Pneumonia: Remedies & Treatments

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Affecting nearly 500 million people around the globe, pneumonia is a serious and deadly condition, so it is vital to understand the remedies and treatment options, such as the use of sesame seeds, cayenne pepper, fenugreek tea, ginger, vegetable juice, turmeric, lemon juice and steam inhalation, among others.

Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lungs, affecting the tiny sacs where the air is exchanged (alveoli). This condition can be caused due to a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection.

Usually, a chest X-ray or a sputum test is used to determine the disease if you are experiencing one or more pneumonia symptoms, and it is very important to see a medical professional immediately as this condition is highly dangerous. That being said, there are a number of natural treatments and remedies, as well as lifestyle changes, that have shown success in the treatment and prevention of pneumonia.

Treatments and Remedies for Pneumonia

Treatments and home remedies for pneumonia are as follows:


Many people think of ginger as a topping for sushi, or as a delicious variety of tea, but ginger can also be used for the treatment or prevention of pneumonia. The active ingredient, gingerol, is a stimulant for the immune system and can help to eliminate any bacterial or viral infections that may be the underlying cause of your pneumonia. Ginger can be eaten raw or in the more appetizing form of tea, in which you steep ginger root in boiling water for 10-20 minutes.

Cayenne Pepper

One of the most popular and common remedies for pneumonia is cayenne pepper. It may seem like cayenne pepper would act as an irritant to the lungs, or even increase inflammation, but in fact, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper helps to cut through the accumulated mucus and phlegm in the lungs. It functions as an expectorant, helping to clear out the lungs and remove the material on which bacterial and viral infections can flourish.


A very powerful antioxidant named curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, a popular spice in many cuisines. Curcumin is able to act as a mucolytic, helping to expel excess phlegm and liquid from the lungs, while also providing antibacterial and antiviral properties to the respiratory tract. You can mix turmeric with water and spread it on your chest for quick relief or drink it in a glass of water, along with black pepper.

Lemon Juice

The antibacterial nature of lemon juice is well known, in addition to its high vitamin C content. Consuming lemon juice with a high concentration of antioxidants is an excellent way to boost your immune system and reduce the overall body temperature, which is crucial if you are suffering from pneumonia. Lemon juice also cuts through mucus and phlegm, reducing inflammation and helping to ease breathing.

Steam Inhalation

One of the simplest ways to reduce coughing, congestion, and inflammation in the lungs is by inhaling the steam. This can help to loosen tightly packed phlegm and mucus, allowing you to expel it and clear your respiratory tract. You can do this by breathing in over a pot of boiling water, or take a hot shower and allow the steam to build up. Take slow deep breaths and enjoy easier breathing.

Quit Smoking

Any weakening of the respiratory tracts can put you at higher risk for pneumonia. For that reason, smoking is one of the key risk factors for pneumonia, so an excellent preventative method is to simply quit smoking. Tobacco has a wide range of negative effects on the body, so quitting will not just help you avoid pneumonia, but also countless other chronic illnesses and potentially life-threatening conditions, including lung cancer.

Improve Your Diet

Diabetes is one of the complicating factors for pneumonia, as are other chronic illnesses and respiratory infections. By altering your diet, losing weight, and increasing your physical activity, you can significantly lower your chances of developing this inflammatory condition. Fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats should be increased if you want to make a real difference in your overall nutritional health.

Fenugreek Tea

Fenugreek seeds are used for many different natural remedies, from a digestive aid to an expectorant. In the case of pneumonia, fenugreek works as a mucolytic, helping the body expel the accumulated phlegm in the respiratory tracts. You can steep fenugreek seeds in boiling water and drink the resultant mixture for best results. It also induces sweating and “breaking” of a fever, which can help expel toxins more quickly from the body.

Vegetable Juice

As mentioned earlier, a high intake of vegetables and fruits is essential for an improved diet, but vegetable juices are particularly effective. They are soothing to the throat, and can directly attack the infection in your lungs with concentrated vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Making a vegetable juice blend of green, leafy vegetables, carrots, turnips, beans, tomatoes or beets can be a delicious and nutrient-packed meal that can boost the immune system and deliver certain antioxidants to your system, like beta-carotene, that will help cleanse toxins and other pathogens causing the symptoms.

Goldenseal Tea

As an extremely powerful antibacterial agent, goldenseal is used for a wide variety of infections to boost the immune system. In the case of pneumonia, goldenseal’s direct impact on the respiratory system is extremely valuable and can help ease breathing and reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract, allowing the body’s immune system to more effectively battle the condition.


Studies on mullein have shown it to have a measurable impact on lung inflammation, so it is often chosen to treat pneumonia in cases around the world. You can make a mullein infusion of the plant’s leaves and then drink this concoction to eliminate coughs and congestion. However, be careful in the preparation, as mullein leaves can be highly allergenic if handled incorrectly.


As with so many other medical conditions, garlic can be readily used in a number of ways to treat the symptoms and underlying cause of pneumonia. Due to the active ingredient of garlic – allicin – and its antibacterial and antiviral properties, garlic has been used for centuries for respiratory infections. Garlic is also known to break up phlegm, making it more difficult for the infection to take hold and stick around in your lungs.

Tea Tree

Famed for its natural health abilities in Australia, tea tree oil has become a critical part of home remedies around the world, due to its powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties. For this reason, the use of tea tree oil is highly recommended for the treatment of pneumonia. You can mix tea tree oil into coconut oil and then spread the mixture topically on the chest, which can relieve pain and inflammation. You can also boil water with tea tree oil in it and then inhale the steam as it rises. Do not ingest tea tree oil directly, as it is extremely potent and concentrated.

Turpentine Oil

Consuming turpentine doesn’t seem like a wise choice, but as a topical remedy for pneumonia, it can’t be beaten. If you mix turpentine oil with another carrier oil, such as coconut or camphor, you can rub this mixture onto the chest and leave it on overnight. Inhaling the fumes overnight will loosen the phlegm and speed the healing process, while also helping you breathe normally!


Widely known for its ability to strengthen the immune system, echinacea oil is a popular home remedy for pneumonia. With its antiviral and antibacterial capacity, echinacea can be mixed with hot water, honey and spearmint to form a delicious and highly effective tonic to clear up any infections in the lungs.

Sesame Seeds

As a natural expectorant, sesame seeds can help reduce lung congestion and promote the expulsion of the bacteria and viruses that may have lodged in those materials. If you can breathe easier and have eliminated the “home” for these pathogens, you are much closer to recovery from pneumonia!

Oregano Oil

This essential herbal oil has an impressive level of antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help it quickly seek out and destroy the pathogen causing your pneumonia symptoms. You can mix a few drops of oregano oil (it is highly potent) in with water and drink it 1-2 times per day, or put a few drops on your pillow and inhale it throughout the night for best results.

Final Word of Warning

While these home remedies have proven to be effective in many traditional and anecdotal instances, it is important to see a trained medical professional if you show signs and symptoms of pneumonia. The condition can worsen quickly and be fatal if not addressed, so these remedies should be seen as complementary remedies to more formal medical treatment. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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