Pleurisy also known as pleuritis, or pleurodynia, is an inflammation of the pleura, the delicate membranes separating the lungs from the chest wall. This usually occurs due to virus infection, but can also be caused by pneumonia, inflammation of the pericardial heart lining, chest injury, blood clot of the lung, and, rarely lung cancer.
The patient has a sharp and stabbing pain that usually worsen when he takes a deep breath, cough, or move around. The pain is usually better if he takes shallow breaths or lie on the side that hurts. Fever and breathless are other symptoms of pleurisy. This condition can make breathing very painful.
Sometimes pleurisy is associated with another condition called pleural effusion. In this condition, there is accumulation of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity. When pleural effusion is associated with pleurisy, the pain usually disappears because the fluid serves as a lubricant. However, if enough fluid accumulates, it puts pressure on the lungs and interferes with their normal function, causing shortness of breath. If the fluid becomes infected, dry cough, fever and chills may appear.
1. The patient should undergo a complete fast at the first sign of the disease. Take only three to four glasses of water for first few days and gradually increase it to six or more glasses.
2. Apply hot fomentation to the chest directly over the painful area for an hour two or three times a day at the first sign of the disease. This gives relief from the pain and discomfort.
3. A neutral immersion bath at 100 degree Fahrenheit for one hour is very beneficial in the treatment of pleurisy. Sunbath, air bath and dry friction bath are also helpful.
4. The patient should follow milk diet when the acute symptoms subside. Give milk with a gap of every two hours on first day, every one and half hours on second day, every one hour on third day and so on. The quantity of milk should not exceed four liters a day.
5. Celery (ajmoda) has antispasmodic properties due to which it helps in relieving pains. Include celery in your diet or take in the form of fresh salad along with the other permissible vegetables.
6. Another herb used in the treatment of pleurisy is hogweed (punarnava). It is beneficial in removing catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes. Take the powder of the roots of hogweed in small quantities thrice a day.
7. Use linseed (alsi) for external application on the chest. Prepare a soft moist poultice of the linseeds and gently rub over the affected region of the chest. This is very effective home remedy for pleurisy.
8. Avoid cold and refrigerated foods and drinks, such as banana and ice creams. These may cause accumulation of phlegm in the chest, which would aggravate the condition.
9. Bitter vegetables such as fenugreek and bitter gourd are beneficial in this condition.
10. The patient should avoid over exertion. He should not involve in the activities that would make him physically tired.
11. Extract the juice of fresh leaves of holy basil (tulsi). Take 15 to 30 grams of this juice on empty stomach in the morning and evening. Slowly increase the dose daily from 15 grams onwards. This will decrease fever within 2-3 days and dry fluid in a week or so.