• Jasmine Blake Hollywood, MS, HHP

Vitamin C for Pneumonia

Updated: May 24, 2020

What is Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lungs caused by either aspiration,  virus, or bacteria. [6].Clients can exhibit symptoms such as cough, pain, fever, and dyspnea. [5].  When discussing interventions, Mahand and Raymond (2016) write that Medical Nutrition Therapy usually calls for a direct feeding tube in the small bowel instead of the stomach, continuous feeding, optimizing oral hygiene (lessen bacteria), elevating patient's head at a 45-degree angle. [5]. A more in-depth source writes that there can be a more holistic approach to treating pneumonia through a variety of herbs and supplements that have been proven to work through various studies. [5].

Vitamin C

Interventions that are suggested are to use expectorants, mucolytics, vitamins, and herbs in combination. [6]. Studies support the conclusion that vitamin C, in particular, is a great supplement for healing the common colds. [2].Pizzorno and colleagues (2017), also state that vitamin C is also said to be an excellent source for healing bronchitis and pneumonia. [6]. Additionally, vitamin C is a great strategy to use in the reduction of oxidative stress. [2].

Herbal Treatments

Herbs that are used as expectorants are Hedera Helix Ivy, Pelargonium sidoides, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (licorice), and Lobelia. [6]. Other herbs that can be used as expectorants are Ipecacuanha and Comfrey. [3]. Natural remedies that are used as mucolytics are bromelain. [6]. Supplements also used are vitamin E, zinc, and vitamin A. [6].


Garlic seems to be an herb that can be used for a variety of conditions. I'm astounded by all the research I find on this particular plant. Pizzorno et al (2016) say that garlic has antibiotic activity against bacteria both gram-negative and positive, and especially useful for resistant bacteria strains. [6].  Garlic has xylooligosaccharides (XOS). [4].  XOS's are sugar polymers with many repeating units in their molecular chain. They are also strong prebiotics that can help manage gut dysfunction.  [1]. XOS's can help change the balance of microbiota. [1]. Therefore these oligomers can b extremely useful in fighting certain types of pneumonia such as K. pneumonia. [4].


Suggested intervention for Pneumonia (18+ yrs or older) [6].:

  • Lobelia

  • Bromelain

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin A

  • Garlic fresh cut


  1. Aachary, A. A. & Prapulla, S. G. (2010). Xylooligosaccharides (XOS) as an emerging prebiotic: Microbial synthesis, utilization, structural characterization, bioactive properties, and applications.   Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. doi.org/10.1111/j.1541-4337.2010.00135.x (Links to an external site.)

  2. Hemila, H. &  Louhiala, P. (2007). Vitamin C may affect lung infections. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 100, 495–498.

  3. Hoffman, D. (1998). The herbal handbook: A users guide to medicinal herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. 

  4. Kallel, F., Driss, D., Chaabouni, E. Z., & Raoudha Ghorbel, R. (2015). Biological activities of xylooligosaccharides generated from garlic straw xylan by purified xylanase from bacillus mojavensis UEB-FK. Applied Biochemistry Biotechnology,175,950–964. doi 10.1007/s12010-014-1308-1

  5. Mahan, L. K. & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krause's food & the nutrition care process (14th Ed.). St.Louis, MO: Elsevier. 

  6. Pizzorno, J.E., Murray, M. T., & Joiner-Bey, H. (2016). The clinician's handbook of natural medicine (3rd, Ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

28 views0 comments