The organization of the human lung is such that they are covered by narrow seams of fluid sandwiched by two sheets of mucous membranes, this design gives the best possible space for the intake of air and aids respiratory processes, these membranes are known as the pleura. When this lining becomes inflamed due to some factor a condition called as pleurisy results. Only a single lung at a time is affected by pleurisy. The appearance of a fever and the development of a dry cough are symptoms that signal the onset of pleurisy in a person. A dry type of pleurisy and a wet type exist as different kinds of the same condition. When there is an accumulation of a lot of fluid around the lungs, wet pleurisy is the proper definition of the condition and the dry form of pleurisy results when there is a scarcity of fluid around the lungs. Often occurring one after the other, both forms of pleurisy lead to the development of different symptoms in the person.
The first condition that develops in an affected person is usually the dry form of pleurisy. The onset of extreme pain in the chest that accompanies every breath results as the inflammation in the pleura dries the mucous lining of fluids and this leads to the lungs rubbing against one another, a condition that produces the painful reactions. Breathing becomes shallow and rapid as the body typically tries to compensate and avoids the pain in the lungs. The other symptoms may include the onset of stabbing pains arising when the person inhales deeply or coughs but these are present in only the milder types of pleurisy. The painful sensations experienced when breathing can be minimized by lying down on the painful side of the body, these reduces the painfulness by restricting the movement of the lungs and the resulting friction that brings on the pain. Problems with respiration come about whenever the wet type of pleurisy immediately follows the dry form of the condition; this respiratory distress replaces the painful sensation felt in the dry form of the condition. Respiratory distress in the wet type of pleurisy is caused by the release of excess fluid from the membranes; this sudden loss can quickly and effectively disturb the ability to breathe normally. The far more serious form of infection can come along with the formation of pus when the immune system is unable to suppress the initial infection in the lungs.
Though an infection in the lungs is responsible for the onset of pleurisy, the presence of other serious conditions or disorders are the usual causative factors in its appearance in a person. The most common disorder responsible for the onset of pleurisy is pneumonia, however disease like tuberculosis and other types of serious disorders can also be factors that bring about the occurrence of the condition. Vulnerability of the lining of the pleura can also increase and the risk of infection is heightened by injuries and irritation sustained by the lungs due to the inhalation of toxic substances and chemicals in the environment. The other hidden causative factors for pleurisy in a person maybe the presence of a tumor, an embolism in the pulmonary system and or an autoimmune attack from the body's own defective immune system. Additionally, in cases where an impaired circulatory system allows some blood to flow back into the lungs due to conditions like a heart failure, pleurisy may be the resulting condition.
Supplements and herbs
As long as the bowels can endure it high dosages of the vitamins C and A can be used to fight the infection in a similar manner to the treatment during an episode of pneumonia. It is important to assess the levels of tolerance the bowels have when warding off infection through the use of large amounts of the vitamin C. A reduction in the duration of the condition and the promotion of an optimal level of healing and restoration can be achieved through the use of the vitamin A as a supplement. The oxygen in the body can damage and deplete the efficiency of the vitamin A supplement and to avoid this issue, the vitamin A supplement can be taken in combination with the vitamin E which is a strong antioxidant and will nullify the effects of excess oxygen on the other vitamin. In other forms of disorders of the lungs and the pulmonary system there is also often a deficiency in the levels of the vitamin E. The addition of a B complex vitamin is preferable when supplementing similar to the treatment method during the incidence of pneumonia in a person. Internal helpful microbial flora like the Lactobacillus acidophilus and other healthy bacteria, undergo elimination whenever there is a use of antibiotics in the person. Additional problems due to the absence of this flora internally can be avoided by ingesting supplements of these bacteria, and reestablishing their populations in the colon. For the stimulation of the immune system and in the body's active absorption of proteins, the mineral zinc plays an essential role, and supplements of this mineral are therefore very effective in treating disorders in the body. The regulation and maintenance of optimal levels of the vitamin E in the human body is another role that this mineral fulfils.
The stimulation of respiratory function and health and the removal of congestion because of accumulated mucus in the lungs can be achieved through the use of the herbal remedies given below. Herbal teas and tinctures, and herbal capsules and topical ointments and salves etc. are some of the ways in which these herbs can be utilized. The form of the herbal remedy that is suitable to your needs should be the one that you utilize in the treatment of a disorder; this is unless or until the prescription advises you to use an herb in a certain form.
The respiratory system can be healed and restored through the use of the comfrey herb. This herb encourages healing and the growth of new cellular structures, it also eliminates dead and dying tissues in the body and has an added property of dislodging accumulated mucus in the lungs. The stimulation of the drainage through the lymphatic system and an ability to act as a dilator of the bronchi are some of the properties of the immortal root, and its use as a supplement is advised during pleurisy. A disinfecting property along with an ability to clear the congestion due to mucus characterizes the function of fresh-pressed juice from the thyme; these useful properties are very effective against the symptoms of pleurisy. For optimal treatment and effect this herb can be used in a mixture with the juice of the coltsfoot herb during treatment. Using a single cup of boiling water and adding a tbsp. of mullein blossoms, a tea can be prepared which can be used as an herbal drink. The blossoms can be allowed to steep through the water for about eight minutes; the resulting liquid can then be strained and a cup of the resulting liquid can be taken for a few weeks at a go, a single dose thrice a day of this tea can prove beneficial. The restoration of pulmonary tissue and its bolstering can be attained through the use of horsetail herb, the high silica content of this herb helps to strengthen the pulmonary tissues. Thrice every day a tea made from the horsetail can be drunk in dosages of about 3 cups of tea or if preferred 15 drops of tincture mixed in a cup of boiling water can be used. Strain the liquid that results when two-heaped tsp. of finely chopped comfrey roots have been mixed in a cup of cold water, this liquid can be warmed and drunk as an herbal treatment. During the course of a day 2-4 cups can be drunk in small sips as a continuous treatment. Compresses and massage packs can also be made form herbs one of these methods is to add water and quark to the seed powder of the buckthorn herb, a pack can be made from this mixture and this can then be placed over the chest to quell inflamed tissues in the region of the lungs. Rapid healing and the alleviation of painful sensations can be achieved using packs made using hayseeds. Buckthorn seeds can be used to make a pack that can be applied to the region of the lungs in pleurisy that results in the production of pus.
Additional things you may do
Of great importance during the onset of pleurisy is that the affected individual receives sufficient relaxation and rest in bed. It is important not to exert yourself or to put undue pressure and strain on your body at least while the symptoms persist. Two months may be the time required for full recovery and convalescence following an incidence of pleurisy. Some applications such as hot chest wraps, chest packs made from the seeds of the mustard, and washing the body in vinegar along with calf wraps can be utilized during the incidence of the dry form of pleurisy in a person. The formation of scar tissue and permanent scarring in the lungs can be avoided through careful and regular exercises utilizing deep-breathing techniques, these activity can be carried out fifteen minutes everyday, once in the morning, once in the noon and again in the evenings during the period of convalescence for a duration of a minimum of two months as you recover. Stimulating the region of the chest by leaving overnight an application or leaf pack made from a raw cabbage can be beneficial as an external treatment. The leaf pack made form cabbage can be replaced and removed after twelve hours, have elapsed, after removal of the pack; you must wash the chest area with warm water for optimal effect. The back or the region of the chest on the body can commonly develop a red patch or rash when pleurisy sets affects a person. As long as this redness does not diminish or disappear keep renewing the cabbage leaves in the pack at least once every twelve hours. The elimination of toxins through the surface of the skin is the reason the rash appears.
- Vitamin A, 25,000 IU (warning: avoid during pregnancy)
- Vitamin B complex, 100 mg
- Vitamin C (with bioflavonoids) 1,000 mg every couple hours
- Vitamin E, with tocopherols, 400 IU two times a day
- 50 mg of zinc with 3 mg of copper
- Lactobacillus acidophilus, three capsules or one tea spoon
Other beneficial herbs
- From D Harris
- Sudden onset of pleurisy causes immediate, extremely painful breathing. After 18 hours of enduring the extreme pain, I decided that it could not possibly be a heart attack, even though it was on the right side of my body. I took considerable doses of aspirin during the night and when morning arrived with no cessation of pain, I began 2 different antibiotics as well as supplemental vitamin C.
Within 4 hours of beginning this regiment, there was a small but noticeable improvement in my breathing-in that I was able to breathe slightly deeper without the extreme pain of the previous 18 hours.