanced diet will all support your body while it heals and may help prevent symptoms from getting worse.

How do you fight bronchitis naturally?

Natural options for treating bronchitis include things you may already have at home, such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, breathing steam, gargling salt water, honey and lemons, pineapple, and thyme. Other things that may help include avoiding smoking, getting enough sleep, and using a humidifier.

What is the best drink for bronchitis?

Saltwater is a good gargle for respiratory infections like bronchitis. It may help break up mucus and reduce pain in your throat.

Beverages to drink to help relieve symptoms include hot tea made from natural ingredients like fresh ginger, powdered or fresh turmeric, or fresh lemon and honey.

How can I open my bronchial airways naturally?

There are several natural ways to help open your airways, including gargling saltwater, breathing steam, and using a humidifier.

Bronchitis can be chronic or acute. Acute bronchitis usually resolves in a few weeks, but and people with chronic bronchitis may experience exacerbations, when symptoms worsen.

Natural and home remedies — such as steam inhalation, honey and lemon, and garlic — may help manage the symptoms of bronchitis. Acute bronchitis often resolves with home treatment alone.

However, you may need medical treatment if you have severe or ongoing symptoms.

If symptoms persist or worsen, or if you frequently develop bronchitis, it’s best to see a doctor. They may recommend prescription medication or do tests to see if there is an underlying condition.