Chest congestion occurs when the respiratory tract gets inflamed due to the accumulation of excess mucus in it. Allergens, common cold, sinusitis, viral infection and bronchitis are the main reasons for chest congestion.
Difficulty in breathing, throat irritation, cough, dizziness and mild chest pain are few symptoms of chest congestion.
We often resort on prescribed medicines to deal with chest congestion. But do you know simple home remedies like salt water gargle, steam, ginger and various other remedies mentioned below can also be effective? Have a look at them to learn more in them.
Home Remedies for Chest Congestion:
Choose any one of the remedies mentioned below and try it regularly to get complete relief from chest congestion.
1. Salt Water Gargle
Salt flushes out the mucus present in the respiratory tract. The warm water reduces the irritation caused by chest congestion in the throat. Gargling with salt diluted warm water few times in a day helps to treat chest congestion effectively.
- Take a glass of warm water and add a teaspoon of salt to it.
- Stir the mixture until salt is completely dissolved.
- Use the mixture to gargle thoroughly for about 2 – 3 minutes.
- Repeat this procedure at least 3 – 4 times a day.
The vapours and moisture oozing out from steam helps to break up and dissolve mucus that is present deep in your lungs and throat by liquefying them.
- Take a large ceramic bowl of boiling water.
- Add 5 drops of eucalyptus oil, 3 drops of peppermint oil and 2 drops of rosemary essential oil to it.
- Gently swirl the bowl to blend the oils.
- Take a towel and drape it over your head.
- Lean over the bowl and breathe deeply.
- Keep your head over the steam as long as possible and repeat the process by taking small intervals.
- Repeat the remedies 2 – 3 times in a day until you get relief from congestion.
- Take a hot shower regularly to get relief from congestion.
- Apply hot compress on chest and throat to soothe the congestion.
- Another simple trick is to drink warm water regularly, which will help to loosen the phlegm and mucus in your chest and make you feel comfortable.
Note: Young children, pregnant women, people suffering from heart conditions and high blood pressure should avoid trying above remedies.
Onions contain sulfur and quercetin that help to break down the mucus and prevents its build-up and ease the chest congestion. The antimicrobial properties present in onion prevent the infection.
- Take an onion, and grind it to make a thin paste.
- Extract the onion juice by pressing the paste.
- Add 2 tablespoons of water, 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of honey to the onion juice.
- Stir the juice well, and then heat it until it is lukewarm.
- Drink the solution thrice a day to get complete and quick relief from chest congestion.
- Take 5-6 small, raw onions or shallots.
- Chew and swallow the shallots before going to bed. If you don’t like the taste, add some sugar.
- You can also use big onions sautéed or curried to treat this problem.
- This method is one of the effective DIY home remedies for chest congestion.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar fights against chest congestion. It helps in killing bacteria, which causes excess mucus production in the chest and throat. It relieves congestion and helps in breathing better than before.
- To a cup of warm water, add 2 teaspoons of raw, organic and unfiltered acv.
- Add some honey to taste and drink it.
- Repeat 2 – 3 times in a day for a week to get complete relief.
- Alternatively, take a shot of apple cider vinegar and swig it down.
Note: Avoid over consumption of acv because it can result in stomach problems.
Mucosal inflammation is one of the main reasons for chest congestion. Ginger contains anti inflammatory properties which reduce the inflammation in respiratory tract and provides complete relief. It also contains polyphenols which restrict the mucus secretion. It fights with the root cause of chest congestion.
Different ways of using ginger for chest congestion
- To a cup of hot water, add 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger (chopped). Cover and let it steep for 5 minutes. Strain it and add honey as per taste. Consume up to 3 cups of ginger tea daily.
- Blend 1 teaspoon each black pepper, dry ginger and cloves together to form a powder. Divide the powder into 3 parts and take them 3 times in day with milk or honey.
- Chew small ginger candies or fresh ginger pieces slowly throughout the day.
Repeat any of the above methods daily until you get relief from chest congestion.
Curcumin, an active compound present in turmeric expels the mucus and provides complete relief from the chest congestion. Turmeric is a natural antioxidant which contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to get rid of numerous of health problems, especially ailments of the respiratory system.
- Take 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder and add this to a cup of hot milk.
- Add 2 teaspoons of honey and a pinch of black pepper to the mixture.
- Stir the mixture well and drink it hot 2 or 3 times daily.
Process 2: With Apple Cider Vinegar
- Take 2 tablespoons each of turmeric powder and apple cider vinegar.
- Mix both ingredients well and drink the mixture to get rid of chest congestion.
Process 3: Gargle
- To a glass of warm water, add a pinch of turmeric powder and stir well.
- Use this mixture to gargle for few minutes daily.
Note: People having gallstones, hyperacidity or stomach ulcers should avoid turmeric.
Lemon contains citric acid which thins down the mucus such that it can easily be discarded from the body. While the vitamin C present in lemon boosts the immunity which enables our body to fight with root cause of chest congestion.
- Take a teaspoon each of freshly squeezed lemon juice and organic honey.
- Mix them well in a glass of hot water and drink this to get relief from the chest congestion and cough.
- For best results drink the mixture 3 – 4 times a day.
- Another option is to add 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest to a cup of hot water. Cover and allow it to steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and drink the warm solution. You can even gargle with it. Follow this treatment 2 or 3 times daily.
Honey thins down the mucus such that it can easily be discarded from the respiratory tract. It contains antiviral and antibacterial properties which fight with infection causing chest congestion.
- Consume 1 teaspoon of honey directly or stir it in warm water and drink. This helps to ease chest congestion for several hours.
- Alternatively, you can mix 1/2 teaspoon each of powdered black pepper and honey to make a paste. Consume this paste 3 – 4 times in a day to get complete relief.
Note: Avoid giving honey to children below 1 year age as it can cause botulism.
Garlic is the most effective remedy if you have chest congestion is due to cold. Garlic possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help to clear chest congestion. Lime is a citric fruit that also helps to get rid of chest congestion.
- Take 3 fresh lemons and squeeze them in a cup of hot water.
- Stir it well and add crushed garlic cloves (1 – 2) to the mixture.
- Add a teaspoonful of crushed black pepper and some salt to the mixture.
- Stir the mixture well and drink it.
- Do this 2 times a day for a few days.
- To a cup of water or milk, add 2 – 3 garlic cloves (crushed) and 1/2 teaspoon of honey.
- Bring this mixture to boil and strain it.
- Consume this solution 2 times in a day until you get relief from chest congestion.
- Consuming fresh garlic cloves also helps to get relief from chest congestion.
10. Milk with Saffron
Both milk and saffron contain properties of introducing heat to the chest, which can reduce the chest congestion.
- Take a little amount of saffron and add it to a cup of milk.
- Mix it well and heat it up.
- Then add a teaspoon of honey and few drops of lemon juice to the mixture.
- Stir it well and drink it when it is warm by stirring it every few minutes.
Licorice acts as natural expectorant that helps to relieve you from cough and congestion. It also helps to soothe irritated throat and inflamed lungs.
- Take 1/2 teaspoon of licorice root and add this to a cup of hot water.
- Cover and let it steep for few minutes and then strain the tea.
- Drink this tea to get relief from the chest congestion.
- Repeat this procedure three times a day.
- Don’t use this remedy if you have blood pressure issues.
Alternative: To a glass of hot water, add 1/2 teaspoon each of ginger powder and licorice powder. Stir well and drink this mixture 2 times in a day to get relief from chest congestion.
12. Bay Leaf
Bay leaf is a natural herb that helps to treat chest congestion with its amazing natural properties.
- Take few fresh bay leaves and put them in a cup of boiling water.
- Allow it to soak for few minutes and strain the tea.
- Drink this tea.
- Repeat the procedure every day until you get relief from chest congestion.
- To a saucepan, add handful of bay leaves and 2 glasses of water.
- Let the mixture boil for few minutes.
- Remove from the flame and strain it.
- Soak a clean washcloth in the solution and wring out the excess.
- Place it on your chest area as a hot compress to remove the mucus.
- Repeat the remedy whenever needed.
13. Betel Leaves
Betel leaves contain several essential oils. The phenol present in betel leaves contain anti inflammatory and antiseptic properties which provide quick relief from chest congestion. Betel leaves also help in providing relief from chest congestion caused by acid reflux.
Different ways of using betel leaves for chest congestion
- Boil few betel leaves in water and drink it.
- Slightly warm betel leaves. Place the leaves on chest as a hot compress.
- Apply mustard oil or sesame oil on betel leaves and slightly roast on the low heat. Place them on chest area when they are warm enough for 2 – 3 minutes.
- Chop some betel leaves and add them to a cup of mustard oil. Slightly warm up the mixture and apply it on the chest area.
Follow any one of the remedy above daily to get relief from chest congestion.
14. Decongestant Salve
Decongestant salve is a homemade DIY recipe that is effective in keeping chest congestion away. In this process, coconut oil is used as it is easily absorbed by the skin. Eucalyptus oil removes the blockage in nasal path and respiratory tube. Camphor loosens the mucus and reduces the inflammation.
- Take 1/4 cup of coconut oil in a heat-safe measuring bowl.
- Heat the oil in a microwave or on a stove until it melts completely.
- Then add a tablespoon of olive oil to the melt coconut oil.
- Mix it well with a popsicle stick and then add 8 drops of eucalyptus oil, 5 drops of peppermint oil and 3 drops of camphor essential oil to the mixture.
- Stir it well with a popsicle, but make sure to use a separate eye dropper for each oil.
- Now pour this oil mixture in a 6 oz. cosmetic jar and cover the container.
- Allow the oil mixture to harden in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Apply this salve to your chest and neck whenever you feel discomfort in breathing due to mucus and chest congestion.
- The best time to apply this recipe is before going to bed.
- After usage, store it in a cool, dry place and you can continue using it for up to six months.
15. Mustard Plaster
Mustard plaster helps to heal chest congestion and other respiratory infections like bronchitis, sinus, etc. Try this recipe regularly to clear the mucus from your lungs
- Mix 3 to 5 teaspoons of mustard powder with 1 cup of flour.
- Add some water to the ingredients to make a runny paste.
- Apply olive oil on your chest.
- Spread the mustard-flour paste on a clean muslin cloth and place it on your chest.
- Remove the muslin cloth after 1 hour.
Note: As mustard oil is very hot, it may cause skin irritation. If you experience any discomfort on applying mustard plaster, remove it immediately and rinse off the chest area with water.
Thyme is a natural herb that improves the health of lungs, so they can fight against the mucus causing bacteria. It acts as a protective shield for the lungs and prevents congestion.
- Add one fourth to half a teaspoon of thyme to a cup of boiling water.
- Allow it to soak for 5 minutes by adding a little honey, which can also make it sweet.
- Drink this herbal tea to get relief from chest congestion.
- You can also use diluted thyme oil for chest congestion by mixing either olive oil or corn oil in 1:1 ratio.
- Mix it well and rub it gently on the chest to get relief from any discomforts.
Radish contains some compounds that help to clear chest congestion induced by bronchitis, allergies, cold or flu.
- Take a fresh radish, wash it, and chop it finely.
- Use a juicer to extract the juice out of the radish.
- Drink the fresh radish juice regularly to get relief from chest congestion
- You can also add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to the ½ cup of radish juice, and consume it every morning until you get complete relief from chest congestion
- Alternative: Apply radish oil on the chest and throat to clean the mucus because radish oil is also a great expectorant
18. Black Coffee
Caffeine present in coffee helps in clearing the mucus and relieves from shortness of breath. Black coffee is one of the effective remedies if you have been facing breathing problem due to asthma.
- Drink 1 – 2 cups of strong black coffee regularly.
- But make sure not to drink more than 2 cups of coffee or tea a day as they contain ingredients that can have adverse effects in case you are suffering from asthma problems. Caffeine can also increase your blood pressure and heart rate.
Fennel not only helps to treat stomach problems and cancer, but also helps to treat chest congestion very efficiently, and without any side effects.
Different ways of using fennel for chest congestion
- Eat some fennel seeds or sautéed fennel to get relief from chest congestion
- Another method is to add curry powder to fennel and eat it to clear the mucus from your lungs.
- Add few fennel seeds in a glass of hot water and soak them. Eat them after 15 minutes of soaking.
- Dry roast fennel seeds on low heat and inhale the aroma vapours coming from it.
20. Hot Pack
Hot compress is one of the effective ways in providing immense relief from chest congestion.
- Roast 1 teaspoon each of carom seeds or fenugreek seeds and cloves for 2 -3 minutes.
- Place them in a thin cloth and pack them together.
- Apply the cloth on chest area for few seconds and remove it.
- Repeat the application until you get relief.
21. Lobelia Leaves
Lobelia leaves help to loosen the mucus and strengthen the immune system. A tea prepared with lobelia leaves can be helpful in treating chest congestion.
- To a cup of hot water, add 1 -2 teaspoons of dried lobelia leaves.
- Cover and let it steep for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Strain and consume the tea.
- Consume 2 -3 cups of lobelia tea daily until you get relief.
Note: Avoid boiling lobelia tea as its medicinal properties will be destroyed.
22. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is very helpful in treating chest congestion. Whenever you notice chest congestion symptoms, prepare chamomile tea and drink it. Here is how you can prepare chamomile tea
- Add some chamomile leaves to a cup of boiled water.
- Cover and let it steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain and drink the tea.
Peppermint is very effective in treating chest congestion.
Different ways of using peppermint oil for chest congestion
- Prepare a tea using peppermint leaves and consume it. The antioxidants present are helpful in providing relief.
- Apply some peppermint herbal oil on the chest area. The warmth feeling of peppermint reduces the pain beneath the skin.
- Take a steam by adding few drops of peppermint oil into hot water. The menthol present in it reduces the chest congestion.
Follow any one of the remedy daily to get complete relief from chest congestion.
Parsley is a natural herb that helps to break up the mucus associated with cold and chest congestion. The herb also releases histamines, which can help in the healing process. You can add this herb to any dish you eat.
25. Chicken Soup
Hot chicken soup helps to treat inflammation of the lungs. Moreover, the black pepper used in soup helps to reduce the production of mucus and soothes cough. So, when chicken soup is taken regularly, it can help to speed up the movement of mucus and eliminate them quickly.
Dietary Tips for Reducing Chest Congestion:
If the immune system is weak then our body is more prone to infections like pneumonia, flu etc. To strengthen your immune system, consume a balanced diet. Vitamin C and Vitamin B foods are very helpful in boosting immune system. Proper diet is effective in reducing the mucus production in the body.
- Foods to Avoid – dairy products, salt, sugar, oils, junk and fried foods. These foods increase mucus production.
- Foods to Include – spicy foods, citrus fruits, garlic, onion, celery, pepper, ginger, pineapple and asparagus. They act as decongestants to ease the chest congestion.
- Consume plenty of water and increase the intake of fluids like soups, juices, and tea because they can keep you well hydrated. Liquids also help to clear out the chest congestion. Drinking less amount of liquids will cause the mucus in the chest and throat to coagulate and thicken, making it stickier and harder to get relief; therefore, drink water, especially warm water, throughout the day to get rid of the mucus.
- Having hot liquids like tea can help to dissolve the mucus and ease chest pain and congestion. So, it is important to drink a cup of peppermint, ginger, chamomile, rosemary or ginseng teas several times a day. To make the tea sweeter, you can add a bit of honey.
- Herbal teas are also helpful in providing relief from chest congestion. Herbal tea can be prepared from ginger, chamomile and other herbs. The anti inflammatory properties of herbal tea deal with the bacteria causing chest congestion.
Tips to Reduce Chest Congestion:
Here are some tips that can help reduce chest congestion. These tips can help to clear the mucus from your lungs and prevent chest congestion completely.
- Elevating your head while sleeping helps to promote drainage of mucus rather than a build up overnight. Always use a pillow to elevate your head.
- Engaging in exercises and yoga help to open up the airways and drain out the mucus. Try a reclining bound angle pose for 10 – 15 minutes to get rid of chest congestion.
- Smoking can aggravate respiratory problems, infections and lung problems and it can also irritate the mucus membranes, triggering excessive production of chest mucus. You should quit smoking as soon as possible.
- It is important to treat sinus and nasal infections to prevent chest infections and accumulation of phlegm in the chest.
- Practice pranayama in yoga daily as it helps to improve breathing and increases the lung’s oxygen intake capacity.
- Use humidifier, especially in the night, to add moisture to the air that in turn can help you to breathe comfortably. It also helps loosen the mucus and make it easy to remove.
- Try some back patting techniques. Ask someone to help you with the procedure that can loosen the mucus and reduce chest congestion.
- Try some techniques like taking deep breath before each cough to make your cough more forceful. Another technique is lying on the bed with upper body hanging over the edge while keeping your head near the floor and then coughing. This process helps gravity drain the bases of your lungs.
- Oregano oil is well known to provide relief from the chest congestion symptoms. You can apply a small amount of it on chest and throat or consume oregano oil capsules.
- Vinegar is beneficial in treating chest congestion. Boil enough amounts of vinegar and inhale the steam coming from it.
- For people who find steaming suffocating and invasive, try using heating pad instead of it. You can place a heating pat or hot water bottle on your chest area for 15 minutes. This helps in breaking down the fluids present in the chest.
- Rosemary oil contains antimicrobial and antioxidant properties which are helpful in treating chest congestion. To a bathtub of warm water, add 5 – 10 drops of rosemary oil and use this mixture for bathing purposes.
Prevention Tips for Chest Congestion:
- Always rinse your nasal to clear the mucus through neti pot, saline sprays, gargling, etc.
- Avoid dairy products that create mucus inside the body
- Avoid alcohol consumption and quit smoking and also stay away from smokes
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day
- Take a steam to clear the mucus occasionally
- Always stay away from respiratory irritants that cause the mucus and other respiratory problems
- Clean your room and surroundings to remove dust and bacteria that cause mucus
- Have sufficient sleep and follow a balanced diet to strengthen your immune system.
When to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment?
- If you have chest congestion along with fever, body aches, malaise and chills.
- If chest congestion is caused due to flu.
We hope this article was helpful for you. Please share your suggestions, experience and queries in the comments section below. For more such articles, stay tuned.