Tuesday, December 9, 2008
A Natural Remedy for Pneumonia
An encouraging new study shows that coconut oil can offer pneumonia patients a faster and more complete recovery. The results of the study were presented in Philadelphia at a meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians on October 29, 2008 by Gilda Sapphire Erguiza, M.D. of the Philippine Children's Medical Center and Daniel Rauch, M.D. of the New York University Langone Medical Center.
The study analyzed the results of adding in a regimen of coconut oil for 40 children whose ages ranged from 3 months to 5 years old. All of the children had been diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia, a lung infection obtained outside of a hospital setting. The children were all treated with the typical antibiotic ampicillin.
Half of the children were also given a dose of coconut oil based on their weight. The oil was administered for three consecutive days. Children who received doses of coconut oil recovered much faster than those who did not. On average, the children who took coconut oil had a normal respiratory rate after less than 33 hours. The other children's rate normalized after about 48 hours. The children who received coconut oil showed reduced fevers, clear breathing and normal blood oxygenation faster than the control group.
In practice, these results can lead to a reduced hospital stay, which means lower medical expenses for patients and hospitals, as well as less exposure for the patient to a hospital environment. Coconut oil itself in an inexpensive addition to traditional antibiotics, and brings with it no known side effects.
While these findings are indeed interesting, especially to those who are seeking natural methods of healing common illnesses, they are not quite definitive. The study was done on a small scale and only to children, so certain variables have not been tested. However, the study shows a lot of promise. Pneumonia is a serious childhood illness. In developing countries, it is a leading cause of mortality in children. Coconut oil may be especially helpful for children living in these countries.
So, what is coconut oil's secret? Researchers are still looking for that answer, but the current hypothesis points to lauric acid, an antimicrobial substance found in coconut oil. This may naturally boost the body's immune system and the effectiveness of the antibiotics administered for treatment.
The study certainly encourages parents to consider this treatment for pneumonia, but Dr. Rauch did point out it could be dangerous to try to force a child to take the oil if they don't want it. If the child choked on the oil, it could be aspirated in the lungs. This could cause serious problems. Of course, this can be avoided by easily mixing the oil with food.