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Pneumonia refers to the acute inflammation of the lungs and is one of the most serious infectious diseases. There are basically two types of pneumonia, called lobar pneumonia and bronchopneumonia They, however, run into each other and are treated in the same way. The disease becomes more serious if both the lungs are affected and is called double pneumonia.

Symptoms of pneumonia

Most cases of pneumonia begin with a cold in the head or throat. The patient generally feels chill, shivering, difficulty in breathing and sharp pain in the chest. This may be followed by a cough with pinkish sputum which may later become brownish. The patient usually suffers from fever and headache.

In more serious cases of pneumonia, the sputum may be of rusty colour. In children, the disease may cause delirium and convulsions. Most patients feel very miserable and sweat profusely. The temperature may rise to 105 F and pulse may go up to 150 beats per minutes.

Causes of pneumonia

Pneumonia is caused by various types of germs such as the streptococcus, staphylococcus and pneumococcal species. Four types are Streptococcus pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Bacillus subtilis and Micrococcus luteus. At times, certain viruses are also responsible for the disease. Other causes of diseases are fungal infection, irritation by worms, inhaling foreign matter, irritant dust or noxious gases and vapours such as ammonia, nitrogen dioxide or cadmium.

The real cause of pneumonia, however, is the toxic condition of the body, especially of the lungs and air passages, resulting from wrong feeding and faulty life style. Persons with healthy tissues and strong vital force are unlikely to develop pneumonia. It is only when the system is clogged with the toxic matter and the vitality is low that the germs of pneumonia invade a person.

Vitamin D acts as a natural antibiotic working against all types of microbes (bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses). It has shown, in scientific studies, to be more affective at preventing influenza than vaccines and anti-viral medications. Vitamin D levels can easily become deficient, especially during the winter months, as the body only stores it for up to 60 days thus making an individual susceptible to infections from November to April. It is during this period that blood tests should be done, especially if an individual keeps getting infections, colds and influenza, and extra vitamin D rich foods should be consumed.

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Highest sources of vitamin D per serving listed

  • Krill oil - 1 teaspoon: 1000 IU

  • Eel - 85 g or 3 oz: 792 IU

  • Maitake mushrooms - 70 g: 786 IU

  • Rainbow trout - 85 g or 3 oz: 540 IU

  • Cod liver oil - 1 teaspoon: 440 IU

  • Mackerel - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Salmon - 85 g or 3 oz: 400 IU

  • Halibut - 85 g or 3 oz: 196 IU

  • Tuna - 85 g or 3 oz: 228 IU

  • Sardines - 85 g or 3 oz: 164 IU

  • Chanterelle mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 155 IU

  • Raw milk - 1 glass or 8 oz: 98 IU

  • Egg yolk - 1 large: 41 IU

  • Caviar - 28g or 1 oz: 33 IU

  • Hemp seeds - 100 g or 3.5 oz: 22 IU

  • Portabella mushrooms - 85 g or 3 oz: 6 IU

NOTE: One IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 μg or 0.3 micrograms.

The human respiratory sysem
Click to enlarge

Treatment for pneumonia

To begin with, the patient should be kept on a diet of raw juices for five to ten days, depending on the severity of the disease. In this regimen he should take a glass of fruit or vegetable juice diluted with warm water every two or three hours. Fruits especially kiwifruit, tangerine, orange, mosambi, apple, papaya, pineapple and grapes and vegetables like carrots, avocado & tomatoes (drunk together) may be used for juices. Avocado helps the body absorb the carotenoids from carrots and tomatoes.

After a diet of raw juices, when the fever subsides, the patient should have three or four further days on an exclusive fresh fruit diet, taking three meals a day of juicy fruits such as kiwifruit, apple, grapes, pineapple, mangoes, tangerine, orange, lemon and papaya.

Thereafter, the patient may gradually adopt a well-balanced diet of natural foods consisting of seeds and grains, vegetables and fruits with emphasis on fresh fruits and raw vegetables. The patients should be given a warm warm enema daily to cleanse the bowel during the period of raw juice therapy and all fruit diet and thereafter, when necessary.

The patient should avoid strong tea, coffee , refined foods, fried foods, white sugar, white flour and all products made from them. They should also avoid all meats as well as alcoholic beverages and smoking. To reduce temperature naturally, during the course of the fever, the procedure outlined on the Bacteria page may be followed.

Sipping of cold mineral water has also been found beneficial in the treatment of pneumonia. The patient should sip cold water at short intervals so long as the fever continues.

Natural remedies for pneumonia

Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of pneumonia. During the early acute stage of this disease, a herbal tea made from fenugreek seeds  will help the body to produce perspiration, dispel toxicity and shorten the period of fever. In can be taken up to four cups daily. The quantity should be reduced as condition improves. To improve flavour, a few drops of lemon juice can be used. During this treatment, no other food or nourishment should be taken as fasting and fenugreek will allow the body to correct these respiratory problems in a few days.

Garlic is a the ultimate remedy for pneumonia, if given in sufficient quantities. Garlic will bring down the temperature as well as the pulse and respiration within 48 hours. Garlic juice can also be applied externally to the chest with beneficial results as it is an irritant and rubefacient.

Sesame seeds are valuable in pneumonia . An infusion of the seeds, mixed with a tablespoon of flaxseeds, pinch of unrefined sea salt and a desert spoon of pure honey, should be given in the treatment of this infection. This will help remove catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial-tubes.

Chilli peppers, hot mustard, radishes, pepper, onions and garlic contain substances called ‘mucolytics’ (similar to over-the-counter expectorant cough syrups) that liquefy thick mucus that accumulates in the sinuses and breathing passages.

The pain of pneumonia can be relieved by rubbing oil of turpentine over the rib cage and wrapping warmed cotton wool over it.
When suffering a fever, the patient should avoid any supplements containing iron or zinc, iron causes great tension in a body that is fighting infection and zinc is not absorbed by the body during fever.


A common complication of all kinds of pneumonia is pleurisy. Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, a serous membrane which envelopes the lungs and also lines the inside of the chest. It can affect just one lung or both.

Pleurisy may be acute or chronic and mild or severe, It may be limited to one side of the chest or it may include both the sides. This disease can attack people of all ages, from children right through to the very elderly. Like any other viral infection, pleurisy can occur in small epidemics. The membranes that cover the lung are called pleura.

The outer membrane, known as partial pleura, is applied to the inner wall of the thorax, and the inner membrane, known as the visceral pleura, covers the substance of the lungs. There is a capillary space between the two membranes which is filled with fluid.

This fluid enables the lungs to move freely in the chest. The parietal membrane is reflected from the chest wall to cover the upper surface of the diaphragm and, in the midline, it covers the mediastinum, the partition which separates the two sides of the chest and contains the heart, great vessels and other structures which run through the thorax.

Symptoms of pleurisy

The onset of pleurisy is generally marked by a sharp and stabbing pain, which may be felt in any part of the chest wall or over the diaphragm. Deep breathing or coughing increases the pain.
In many cases, the disease begins with a chill, followed by congestion of the pleura and later by fever. The degree of the fever determines the severity of the disease.

The inflammation destroys the tissues and chokes the circulation within the tissues. Breathing becomes difficult due to the clogging of the circulation and by pain and swelling within the chest.
Later a liquid effusion escapes from the pleura, filling the open spaces in the chest cavity till the effect of the distension becomes oppressive. After absorption takes place or after the drainage of the effusion, the pressure is lowered, the pain is reduced and the patient feels relieved. It is sometimes dry pleurisy, a form where there is little or no effusion or the effusion may be circumscribed. The effusion may become gangrenous, or become mixed with blood, or be of a dirty brown colour with an offensive odour, leading to much suffering.

Causes of pleurisy

The most common among the immediate causes of pleurisy is that of ‘catching cold ‘ followed by congestion and swelling of the pleural membrane. It is a disease that is not caused by germs. There will be germs of putrefaction later in the ooze of serum from the tissue. The disease may be a complication of pneumonia, or pneumonia may be a complication of pleurisy. In a few cases , the diseases may also occur in rheumatic fever, uraemia and other conditions.

Treatment for pleurisy

At the first sign of pleurisy, the patient should observe a complete fast, abstaining from all liquid and solid foods. Nothing should be taken except plain mineral water, hot or cold, as desired. Water may have bad taste, but at least three or four glasses should be taken daily for the first few days. The quantity of water should be gradually increased to five or six or more glasses each day.

A hot chest pack should be applied two or three times a day allowing it to remain for an hour or so each time. If the fever becomes high, the packs may be changed to cold ones. If, however, the reaction is not prompt and complete, it would be advisable to use the hot packs. Heat is always helpful for relieving the sharp pain associated with pleurisy. This should be applied for half an hour twice daily. The patient should practice deep breathing during this period.

Adequate rest and abundance of fresh air are essential. In cases of dry pleurisy, further relief from pain can be obtained by strapping the chest. Heat is not used when the strapping is employed.

A hot bath at 100F with a few drops of eucalyptus oil for one hour daily has also been found beneficial in the treatment of pleurisy.

After the acute symptoms have subsided, the patient may adopt a goat's milk diet. In this regimen, 250ml of goat's milk should be taken every two hours on the first day, every 1 1/2 hour on the second day, every hour on the third day and every three-quarters of an hour on the fourth day and onwards. The quantity of milk should not exceed four litres daily. The patient may also take one orange or tangerine (which is easier on the stomach) daily along with the milk diet. As soon as the patient has gained slightly in strength, they should undertake moderate exercise as a routine, avoiding fatigue.

Sunshine on the skin and a dry friction bath can be useful. If there is any particular disease, present along with the pleurisy whether as a causative or as a complicating condition, the same should also be given appropriate attention. Chronic pleurisy should be treated in the same manner as to the diet and the application of heat. All efforts should be made to increase the vitality, reduce toxaemia, and restore normal freedom of chest movements. Several short fasts, at regular intervals, followed by the goat's milk diet may be necessary depending on the progress for complete recovery.

Natural remedies for both pneumonia and pleurisy

Apple cider vinegar: A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar taken first thing in the morning before any food can help to fight infection.

Barley grass juice is highly nutritious and is one of the rare plants to contain vitamin B12 which may be lacking in the diet of a patient with pneumonia and pleurisy.

Beetroots are rich in anthocyanins which have powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. They also contain iron which is an essential nutrient. A glass of beetroot juice per day can help speed recovery.

Carrot juice blended with radish juice is an effective aid in cleansing and healing the mucous membrane of the digestive system as well as of the respiratory organs.

Coconut water and pineapple juice can prevent dehydration when a fever is present.

Fermented foods can help restore an imbalanced intestinal flora that can occur when taking antibiotics. The correct balance of gut bacteria is essential when the body is fighting infection.

  • Brine pickles (eggs, fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables that have been fermented by lactic acid bacteria)

  • Kefir (fermented milk drink)

  • Kimchi (a fermented, spicy Korean side dish)

  • Kombucha (fermented black or green Asian tea)

  • Miso (a Japanese fermented seasoning made with soya beans, salt and a type of fungus called koji)

  • Sauerkraut (finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria)

  • Tempeh (fermented soya beans)

  • Yoghurt (plain with live cultures)

Herbs and spices have powerful antimicrobial and healing properties. Three cups of herbal tea a day sipped slowly can provide much relief and help fight infections such as pneumonia and pleurisy. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey for additional benefits. Mix and match any of the herbs and spices below. Seeds can be ground using a coffee grinder.

Herbal juices and teas that can relieve symptoms of pneumonia and pleurisy

Black tea and especially green tea) contains caffeine that helps to dilate the bronchial airways. Tthree cups should be consumed per day with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey.

NOTE: Avoid coffee as it causes many adverse side-effects and nutrient deficiencies that a person with pneumonia or pleurisy are too weak to withstand. See Coffee dangers

A tea made by steeping the following together in hot water for ten minutes before straining and gently reheating can be used to lower fever and fight infection:

Propolis has powerful antibacterial properties which can aid with recovery from pneumonia and pleurisy.

Raw juice therapy can successfully treat pneumonia and pleurisy. Use a powerful (at least 900 watt) slow juicer for best results and the juice should be consumed immediately after making. Adding a pinch of chilli powder and turmeric can provide additional benefits due to their antimicrobial propeties.

The best organic natural foods to juice for pneumonia and pleurisy

Sprouting grains, legumes, nuts and seeds can provide high nutrition without the bulk when a person's apetite is low as can happen with pneumonia and pleurisy. They are very easy to grow on a sunny windowsill with a rinse of water daily and will be ready to eat within five days which is around when a patient with pneumonia or pleurisy may begin to regain their appetite for food. Use the sprouts as a side dish with eggs, fish, rice (brown) or salads or to accompany warm thick soups made from the foods below.

Water: It is important to keep hydrated, especially when a fever is present. The patient should drink at least six glasses of bottled mineral water with freshly squeezed lemon juice per day. This can also help to flush out toxins from the infections.

External natural remedies

To inhale the vapours from the remedies below pour boiling water into a small basin then add the remedies chopped up. Then place a towel over the head and the bowl and breathe in the vapours keeping the eyes closed. This will provide great relief from the chest pain that can accompany pleurisy and pneumonia.

There are various types of poultices that can be used to treat a wide variety of complaints from acne, arthritis and respiratory conditions to bruises and sprains. Some people advocate the use of porridge, carrot, bread, milk, potatoes, clay, cabbage and herbal poultices and many use poultices as a home remedy for their horses' ailments. A poultice will also help ease out anything that's embedded under the skin such as wood or metal splinters and can also bring boils or abscesses to the surface and draw out bee sting poison.

A homemade poultice is made by mashing herbs, plant material or another substance with warm water or natural oils to make a paste. Pure pressed coconut oil is especially good to use. The paste can be applied directly to the skin and covered with a piece of clean cloth. If the herb used is potent such as onion, garlic, ginger, mustard, etc., it is advisable to place a layer of thin cloth between the skin and the herb. The cloth can then be covered with plastic wrap to hold in the moisture. The poultice should be changed every 3 to 4 hours or more if it dries out. Then the area should be washed with soap and dried thoroughly and left uncovered.

A compress is used the same way but usually warm liquids are applied to the cloth instead of raw cold substances. Tinctures or herbal infusions are great for compresses. The following can provide relief from congestion and help to break up mucous in the chest.

Bay leaf (hot or cold fomentation compress)

Comfrey (hot or cold fomentation compress)

Eucalyptus (vapours)

Garlic (hot or cold fomentation compress)

Mint (vapours)

"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC


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