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Is a serious lung disease where the alveoli and the narrowing of the passages lead to these air sacs become permanently swollen with air.

What to look for

The typical symptoms of emphysema include: chewing and swallowing may be hard, breathlessness that worsens over the years. A chronic but mild cough that is sometimes accompanied by a medium amount of phlegm brought on by the slightest exertion. In severe cases a ‘barrel shaped’ chest.

Emphysema is a very potentially fatal lung disease and is identified by a shortness of breath that is followed by coughing. Emphysema is most often caused by excessive and heavy smoking. There is no cure for Emphysema but seeing your doctor may help to alleviate some of the symptoms.

When the alveoli the tiny air sacs and the narrow passages leading to them enlarged that is cause of emphysema. These sacs are responsible for taking oxygen to the bloodstream and drawing out carbon dioxide waste. But when the lung’s airways become obstructed or damaged the lung tissues lose their elasticity and become damaged and breathing becomes very difficult. Because of the damage it prevents the lungs from supplying the blood with enough oxygen.

The disease is most common in heavy smokers normally they are over the age of 40 years.


Heave and long-tern smoking is the most common cause of emphysema. It is believed that cigarette smoke attacks the lung tissue. Smoking also has the effect of weakening the walls of the lungs airway, causing the airways to collapse on exhalation then trapping stale air. By smoking it also causes chronic bronchitis and this in turn normally makes the emphysema worse.

Also by smoking it causes the tiny cells called cilia to become weak and dysfunctional. Cilia’s job is to rid the lungs of excess mucus and other waste. The lungs are then defenceless to viral and bacterial infections because the lungs are clogged with mucus.

Dietary Considerations

There are some Health Professionals that recommend that you avoid foods that cause excess mucus production, such as dairy products, white flour products and processed food. you should also eat plenty of garlic.

Personal Care

By inhaling steam it can help loosen phlegm in your lungs. First, fill the sink with boiling water. Keeping your eyes closed, drape a towel over your head and inhale the steam for two to five minutes. To further ease breathing and to help relieve nasal congestion, try adding a few drops of one or more essential oils to the hot water.


You must stop smoking immediately. Although there is no cure for emphysema, you can practice some simple exercises and breathing techniques that will help you cope with the disease. See a Yoga specialist and your doctor.

When to seek further professional advice

If you cough up dark coloured or thick mucus. You have a lingering and mild cough. If you begin to lose weight and you are not trying to. After simple activities you often become breathless.

Alternative/Natural Treatments


If you have this illness you must never stop seeing your doctor. Although alternative therapies often relieve your symptoms and discomfort.
 Aromatherapy: popular essential oils for this ailment are Eucalyptus (eucalyptus globules), Hyssop (Hyssops officinal is), lavender (Avondale officinal is), rosemary (Rosharon's officinal is), pine (Pinups Sylvester's) and Aniseed (Pimpernels animus) has been very successful in the treatment of Emphysema.

 Chinese Herbs : The Chinese herb Ephedrine (Ephedrine silica), also called Ma Huang, is a very potent bronchodilator. This herb does have side effects and should only be taken under the supervision of a Professional.
 Herbal Therapies: there is a number of herbs that act as expectorants and may be appropriate in the treatment of emphysema. There is believed that Elecampane (insular selenium) may help clear up the excess mucus from your lungs. To help sooth the mucous membranes Mullein (Verb scum tarsus) tea is recommended. There are other herbs that may help relieve shortness of breath it includes Lobelia (Lobelia inflate), Aniseed (Pimpernels animus), Wild Black Cherry (Prunes serotonin) Bark, Grindelia (Grindelia sop.) Motherwort (Leonurus Cardiaca), Euphorbia (pilulifera) and Liquorice (Glycyrrhizin glabra.

Homoeopathy : might recommend Antimonium Tartaricum to treat emphysema to help with wheezing and congestion, if the symptoms worsen on damp days, early in the morning or in stuffy rooms try Ammonium carbonic. use Hepar sulphuric if the symptoms grow worse in cold air or at night or in drafts.

Traditional Treatment


At this moment there is unfortunately no treatment that will give you a new set of healthy and unaffected lungs. But there is some things that will help the symptoms and avoid the disease becoming worse. If you have any of the symptoms listed above you must consult your doctor and continue to see him/her regularly. You doctor may show you how to breath correctly with this affliction. It is a very important step to quite smoking immediately and avoiding any areas where there is cigarette smoke.
You must start and maintain a low-impact exercise regime such as walking or swimming.
At home oxygen therapy may be necessary in severe cases of emphysema. And in some other serious cases surgery may be an option.

The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment

Author - Body and Mind

Published - 2013-01-21