COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Definition

COPD is when the airways of the lungs become inflamed and narrowed. As the air sacs get permanently damaged, it will become increasingly difficult to breathe in and out. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of conditions characterised by airflow obstruction.  Chronic bronchitis (CB) and emphysema are two major conditions within this group.

COPD is a condition which is being diagnosed far more often in recent times and it generally replaces the old diagnosis of emphysema. Emphysema was more a particular type of end-stage type of COPD. Nowadays, a diagnosis of COPD is given where lung function is compromised as a result of some condition or other. In the past, the main cause of emphysema was smoking. Nowadays, far less people are smoking but yet COPD is quite common. COPD is where the lung tissue itself is damaged.


Lungs with COPD


We see more and more at Roscore Clinic where COPD is associated with chronic recurring respiratory tract infections especially lower respiratory tract infections or lung infections. We see this a lot more in recent times where people get colds and flu, especially the flu, where the condition develops into a chronic course, which continues for many weeks. This causes damage to the lungs.

COPD Causes

COPD can develop from many other causes other than colds and flu. It can develop from

  • Smoking – Smoking is the main cause of COPD. At least four out of five people who develop the disease are or have been smokers. The lining of the airways becomes inflamed and permanently damaged by smoking. This damage cannot be reversed. Around 10-25% of smokers develop COPD.
  • Passive smoking -Exposure to other people’s smoke increases the risk of COPD.
  • Fumes and dust – Exposure to certain types of dust and chemicals at work, including grains, isocyanates, cadmium and coal, has been linked to the development of COPD, even in people who do not smoke. The risk of COPD is higher if you breathe in dust or fumes in the workplace and you smoke.
  • COPD can develop as a result of chronic bronchitis
  • Severe episode of bronchitis
  • It can develop after pneumonia.

Unfortunately, the response of medicine today to these conditions means that the cause of the problem, the bacteria or the virus, are dealt with, but the damage that they cause is not been properly repaired. The damaged lung tissue is not being repaired at all, except whatever residual powers of recovery that that person has.

The primary functional area of the lungs are known as the air sacks or alveolar sacks, and the little tube that goes into each of these sacks, the little bronchioles. These sacks are the structures that absorb oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide, and perform other functions in the body, especially maintaining a proper acid/alkaline base. In other words, maintaining normal pH within the body and many other functions. If these are damaged it causes great distress to the body.

One of the great features of herbal medicine, which is not a feature of the vast majority of standard medical care in the treatment of COPD and many other conditions, is herbs have the ability to alter gene expression within cells. That means that it has a specific action on the cells where the herbs are most active. In this case, we’re talking about giving herbs, which have a high activity within the lung tissue itself.

Symptoms of COPD

The symptoms of COPD are often worse in the winter, and it is common to have two or more flare-ups a year. A flare-up is when your symptoms are particularly bad. This is one of the most common reasons for people being admitted to hospital in Ireland.

There are many other symptoms of COPD. But some of the most common ones are

  • The inability to breathe properly.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Exercise, which normally would not cause shortness of breath, will be seen to cause shortness of breath if a person is developing or moving into a COPD state.
  • A persistent cough with phlegm that never seems to go away
    Frequent chest infections, particularly in winter

COPD can affect

  • The heart.
  • The general immunity
  • The frequency of acquiring infections. Somebody in the early stages of COPD may be getting more frequent chest infections. Of course, the more often you get a chest infection, the more damage is being caused.

The action of the herbs operates in many ways.

  • They operate at a chemistry level.
  • They operate at a neurological level.
  • They operate at an endocrine level
  • They operate to alter gene expression within the DNA of the cells in the affected area.
  • They alter gene expression in a beneficial way where the cells themselves within the affected area become better able to deal with the infection.

There is a crucial difference between herbal medicine and standard medicine. This is a vastly more complicated and sophisticated means of dealing with conditions in a specific and individual way, which will meet the requirements of each individual

Treatment for COPD

As regards the treatment, standard medical treatment generally involves or may involve giving steroids, which helps to treat the inflammation in the lungs. It can involve the use of bronchodilators to keep the tubes in the lungs, as it were, opened up and functioning better. It can involve the possible use of frequent or maybe even continuous lifelong antibiotics.

At Roscore Clinic we look at the each person on an individual basis. The circumstance within each patient will determine how a professionally qualified Medical herbalist,  will respond to COPD in each individual case. Invariably, herbs will be given.  Dietary advice is very, very important in the treatment of COPD. This is an aspect of COPD, which is completely absent almost from a treatment protocol from conventional medicine.

Roscore Clinic use Irish Herbs for the treatment of COPD

We are very proud of our beautiful herb garden at Roscore Clinic. At present, Roscore Clinic can supply about 60% of its needs.

  • Lungwort. This herb was a very, very important herb in olden times to respond to many, many lung problems.
  • Pleurisy root.
  • Thyme.
  • White garlic.
  • Regular garlic
Thyme - natural treaments

Thyme -Thymus vulgaris.

COPD Natural treatment - Wild Garlic

Wild Garlic – Allium ursinum









  • All of these herbs are quite powerful anti-infective herbs.

If you’re wondering how effective these can be, the main component of Thyme is thymol, T-H-Y-M-O-L. It’s a constituent in the thyme essential oil. Thymol is hundreds and hundreds of times more powerful per weight than any antibiotic. It can be a very, very effective herb to use with antibiotics if they’re necessary at the earlier stage of treatment.

Another very significant and important herbal medicine to use in the treatment of COPD or any infective cause, especially where antibiotics have to be used is Propolis. It has been proved from Russian research and demonstrated clearly that the use of Propolis at the same time as antibiotics has a number of very beneficial effects.

First of all, with many antibiotics, it can increase the effectiveness of the antibiotic from 10 to up to 200 times. Your antibiotics can be way more effective when given with Propolis. The other benefit is that the amount of antibiotic that you have to administer can be very significantly reduced, and the time that a person needs to spend taking the antibiotic can also be reduced. The damaging effects of antibiotics can be reduced by the use of effective and appropriate herbal medicine.

Are herbs simple and old fashioned medicines?

Emmett Walsh, the Medical Herbalist at Roscore Clinic, states that he would love to get some student who considers himself a very good scientist to explore the constituents, all of the constituents in one of these common simple herbs, for example, wild garlic. Very quickly he will be exhausted, or she will be exhausted by the sheer number and complexity of the constituents within these so-called simple herbs. Herbs are not simple. They are extremely complex entities.

The complexity is increased when the herbs are combined together, which creates an amazingly effective energy force within the body, which over time resulted in ourselves and the herbs growing up together in unison in a symbiotic relationship where one helps the other, more especially the herbs help us.

We have done everything as a species in the past 200 years to kill these good friendly herbs.

Living with COPD

People with COPD who exercise or keep active regularly have improved breathing, less severe symptoms and a better quality of life.

Diet and maintain a healthy weight
Diet is crucially important in the management of COPD. Diet refers or relates to the function of the digestive tract and digestive tract function is central. Good digestive tract function is central to good respiratory function. The respiratory tract develops from the moment of conception, where at around the seventh or eighth week we have the development of an outgrowth of the digestive tract, which forms the lung tissue, the respiratory tract. This connection is maintained in some way that western medicine does not understand, but which has been recognised by Ayurvedic Indian medicine for thousands of years.

Maintaining good effective digestive function is central to the management of all respiratory conditions, and appropriate diet for each individual needs to be a central part of the response to treatment. This can only be provided by a qualified Ayurvedic doctor or a medical herbalist who has been trained in the aspects of Ayurveda, which pertain to these types of conditions.

Breathing techniques and Meditation

Herbal medicines probably on a continuous lifelong basis will be required for COPD patients. Other things, which can be very helpful in the management and treatment of COPD, is meditation.

Another therapy we use at Roscore Clinic and which can be very helpful in the management and treatment of COPD is to teach the person how to breathe properly and especially combining proper breathing with meditation.

Meditation and proper breathing both together and used properly and appropriately for each patient will, and can, and does, and has been proven clinically to improve the immune status. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re all trying to do. That’s the basis of the response to treatment in all situations, improving the person’s immune status.

Some breathing techniques are:

There are various breathing techniques that some people find helpful for breathlessness.

These include breathing control, which involves breathing gently, using the least effort, with the shoulders supported. This can help when people with COPD feel short of breath.

Breathing techniques for people who are more active include:

relaxed, slow deep breathing
breathing through pursed lips, as if whistling
breathing out hard when doing an activity that needs a big effort
paced breathing, using a rhythm in time with the activity, such as climbing stairs

There is a long history of using herbal remedies to treat COPD, particularly in China, India and other Asian countries.

We here at Roscore Clinic are delighted to be able to treat people for COPD with our very own herbal formulas developed over time and made specifically to each patients individuals case and symptoms.



Book an appointment with Roscore Clinic and let us create a bespoke solution for your specific COPD symptoms.


Medical Herbalist Roscore Clinic

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